A frequently asked question from those new to CB radio usage is, “What’s the range of a CB radio?” or “What can I expect for CB radio distance?” While these are both good questions, they are unfortunately difficult ones to answer. It would be like asking how long it takes someone to get from one side of Atlanta (or any other large city) to the other; it all varies depending on traffic conditions and what route you take.
The same goes for CB radio range; there are just too many variables to give a definitive answer.
What is the Range of a CB Radio?
That being said, there are some general things that can be said about the range of a CB radio. First, the vast majority of CB radios on the market today are limited to 4 watts of power output by the FCC. This means that, in theory, the maximum range you can expect from a CB radio is around 3-5 miles (4.8-8 km), assuming perfect conditions and no obstacles in the way. In reality, though, most people only get a couple miles of range out of their CB radios due to factors like terrain, buildings, and interference from other electronic devices.
In practice, typical CB radio has an AM carrier (also referred to as deadkey) of 3-4 watts. Once the carrier is modulated, output on the radio may rise to 10-12 watts normally, with some models going up to 15-18 watts. Single Sideband models (SSB) usually have 12 watt output, but some models can produce 18-20 watts after tuning. If operators have set up their antenna properly, these output levels will suffice for basic local communications within a town or city.
Through my interactions with other ham radio enthusiasts, I’ve heard many tales of people saying their signal doesn’t travel very far. Usually, these folks blamed it on the power output of their radios or amplifier — not realizing that the real problem was a poor antenna setup from the beginning. Many hams love to stories about how they were able to use 1 watt of power on a dipole antenna to talk to somebody 9,000 miles away. And while this may sound too good to be true, I can assure you that it is possible — given a legal radio and proper antennae —to carry conversations over long distances (even if your target isn’t 9000 miles away).
How to increase your CB Radio’s Range: use a CB Radio Range booster
One way to increase your CB radio’s range is to add an aftermarket amplifier, which can boost your signal by up to 20 times. However, keep in mind that amplifiers are illegal in some countries and states, so be sure to check the laws in your area before using one. Additionally, amplifiers can cause interference with other electronic devices, so it’s important to use them sparingly and only when absolutely necessary.
A CB radio range booster is an aftermarket device that you can add to your CB radio to improve its performance. Range boosters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose: to help your CB radio reach its full potential.
There are a few different types of range boosters:
- Linear Amplifier
- Power Amplifier
All amplifiers have a required minimum and maximum power. If used on a radio with too high output, there is potential to damage the amplifier.
It is essential that your antenna is correctly tuned before attaching an amplifier. If the swr (standoff ratio) is high, it will damage the amplifier by blowing out the output transistor(s). One last type of range booster is the antenna tuner. Antenna tuners are devices that help to optimize the performance of your antenna, and they can be used in conjunction with an amplifier to further improve the range of your CB radio.
The most common is the linear amplifier. Linear amplifiers work by taking the weak signal from your CB radio and amplifying it before it is sent out through the antenna. This gives your signal a boost, which can help it reach further distances.
HYS TC-300 CB Band HF AMP for CB Band Handheld Radio Transceiver
The most effective working frequency is 10Meter to 15Meter, which lowers fever and VSWR.The average general output for AM & FM mode is approximately 100W, but the highest output potential is around 200 W when input power levels are 5 W and jump to around 200-250 with an input of 10W.
The frequency of the connecting antenna is vital. The amplifier must also be set to the corresponding frequency; otherwise, not only will the amplifier overheat and shut off, but parts of your radio may become damaged.
Another type of range booster is the power amplifier. Power amplifiers work in a similar way to linear amplifiers, but they are more powerful and can provide a bigger boost to your signal. Power amplifiers are typically more expensive than linear amplifiers, but they can be worth the investment if you need a lot of extra range.
Double ball-bearing 60,000 hour dust-proof cooling fans come standard with every Power Supply. These prevent heat damage and keep the RPMs controlled by load and heat. Additionally, an adjustable output voltage from 9.5 to over 15 volts DC is included with a grounded power cord.
This item comes with a terminal cover and boasts a 36 amp output with 40 amp momentary peaks. It has a continuous use rating of 30 amps and can be used with 120 or 240 Volt AC Inputs. Additionally, it is highly filtered and regulated to prevent RF noise in HAM Radios or CBs.
Range boosters can be a great way to improve the performance of your CB radio, but it’s important to remember that they are not perfect. Range boosters will not make your CB radio invincible, and they will not help you communicate with people who are extremely far away. In most cases, a range booster will only help you reach distances that are slightly out of your normal range.
At the end of the day, the best way to increase your CB radio’s range is to simply get out there and talk to people. The more you use your CB radio, the better you’ll become at finding clear channels and making contacts. With a little practice, you’ll be surprised at how far your CB radio can reach.