How to Install a CB Radio
So, you want to mount a CB Radio into your car/truck. Great! CB’s are a fun hobby, and can be very useful when traveling on the highway or off-roading. So, lets get started on the install.
Why do you need a CB radio?
CB radios are used mostly by truckers, they let each other know which areas to avoid due to traffic, accidents, or speed traps. But for us off-roaders, it allows us to separate from the group, without losing all contact. When cellphone service isn’t available, the next best option is a CB. What happens when a zombie apocalypse takes over the world? No cellphones, no internet, and no regular communication. Those with CB radios can easily contact other survivors, and ultimately not turn into a zombie.
CB Radio: When it comes to radio’s there are many choices on the market to pick from. CB’s come in many different sizes, with many different features. Hands down the most popular radio on the market is the Cobra 29. Its loaded with features, works incredibly well, and isn’t to harsh on the wallet. However, were on a very small budget, and also have limited space in our vehicle, so we’ve opted for the Cobra 19. The Cobra 19 is super compact, simple, and dirt cheap. Brand new they’re around $50, and include everything you need.
Antenna: For the antenna, we went full out. We are on a tight budget, but the antenna you choose will make or break your entire set up. We opted for the Wilson 1000, which is the best magnet mount antenna on the market. We choice this due to its incredible range, and clarity in sound. Its also a magnet mount which means we don’t have to drill.
If you’re looking to get into CB’s for cheap we recommend the setup, as it works well, and is about $120 for everything.
Mounting the Radio
You should mount your radio somewhere convenient and easy to reach. But, you don’t want to mount it somewhere that it’ll get in the way (e.g. above the steering wheel, to close to the shifter, or in the way of the passengers legs). For our install we chose to mount it to the passenger side on the center console. This puts it out of the way of the passengers legs, but still near the driver. Its accessible, but not taking up any needed space.
Mounting the Microphone
The same principles of installing the radio are applied when installing the microphone. It needs to be very accessible, but not in the way of the passengers. We decided to mount our microphone clip to the headliner of our Jeep. Although its a little in the way of the passengers, it looks super cool from the outside looking in.
Mounting the Antenna
This part is pretty easy, find the center on your roof, and stick the antenna there. When routing the coax cable, make sure to keep the cable as straight as possible. If you put the cable in a coil or bunch it up together, it can cause your SWR’s to go through the roof. Ultimately leading to poor radio performance, and possible radio damage.
Wiring the Radio
When it comes to wiring the radio up there are a few trains of thought. A lot of people will tell you to wire the radio to your cigarette lighter, or your accessory power. However, both of these are bad ideas. If you wire the radio to your accessory power, the radio will not work properly. This is because noise from the engine, radio, lights, or any other accessories will make there way through the radios power wire and ultimately make your radio sound very bad. It will also cause your radio to not transmit and receive at its best.
Overall, it should take you about an hour to install your CB radio depending on how experienced of a DIYer you are. Have any questions about installation or products mentioned in this how-to? Leave a comment below!