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Product Recommendations & Installation Tips for RVs

What You Need - The Best CB radios and CB Antennas for RVs and Motorhomes

RV CB Radio

If you have owned or do own an RV, you know that upgrades and repairs for motor homes often have a trick to them. Installing a CB radio in an RV is no exception. There are a few tricks and things to remember when you install a CB radio and antenna in your RV, or upgrade an existing system. In this post, we will outline what you need and try to give you some pointers.

Choosing a CB Radio for an RV

We will start with the good news; You have a lot of options for a radio in your motor home. Well, usually. Things can get a little tighter in class B and C RVs, but the sky is generally the limit in class A motorhomes. If you are not pressed for space, we recommend the Cobra 29 LX. This is a full-sized radio with many great features, including weather channels. If you don't know, this means you can flip a switch on the radio and dial in one of 7 channels the NOAA uses to broadcast local weather reports. This is very useful on the road. If you are pressed for space, a better option may be the Cobra 75 WX ST. This radio installed with a small remote box that can be tucked away under the dash. It also includes weather channels. A third option is the Midland 75-822. When installed as a mobile (with the included mobile adapter) this radio takes up about as much space as the 75 WX ST. It also includes weather. As an added bonus, this radio can be used as a hand held CB radio!

We have selected CB radios that have been popular with our RV customers. Some RV customers like the idea of having a smaller radio while others want a full-size radio with all the options. Keep in mind that, regardless of size, all CB radios have a power output of 4 watts as allowed by the FCC. If you like the idea of having a CB radio that you can use in your RV as well as outside the vehicle as a handheld CB radio, the Midland 75822 is the radio we would recommend for you! If you select a radio without a built-in SWR meter, you will need an external SWR meter (you can select one in the accessories tab) to tune your antenna. Tuning your antenna is VERY important. Find out more in our Help Center: How to Tune a CB Antenna

  • Cobra® 29 LX

    • Includes weather channels
    • Larger radio with more features
    • Instant emergency channel switch
    • Various models available with different features or styles such as Bluetooth and Camo
  • Cobra® 75WXST
    • Includes weather channels
    • More compact radio
    • Instant emergency channel switch
  • Midland 75-822

    • Includes weather channels
    • More compact radio
    • Instant emergency channel switch
    • Doubles as hand held CB radio

Choosing a CB Antenna for an RV

Choosing the antenna for an RV is where it gets tricky. In most cases, you will need an NGP (no ground plane) cb antenna for your motor home. The short explanation for this is that RVs do not have enough metal on them for a CB antenna to work correctly. We have a longer explanation of CB antenna ground planes here. The best option for this is to get an NGP antenna kit. Our most popular options are Firestik kits. The FGX648 is a kit with a 3 way mount with a stiff antenna. It includes antennas in several lengths and two colors (black and white). The LGXM2 comes with a molded side mount and a flexible antenna. It is also available in black or white with varying lengths. If you run into a situation that requires a special mount, you can pair any antenna mount (with lug/hoop connection) with this NGP antenna and this NGP cable.

ngp cb antenna kit picture

We have several NGP (No Ground Plane) antenna kits designed for use on RVs:

Glass Mount Kits- AUCBGM

Window Clip Kits- CBNGWC17-W

3-Way Mount Kits (for mirrors, ladders, etc.)- FGX648

Side Mount Kits- LGXM2

We typically recommend Firestik Antennas because their products are made in the USA and they have exceptional customer service. The main points to keep in mind when choosing your antenna kit is where you are mounting the antenna (window, ladder, side, etc.) and how high the top of the antenna can be above the RV considering height restrictions.

Mounts: CBX (3-way mount), K4DD (flat, roof mount), M2X (side mount), DM4 (dome mount)

If you decide to mount the antenna on the side of your RV (which typically would mean that you are drilling holes), we recommend that you check out the motor-home extension bolt kit, the EVEXB.

One issue that seems to come up a lot with RVs is height. The best CB antenna is usually the tallest antenna as it will give you more potential range. Unfortunately, this conflicts with the height of most RVs. To get around this you can use a side mount and install it lower on the vehicle, pick a kit with a shorter antenna, or install something to remove or lay down the antenna. There are several items that will let you lay your CB antenna down or remove it easily. This is a great option for getting your antenna out of the way when you are traveling. Just remember not to transmit unless the antenna is in place and tuned! 

Common CB Setup with Antenna Mounted on Ladder:

C75WXST Radio

PDC1 Meter with PP3TX Coax (for antenna tuning)

FGX648 NGP Antenna Kit

KPL258X Barrel Connector and PP8XX Coax (if you need to extend the 18 foot coax that comes with the kit)

RV CB Radio Installation Tips

Like any CB radio installation, there are no step by step instructions for RVs. Different situations call for different innovations. If you are unsure, the best thing is to have a professional do the job. I hear more good things about RV service companies than other businesses when it comes to installing CB radios in RVs. If you are going to brave the job yourself, keep the following in mind:

  • You can mount the antenna lower on the RV to avoid hitting overpasses and such, but make sure the top 25% of the antenna is above the roof line. If you mount the antenna too low, you will have a poor signal

  • If you are using an NGP antenna (which you probably should be) DO NOT cut or shorten the cable. You may end up with extra slack. Just run it in a figure 8 and stow it away. Do not coil it tightly. If you are running the CB antenna all the way to the back of the RV and need to extend the coax that comes in the kit, we recommend that you use the PP8XX coax with the KPL258X connector.

  • Running CB Coax

    • If your RV has an existing antenna, use that hole and try to route your cable the same way. One trick is to tie or solder the old cable to the new cable and pull the new cable through with the old cable.

    • If you are installing a side mount, be sure of what is in and on the other side of the wall before drilling. Installing the mount on a spot with a cabinet inside the RV is a good idea. That way the interior access is hidden.

    • Another option for running a new coax is to install the antenna on the rear of the RV (even on the ladder), then run the coax down the ladder, under the vehicle, and back up through the firewall.

    • You can also install the antenna on a mirror and run the coax in with the mirror's control wire.

  • Replace the antenna and cable unless you are absolutely certain what you are replacing came from the same antenna manufacturer. NGP antennas and coax are not usually compatible between manufacturers.

  • After installing or replacing a CB antenna, seal around it if need be.

  • Always remember to tune your CB antenna! Every CB antenna needs to be tuned for its application.

Have any good RV CB radio or antenna installation stories? We would love to hear them!