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What is The Function of a CB Radio Antenna and Why Does it Need to Be Tuned?

A CB radio antenna is an essential part of any CB Radio.  The antenna is a device that transmits and receives radio waves in the CB Radio used in a vehicle. An antenna is essentially a radio receiver for your radio.

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Photo by dan67 on Pixabay

A CB radio antenna is an essential part of any CB Radio. The antenna is a device that transmits and receives radio waves in the CB Radio used in a vehicle. An antenna is essentially a radio receiver for your radio. The antenna receives signals from the radio station. It then transmits signals into the radio or monitors.

There are two parts of the CB antenna: the whip and the base. The whip is the actual antenna that extends from the base of your CB radio. These are the parts that receive and transmit signals from your vehicle. There are three different types of antennas:

  • fiberglass, 
  • fiberglass whips, and 
  • whips.

It works with radio waves created by a transmitter, which is basically what a radio station has. The transmitter sends out radio frequencies that travel through the air, through your vehicle’s window, and into your receiver (the CB Radio).

The point of the antenna is that it works as a messenger between your CB radio and the outside world. Without it, no one can hear what you’re saying. The biggest mistake people make when buying a CB radio is not thinking about the different types of antennas available to them.

There are many different types of CB radio antennas available and each type has an intended purpose. Choosing the wrong one can make operating your CB radio frustrating and annoying.

One thing to be aware of is that many of these antennas are for use with the AM mode only. It is illegal to use a quarter wave (AM) antenna on the CB Radio in any way, shape or form in the United States.

What many people don’t realize is that by law, your antenna must be tuned to your specific transmitter to transmit properly. So if you go out and buy an off-the-shelf antenna, that’s a quarter wave or longer, you’re going to have to tune it yourself or hope that someone will tune it for you.

What to look for when buy a CB antenna

If you’re in the market for a CB antenna for your vehicle, such as a pickup truck, Jeep, or SUV, there are some things to look for. CB Radios have evolved over time, and so have the accessories. Years ago a CB Radio was mounted on the rear window using suction cups. It’s getting harder to find one today because they don’t make them like they used to!

You may come across an antennae that is too big to fit in your vehicle. That’s not because of the trend toward smaller vehicles, it’s because of another design element. The older CB Antennas had a piece called a “ground plane” that stuck out the bottom.

CB Antenna ground planes, especially if they “were ” metal, would absorb radio waves and help transfer them more efficiently to the coax cable (the metal part on top with the tuning coil). These days you’ll find most people have significantly shorter CB Antenna. This is because most have plastic bases that don’t have a ground plane.

Transmission range

The transmission range of a CB radio is measured in miles and determines the distance you can communicate with others. The higher the transmission range, the better and suitable for your needs.

As a general rule of thumb, the higher the gain the better, but you also want a CB antenna that is easy to mount. You’ll find that most CB radio antennas are made out of fiberglass tubing, but there are some wooden ones out there as well.

Expect to pay anywhere from $15-$30 for a CB antenna. For the money, you should be able to find one with a chrome mount. Also check to see if it comes with a coax cable for best performance.

Vasid Qureshi

Written by Vasid Qureshi

Vasid Qureshi is Journalist at Dope Entrepreneurs, covering Finance, Business, and Entrepreneurship Topics. 

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