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How do I Choose the Best CB Antenna?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2016
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A CB antenna is an antenna for a CB radio. An antenna is a device that assists in receiving or transmitting radio signals. Different antenna models are created for different purposes. A CB radio is a Citizen’s Band radio that sends and receives radio transmissions in the range of 27 MHz and has the 40 channels that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has assigned for public unlicensed personal and commercial use. Finding the best CB antenna for your purposes means matching several criteria.

First, there are three main categories of CB antennas that are purchased separately from the CB ratios themselves, one for each of the three main categories of CB radios. One type is the CB antenna for the CB base station, which stays in a fixed location in a structure such as a home or business, and can have a large and permanently mounted antenna on the roof. Another type is the antenna for a mobile CB radio, which is mounted on a vehicle. The third type is the CB antenna for the portable or handheld CB radio, which replaces the “rubber duck” antenna that is attached to the CB radio — as long as it is made to come off. These three categories of antenna are not interchangeable, since they each are made to especially suit the situations in which they are characteristically used.

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Although portable and handheld CB radios come with a short antenna attached, it can be replaced with an “extended range” or “long range” CB antenna made specifically to replace it. A BNC (Bayonet Neill-Concelman) connector is needed for the attachment, and may be purchased separately, if the CB radio and/or antenna does not have one. Two models of CB handheld antennas are a flexible kind that comes in 9.5 in (24.13 cm) and 24 in (60.96 cm) models and a telescoping “whip” antenna that is 8 in (20.32 cm) and extends to 27 in (68.58 cm).

Choosing the best CB antenna for a mobile CB radio depends on a variety of factors. One consideration is where on the vehicle the antenna will be mounted. Experts say that brand matters, and buying a quality antenna will provide better performance.

Since the best antenna would be the length of the wavelength, which is too long to be practical, the sizes of mobile CB antennas that you will see offered are fractions of this, with ¼ being a popular length. Some of the length can be taken up in coil, with three different placements, which are called the “load position.” There are base-loaded, center-loaded, and top-loaded antennas, each of which has advantages and disadvantages. Think about whether a quick-disconnect, which allows you to do a fast antenna removal without tools when you need the clearance, would be helpful, as you consider length and placement.

When you go about choosing the best CB antenna for your base station, the first question is whether the base station is really a base station or a mobile radio that’s been adapted. Simply put, you want the tallest antenna mounted at the highest point possible, taking safety and any ordinances or regulations that limit antennas into account.

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