The antenna is a simple metallic device that is capable of sending and receiving radio frequency signals. At the transmission end, it works as a transducer that converts electrical pulses into radio signals. And at the receiver side, it picks up the radio signals transmitted from a radio station and recasts them as an electrical signal. The CB antenna is nothing but a mono-pole or dipole antenna used by a citizen band radio set to receive the radio frequency signals from the radio station.
The length of the antenna is directly proportional to the wavelength. Since we could not match with an Aerial of the actual length needed; We are using impedance matching methods to build the antennas shorter as much as possible. With this technique, we can build them shorter than 1/8 or ¼ of the wavelength.
Types of Antennas
The range of the Aerials starts from 2′ up to 7′. Can use a fiberglass rod to build this model. The coil in of these models remains at the top of the devices. The range of the device is from 2-7 miles. Although, the range of transmitting and receiving signals rely on the mounting location of the device. The range of the device is as follows:-
2′ Length: 2 to 3 miles.
3′ Length: 3 to 4 miles.
4′ Length: 4 to 6 miles.
5′ Length: 5 to 7 miles.
These lengths of aerials are the best ones for 4×4 and off-road drivers. These are robust and durable enough. You can mount it anywhere. Among the fiberglass Models, the fire stick FS is known high-performing one.
- Super durable.
- It doesn’t come with a superior range.
The working process of this model can be understood easily by its name. These models use a magnet base. By doing so, it keeps the Aerial securely to the vehicle. These models are equipped with all such specifications that you will find in coax, magnetic mount, and whip Aerial.
The coil is placed in the magnetic/plastic base. It is available at the bottom part of the device. The maximum range it can cover is near about 3 to 7 miles. The range of transmitting and receiving signals depends on the conditions as well as the mounting location. The range of the magnets is as follows-
3′ Magnet : 3 to 4 Miles.
5′ Magnet: 5 to 7 Miles.
Do you have a vehicle that comes with a metal roof design? Then, use a tall magnet mount antenna on the roof. However, only the central mounting location and the device’s height can offer you the best performance. Along with this, you can easily install this device. You neither need to invest your efforts in drilling into the vehicle nor need to adapt special mounting techniques to install this device. All you need to do is placing in a place.
- Excellent performance.
- Easy to install.
Mostly the semi-trucks use this. The center-loaded Aerials come with a thick stainless steel lower Shaft. It makes up the bottom quarter to third of the antenna. At the same time, the coil remains above the Shaft, in a plastic housing. The remainder of the device is made up of a long, thin steel whip. The approx range of this device is 7-10 miles. Depending on the mounting location, the range of transmitting and receiving varies.
Compared to the ordinarily mounted antennas, the center load models can offer the ultimate performance. These models can range in height between 45″ and 60″. If you want to use a device mainly on-road, you should go for this kind of model.
Although compared to the fiberglass models, these are expensive. Besides, it can damage these models very quickly if they come closer to heat.
When you install a CB Aerial on an RV, boat, or any vehicle with no metal chassis, you must need a no-ground plane CB antenna kit.
A traditional model will require the vehicle’s metal chassis to transmit the radio’s signal. If you don’t have a good ground connection, you will get poor performance.
- Superb performance.
This type of model gives the best performance while mounted near the center of the vehicle. If you mount it to one side, dead sides can occur. It may happen if you don’t mount this at too high. During this time, vehicles block the Aerial. As a result, it becomes unable to transmit and receive signals.
These are used in pickup trucks. However, these are not ideal for off-road usages. A few things are there that you have to consider before installing them.
102 Inch Whip Aerial- Who Needs It?
This 102″ whip antenna can offer you the best performance. However, this model doesn’t have any coil. It is because the 102” comes with a perfect 1/4 CB wavelength. Using this, you will get a minimum ten miles range or more than that. This model can give you high-end performance. However, compared to the center load models and magnet mount ones, it is less expensive.
102 Inches indicate 8.5 feet. Therefore, if the users mount it to the bumper, this device can stick above the roofline.
- Outstanding performance.
Purpose of Antenna Coils
The loading coil is an inductor. Suppose remains are inserted into an electric circuit. It helps to enhance the inductance. In the 19th century, inductors were mainly used for preventing signal distortion in telegraph transmission wires (long-distance ones). Not only this, but also this has been used in radio antennas. Using this coil between the Aerial and the feed-line helps create an electrical antenna resonant at the operating frequency.
People use antenna coil in radios. For radio waves, mainly the Monopole and dipole radio Aerials work as resonators.
