If you want to increase your radio’s transmission range and signal quality, maximizing its power is a good step. All you need is the right amplifier and a SWR meter.
How can I make my CB radio more powerful? Just continue reading to pick up everything you need to know about how to increase watts on CB radio, which is detailed in this guide.
- What is a CB Radio?
- Steps to Increase Watts on CB Radio
- Other Tips
- What is the Highest Wattage You Can Have on a CB Radio?
What is a CB Radio?
If you’re new to this, CB stands for Citizens Band. CB radio is widely used around the world because it allows people to connect with each other within short to long distances and enables a person-to-many model of communication.
Even though CB radios don’t require a license, you need to remember that usage of this device is regulated, and it has a wattage limit as mandated by the FCC. As of today, a unit should only have up to 4 watts within the United States and Europe.
These facts mean CB radio watts distance can only reach 4.8 up to 32 kilometers. These measurements, however, are susceptible to change because they are affected by the obstructions that exist in our surroundings.
But if the country you’re in doesn’t have any of these rules or your radio has yet to reach its maximum watts, you can proceed to try the steps in this guide.
Steps to Increase Watts on CB Radio
What to prepare
- Your CB radio
- SWR meter
- Your CB radio manual
- CB antenna
- Coax cable
Step 1: Learn your radio’s specifications
Don’t skip this step before you proceed to the next one because today, many radio units have more advanced specifications. So, take time to read your unit’s manual.
Since you’re dealing with an electronic device, make sure you know what to avoid to safely adjust your equipment. Try to learn if there is an existing CB radio wattage limitation for your radio.
Step 2: Find the best spot
The next step is finding the best spot to place your unit, which is crucial to effectively increase CB radio signal strength. You need to look for a place with fewer obstructions like an empty parking lot or ground.
Also, make sure that there are little to no barriers like trees, buildings, and other factors that might block signal transmission.
Step 3: Find the best antenna
As most radio lovers know, the antenna plays a pivotal role in the performance of every radio unit. It is because its type, length, height, and placement matter, especially in situations where you need to peak and tune a CB radio.
You need to choose one that does not just fit your radio but also gives you an optimal experience. And if you have the budget, consider buying antennas that have the most extensive lengths; stainless steel and dual fiberglass models are also preferable.
Remember that the best antenna can function as a CB radio range booster, especially if you place the unit in a more elevated location.
Step 4: Attach and place the antenna
Once you have your antenna ready, attach it to your radio using a coax cable. Make sure to do it properly because it could contribute to poorer performance otherwise.
Then as mentioned, mount it somewhere that it is elevated. You may place it on the roof, but make sure the device is stable and secure.
Step 5: Connect and use an SWR meter
Know that an SWR meter is the most important device in this guide to successfully increase wattage of your radio. This meter could also serve as a CB antenna booster because overall, it can make your radio performance better.
Upon adjusting the antenna and tuning your radio, use this meter to test the output. You need to do trial and error with these adjustments until you get the best positioning.
Remember that the optimal SWR reading is 1.5 or lower.
Step 6: Utilize the radio’s squelch
Using the squelch function of your device, get rid of the unnecessary noises you encounter after modifying the wattage. Take note to not overdo it because you might compromise the other radio frequencies’ performance.
Step 7: Equip the system with an amplifier
To effectively create a CB radio power booster, install an amplifier. You may look online for the best model for your unit or consult your radio’s manual for technicalities.
Remember: the best CB radio amplifier will improve range without causing interference. Linear and low-noise amplifiers are some examples worth considering.
Step 8: Test the radio
The concluding step will be the testing of your radio. Test its overall performance and repeat some steps if necessary until you achieve your desired output.
1. Beware of the legal limitations
As mentioned, it is required for you to know first the legal limitations before you modify your device. Never skip this step, or you might have to pay expensive fines.
2. Know what type of CB radio you need
There are different brands with distinct specs available today that you can choose from. Look for a unit that is suitable for what you need.
You may start looking for details on their radio frequency gain, built-in meters, and sizing.
3. Learn the codes and lingo
Learning the code and lingo is important if you’re a newcomer. No matter how great your unit is, it’s useless if you don’t understand how to communicate with other CB users.
What is the Highest Wattage You Can Have on a CB Radio?
The limitations when modifying the wattage of a CB radio highly depend on what country it is being operated from. But generally, according to the law, units with above 4 watts will be considered illegal CB radio mods.
It may seem fun to upgrade your equipment, but you might be fined thousands of dollars when stepping outside of the regulations.
Despite all of these, there are units that you can modify manually, possibly creating a 30 watt CB radio in the process. An example of this is the Cobra 29 LTD.
With the right use of an amplifier and required permissions, you can make a 500 watt CB radio or even higher.
Now that you’ve learned how to increase watts on CB radio on your own, please never forget that doing this requires full awareness of the radio regulations in your country. Do not be complacent when adjusting your equipment, and try to reach out to licensed radio experts if you have the resources.