No matter how great your CB radio is, it won’t be of much help if it does have a great CB antenna to go with it. If you want to avoid problems like a lost signal or noise and interruptions while communicating, then choosing the right CB antenna is essential.
While you can purchase an antenna online or from the store across the street, understanding its properties is vital. Instead of searching all over the internet, bouncing from page to page, stick around for I have gathered all the info you need. In addition to that, I have done a thorough research for the best CB antennas and made it super easy for you to get them, at the click of a button.
But first, let’s see why you need one.
Why CB Antenna?
The work of a CB antenna is to capture radio frequency (RF) signals and the receiver converts them into electrical signals. The CB antenna also functions to covert electrical signals from the transmitter into RF signals.
Today’s CB receivers have more than just channels; they have unique frequencies as well. As it’s impossible to use separate antennas for them all, a CB antenna is needed, to do frequency selections from the spectrum of frequencies available.
The advantages of the CB antenna include:
1. It avoids signal blocking
Whether yours is a truck or a regular car, a good CB antenna offers consistent transmission. For a beast like an 18 wheeler, the vehicle’s own body might even block the signal, and that’s why mounting a powerful CB antenna is important.
In fact, with a huge vehicle, a dual CB antenna setup would be much better. But, whether you go for a single or dual CB antenna setup, you can rest assured there’ll be fewer dead spots to deal with.
2. It enhances range
the thing with a CB antenna is that it’s able to boost both the transmission and receiving range. The device transmits a circular signal uniformly, and thus it sends signals in all the directions.
Some CB antennas are more oval in shape. Every so often, this shape is more beneficial as it stretches the signal pattern. Remember, with the range stretched or enhanced, reception becomes much better.
Now, without wasting any more time, I will help you find the right CB antenna for your needs. Go over the product review below, comparing the products’ features and advantages to see figure out which one suits you best.
Our Top 10 Best CB antenna Reviews 2018
1. K40 K-30 35" 300 Watts Stainless Steel Magnet Mount CB Antenna
One of the best types of antennas is the whip antenna. That’s because whip antennas have a wide range, allowing you to communicate with people who might be 10 miles away. When we’re talking of whip antennas, K40’s K-30 300-Watt CB Antenna is one of the very best models, and I will tell you why.
It has an incredibly strong magnet mount that gives it a good stability without scratching your vehicle.
Have you used a CB antenna before? How was the installation process? Was it hard and exhausting?
Well, with the K-30 300-Watt CB Antenna, mounting is a piece of cake. That can be attributed to the antenna’s ergonomic design, and the super potent magnet.
As you will learn later in this guide, the ideal SWR reading for CB antennas is a 2.0:1 or lesser, and the lower the reading, the higher the antenna’s effectiveness. At 1.1:1.7, the K-30 300-Watt CB Antenna’s SWR is awesome; it’s proof of the antenna’s high efficiency.
The package includes a 15-foot coax cable that is shielded to a tune of 95%, making breakage virtually impossible. Another awesome benefit here is that the cable comes with PL259 connector, so there’s no need to purchase another.
The K-30 300-Watt CB Antenna might not be the best model for a truck but it is undoubtedly one of the best models for cars. It is the best magnetic mount CB antenna. Whether you mount it on the roof or the trunk, it holds on tight.
2. TRAM 703-HC Center Load CB Antenna Kit
When mounting your CB antenna, there’s one very important thing you should keep in mind – the coil needs to be at or over the roofline. If it’s not, the antenna will not be of much help. Regarding that, some antennas can only be placed on the roof while others give you more options.
A great aspect of the TRAM 703-HC is that it is center-loaded. That means the antenna doesn’t have to be on the roof.
Being an antenna kit, the package consists of a few helpful items apart from the antenna itself. These include a shock spring, a magnet mount, and a cable.
Let’s elaborate the usefulness of these elements, starting with the magnet mount. The mount measures 3.5 inches; it has a strong magnet that provides stability to your installation. The shock spring functions to ensure that in the event of the vehicle hitting bumps or potholes, the antenna setup remains steady.
The cable is a 17 feet long RG58 with a PL259 connector. And, being made of stainless steel, you can be sure it will serve you for a long time.
The TRAM 703-HC Antenna has a height of 2 feet. That is why it is able to cover all 40 CB frequencies. How convenient is that?
The TRAM 703-HC Antenna comes tuned relatively well already. With a few screw turns and an SWR reader, the tuning becomes even better, getting to a perfect SWR reading of almost 1.0. Pretty low and appropriate. And, tell you what? This is the an outstanding CB antenna for pickup truck.