This type of aerial takes power from the transmitter and then applies this to the device with the transmission line’s help. As soon as it is used, the current & voltage of the signal waves gets excited.
The Aerial you will use should have a one-quarter length of the radio wavelength. When it comes to resonance, the Aerial will work as a pure resistance. From the transmitter, it absorbs all the power that is applied to it.
However, sometimes the length of the Aerial needs to be shorter than the resonant length. It is known as the electrically short antenna. Antennas that come in short lengths compared to the quarter wavelength usually represent capacitive reactance. Here, a few amounts of applied power get reflected into the transmission line. After that, it travels back to the transmitter. In this case, two currents run in opposite directions and at the same frequency. The high current heat the wire, and thus, it helps to waste energy. As a result, it can make the transmitter overheated.
Here we are going to mention the accessories of the Aerial. Let’s check it out.
- Mobile Signal Booster.
- Dish Antenna Accessories.
- Trainer Kits.
How Does a CB Radio Antenna Work?
There are two reasons behind designing the citizens band (CB) radio antenna. First, It helps you to capture the radio-frequency signals. Then the receivers convert it to electrical signals. As soon as it takes the signals from the transmitter, it converts these into radio-frequency signals. Secondly, its job is to transmit or relay radio-frequency signals. It can offer better results when the antenna’s length becomes equal to the transmitted radio-frequency wavelength.
If you want to determine the exact aerial length, use this formula:
Wavelength (in feet) = 984 / frequency (in megahertz)
Usually, the CB part of the spectrum begins at 25.01 megahertz. That’s why a proper length of a full wavelength will be more than 39.34 feet long. People prefer to use such devices that are available in the fractions: 1/2, 5/8, 1/4, and ⅛. All of these are average lengths for antennas. 1/4 Aerial that is under 10 feet is a basic “whip.” These are available on cars and trucks.
The disadvantage is that 40 channels are available on modern CB transceivers. Each of these has a different frequency. It’s not possible to have a separate Aerial for every frequently at all. That’s why the manufacturers choose a frequency that is in the middle of the spread. They engineer the lengths of antennas from the middle of CB’s 40 channel frequency range. However, you need to adjust the Standing Wave Ratio (SWR) of the device and cable. You need to tune these till the SWR is acceptable.
Each Aerial and Aerial feed-line come with a characteristic impedance. When the situation is appropriate, the impedances of both line and Aerial will be the same. Then, it will convert the electrical energy of the device to radio energy. After that, it will get radiated into the atmosphere.
How to Tune CB Aerial
But sometimes, when the impedances don’t become equal, a few electrical energy parts don’t get converted to radio energy. However, it will get reflected. When it reflects down the feed-line, it causes standing waves of electrical energy. The SWR or the standing wave ratio is defined as the ratio of the highest and lowest voltage on the line. A system that is properly matched should have a 1:1 ratio.
If you want to tune any Aerial, use the SWR meter. It needs to be attached between the transmitter and Aerial feed-line. Here, you need to use a button on the meter for generating a signal on several channels.
However, you can key the microphone on the CB transceiver. It will allow you to create a signal when you check the SWR reading. In case the SWR remains under 1.5:1, then it’s good. But if the SWR exceeds the limit of 1.5:1, then check the meter on various frequencies.
The ratio remains high, usually on high and low channels. Sometimes, you may see that the ratio is greater on lower channels. During that time, you need to lengthen the Aerial. To do this, you need to move it to the base. When the ratio becomes greater on high channels, you need to shorten the length. It would be best if you remembered that the antenna’s impedance could be affected by the antenna’s electrical ground, the structure around the device, and other antennas that remain near the CB antenna.
Top 5 Best CB Antenna for Your Vehicle
FireStik FG3648-B Three foot No-ground plane CB antenna kit (Black)
Description: The primary purpose of this product’s design is to solve the problems that you may face during the lack of a ground plane.
Mainly the ground plane problems are represented through the SWR (High standing wave ratio) and poor performance. In this case, the isolated ground plane reduces the issues on a metal base vehicle that doesn’t have a good ground plane.
The Firestik kit comes with such Aerials interchanged for maintaining the central band position while using these with the tuned coaxial feed-line.
You can use this Aerial with a Firestik NGP cable. The product comes with a “no tools required” tunable tip.
It has functioned for quick and straightforward SWR adjustments. One hundred watts is the rated wattage of the kit.
Coaxial feed-line: There exists a 17-foot superior quality coaxial cable. A multi-wire stranded center conductor is used here. It helps to prevent breakage. In this case, the coaxial feed-line works as a tuned circuit. This circuit produces the required counterpoise. If you need a longer cable length, then you can add the standard RG-58 A/U cable. Add this cable between the radio and the system cable. As the circuit is tuned, you can’t reduce the length except making any non-repairable damage.
