When you get your CB radio you need to know that you also need to get the best CB antenna that your money can buy. Your CB system is worthless without a good quality CB antenna as the factory truck antenna that you already have doesn’t do much with your CBs.
The longer the distance you want your antenna to work at, the more you need to pay attention to the rand and the type of antenna that you are going to buy. You also need to consider how tall it is, where and how you’re going to mount it.
Which type of CB antenna should you get?
There are three main kinds of CB antennas: fiberglass, whip and base.
The most popular antennas are fiberglass, more exactly fiberglass poles wrapped with a copper wire and coated with a protective material.
The whip antennas are base or center loaded, topped with a long steel whip that may be tied down when not in use. Professional drivers typically buy this type of antennas which need a higher mounting on the vehicle. Keep in mind that they are not as efficient as top loaded antennas.
The aluminum antennas or the much taller fiberglass (12-18 feet) antennas are the most efficient ones. They are used for base stations in fixed locations and not so much for a mobile CB operation. You need to mount them very high and can handle high power.
Nowadays you find antennas with wire wrapped around the main shaft to form a coil. This way the antenna is shorter and more practical. At the same time though, the antenna is also less efficient. You need to be extra-careful when you place and position your antenna.
1. The base loaded CB antennas have coil wrapped around the antenna body at the base. All-in-one magnetic mount and room antennas are base loaded and they need a simple mounting. You may use thicker coil, which gives a higher Watt capacity. As the coil needs to be above the vehicle, there aren’t many effective mounting positions. This type of antenna is durable and may take higher power outputs. Typically, the police use this type of antennas.
2. For the center-loaded CB antennas, the coil is above the base on top of a thick shaft base. There is also a cover made of plastic. The rest of the antenna is a long whip. This type of antenna is less efficient than a top loaded fiberglass antenna, but more efficient than a base-loaded antenna. The center-loaded CB antenna is a popular option for professional truckers.
3. The best option for a CB antenna is however the top-loaded CB antenna. This type of antenna is typically made of fiberglass and the coil is tin wire wrapped around the antenna, while covered with a protective shield. The top-loaded antenna is low priced and efficient at the same time. It comes with many mounting options since the coil is placed higher on the antenna. This type of antenna has a lower Watt capacity but may take four Watts limitations of CBs. The top-loaded antenna is the popular choice for trucks, cars, RVs and tractor-trailers.
What’s the best CB antenna length?
The taller the antenna, the better the range of distance when we talk about antennas and the best antenna length is ¼ of the wavelength. This means 102 inches (8.5 feet), but this is too tall to be practical for most mobile applications.
This is where the coil solutions come in. You want your antenna to be mounted high, but you also worry about clearances for parking structures, garages, bridges. You need tool-free quick disconnect accessories for your antenna. A ball mount and a heavy string are useful for mounting, whereas a good whip tie down secures the antenna for the road.
How to get the best performance from your CB antenna
No CB antenna is efficient without a good mounting location. The main trick is that the higher the mounting, the better the performances of your antenna.
You also need to keep the antenna vertical. The coil and the antenna need a clear roof line to avoid interference.
Your antenna has to be protected against easy breakage.
A good CB antenna is efficient if it’s both ground plane and electrical ground. When you don’t have good ground you may use a grounding strap from the mount to the chassis, with a grounding strap as short as possible. Good magnetic mount antennas have no problems with grounding.
CB radios operate on channels 1-40 and one antenna can’t tune for reception on all of them. You may tune the antenna to cut it to length according to the frequency you want. You may use an external Standing Wave Ratio meter to get the best results. This meter helps you also to troubleshoot your equipment.
You need to know what you are looking for when you go searching for a CB antenna. This is the most important tip in order to get the best CB antenna for your needs!
Top 5 CB antenna reviews
An efficient CB antenna is the WILSON 305-492 2000 TRUCKER CB RADIO ANTENNA. Here are its pros:
- The whip is made of durable stainless steel
- This is a center-loaded coil antenna
- The whip is 49”
- The whip is flexible
- The shaft is 5”
- The antenna ranges 26MHz to 30MHz
- The Wilson 305-492 is rated at 3500 watts
- There is a standard 3/8”x24 Chromed Brass Ferrule
- The coil has a large housing which gives more power handling it
- This is a set of 2 Antennas
- The antenna is easy to set up and to use
As for the cons, we only need to mention the adjustments you need to make in order to get the best results.