3. Midland 18-2442 Mobile CB Antenna
If you need an antenna you can use for many years, go for the Midland 18-2442. Take it from me, it’s one of the most durable models you can find anywhere.
Being a center-loaded antenna, the Midland 18-2442 can be mounted on various spots on your vehicle from the roof to the trunk. By the way, when I say center-loaded, I am referring to the coil’s position on the antenna. A center-loaded model has its coil near the middle of the antenna shaft.
Worried about the whip breaking or getting blown away by a windstorm or rusting maybe? Actually, you have nothing to worry about. That’s because the whip is made of 17-7 stainless steel, which makes it robust and invulnerable to the harshest of conditions.
And, I thought I should mention, the cable and connector are prewired, and thus very sturdy too.
There’s a relief spring, whose work is to minimize damage to the whip in the event of shock.
Apart from that, the magnet base is coated with plastics to prevent rusting.
The Midland 18-2442 is ideal for cars and jeeps.
As you install the antenna, try avoiding your vehicle’s power wiring, as the electric current flowing within them can interfere with the signals and hamper performance.
4. Wilson 1000 Series 3000 Watt Magnetic Mount CB Antenna with 62 1/2 inch Removable Whip
Do you own a jeep?
I’ll tell you about the best CB antenna for jeeps – the Wilson 1000 Series. It’s not about a hunch; it’s rather about research and facts. Above, we have talked about antennas with a power capacity of 300 watts and seen how cool they are. Now imagine what a 3000-watt antenna has in store for you.
3000 watts means range; not just any kind of range; we’re talking vast distances of communication, miles upon miles. Furthermore, the Wilson 1000 Series is a fine whip antenna with a very long antenna shaft, which makes it even easier to capture signals over long distances.
One of the things that sets this model apart is that the brand’s reps are very cooperative and ready to sort out any issues you might experience while using the antenna. But, judging from the antenna’s excellent construction, I doubt you will have any issues.
The antenna is very sturdy and the manufacturer guarantees that for years, you will not have any sort of trouble using it. To safeguard your investment, this model offers you a 2-year warranty.
Being a bottom-loaded antenna, the Wilson 1000 Series might not give you very many options for a location. But aside from that, this is arguably the most effectual model for jeeps and trucks.
5. Cobra HG A 1000 Base-Load Small Mount 100W CB Antenna
Struggling to find the best antenna for pickup truck? You don’t need to search any further as the Cobra HG A 1000 might be just what you need.
This antenna has a height of 21 inches and a powerful magnetic base for easy mounting on your roof or fender.
The antenna part is excellently crafted for sturdiness and the magnetic base is so heavy that it doesn’t slide on your vehicle’s body. And, by the way, the magnetic base is scratch resistant.
About the coax cable – you don’t need to worry as it is braided and long lasting. The coax cable includes a 239 connector for linking with the CB.
In addition to that, the antenna is engineered in a manner that makes it able to pick up signals even during unfavorable weather conditions like rains.
If you need a handy base-loaded CB antenna that provides you with all the channels, the Cobra HG A 1000 will do. I am sure you will love its clarity but of course, the tuning has to be perfect as well.
6. Firestik II FS-2BK 2 feet 300 Watt FS Series Tunable Tip CB Antenna
Want the best CB antenna for truckers? Get the Firestik II FS-2BK.
The Firestik II FS-2BK might not be the tallest antenna available but as long you mount this antenna up high on your truck and give it some good grounding, you can rest assured the signal will be excellent.
There are larger Firestik antennas out there and some of you might have used them but take it from me, you’ll not notice any difference in performance as long as you do the mounting properly.
This antenna has a 5/8 wavelength and a power handling capability of 300 watts. That means effectiveness in the reception and transmission of signals. This is an antenna you can count on for communication over moderate-size areas.
If you want to really max out the performance of the Firestik II FS-2BK, consider doing a dual mount. Place one antenna on one side of the roof, and another antenna on the opposite side.
That way, the signal reception will be perfect and communication will be hassle free. Fortunately, it’s easy to configure the antenna. With a tunable tip, the antenna can even be tuned with bare hands.
The Firestik II FS-2BK is small and portable but its performance is exceptional. Try installing two of them on your truck and experience the results.
7. BROWNING BR-28 High-Performance Broad Band 63- Inch CB Antenna
Perhaps you are part of an organized group of truckers and you need something pretty powerful. The BROWNING BR-28 CB Antenna is not your regular CB antenna; it’s unlike anything we have discussed so far.
This antenna is not just for truckers; it’s for pickup and jeep owners, and basically, anyone who needs something that makes communication over vast areas not just possible but effortless as well.