Mount & spring: Stainless steel m, 3-way, 90-degree angle mount is used here. The steel spring comes with machined brass ends. It can work as a coupling between the antenna and the feed-line.
Additional features: This kit comes with a FREE microphone hanger.
- 3-way, 90-degree angle.
- 17-foot high-quality quality coaxial cable.
- Great performance.
- Five years limited warranty.
- Poor customer service.
Tram 3700 Trucker CB Antenna, Standard Packaging
Description: The Tram 3700 Trucker comes in 49 x 5 x 2 inches dimensions, and the weight of it is 1.05 pounds. The Aerial can transmit and receive signals better than any center-loaded mirror mount model.
It provides 3,700 watts of power. It can be handled using a center-loaded heavy-duty coil, 6 in. stainless steel tapered whip, along with a thermoplastic round coil holder.
Noise reduction: The device comes with a Thermoplastic Round Coil Holder. It helps to reduce extremely low noise.
Transmit signals: It can transmit signals and receive far better than the Center Loaded Mirror Mount model.
- Equipped with heavy-duty coil.
- Excellent signal transmitting ability.
- Not long-lasting.
Wilson 305-492 T2000 Series Black Mobile CB Trucker Antenna with 5-Inch Shaft
Description: The Wilson 305-492 T2000 series comes with a 5-inch shaft which is available in black color. It contains a 49-inch stainless whip. Besides, the model has a standard 3/8×24 chromed brass ferrule.
The Larger coiled housing enables the device to handle more power. It comes with a low-loss air wound coil.
This coil design required 10-gauge silver plated wire. Besides, high-impact engineered thermoplastic is used to configure the black coil.
Frequency range: The range of the frequency of the product is 26MHz to 30MHz. Besides, it has a static reducing weather cap.
Shaft and Whip: The device comes with a 5″ Shaft and 49″ Stainless Steel Whip.
- The low-loss air wound coil.
- Easy to install.
- A few users reported that after a few months of usages, it stopped working.
Stryker SR-2K Center Load Trucker CB Antenna
Description: Now, you can get an excellent performance using this high efficiency and superior quality device. The model comes in two shaft lengths— 5″ & 10″. It indicates that the Stryker SR-2K Center Load Trucker kit comes with two models in the same package. In case the 5″ Shaft doesn’t come to your use, you can use the longer one. However, the installation process is not the same in both cases. If you require a best-performing center-loaded antenna, then this model can fulfill your needs. It comes with a 2-year warranty. The power handling capability (3600 watts) makes the product exceptional and demanding.
Performance: This product is rated at 3600 Watts. It makes the device perfect for 26 MHZ – 30 MHz.
Additional features: This product includes 5″ & 10″ shaft, and 3/8″ x 24 thread.
Coil: It comes with a low-loss coil. It helps the user to adjust the screws in such a way for making the SWR Tuning painless.
- 5″ & 10″ shaft length.
- Two years warranty.
- Durable enough.
- The coaxial cable needed to be purchase separately.
Cobra 29NW Professional CB Radio Antenna
Description: Now, you can get the full coverage of the radio stations using this device. It can scan the range of 40 channels. Cobra 29NW supports Heavy-Duty Dynamic Microphone, CB Radio, Cobra CB Radio, Cobra, Cobra Electronics, Car CB Radio, Car, Heavy-Duty Dynamic Microphone, etc.
Cobra 29NW comes with an adjustable dynamic boost which boosts the sensitivity of the microphone. It helps to increase voice clarity. It comes with instant channel 9/19 that allows the user to get instant access to emergency channels 9 and 19 (informational channel).
Emergency Radio – The device offers reliable communication. It doesn’t depend on any satellite or cellular network.
SWR Calibration – You need to make sure that the Aerial system works at full strength. It offers the highest performance for communication on the road.
Indicator: It comes with a warning indication function. Red light gets illuminated if there is any necessity of checking the Aerial.
40 Channel Access – You can navigate the 40 channels to get complete coverage of CB stations.
- 40 channels navigation.
- Red light indicator.
- Emergency radio.
- A few users face difficulties installing it.
Best Buying Guide
How to pick the suitable Aerial
Are you planning to use a non-magnetic mount Aerial? If yes, then you have to choose the amount to keep it securely in your vehicle.