A reliable fiberglass base station antenna is the Solarcon A-99 CB Base Station Antenna. Here are the pros on this one:
- The Solarcon A-99 is an Omni-directional fiberglass station CB antenna
- The antenna may take 200 Watts PEP
- The antenna needs optional mounting mast
- The antenna is a vertical type
- You get an optional coaxial cable
- The antenna is tune able for lowest SWR reading
- It works with GPK-1 ground place
- The antenna is insulated up to 14,500 Volts
- The mounting plate is heavy duty
- The antenna may take great wind loads
- The antenna comes with a useful instruction manual
- You also get the required hardware for the antenna
- The antenna is easy to assemble
- The antenna is lightweight
- You need a good ground for the antenna
- The price is great
As for the cons, here are our comments:
- Some complain about the altogether product
- It’s possible not to get the antenna in time, but this doesn’t reflect the quality of the antenna
- The antenna doesn’t get tuned in to you
- It’s a bit difficult to set it up and take it down if the ground is tall
- You need to use vise grips and a crescent wrench to screw for the mid-section to bottom
Made in our USA, the Predator K-1-9 Cowtown CB Radio Antenna is a good and reliable option and here are the pros:
- The antenna is built of long lasting machined aluminum
- The antenna is handmade in our USA
- The whip is 58”
- The whip is made of long lasting stainless steel
- The whip is very flexible and resistant to moderate damage
- The coil is 22.5”
- The shaft is 9”
- The antenna gives you a frequency range of 26-28 MHz
- The power handled is of 10,000 Watts
- The connector is 3/8
- There is a lifetime manufacturer warranty
- The antenna is very light and long lasting
- The large corona ball reduces noise and static build-up
- The parts of the antenna are replaceable so you don’t need to buy another new antenna
- This is a base thread standard
- There is also a coax cable available for the antenna
- There is great craftsmanship on the antenna
- The ability to tune is amazing
- The antenna is long lasting
- The antenna is lightweight
- There is no rusting on this antenna
As for the cons, we only need to complain about the footprint. The antenna is quite large and has a large footprint, so you need a good amount of clear hood to put it on.
Apart from the good performance, it’s the great looks of the Workman Viper CB Radio Mobile Antenna Silver that got us to review this antenna. Here are our pros:
- The antenna takes a power of 25kWatts
- The whip is made of stainless steel
- The antenna is made of premium grade aluminum
- There is glow in the dark eyes
- There are 3/8×24 bottom threads
- The range of the frequency is from 26 to 30 MHz
- The antenna gets to you in two pieces which are very easy to assemble
- The attached coil is molded to look like a snake
- The antenna has a black finish
- The antenna is pretty resistant to rust and corrosion
- The antenna’s performance is very good
- It’s well made
- The antenna tunes easily
On the other hand, there are some issues on the antenna so here are our cons:
- The black finish is poorly applied and doesn’t last for long
- The “glow in the dark eyes” don’t really glow in the dark
- The performances of the antenna are pretty good, but not the best out there
For the money you pay, you get a pretty good antenna with a funny snake on it
When you’re in need to get an antenna for your bike, the Firestik LG4M2-B 4 ft. Side Mount Antenna with Ngp Kitis a good option. Here are the pros:
- The antenna is single side mount type
- The antenna is lightweight
- This is a no ground plane kit
- You get a 12 feet coax cable
- There are 122 cm mounting bolts
- The antenna gives a good performance and a good range
- It’s easy to install the antenna
- The antenna works pretty good
- There is a clean looking install for the antenna
- The customer support of the manufacturer is very good
As for the parts we like less about this antenna, we need to mention these:
- The housing looks kind of flimsy
- The antenna doesn’t come with a manual
- You need to add a spring to strike the antenna
- You can only install this on a non-metal vehicle
But, for the money you pay you sure get an efficient CB antenna.