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CB Radios – Five Reasons Your Antenna Isn’t Working

CB Radios – Five Reasons Your Antenna Isn’t Working

Have you decided to purchase a CB radio this year? If so, congratulations! You are joining a group of enthusiastic individuals who have embraced the Citizens Band for decades. Your journey is going to be an amazing one. Just as long as you do one thing …

Forget Everything About Antennas

You need to unlearn everything about antennas you’ve used for AM/FM radios and one-way scanners. These do not operate the same as the two-way antenna used in CB operations. In fact, some commercial radios and scanners don’t have antennas.

Thus, you may run into some educational curves when it comes to setting up your antenna. In turn, the incoming and outgoing signals may be muddy or not go out at all. Though it can be a setting on the CB transceiver, it most likely stems from the antenna.

Why Isn’t it Working?

Numerous factors can be the cause. However, to help you out, here are five common reasons that can be addressed quickly.

  1. It’s too short. Antennas work best when their line of sight is clear of obstructions like buildings. Not only do they send clearer transmissions but they also accept DX bounces off the ionosphere to send or receive transmissions for hundreds or thousands of miles away. Short antennas don’t have these capabilities, no matter what the manufacturer may say.
  2. The Standing Wave Ratio (SWR) wasn’t tested. If this wasn’t done in lieu of getting on the air as soon as possible, then you run the risk of some serious damage to your antenna and transceiver. The higher the SWR radio the chance of overheating. Use a SWR meter, either built-in or standalone, to ensure the level is near or at a 1:1 ratio. Anything higher requires adjustment.
  3. It’s not grounded. Another important item to check before you start sending or receiving transmissions. Hooking an antenna up to a non-grounded item, like a toolbox in the back of your pickup truck, is going to knock you off the air. Standard CB Antennas need to be electrically grounded to the frame of the vehicle. If not grounded properly our CB antenna SWR reading will be very high.
  4. It’s not properly connected. A coax cable is used to connect an antenna to the CB radio. These can either come loose over time or get dirty due to weather or corrosion. Check these connections and clean them if necessary.
  5. The antennas are too close together. If you have a dual antennas on your vehicle, they’ll negate each other if not between five and nine feet apart. If possible, relocate one of the antennas. If this can’t be done, look into purchasing one antenna with height and proper grounding.

Still having issues troubleshooting your antenna issues? Reach out to the professionals at CB Radio Supply for answers. They can help determine your issues and come up with potential solutions.

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