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The Basics of CB Communication

CB radio systems can provide essential communication for work purposes, recreation, emergency purposes, and more.  Whether you are a trucker, an off-road recreationist, or family in need of emergency communication options, a CB radio can provide you reliable communication that does not depend on infrastructure, such as cellular towers, in order to communicate.  This is a critical component especially when selecting radios for emergency communication.  

The Basics of CBs:

A basic CB system consists of a CB Radio, CB Antenna, Antenna Mount, and Coax and are fairly inexpensive to acquire (you can get a basic CB system for less than $100 depending on the options/features you want).

Types of CB Systems:

There are handheld CB systems, mobile CB systems for your vehicle, and/or base station units (to be used in your home or a building).

There are standard antenna systems and NGP (No Ground Plane) antenna systems.  Standard CB antenna systems need an adequate ground plane (a flat metal surface that is at least 2 square feet).  If you do not have an adequate ground plane for a standard antenna systems, this will result in high SWR readings, poor performance, and potential damage to your radio.  If you have an RV, motorcycle, or other vehicle without an adequate ground plane for a astandard antenna system, check out a No Ground Plane Antenna System.  Also, take a look at our Help Center Article: When to use (NGP) "no ground plane" Equipment.

Antennas Styles:

There are several different styles of antennas including fiberglass, stainless steel, flexible, base loaded/center loaded/top loaded, easy tune, and more!  Are some better than others? Yes, however, the right antenna for you depends on your particular application. Read more about this in our Help Center Article about Antennas.  One key thing to keep in mind is that the longer the CB antenna, the more range you will get.

Tuning a CB Antenna:

Tuning your CB antenna is VERY important and every CB antenna needs to be tuned for its application!  Many people don't realize that tuning the antenna optimizes the performance of an antenna system and ensures that your radio won't potentially be damaged by operating with high SWR readings. If you have ever gotten yourself a CB system and started using it without tuning your antenna, you might've experienced VERY poor performance and/or limited range.

CB antennas can be tuned using a built-in SWR meter on the radio or an external SWR meter.  If the CB radio that you select does not include an SWR meter, you will want to get yourself an external SWR meter, like the AUSWR, in order to tune your antenna

Tuning a CB antenna isn't as difficult as it might sound. It is simply lengthening or shortening your antenna to the ideal length and ensuring that it is properly installed. There are many great antennas that offer easy tuning options such as tuning tips or tuning rings. This allows you to lengthen or shorten your antenna easily to attain the ideal SWR readings.

CB Radios:

CB radios come in various sizes and styles along with various features.  The right one for you will depend on what you are using the radio for, where/how you want to mount or store the radio, and the features that you want or need.  You can find a list of the various radio features that are available as well as product recommendations in our Help Center Article about Radios.

Tips & Tricks:

Be sure to properly store any excess coax in a figure 8, about a foot in length, and bound in the center.  It should look like a long, skinny 8.  Complete this before tuning your antenna.

Product Recommendations: 

CB Radios

Midland 75822 Handheld CB Radio with Weather Monitoring 

The 75-822 is quickly and easily convertible between handheld and mobile (vehicle) radio configurations which is why this radio is our top choice. You will be able to monitor NOAA weather channels, instantly access CB emergency communication Channels 9 and 19, and easily read information with the large screen display. The 75-822 is very user friendly.

Power is supplied by six AA alkaline, eight AA NiCad batteries, and/or 12V DC (cigarette lighter plug).

If you want the option of using this radio in your vehicle, you will need an external antenna, such as this convenient magnet mount antenna with coax, the JBC112-4800 Easy to Tune 4' Magnetic Mount Antenna. Also comes in other lengths. Easy to throw on a vehicle, tune it up, and then it is ready to use.

When using this radio as a handheld radio, we recommend the SA2 antenna for extended range.

Other CB Radio Options (lots more on our website!):

BearTracker885 (CB Radio & Scanner!)

Antenna Options

Standard Firestik II Series Antennas- These standard thread antennas come in several different lengths and colors and offer the easy tuning option, the tuning tip. Compatible with standard thread antenna mounts.

Standard Procomm JBC Series Antennas- These antennas come in different lengths and make tuning easy with tuning rings. Compatible with standard thread antenna mounts.

NGP (No Ground Plane) Antennas

Weather/Hazard Radios

WR120B Weather & Hazard Alert Radio

ER200 Crank Radio

HH54VP Weather Alert Radio

Police Scanners & Marine Radios & Two-Way Radios


Marine Radios

And GMRS Radios

SWR Meter

Using this meter will ensure that your system is optimized for vehicle use and will reduce the potential to damage your radio.

Other Useful Items

Dash Cameras


PA Speakers

Griffon Power Banks

You are always welcome to contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns regarding product selection or advice. We want to help you be prepared for an emergency.

Don't wait. Stay Safe. Be Prepared.

We can help you.

CB World