CB Radio Basics for Campervanners

CB Radio Basics for Campervanners

We install lots of CB radios in campervans. They're great to have for checking road conditions, making plans or just having a chat.  We also get lots of questions from campervanners who are completely bemused by CB radio.  Don't worry - it's pretty simple. Here's how it works.

CB or Citizen's Band radio is public radio.  It's free and anyone can use it. All you need is a radio, an antenna and a few accessories. You don't even need a license. Just install and start talking.

But what to install?  Here's a quick theory lesson. There are two operating frequencies - 26MHz and 477MHz.  If you've got a 26MHz radio you can talk to other 26MHz radios. And if you've got a 477MHz radio you can talk to other 477MHz radios.  You can't talk to a 26MHz radio with a 477MHz radio and vice versa. Same story for antennas. You have to have a 26MHz antenna with a 26MHz radio and a 477MHz antenna with a 477MHz radio.

Has that got your head spinning?   What that means is you have to have the same sort of radio as the people you want to talk to. Any brand - just make sure the frequency is the same. The vast majority of campervanners and truckers use AM CB (26MHz). So that's what you use. Simple.

What other bits do you need?  A radio, an antenna, an antenna base and cable to connect the radio and antenna and a bracket to mount the antenna on your van. That's it!

A quick word on choosing your antenna. Use the longest one you can before you start hitting trees or your shed roof etc. (You want to avoid breaking them). The longer your antenna the better  transmitting/receiving distance you will get from your radio.  

And a bit on brackets.  Most campers attach their antennas to the metal sides of their van. An L bracket is the bracket of choice for this application.  

Antennas and brackets vary somewhat if you want to mount it somewhere other than the side of the van like the mirror, bonnet guard or on a fibreglass cab. I'll write about that soon. In the meantime if you have any questions feel free to ask.

The good news is AMCB is the cheapest option when it comes to CB radio. We have some great starter packages which make it even cheaper.  And a last word of advice- make sure your installer knows what they're doing. Faulty connections are one of the most common cause of problems that we see.

Happy camping!

Posted: Thu 30 Oct 2014

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