The BROWNING BR-28 comprises of a 49-inch stainless steel whip antenna with a 6-inch shaft. That’s a total height of over 51 inches, meaning that you will be able to surpass the recommended 102 inches for whip antennas when you do a dual installation.
Now, picture this height plus the 10,000 watts power handling capacity that this antenna has. I don’t think anything could be more effective!
As the whip and shaft are made of stainless steel, durability is well taken care of. This sturdy construction makes the entire thing not just hard to break or blow away but also very resistant to rusting.
Besides that, the coil, which is center-loaded is made of copper and happens to be triple chrome-plated. These factors boost the antenna’s efficiency even further.
I believe the BROWNING BR-28 CB Antenna is every trucker’s dream. That’s because of its splendid quality and the exceptional reception. And, by the by, you can adjust the height; very helpful if you need to add a spring.
8. Midland 18-258 40-Channel Glass-Mount CB Antenna
Want an antenna you can place on glass? Maybe you’d like to mount a CB antenna on your rear window. So therefore, the Midland 18-258 is a fine pick. Take it from me, mounting this antenna is a breeze. Amazingly, energy travels from one side of the glass to the other side without requiring wires or holes.
Also, when you take your vehicle to the car wash, radiator removal and attachment afterwards are super easy. If you want something that has the weather channel, I recommend you get the Midland 18-258. This antenna not only notifies you about the weather but also alerts you on any hazards you might be approaching. That’s why it’s an ideal antenna for long distance road trips.
Apart from the weather channel, this antenna is able receive the other normal channels, adding up to a total of 40. The antenna shaft is made of stainless steel, which gives it sturdiness and high efficiency. A prewired cable is included in the package for linking the antenna up with the radio. The antenna is 12 feet long.
Living in Texas? The heat over there causes many antennas to become detached from vehicles but if you need something that will hold on for a while, even stay attached for several years, the Midland 18-258 is perfect for you.
9. Firestik (FS-3BK) Black 3' 650W Tunable Tip CB Antenna
One of the best aspects of the Firestik brand is that its products are made in the US, by US workers, and with US materials. That tells you something – you can count on the quality!
A most splendid feature of the Firestik (FS-3BK) Black is that its shaft is reinforced with fiberglass. As you will learn in the part about the types of antennas available, a fiberglass CB antenna is perfect. Moreover, the antenna is coiled with a heavily insulated copper wire to protect it from rusting.
The tip of the antenna is tunable and the best part is that it’s made of brass, which makes it unsusceptible to rusting. The tip’s rubber ring holds it in place during tuning.
The Firestik (FS-3BK) Black’s base contains some of its most unique features. For example, it is threaded with a tapered contact spot that works perfectly with mounting gear.
The tapered nature shifts stress from the antenna’s body to the vehicle’s body, and hence lowers the chances of vibration leading to loosening of the mount and sliding of the antenna setup.
Even though this antenna doesn’t come with a cable, you can always purchase the Fireflex coax cable (18 feet long); it will work perfectly with the antenna.
10. Tram WSP1198 Glass Mount CB with Weather-Band Mobile Antenna
If what you need is a CB antenna that enables you to communicate with other drivers while keeping up with what’s going on, then you will love the Tram WSP1198. That’s because this antenna supports both FM and AM signals.
With a power capacity of 50 watts, the Tram WSP1198 is ideal for amateurs. So, if you’re just getting started with CB radio operation, this will be a perfect selection. With that super long whip, gain and bandwidth are factors that you don’t need to fret about.
This antenna has a center-loaded coil, which gives you more options when choosing a mounting location. And, while mounting, things are pretty trouble-free, as there’s no drilling to be done.
All you need to do is stick the base to your vehicle’s glass; the back window is a great spot.
With the Tram WSP1198, there’s no need to buy a separate coax cable or connector, as the package includes a 17 feet coax cable and PL259 connector, which are free.
There are not many antennas out there that enable you to communicate while listening to a show. That’s one reason that makes this antenna worth getting. But as I mentioned before, it is ideal for rookies.
11. Wilson 305-492 T2000 Series Black Mobile CB Trucker Antenna with 5-Inch Shaft
Maybe you have a sense of class or perhaps you need something to match your luxury car’s style. If so, I’d encourage you to go for the Wilson 305-492 T2000 Series Black. This antenna, as you will see, is one of the most elegant models you can find anywhere, with it’s shiny-black color and that chrome-plated brass ferrule.
