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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Virginia Beach VA

    Selecting a CB Radio

    Selecting a CB Radio

    The most important factor to understand when choosing a radio is that all CBs, regardless of their price, are limited to 4 watts of transmission power by the FCC. This means that a $50 CB radio and a $200 chrome plated CB radio with every imaginable feature will have exactly the same transmission power. While a radio can be "peaked and tuned", a process that increase a CB's performance, all CB radios will have the same transmission power out of the box. There are a number of available radios on the market including Cobra CB radios , Galaxy CB radios , Uniden CB radios , and Midland CB radios.

    What primarily differentiates CB radios from each other is their features, not their output strength. CB radios come with a number of features, the most popular of which we€™ve outlined below:

    • Squelch Control - This control sets the break-point at which a CB radio outputs a signal. In effect, it keeps the operator from constantly having to listen to static and only activates the speaker when a transmission is received. This is a standard feature and is included with nearly every CB radio sold.
    • PA Capability - Allows use of the CB radio and microphone as a transmitter for a public address system. This requires a PA horn (usually not included) that can be mounted under the hood or on top of the vehicle.
    • RF Gain - Allows the operator to filter the type of transmission a CB radio receives based on signal strength. It's useful to block out faint transmissions to eliminate background noise when talking with someone with a strong signal. This feature can also be used to pull-in and better hear weak signals.
    • Automatic Noise Limited (ANL) - Filters out static, engine noise and other interference from the reception signal to improve reception sound quality.
    • Weather Capabilities - CB radios with this feature have the ability to access local NOAA radio stations for real-time weather reports and updates.
    • Instant Channel 9 & 19 - The ability to quickly jump to two of the most popular channels: Channel 9 (Emergency) and Channel 19 (Highway / Truckers).
    • Nightwatch and/or Backlit Displays - A number of higher priced models include a backlit radio display for convenient operation at night. This is an invaluable feature if a radio will be used extensively at night or in dark conditions.

    When choosing a CB radio and its corresponding features, it€™s important to focus on how and where the CB will be used. Specific vehicle owners tend to want different features in a CB radio. Jeep and Off-road drivers usually have smaller vehicle cabs and tend to choose compact CB radios due to space constraints. The Uniden 510XL and Cobra 75 CB radio are both popular choice with off-road drivers due to their compact size.

    There are a wide range of features available for CB radios and only the individual can best determine which feature set best suits their needs.
    As all CB radios are limited to 4 watts of output, the biggest factor determining radio performance is the antenna. A cheap radio and correctly installed quality CB antenna will perform infinitely better than an expensive radio and a poor antenna setup. Before selecting a CB radio antenna, we recommend reading our article which discusses Choosing a CB Antenna.

    2008 Right Channel Radios.
    Last edited by TerryMason; 09-06-2012 at 09:31 AM.
    My 2005 Wrangler Build Thread

    He who is without oil shall throw the first rod. -Compressions 8.7:1

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Wichita Kansas

    Re: Selecting a CB Radio

    Whats the advantages a CB has over a HAM?

    I am looking for something like this, I know nothing just curious.

  3. #3
    I ended up getting a cobra 29. VERY happy with it. Its loaded up with everything you need, and completely self sufficient. You can calibrate, or tune it right from the unit itself. And it has the option of noise limiter, and the dynamike. I highly recommend. I got lucky and only paid 50 bucks for it on ebay.
    Roads? Where we're going, we don't need...roads

  4. #4
    Sorry. Its a cobra 29 Lt classic. These radios have been around forever. And they last forever. Just depends on how much you wanna spend. A "cheaper" radio without the tunable feature, in my opinion, without the tuning feature, might be more cost effective up front, but you will have to take it somewhere to be tuned. I have no idea what that costs, but I DO know that if you don't do it, it can potentially do some serious damage.
    Roads? Where we're going, we don't need...roads

  5. Re: Selecting a CB Radio

    i just can't seem to tune this thing, cb grounded to a non painted surface, CHECK, antenna, 4' firestik fiberglass grounded to the frame as well, CHECK. no tuning techniques have worked so far. What else?