Mount the coil above the roof/coil location at base or center or top
Base loaded: This type of product comes with a coil wrapping that remains around the bottom part. Usually, the magnetic mount and room models are base-loaded. These models offer easy mounting and allow you to use thicker coils. The coil provides a higher Watt capacity. But it has a disadvantage which is that it comes with fewer effective mounting positions. Because the coil remains above your vehicle, on the other hand, the benefit is that these don’t cause too much damage when struck. These models can handle higher power outputs.
Center-Loaded CB Antennas:
In this case, the coil is placed above the base, at the top portion of the thick shaft base. This device remains covered with plastic housing. The rest of the device is a long whip. You can see this type of model in multiple professional trucking CBS. Compared to the base-loaded models, these are more efficient. But these are less efficient than the top-loaded models.
Top-Loaded CB Antennas
The best mobile CB antenna is known as a top-loaded antenna. Fiberglass is used to configure this model. The tin wire wrapping coil remains around the device. A protective shield used to cover wire wrap of the Aerial. These are very cheap and effective options. It also comes with more mounting options due to the position of the coil. As a result, the coil can clear your vehicle body from multiple mounting positions.
These don’t have so much Watt capacity. However, these are efficient enough to handle the four Watts limitation standards. This one is used on cars, trucks, tractor-trailers, and RVs.
Tuning the Aerial helps to optimize your system’s performance. Besides, it also assists in decreasing the potential so that it won’t damage the radio. The CB radios can operate from one to forty channels. In this case, a single Aerial won’t offer the ideally tuned reception for all these. Usually, users choose the middle ground and adjust it at the mid-point for getting its best reception. You can use the Standing Wave Ratio (SWR) meter as a measurement instrument for tuning. These meters help to troubleshoot your equipment. It also helps find a poorly grounded mount, a bad coax, or a weak or non-functioning ground plane.
Things To Consider Before Buying
There are a few factors you will have to look at before buying the best suitable device. We have mentioned those factors for you here. Let’s have a look at these factors.
The product’s length or range is always one of the most critical factors you must consider first. ¼ wavelength is the ideal range. It indicates 8.5 feet or 102 inches. Where and how you will use the Aerials are also dependable factors that determine its length. The types of this device given above can help you in this case.
First, you need to determine the type of product that you require. Each type has its individual benefits and drawbacks. You should assess the features at first. Then, decide whether it hits your needs or not.
A CB antenna can be mounted anywhere on the car. However, a few other places are there that can offer more robust signals. Always try to set up the device at the top of the vehicle. If you do so, it will offer a clearer signal. If you want to get the best performance, make sure that half of the device remains over the roof-line.
A good device allows you to set it up with ease. Besides, You can set up the Magnet mount models easily. However, the advanced technology makes other types of devices easier to install.
Superior constructional components used makes the device’s long-term usable. If you choose a suitable model, then it can be last for a long time.
The signal will get more precise when the Aerial can handle more power/wattage. Location is a very important factor in obtaining signals. Besides, the power inherent in the device is also an essential factor. However, a few people prefer to use a dual Aerial setup. It allows the user to produce additional power and helps to improve the range.
These devices enable you to communicate with others over a few channels. You will receive more channels when the frequency of bandwidth is higher.
SSB stands for single-side band modulation. It indicates the amplitude modulation refinement. However, In simple words, the capacity of the Aerial for handling bandwidth and power is indicated here.
You may face difficulties while choosing the best model. We hope our article will help you to select the best model. However, the FireStik 4-Foot Tunable Tip CB model can be the best choice for you. On the other hand, the Tram Center-Load CB Antenna Kit is ideal for those who are on a tight budget.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- Is a longer CB antenna better?
Yes. You should always choose a longer optimal CB Antenna. Tall antennas generally work better and get a more extended range than short antennas. If the Aerial comes with a higher length, then it can offer better performance. The exact length of the Aerial for CB radios should be 102 inches. That means near about eight and ½ feet. This length is similar to ¼ of a wavelength.
- What is the most powerful CB antenna?
Little Wil is one of the most powerful magnet CB antenna. In addition, The big 3.5-inch 10-oz magnet allows it to withstand the standard driving conditions. Besides, it comes with a 36 inches long whip. In addition, it can handle up to 300W power.
- How tall should a CB antenna be?
It should be 60 feet. Usually, it is always better to place these Aerial above the ground as much as possible. Placing these gadgets at a high distance allows them to offer better performance. Besides, You should try to install the vertical device at 5 – 10 feet above the roof-line. Try to install these devices away from the obstructions and the power lines. As per the FCC, the maximum limit of Aerial height should be 60 feet.