The shaft measures 5 inches while the whip measures 49 inches, and both of these are made of stainless steel. This design not only makes it easy to pick up the 40 CB channels available but also helps the entire antenna setup stay in a good condition for a long time.
The antenna has a power capacity of 3500 watts and with the coil being housed in a huge casing, power handling better becomes even better.
The Wilson 305-492 T2000 Series Black’s coil is center-loaded, and thus you can mount the antenna on a range of locations, such as the truck, the bumper, the hood or the roof.
The Wilson 305-492 T2000 Series Black is not just pretty; it’s one of the most durable CB antennas you can find.
What Is a CB Antenna?
A CB (acronym for citizens band) antenna is an appliance whose work is to capture radio frequency waves, which the receiver then turns into electrical signals. It also turns electrical signals from the transmitter into radio frequency waves.
In a nutshell, a CB antenna is a tool that captures and transmits radio electromagnetic signals, to make it possible for you to communicate via radio.
The term CB, or rather citizens band, denotes that the frequencies in question here are intended for local communication by individuals through handheld or vehicle radios.
What to Look for While Buying a CB Antenna
The antenna’s range is a critical factor to consider as it determines the distance over which you will be able to communicate. Typically, a ¼ wavelength range is considered perfect. That means an antenna with the length of around 8½ feet. Here are other factors to take into consideration if you’re to get the best antenna:
Your intentions with regards to the venue and use of the antenna – this consideration is vital as it’s also connected to the ideal antenna length for you. As you read on, you will find a topic on the types of antenna available; it should help you reach a decision.
Each type of antenna has its features and its pros and cons. Have a look at those to know what really fits you.
The kind of antenna you purchase determines the mounting location. The reason as to why this is important is that different locations produce different signal strengths; some locations are better than others.
Normally, the higher the antenna, the finer the signal. For optimal performance, at least half of your antenna ought to be above the roofline.
Quality of installation
A good CB antenna is easy to install. With that being said, a magnet mount antenna features the simplest installation process. Thanks to technology, there’s now an array of easy-to-install CB antennas.
How long is your antenna going to last? Unquestionably, you should go for one that will stay in a good condition for a long time. Durability hangs on the product’s materials and design.
Power handling capacity
How much wattage or power can the antenna handle? The higher the power handling capability, the stronger the signal.
Though location is at the center of signal reception, power handling is just as important. Some folks go for a dual antenna installation to boost power handling capacity and subsequently the signal reception.
A good CB antenna is one that lets you communicate over a number of channels. The number of channels you can use all depends on the antenna’s frequency bandwidth.
Those are the main aspects to take ponder over while looking for a CB antenna that will serve you as you expect. Below, we shall look into the types of CB antenna available. The section is also very important as it spells out your options.
Types of CB Antennas
In their quest to increase height but do it in a manner that will not inconvenience the user, manufacturers wrap the wire to create a coil around the antenna’s shaft. Though this tactic increases the height but makes the antenna appear shorter, efficiency gets somewhat traded off.
To deal with the problem, the antenna placement and the load position are very critical.
Load position refers to the coil’s point of placement in the antenna and it forms the basis of our classification of antennas.
So, with regards to load positions, there are 4 main types of antennas:
Let’s see what each of these has to offer:
Frequently crafted from fiberglass, top-loaded antennas are considered some of the best mobile CB antennas. The coil is made of a thin wire entwined around the shaft of the antenna and then encased in protective wrappings.
The best aspect of the top-loaded antennas is that they are cheap yet very effective. Furthermore, with the coil at the top of the antenna, you can mount them almost anywhere you like.
On the flip side, top-loaded antennas have a lower watt capacity but this is not really a problem as they are capable of handling the 4-watt transmission limitation and that’s what matters.
Application – mostly used in cars, tractor-trailers, RVs, and trucks.
These ones have the coil bound around the antenna at the bottom part. Every so often, roof and all-in-one magnet-mounted setups are base-loaded.
The main upsides of these class of antennas is that they use thicker wires and thus have a higher watt capacity and furthermore, they offer simple mounting.
Base-loaded antenna are normally sturdy and quite hard to damage and again, they’re capable of handling greater power outputs. That’s why the cops use these antennas; their handiness is so appealing.
The problem, however, is that they give you fewer options when it comes to mounting locations. That is because the coil has to be at or above the roofline.
Application: Cars and pick-ups. They are habitually mounted on the roof.
3.No Ground Plane (NGP)
A ground plane refers to the reflecting surface for radio waves, and it’s crucial to the propagation of signals. If you mount your antenna on the roof, the surface of the roof becomes the ground plane. So, when the signal travels downward from the antenna and hits the roof, it discharges outward.
