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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About CB Radios

How far will my mobile CB radio transmit?

With a proper single antenna setup, a good rule of thumb is 1 mile per watt of output power. Most newer radios are a the maximum allowed 4 watts which gives you about 4 miles. You can visit this page in our Help Center to give you additional information:

How far will my hand held CB radio transmit?

This depends on where you are at with the radio, and what antenna you are using for it. If you are outside, you will get about 2 to 3 miles. If you attempt to use a hand held in a vehicle, home, or other enclosure without an external antenna you will have a very poor signal. You can fix this problem by using an external antenna. A good example of this is a magnet mount antenna mounted on a vehicle that runs a wire back inside the vehicle which can be plugged into the hand held CB radio. You can visit this page in our Help Center to give you additional information:

How are CB radios powered?

Mobile radios generally get their power from the vehicles 12 volt system. They are wired in just like a car stereo. Just remember, red is hot, black is ground. Handheld radios typically run on batteries and/or ac power supplies. Base station radios usually just plug into the wall or a power supply. People have asked whether or not they can just plug their radio power cord (with a cigarette lighter plug) into a power supply with a female cigarette lighter plug, like the 360247, and have it plugged into the wall. There is not enough current to run the CB radio.

How do I make my CB work with a PA horn?

If your CB is PA capable (most newer radios are) then you just need to find the PA jack, plug in your PA horn, and flip the PA/CB switch on the radio. When you key the mic and talk, you will be broadcast over the PA horn instead of the airwaves.

What are weather channels?

Any CB radio that has NOAA weather channels can receive (not broadcast on) a special set of channels that are constantly reporting local weather conditions and emergency weather. Some radios are even programmed to alert you of dangerous weather even when they are switched off.

What's special about channels 9 and 19?

Channel 9 is the universal (or at least American) CB emergency channel. In most areas, it is monitored by local law enforcement at all times. Channels 17 & 19 are commonly used channels by truck drivers. 19 is often used by drivers going east or west, 17 by drivers going north or south.

What are all these dials!?

The loads of features on modern CB radios can be confusing. Here are some explanations for a few of them:

Squelch/SoundTracker™/ANL/Noise Blanker/ESP™ - All these type of features reduce "noise" in your broadcast and/or reception. Some are dials and some are switches. The dials reduce the amount of background noise, engine noise, electrical noise, etc as they are turned up. The switches reduce certain amounts of noise when switched on, and do nothing when off. Better radios will give you less of a problem with noise.

Dynamike™ Boost/Mic Gain
- This feature raises the volume of your broadcast. It more or less makes it sound like you are talking louder than you actually are.

RF gain
- This is another feature that helps control noise. It essentially turns down the signal reception. One way to think of it is standing in the middle of a forest. Each tree is a CB'er or bit of noise you are hearing. As you turn down the RF, the trees get shorter, so eventually you only see the tall trees close to you. As you turn down the RF, you only hear the strong signals close to you.

CB/WX switches
- CB Radios with these switches are capable of receiving NOAA weather channels. You can broadcast and receive regular CB transmissions when the switch is on CB, and receive (not broadcast) the weather channels when the switch is on CB.

PA switches
- CB Radios with these switches are capable of broadcasting over a PA. You can broadcast and receive regular CB transmissions when the switch is on CB, and broadcast over PA when the switch is on PA.

Instant Channel 9/19
- This switch will put the CB automatically to channel 9 or 19 (whichever is selected). This is a common culprit when you can't get your CB to change channels.

- This only turns up the volume of the speaker (the speaker putting out sound on the radio, not the person talking)