How to choose a CB antenna
A CB antenna buying guide
There are many CB antenna brands, and you should consider several basic options when buying an antenna. This makes learning how to choose a CB antenna a straightforward endeavor.
>> Where do you use your CB radio?
There are many types of CB antennas available in various sizes and styles, with differences in the type of mounting. The location of your CB radio will determine the type of antenna you will need to buy. When doing your CB antenna comparison, consider your needs.
Home based CB radios are used in a stationary building, usually a home or business. These units allow for a larger roof-mounted base antenna which provides a greater range. The exception would be small hand-held units that are occasionally used in businesses. These utilize smaller CB antennas that are fixed to the unit.
Mobile-based CB radios are typically used in most types of vehicles and need an antenna designed for use on a vehicle. Portable antennas will work with most antenna bases, but there are a few exceptions, so be sure the antenna you purchase will fit into the base you have on your vehicle.
>> How will you use your CB antenna?
The way you use your CB radio will determine what you need from an antenna. If you're wondering how to choose a CB antenna from all the available styles, first determine how you are going to be using your CB radio.
If you are using any sort of an all-terrain vehicle to go off road into rough road conditions, you will need to use one of the more durable CB antenna designs that will stay affixed to the vehicle on the bumpy roads. If you will use your CB radio antenna in an area that frequently experiences high winds, such as those found near an ocean, you will need an antenna that is sturdy and well built.
The way the best CB antennas function is based on the size and shape of the vehicle. The metallic ground plate of the vehicle gives the antenna its boost. All of these factors are taken into consideration when you go to buy a CB antenna. This is referred to as antenna tuning.
A CB radio works across 40 different channels and uses 27 megahertz bandwidth. Buying one of the top CB antennas allows you to make use of all the channels that are available. Without a quality CB antenna, you might not be able to use the unit to its full potential.
When deciding how to choose a CB antenna, keep the power needed in mind. The CB antenna will give the CB radio the power necessary to go the distance you need. The more powerful the CB radio antennas are, the more transmitting capabilities they give.
>> How will you mount your CB antenna?
Where you install your antenna will affect its capabilities. The higher the antenna, the better it will work. CB antenna brands offer many different sizes of antennas. As such, you need to consider where you will mount your antenna before considering the size and shape of your device. A large vehicle with a good deal of surface space on the roof will hold a larger antenna better than a small car with a curved roof.
As you shop the electronics supplies aisle for your antenna, you also need to pick out an antenna mount, if you do not already have one. Most mounts are compatible with most antennas, but if you are unsure, check with an automotive supplies associate before picking out the antenna and mount. You also need to be sure the mount is large and sturdy enough to support the size of your antenna.
During your CB antenna comparison, you will see there are three different types of antenna mounts: magnetic, clamp and permanent. The magnetic mount can be put on and taken off easily and is good for a smaller antenna, but will not support a large, 5-foot antenna. The clamp type is made to be a temporary, portable way to use a mid-sized antenna on your vehicle. The permanent mount needs a hole drilled into the vehicle and will support virtually all CB antennas. Make sure that the CB antenna you are wanting to use is compatible with the mounting style you want or need.
>> What type of coil do you prefer?
Base-loaded coils have the coil at the base of the antenna. Most antennas that are mounted on a magnet have a base-loaded coil and are easy to install and uninstall. These types of antennas tend to be less efficient than the other types of CB antennas. When deciding how to choose a CB antenna, consider this type if you are only going to be using your CB radio occasionally. The center-loaded coil has a high wattage capacity, which means you will get more power from it. You will often see these types of antennas on trucks that are going off road. Most top CB antennas have the center-loaded coil. The top-loaded coil is usually the least expensive type and the most commonly used type of CB antenna in the auto electronics industry.
>> Consider CB antenna length
The smallest size antenna is two feet long and works well with the magnet or clip mounts. The larger antennas usually get better range. They usually need to be attached to a permanent base, but occasionally a clip base will work for these. The longer antennas will often give the best output and provide strong signals among all the frequencies. The best CB antennas can work on all frequencies. These can be used in hilly areas where it is difficult to get a signal. When considering how to choose a CB antenna, keep in mind that this type of antenna will be a permanent fixture on your vehicle.