How do I Choose the Best Mobile CB Radio?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2019
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A CB radio is a nickname for a citizen’s band radio, a radio made to receive the 40 channels in the 27 MHz range that are designated for radio transmission by members of the public. The service can be used for business as well as personal activities, and does not require a license. CB communications range is 1–5 miles (1.6–8 km), and units must only be used in locations where the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) operates and using an FCC-certificated CB unit that has not been modified. This means that the first thing to look for to find the best mobile CB radio for you is one that has the identifying label indicating that it is FCC certificated.

Mobile CB radios are made by a number of manufacturers, so there are plenty to choose from. The first step is to find models that match the vehicle you plan to put it in and the overall use you have in mind. The vehicle type dictates size to a greater or lesser degree. While RVs, semis, and some pick-ups can accommodate full-size CB radios, midsize or compact models may be desirable in a car, a jeep, or a smaller pickup where space constraints dictate. Speaker location on the mobile CB radio and compatibility with external speakers also tie in with the vehicle type.


After vehicle fit, feature choices that provide essential support for the way you plan you use your mobile CB radio are the first ones you may wish to look for as you shop. If you are expecting to operate your radio at night, a backlit display can make this far more convenient. The ability to jump to Channel 9 for emergency broadcasts and Channel 19 for truckers and highway information is useful for those who travel a great deal, not just for professional truck drivers, and the ability to access local NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) radio stations, while also highly useful to professionals and highway drivers, is also a boon to vacationers in their RVs. To control noise in a variety of ways, look for Automated Noise Limited (ANL) and RF (Radio Freqency) Gain in addition to the standard squelch control. If you need to be able to use your mobile CB radio to provide music at the local outdoor ice rink, make sure to check for PA (Public Address) capability.

An absolutely crucial factor in getting the best out of your mobile CB radio is choosing an appropriate antenna and getting it properly set up. Therefore, as important as it is to make the best choice of mobile CB radio to fit your needs, it’s also important to keep in mind that these other factors will be important in securing a high quality experience.


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Post 1

I'm actually surprised to learn that CB radios are still in use. Those things still make me think about "Smokey and the Bandit" and convoys of trucks booming down the interstate in the 1970s.

I thought that cell phones -- while not as romantic as CB radios -- were much better for communicating. Perhaps I was wrong.

Glad to hear people are still using those things. East bound and down!

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