But, what if you don’t have a metal roof to act as ground plane for the antenna but you still need a good signal propagation? That’s where NGP comes into play.
The ground is fabricated into the coaxial cable, eliminating the need for an external ground plane. Unfortunately, up to 20 percent of the potential field strength might be lost; that’s why a ground plane is better.
Another drawback of the NGP antennas is that their equipment is not interchangeable with that of ground-based antennas.
All in all, if you have want a CB antenna for a boat or a RV or any other vehicle that does not have a chassis, then your only option is a NGP antenna.
Applications: boats, RVs, and other no-chassis vehicles.
These are becoming very popular nowadays particularly among jeep owners. That’s probably due to the fact that they are not only comparatively cheap but also quite reliable with a communication range of 10 miles and above.
Application: jeeps SUVs.
5.Center Loaded Antennas
As their name suggests, these antennas have their coils located near the center. Note, I did not say at the center but rather near the center. Mostly, their shaft is made of thick stainless steel, and the coil sits over it, enclosed in a plastic casing. The upper part of the antenna comprises of a long, thin whip made of steel.
The vast majority of truckers use center-loaded CB antennas, perhaps due to their great wattage and stability. Center-loaded antennas are also some of the most preferred by drivers.
Application: mostly used by truckers.
How to Install a CB Antenna Properly?
With a CB radio, you have the assurance of extra safety in the event of emergencies. Apart from that, CB radios are fun.
Nevertheless, before you can enjoy using a CB radio, you need to get the proper antenna, seek out the right location and of course do the installation. You could have a professional install the antenna for you but if you’re looking to save cash, doing it yourself is the better option. And, you won’t believe how incredibly easy it is to do the installation!
Let’s have a look at the steps.
Step-1: Choose a perfect location
This is, perhaps, the most vital step because if you get it wrong, the transmission will not be effective, and that will result in a weak signal and a limited communication range.
Your choice of a location also determines the equipment you will need to do the installation. Before you settle on a location, there are a few considerations to make:
The roof is by far the best spot for the antenna, as it offers the highest level of coverage.
Certainly, you can go for the fender, the bumper or any other location but that will leave you with a weaker signal than the roof would offer you.
The antenna’s coil needs to be above the vehicle’s roofline. This is easiest to accomplish when you mount the antenna on the roof.
The antenna has got to be as tall as possible. Needless to say, it should not be too tall that it hits overpasses. An antenna mounted on the roof doesn’t need to be very tall.
Step-2: Decide on the antenna length
The antenna’s length is nearly as vital as the location. If you’re looking to enjoy high efficiency, and I bet you are, for a CB antenna with a ¼ wavelength or 102”. That way, you will enjoy the highest efficiency and will be able to reach virtually all the signals.
If, for some reason, you can’t set up a 102-inch antenna, try two antennas each measuring 54 inches on the right and left sides of your vehicle.
Remember, durability is very important when choosing an antenna. I don’t imagine you want to use your most valued time and cash to install something that a windstorm will rip off, or do you?
That’s why I recommend getting a good fiberglass antenna. Aside from the antenna itself, you want to get appropriate connecting hardware to help you make the installation.
Step-3: Run the cable
If longevity is a priority, consider getting a heavily-insulated all-weather coax cable. It ought to be coated and have stainless-steel connectors to minimize the chances of rusting.
Here are some tips to help you run the cable:
The step of running the cable will consume the most time but it’s also the step where you can minimize the cost of having a CB radio in your car. In case you’re having difficulties accomplishing the task, your antenna manual should have additional handy tips.
Step-4: Tune the antenna
After installing your antenna, you’ll have to connect it to the radio, after which you will tune the antenna. For efficient tuning, a SWR meter will be very helpful.
Now, some vehicles come with a built-in SWR meter; if yours is like that, then there’s no need to get another but if your radio doesn’t have one, purchase a good SWR meter online or from an electronics store and hook it up to your CB radio.
Ensure your car is in an open area to make sure you get a good reading. Keep in mind that obstacles like buildings and other vehicles can cause some interference.
Once you get the SWR meter, turn off your radio and detach the antenna cable. Engage the
SWR with the CB radio at the antenna slot. Shut your car’s hood and doors and turn on the radio.
Select channel one on the radio and shift the meter to the FWD spot.
Slot in the microphone, shift the SWR knot to the set spot, and disengage the microphone.
Switch the meter to the reflect spot and engage the microphone once more. If you receive a low reading, that’s a good sign. Switch the CB to channel 40 and repeat the procedure.
