As you most likely know, a CB radio is built for local communications. This means that the range of a CB radio is going to be shorter as a result. But, how far can a CB radio reach? We will take a look at that on this page. We will also give you a bit of advice on increasing the range.
So, How Far Can A CB Radio Really Reach?
This is going to be dependent on a multitude of different factors. Generally speaking, you can expect your CB radio to reach a maximum of about 20-miles. Some CB radios have been known to go as much as 30-miles,
You will find that range is going to be a lot better if you are operating a stationary CB radio. Once you put one in a moving vehicle, then the range is going to go all the way down. There is just a lot of interference which you will be unable to control for. At least when you have a stationary CB radio, you are able to calibrate the antenna based on the (virtually) permanent conditions.
If you purchase a quality antenna and tune it well, then you should be able to get the maximum amount of range on it (barring any interference). This means ensuring that your antenna is made by a reputable company, and is omnidirectional. If you don’t know which antenna you should be purchasing to extend the range of your CB radio, then you may want to take a look at our reviews.
There are ‘guides’ online about increasing the signal strength of your CB radio by upping the output wattage of your transceiver. Do not do this under any circumstances. Not only is it illegal to do, but it is also going to influence electronics in the immediate area. In fact, it may impact them to the point they simply do not work.
What Is Skip?
You may have heard of something called ‘shooting skip’. A lot of CB radio operators practice it nowadays.
When you shoot skip, you will be manipulating your CB radio broadcasts to bounce around in a way that allows them to reach places CB radio signals wouldn’t normally be able to reach. If you do it well, then you can receive and send radio signals to the other side of the globe.
We aren’t going to tell you how to shoot skip on this page. While it could increase the range of your CB radio, it is actually illegal to doIt radio signals to the other side of the globe.
Remember; in the United States, we have dedicated Channel 9 for emergencies. Imagine if you broadcast on the other side of the world and you filled up their CB radio’s emergency channel with random radio chatter. They probably wouldn’t be best pleased, would they?
While it is unlikely that you will get caught, if you do, you may be prevented from broadcasting on CB radio again. It is a rare punishment, but it has been known to happen!
How Can You Improve the Range of Your CB Radio?
As we mentioned previously; a lot of it will be based around the quality of the equipment that you have purchased. Perhaps one of the best possible things you can do is buy a high-quality antenna. If you have a cheap antenna in place, then this will give you an instant boost to your range. Sometimes this boost may be as much as a few miles.
Reduce Kinks in The Antenna Cord
This is probably going to have more of an impact on the quality of the audio as opposed to the range, but it certainly is going to be worth trying.
You will want to ensure that the cable that runs from the antenna through to the transceiver is as short as possible. This will guarantee the best signal quality. After all, the longer the cable is, the more resistance there is. This means that the signal that eventually reaches the antenna or transceiver will be seriously ‘cut back’.
Placement of the Antenna
You will need to think long and hard about the placement of your antenna. We can only give you a bit of rough guidance here, because the ideal placement for an antenna will be different depending on the circumstances.
If you are operating a stationary CB radio, then you will want to ensure that your CB radio antenna is placed as high as possible. This will minimize the chance of interference.
When you are attaching an antenna to your vehicle, you will want to place it on the roof. You could try other places on your vehicle, but most people find that the roof is the best location. It is up here that you will have the biggest range and the minimum amount of interference.
Calibrate Your Antenna
As all CB radios require antennas, to get the very best experience you’ll likely want to tune it. It’s not a requirement for it to work however. Some antennas provide an acceptable experience right out of the box. To tune the antenna however, you are going to need to get your hands on an SWR meter.
We are not going to go into detail on how to calibrate your SWR meter on this page. This is because we have put together far more extensive guides elsewhere on our website. What we do suggest, however, is that you take your time to ensure that your SWR readouts are as close to 0 as possible on both Channel 1 and Channel 40. This will likely add a few extra miles to your range, or at least give you a better signal quality from CB radios a bit further afield.
If you take the tips on this page into account, we promise you that you will be able to increase the range of your CB radio. In some cases, you won’t be improving the physical range, but you will be receiving better quality signals from CB radios that are a bit further away.