Unfortunately, CB radios are limited to 4 watts of power output by the FCC (Commission of Federal Commissions). More specifically, this is known as radio frequency output. This restriction has been imposed because CB radios operate on a 27MHZ frequency that the FCC requires as an 11 meter unlicensed citizen band. Because the general public has access, in addition to limited frequencies (or “channels”); congestion and interference are always concerns.
Many new to the hobby or the operation of it, assume that illegally modifying their CB radio (known by the term “Peak and Tune”) to obtain a higher output, or worse, using an illegal high-output amplifier they are the only ways they can improve performance. and range of your CB radios.
In reality, this is not true, and in all honesty, antenna types and settings play a much more important and influential role in the range of CB radios, or most types of wireless communications. This is because in terms of operational efficiency, antenna matching, antenna type and antenna gain, and antenna height are more important to radio performance, they are much more critical to radio performance. reach of the radio than any other aspect of the hobby. Fortunately, the FCC offers much more freedom, with what can be done and / or improved, when it comes to CB antennas. As you can see from the premise of the first paragraphs, the recommendations to improve the range of a CB radio will legally be related to the antenna configuration:
1. Antenna mounting height: nothing is more important, then allow the antenna to capture the maximum signal than placing the antenna in the highest position possible. If you are running a base station setup, placing the antenna on top of a roof, or a good sized tower, that is above the nearby terrain and buildings are key here. If you are using a mobile device, the ideal is to place the antenna in the highest place in the car, where the antenna can be well grounded and mounted.
2. Antenna size – Generally, the larger the antenna size, the higher the efficiency. At 27 MHz, larger antennas are generally needed to demonstrate the highest efficiency. What happens is that when an antenna is downsized / downsized, coils, inductors, capacitors, or worse yet, resistors have to be added to electrically adjust and tune the antenna. Therefore, not only do you lose the size of your effective capture area, by not having a “taller” antenna, but you add a loss to the antenna, by adding additional components, to realign the antenna electrically. For mobile antennas, generally 8 ‘6 “and for base antennas 22’ 6” are the ideal vertical sizes for maximum performance.
3. Antenna type: Like anything else, not all antennas are the same in terms of actual gain. Higher gain antennas are available and by the nature of their design they not only focus their pattern in the desired direction but also pick up less noise from unwanted sources / directions. Some of the higher gain antennas include the Yagi and Quad antenna types, and can range from 2 to 16 antenna elements aligned in a pattern. These antennas can effectively boost your CB radio signal 10 times or more!
4. Land, land and more land! – Grounding a mobile antenna is critical, as antennas rely on a return path and need a large ground plane or “counterweight” to do this effectively and efficiently. This is also critical for most base antennas, it is simply due to less size restrictions, and this can be done with a “Raised Ground Plane Kit” or with standard “ground radials”.
5. Tune your antenna! – If this is not enough, you should also tune in and check for proper rotation of your antenna. This involves using an accurate SWR meter, or better yet, an antenna analyzer, to make sure the antenna is tuned for a standard 50 ohm match. This is reflected in the SWR – Standing Wave Radio measurement. The ideal reading is 1: 1, which means that for every watt of power transmitted by a CB radio, 100% radiates forward, with no detectable amount being reflected due to incorrect antenna matching. It may not always be possible to have a perfect reading; however, any reading beyond 2: 1 can literally damage your radio, so always check, tune and check your antenna!