How to Communicate with and Tune a CB Antenna?
A CB radio transmits signals on a shared channel to enable communication with other people. The transmission and reception of signals occurs on the AM mode.
Though the use and popularity of CB radios has declined compared to the way it was back in the 70s, there’s still a significant number of people using them. These days, CB radios are mostly installed in vehicles and used for communication particularly in remote areas where other means of communication are not possible. CB radios are also used widely by the police. There are also many folks using them for fun.
In this part, I will show you just how you can communicate with a CB radio. I will also show you how to tune a CB antenna.
Stage one – installing the radio
i. Get the basic supplies
The best place to find a great CB radio is Amazon. Have a look at what other buyers say to figure out if the product is good enough for you. But a CB radio is not all that you need. Here are other vital supplies:
CB antenna – this is undoubtedly the most critical part of your installation. Top-loaded fiberglass antenna are often preferred as they’re easy to tune.
A SWR meter – this helps you gauge the CB radio’s output and is crucial to tuning the antenna.
Coax cable – this part works as a connection between the radio and the antenna. You will need an extra cable to hook the radio up to the SWR meter.
Batteries – most radios get their power from batteries. Check what batteries your radio uses and get them.
ii. Connect the SWR reader
You can hook up the SWR reader as an adaptor between the radio and the antenna. As you tune the antenna, you will need to check the meter from time to time. As a rule, the lower the reading, the better the tuning. Higher readings curb performance, and they might go as far as damaging the radio. A 2.0:1 (and below) reading is ideal.
iii. Set up the antenna
Most antenna are easily mounted on vehicles (top-loaded and center-loaded antennas are the easiest to mount). Keep in mind that the range is highest when the antenna is on the roof. Luckily, a vast majority of antennas are magnet-based, meaning it’s all about sticking them onto the vehicle.
After mounting the antenna, connect it to the radio with a coax cable.
iv. Tune the antenna
When I say tune the antenna, I mean fix the antenna, so it gets to the optimum signal. Most fiberglass antennas come with an element at the top that allows you to extend the antenna. You can also saw the antenna to shorten it if there’s need to.
If your SWR reading for channel 1 is greater than that for channel 40, that shows your antenna is a little too short. On the flip side, if channel 40’s reading is greater than channel 1’s reading, the antenna is too long.
As you set up your CB antenna, you want the SWR reading to be at or below 2.0. Also, you want channel 1’s and channel 40’s readings to be the same.
v. Test it on live channel
The first thing to do is check the SWR to make sure that the channels’ outputs are equal. Then, make certain that the frequencies are correct by performing a channel test run.
Stage two: optimizing the radio
i. Turn to the manual
CB radios are different and that’s why your user manual is important; it helps you make out the parts that need to be adjusted.
ii. Look for an open place
Drive to a vast open area where there are no obstacles like trees or tall buildings. Such a place provides you with the highest range possible.
A properly-tuned radio ought to have as little noise as possible.
While taking the reading, the doors should be closed, with everyone staying in the vehicle.
iii. Connect the SWR meter
This is what checks your radio’s output. You can link it up to the radio using a coax cable attached to the antenna slot.
iv. Max out the modulation
The radio’s body allows you to adjust the modulation. Fine-tuning the modulation is an effective means of maxing the power but certainly, you want it to go only up to a particular level. Don’t distort the radio’s sound by extending the modulation too far.
v. Fine-tune the squelch
Squelch is the radio’s function that cancels the background noise. You can adjust the squelch through a knob on the radio; consider adjusting it to the point whereby the noise is minimal but the sought sound is fairly intact.
If yours is a modern radio, it might have RF gain in lieu of the squelch function. This serves pretty much the same function.
vi. Peak the radio
I highly recommend you take your CB radio to peaking experts near you unless you’re very tech-savvy and adept with regards to the workings of a CB radio.
Do a quick Google search for the best peaking specialists near your location. Feel free to examine their web reviews to assess their ability to deliver results.
vii. Test it with another radio
Tune your radio into the other radio’s channel and try conversing via radio. From the ease of communication, you’ll be able to gauge the transmission’s effectiveness.
After that, try out various other channels and ranges.
viii. Study the codes and jargon
When you’re satisfied your radio is all fine and ready for use, it’s time you learned the codes and lingo applied by CB radio users. Note that although CB is not as popular as it was back in the day, it still has a vibrant culture with lots of jokes and jargon.
Beware of imps who take advantage of the anonymity of radio to hurl slurs for fun.
In addition to that, realize that channel 9 is officially used for reporting emergencies.