  6. I read in the article selecting a cb antenna above the best ways to go about mounting and selecting an antenna. It also mentioned that it's also driver preference. So I guess my question is does anyone have dual antennas mounted to the mirror brackets or anywhere around there? I think this is the look I want but not sure it's a good setup, any suggestions?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by doctaco6
    i just can't seem to tune this thing, cb grounded to a non painted surface, CHECK, antenna, 4' firestik fiberglass grounded to the frame as well, CHECK. no tuning techniques have worked so far. What else?
    What's the make and model?
    Roads? Where we're going, we don't need...roads

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Alberta. Canada
    The only antenna I've had good luck with is the Wilson 5000 base loaded I get great range. I have broke many fiberglass antenna.

  9. I wouldn't say all cb's are the same. I've got a couple cb's. One has 68 watts max power and the other has 44 watts max power. Depending on the turrain I can talk about 15 miles on my 68 watt cb.

  10. #10
    The output of all cbs are regulated by the FCC. 4 watts is the max output of any cb radio, therefore mainly leaving the quality of and strength of your incoming, and outgoing signal up to the tuning and location of your antenna.
    Roads? Where we're going, we don't need...roads

  11. The FCC does not limit the watts of a cb radio to 4 watts. Most of ur cb radios are 25 watts max. I've got my cb peeked and tuned bigger finals and board. I've got a general lee with 68 watts. My friend has an Older cobra with 300 watts. Go to any cb shop get a galaxy, Stryker , connex, general lee and ask what the max power is. Those after market cb radios have alot. I'm a truck driver I use cb radios everyday.

  12. #12
    Im talking about the output power
    Roads? Where we're going, we don't need...roads

  13. I am also. Output power can very by the finals and the board u put in the cb.

  14. #14
    Huh...that's weird. I've read it on the internet when I was researching one to buy, and it even says on terrys write up right here that transmission output is only allowed 4 watts. You're the expert, I guess!
    Roads? Where we're going, we don't need...roads

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Alberta. Canada
    Unless he's talking VHF which pretty much replaced the cb due to it's range my club we all have our ham license. But commercial VHF requires no lic but has limited frequencies.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Virginia Beach VA

    Re: Selecting a CB Radio

    The maximum legal CB power output level in the U.S. is four watts...
    Citizens' band radio - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    My 2005 Wrangler Build Thread

    He who is without oil shall throw the first rod. -Compressions 8.7:1

  17. #17

    Re: Selecting a CB Radio


    95.410 (CB Rule 10) How much power
    may I use?

    (a) Your CB station transmitter
    power output must not exceed the following
    values under any conditions:
    AM (A3)4 watts (carrier power) SSB12
    watts (peak envelope power)
    (b) If you need more information
    about the power rule, see the technical
    rules in subpart E of part 95.
    (c) Use of a transmitter which has
    carrier or peak envelope power in excess
    of that authorized voids your authority
    to operate the station.

    95.411 (CB Rule 11) May I use power

    (a) You may not attach the following
    items (power amplifiers) to your certificated
    CB transmitter in any way:
    (1) External radio frequency (RF)
    power amplifiers (sometimes called
    linears or linear amplifiers); or
    (2) Any other devices which, when
    used with a radio transmitter as a signal
    source, are capable of amplifying
    the signal.
    (b) There are no exceptions to this
    rule and use of a power amplifier voids
    your authority to operate the station.
    (c) The FCC will presume you have
    used a linear or other external RF
    power amplifier if
    (1) It is in your possession or on your
    premises; and
    (2) There is other evidence that you
    have operated your CB station with
    more power than allowed by CB Rule
    10, 95.410.
    (d) Paragraph (c) of this section does
    not apply if you hold a license in another
    radio service which allows you to
    operate an external RF power amplifier.
    [48 FR 24894, June 3, 1983, as amended at 63
    FR 36610, July 7, 1998]

    More links from the FCC.

    Citizens Band (CB) Service |
    2010 CFR Title 47, Volume 5
    FCC: Wireless Telecommunications Bureau: Rules and Regulations
    Last edited by OTPJeep; 09-27-2011 at 01:50 PM.

  18. I'm not gonna keep going back and forth with this cb thing.I'm not trying to argue. I drive tractor trailer for a living so I know cb radios. the FCC might say 4 what's and that might be right but what I'm telling you is also right. Go to any cb radio shop who handles good cb radios. You'll find plenty at truck stops. Go in and ask how many what's there radios have. I've got one in my truck it's a general lee and it's pumped up with 68 watts. I can talk about 14 miles.

