Breaker! Breaker! Here’s Everything You Need to Get into CB Radio

We certainly don’t see as many CB radios as we used to, but they’re still being used the world over. You can join in on the fun with just a few inexpensive products. First, a few basics from Fleetwood Digital Products: Citizens Band radio is short-distance communication commonly used by truckers and state officials. You can only contact those in a 40- to 100-mile radius, depending on the antenna, radio, and atmospheric conditions. There are 40 channels, and Channel 19 is best to connect with others, though if you’re interested in making small talk, move to a less used channel. Channel 9 is commonly used by emergency services; you should only use it for legitimate distress messages.

As for installation, it’s a simple project, according to CB World Informer. First, mount the radio where it can be easily accessed. Next, find a spot for the antenna. The best place is usually on the center of the roof, but you should perform a CB radio setup to find the perfect spot using an SWR meter. (Find instructions for that here.) Then just connect the coaxial cable from the radio to the antenna, connect your mic, and connect the power.

Speaking of power, all of these radios come with a 12-volt power wire. According to RightChannelRadios, there are four ways to connect them. You can attach them to a cigarette lighter converter, or, if you have a knowledge of electronics, you can tap into an existing wire. You can also attach them directly to the battery or use a fuse tapper.

Fleetwood suggests you should consider what you want the radio for when deciding the price you want to spend: “If you are using the radio for fun between friends, don’t spend more than $100. If you are setting up a radio communications system for work, spend a little extra for a reliable machine.”

If you need a little help with the lingo, we have you covered there, too. Over!

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This 4-watt (the maximum allowed) compact radio has the full 40-channel spectrum with a large, backlit LCD display. Features include an instant Channel 9 emergency button, a PA function, and a signal/radio frequency power indicator.

This radio has 40 channels, a 4-watt output, and instant Channel 9 accessibility for emergencies. It also features an LED display, has an antenna warning indicator that lets you know if your system needs to be checked, and the microphone comes with a 9-foot cord. 

This 40-channel, 4-watt radio has a multifunction LCD display showing modes, channels, and signal strength. It also features an external loudspeaker jack if you need additional amplification.

This radio, also from President Electronics, has the standard 40 channels, a loudspeaker in front, the Weather Channel with alerts, and a color-changeable LCD display. It’s DIN size, so it will fit in a standard size hole in your dash.

This is an extension for the coax cable you’ll need to connect your antenna to your CB radio.

This 28-inch antenna includes a magnet mount and 10 feet of coax cable. It has a one-year warranty.

This antenna is 35 inches and comes with 15 feet of coax cable. The radius tip eliminates the need for a ball, and it comes with a 4-inch heavy-duty magnet.

A New York Times bestseller and the bible of CB radio chatter, if you don’t know how to “ratchet jaw,” this book is where to start.

The For Dummies books always cover a topic clearly and concisely, so if you’re getting into any sort of two-way radio clubs, this will tell you what you need to know.

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