If you’re a trucker, channel 19 will be very useful. As you read on, you’ll see a part with comprehensive info about channels and their typical uses in the US. It’s in form of a table.
For now, let’s see how you can ground a CB antenna.
How to Ground a CB Antenna?
When you installing an antenna for your CB radio, what you’re doing is that you’re creating a base station for the radio. That simply means creating a fixed installation for the reception of radio signals. To be effective, a base station needs to be above the ground, and that’s the sense behind the rule “above the roofline”, which dictates that the coil needs to be at or over the vehicle’s roofline.
But, an antenna that’s above the ground is an easy target for lightning as the structures it’s made of are good conductors of electric currents.
Furthermore, the efficiency of antennas is normally hampered by signal interference and noises. This is particularly the case for antennas that are high above the ground. As much as it will be able to pick signals, it will also pick up noises.
That is where grounding comes into play. It helps protect the antenna and the entire CB radio system from lightning and signal interference.
For the antennas we use at home, the earth functions as the ground but when we’re talking about an antenna installation on a vehicle, the vehicle’s framework becomes the ground.
Fortunately, unlike the antennas we have at home, CB antennas can get along without much protection from lightning. The grounding we shall focus on here is radio frequency grounding.
While doing your CB antenna’s grounding, what you need to keep in mind is that your coax cable’s shield has got to be connected to your vehicle’s frame at the mount.
Your mount is crafted in a way that it takes a coax plug?
You are in luck, as all you have to do is make sure that the mount is bolted tightly or secured to the vehicle’s frame.
You might mount your CB antenna on the bumper, only to find out that the bumper does not give it a good link to the frame. The same case applies to trunk lids and doors.
In case your mount is not connected directly with the chassis/frame, you might need to employ some wires as connections running either from the mount to the chassis or from the metallic part it is mounted on to the chassis. That way, your antenna will be much more effectual.
This makes sense in that for instance, your hood might not be properly grounded through hinges. But, you can use a metal braid to link the hood up with the chassis.
When doing this, be sure to leave adequate slack for the hood to open but don’t leave too much of it that it sags oddly.
Top CB Antenna Brands in The Market
Below are the best citizen band antenna brands in the market today. By buying from these brands, you can rest assured quality is unmatched and that the antenna will serve you without hassles for a long time.
K40 was started in 1981, and since then, the brand has been making some of the best tech developments in the world. That’s one of the reasons as to why this brand is featured at the top of our review section.
If you examine their K30 CB antenna closely, you will notice that the brand is committed to excellence; the features of their CB antennas are very helpful for serious CB enthusiasts.
Aside from that, K40’s customer care team is one of the very best. Many of the buyers I have talked to say that the K40 team is always eager to help customers deal with installation issues and use the antenna effectively.
For more than 50 years now, has been in the spotlight for its contribution to radio technology. This brand is one of the few that assumed a pioneering role in the introduction of the CB radio in the first place.
So, now, you can imagine the kind of experience that Midland has in CB radio technology. If you don’t want to settle for less; if you want to go for nothing but the best, I recommend going for a CB antenna made by Midland.
With its headquarters in Kansas, Midland is a representation of unique radio quality, reliability, and great value for the customer’s cash. The brand mostly focuses on weather alert and two-way radios, and the accessories associated with these items, most notably, the CB antenna.
A veteran trucker has probably heard of Wilson. Based in Bozeman, this brand has, for a long time now, been a leading provider of rugged CB fixtures for jeeps, 4WDs, and trucks.
Want to know they’re really trusted by the consumer?
They have a customer base ranging over 30,000. Awesome, right? That’s a sign of trust. It’s a reputation they have built the hard way, by providing customers with great CB products for a long time with high consistency in quality.
Want to try them out? Start with their Midland 18-2442. This antenna is center-loaded and the whip is made of stainless steel.
Founded in 1962 and based in Phoenix, Arizona, Firestik is a veteran CB radio manufacturer that presents you with some of the best CB radios and CB radio accessories in the market.
Over its long life, this company has ventured into many personal communication devices, including SWR meters, RF filters, amplifiers, and more. It is in the 70s that the firm shifted all its focus into engineering game-changing antennas.
And, for over 40 years now, the company has occupied a key place in the production of CB antennas.
I am sure you will benefit greatly from the dedication that Firestik puts in the crafting of CB antennas. If you need the most unique antenna in the world or the most portable one, this is where to look.
Cobra is yet another old-timer that offers you the finest CB antennas in the market. This brand, which specializes in mobile communication and navigation solutions, made their first CB radio more than 50 years back.