  19. #19
    I have a Mirage 88 with is exactly the same as a Galaxy 99 without the stupid robot voice. It has dual hi output finals and a swing kit. It dead keys 20 watts and swings 80 watt. I can be heard for miles I have heard :)

    Sent from my Ally using Jeepz

  20. #20

    Re: Selecting a CB Radio

    I am not trying to argue with anyone. I agree completely that a person can go into a lot of CB shops or truck stops and get radios that are not per FCC rules ( Federal Law). I also am not arguing that these radios can be tuned and peaked beyond the FCC limit, it's been done for as long as CB's have been around. That doesn't make it legal.

    Recently a CB shop at a truck stop in Pennsylvania got busted for selling unapproved, over powered radios, and for using them

    A couple years ago a CB shop here in Colorado was siezed, shut down and fined $7,000.00 by the FCC for selling radios that were not approved by the FCC for use as a CB (11 meter radio).

    What are some of the radios not allowed to be operated in the USA according to the FCC? If the radio does not have a FCC label on the back of it, from the factory, it is against the FCC rules ( Laws) to operate it within the United States. Here is a list:

    COBRA - model: 200 GTL DX
    CONNEX - models: 3300, 3300 HP, 3300HP-ZX, 3300 PLUS, CX-3800, 4300 HP, 4300 HP 300, 4400, 4400 HP, 4600 Turbo, 4800 DXL, 4800 HPE, Deer Hunter, General Lee, General Washington
    GALAXY - models: 33HML, 44V, 45MP, 48T, 55, 55V, 66V, 73V, 77, 77HML, 88HL, 93T, 95T, 99V, 2517, 2527, 2547, Melaka, Saturn and Saturn Turbo
    GENERAL - General Jackson, Grant, Stonewall Jackson, Lee, Washington, A.P. Hill, Longstreet
    MAGNUM - models: 257, 357DX, Alpha force, Delta Force, Mini, Omega Force,S3, S3RF, S6, S9,
    MIRAGE - models: 33HP, 44, 88, 99, 2950, 2950EX, 2970, 6600, 88H/L, 9900,
    NORTH STAR - models: NS-3000 and NS-9000
    PRESIDENT - models: Grant, J.F.K., Jackson, Lincoln, HR-2510 and HR-2600
    PRO STAR - model: 240
    RANGER / RCI - models: AR-3500, RCI-2900, RCI-2950, RCI-2950-DX, RCI-2970, RCI-2970-DX, RCI-2980-WX, RCI-2985-DX, RCI-2995-DX, RCI-6300, RCI-6300 Turbo, RCI-6300F-25, RCI-6300F-150, RCI-6900, RCI-6900 Turbo, RCI-6900F-25, RCI-6900F-150, RG-99, Voyage VR-9000
    STRYKER - model: 440
    SUPERSTAR - model: 121, 122, 36, 3700, 3900, 3900HP, 3900 American Spirit, 3900 HP G, 3900 Gold, 3900GHPA, 3900GHPM, 4800, Grant
    TEK - model: HR-3950
    UNIDEN - models: HR-2510 and HR-2600
    VIRAGE - model: 3300, 3300 HP, VX-38, VX-39

    I have had or used several of the radios on this list before I learned that it was in violation of Federal Law. After receiving my Amateur Radio License from the FCC I looked more into it, simply because I did enjoy the CB still, and also enjoyed a CB with more power. I wish I could run my S9 with a linear in my Jeep, that would be great, but I won't. These are the things I have learned that I am only trying to share with you. You can do what you want with the information.

    am fully aware of the need for a better performing radio than what the FCC allows for a CB. I too was once a trucker, running W900's, Pete 379's, Anteaters and Frieghtshakers to name a few. I am now not behind the wheel so much as I am a desk. So I do know about what you have been saying. I am not condemning or putting you down. I just wanted you to know the legal aspects of CB radio. Whether a CB radio or drugs, a person can go many places and buy what they want. Whether or not it is legal is another matter. But this is America, and we can make choices for ourselves here. I was only trying to share the information I knew, and appreciate you sharing yours as well.
    Last edited by OTPJeep; 09-30-2011 at 01:31 AM.

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