That shows the brand has the experience needed to craft products that make your life easy. Its CB antennas are trusted by a vast majority of recreational enthusiasts and pro drivers especially truckers.
CB Channel & Frequency Chart
|Channel Number ||Usual Application in the United States |
|1||26.965||Truckers in eastern US|
|4||27.005||4WDs for Off-roading|
|6||27.025||The super bowl channel|
|9||27.065||Reporting emergencies and asking for travel assistance|
|10||27.075||Truckers on regional roads|
|13||27.115||RVs and boats|
|17||27.165||Truckers on South or Northbound Highways on the West Coast|
|19||27.185||Main channel for highway truckers|
|30||27.305||Typically, channels 30 and above are used with SSB operation|
What CB Channel Should I Use?
Fortunately, there aren’t any real requirements to use a CB radio in the US. It’s all about “license by rule”, meaning that as long as you follow the rules, you’re regarded as licensed.
You’re free to use any of the 40 channels but 40 is a big number and you might be wondering what CB channels to use.
Well, the answer to that question depends on your needs. If, for instance, you’re in an emergency situation and you need urgent help, then the channel you should use is number 9. This channel also applies if you need travel assistance.
By the by, there’s one thing you should know – foreign government reps are not authorized to use CB radios within the US.
Going back to our question (what CB channel to use), you should know that channel 19 is the one that a vast majority of truckers use on the highway. Amazingly, some CB radio models have gone as far as having a dedicated button to facilitate speed dialing channel 19.
In some zones, channel 13 is utilized for RVs and marine escapades.
Refer to the table above to know precisely what CB channel to use.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1.What sort of antenna should I get?
There are a few aspects to consider, including what kind of vehicle you have and where you intend to mount the antenna on the vehicle. For truckers and jeeps owners and basically most types of cars and pick-ups, I’d say the fiberglass and stainless-steel whip antennas are best. Based on the load position, center-loaded and top-loaded antennas are the best.
However, if your vehicle has no ground plane or chassis, for example for those who want to use it on a boat, then a ‘no ground plane’ antenna will apply.
2.Which one is more crucial – the CB radio or the CB antenna?
The max transmission power of all CB radios is 4 watts, no matter how expensive or cheap the radio is. Hence, the CB antenna is the one that really determines the transmission power. As the CB antenna makes all the difference in transmission power, it is, without doubt, more important than the CB radio.
3.What is the ideal length of a CB antenna?
You will hear folks say that the longer the CB antenna, the better. That is true, as a higher CB antenna enjoys greater range and is able to pick up signals more easily than short antennas.
The perfect length is 102 inches but as that wouldn’t be very convenient to most people, manufacturers use coils to make up for the lost height.
4.What exactly is a CB ground plane?
A CB antenna ground plane simply refers to the metal surface beneath the antenna. For a vehicle, the chassis or vehicle frame functions as the ground plane. The work of the ground plane is to minimize signal interference and reflect the signal that your radio generates into the atmosphere so the person you’re talking to over the radio can hear you.
5.What is the SWR?
SWR, or Standing Wave Ratio in full, refers to the ratio of the highest radio frequency voltage (RFV) to the lowest RFV.
The lower the ratio, the better things are for your CB installation, as it’s proof that your antenna’s transmission is safe and effectual. The reason as to why we tune a CB antenna is so we can get a low SWR.
6.What CB channel is best for truckers?
The 40 CB channels are open to everyone but some channels are known for particular purposes. For example, channel 19 is the one most highway truckers use. This channel is also utilized for reporting traffic conditions.
7.Is the CB radio still in use?
Yes. Although it’s no longer in fashion, the CB radio is still utilized by truck drivers, especially the veterans. One old-timer described it not as a dying gadget but as a forgotten tool.
In remote areas where a cell phone signal is hard to get, campers and drivers find the CB radios very handy. The cops also use CB radios.
A CB radio system has lots of uses and benefits. For instance, they make communication in remote areas easy and again, they are fun to use. But, as we have seen the most important part of the installation is the CB antenna, it helps a lot to go for the best mobile CB antenna model available.
A good CB antenna not only improves reception over a wide range but also cancels out that annoying signal noise, particularly when you tune it properly.
Fortunately, you don’t have to move heaven and earth looking for the best CB antennas; this guide lays them out for you; all in one place. The review part above contains only the finest models in the market and makes it effortless for you to get the one you like at the click of a button.
The buying guide part also makes it very easy for you to know how to pick the model that works excellently for you.
And, with all the other info covered on setting up, tuning, and using a CB antenna, you have no reason not to enjoy CB radio seamlessly.
Your comments will be much appreciated.