Insights & Features Of A Citizen Band Radio (Technical Bits 2023)

Last updated on November 4th, 2022 at 11:11 pm

CB radio (citizen band radio) allows bidirectional voice communication from individual to individual at a shorter distance. Here, we have taken a precise look over the working, fundamental parts, features, and certain factors that affect the CB radio range. Let’s take a closer look at the insights;

Note: For your convenience, we have also put together the information on a thorough guide about CB radios.

Working of the CB Radio

In citizens broadband radio services, radiofrequency is converted into electrical signals by the receiver from the transmitter to convert them into radio frequency signals. However, the length of the antenna should be equal to the wavelength of radio transmitted citizen band radio frequencies. CB radio starts at 25.01 megahertz so the length of the antenna should be 39.34 feet and the wavelength between ½ to 1/8 length of the antenna can find out by the following formula;

Length of Antenna = wavelength in feet/ frequency in megahertz.

The impedance (opposition to electric current) can be reduced by radiating all the radio signals to the atmosphere. Some of them reflect causing standing waves.

The following video demonstration will help you in operating a CB radio: 

Standing Waves Ratio

SWR or standing waves ratio (ratio of highest to lowest voltage) is used to tune an antenna between antenna and transmitter line. However, SWR may be greater on lower (if so, increase the length of the antenna) and higher (reduce the length of the antenna) channels.

What Does Affect The SWR?

The structure of the antenna nearby and CB radio’s own antenna affects SWR and impedance.

Functional Parts of CB Radio

In order to understand the working of the CB radio, the functional parts of the device play an apprehensive role. Here, we have enlisted certain components—they all together make the transmission smoother and clearer.

  • Clarifier: Its usage is to tune the radio frequency up and down up to 1 kHz.
  • Delta Tune: We use Delta tune to change the frequency of the CB radio in receiving signals.
  • Dimmer: Its function is to dim or lower the lights of the radio.
  • Digital Selective Calling: DSC for communication among boats and sending automated distress calls Digital selective calling is used.
  • Dynamic (Mic) Gain: It works to adjust the modulation of the radio and voice output transmission on the microphone.
  • External Speaker Connection: To plug in an external CB speaker, an external speaker connection is used and is mounted in the vehicle.
  • Noise Blanker: It works in reducing radio noise in receiving signals from automotive ignition systems and impulse noises.
  • RF Gain: It adjusts the CB’s sensitivity and counteracts the noise coming in the way of radio signals.
  • Sound Filter: To eliminate engine whine, static, and atmosphere noise, sound filters are used.
  • Public Address (PA): To switch from CB radio speaker to PA mounted horn under the hood, this feature is used.

Features of CB Radio

CB radio has an extended line of usage—from personal to business purposes yet doesn’t require a Citizens band radio license. The salient features induced in the CB Radio are;

  • Single Frequency: You can share only one frequency at one time in a common area as they share a single frequency channel.
  • Turning on: To turn on the transmitter, you must press the “talk button” only because CB radio always remains in receiving mode to receive transmissions of other devices or channels.
  • Range: Depending on terrain CB radio, it ranges from 4.8 km (3 miles) to 32-kilometer (20) miles.
  • Global Transmission: Some communications also occur internationally at a very long distance.
  • Automatic Noise Limiter: ANL limits the waveform from exceeding a certain range to reduce the amplitude of impulse noise.
  • Bluetooth: Certain CB radios have Bluetooth to use cell phones through CB radio.
  • CAL: Its purpose of usage is to tune the CB radio to work properly because high SWR causes damage to the CB radio.
  • Channel Scan: We can scan all the 40 channels of CB radio stored in memory.

Factors Affecting the Range of a CB Radio

The CB Radio range verily depends on various factors. In order to atomize the range ratio, they must be automated. So, here, we have enlisted certain reasons that surely play a part in the cause, of which; the tuning, surrounding, length of the antenna, type of antenna, installation, and such others. Let’s take an elaborating look over them.

Proper Tuning

The adjustment of the CB radio to relevant stations and transmitters will help in optimizing the range. For better outcomes and increased range, tune the power and settings of the radio.


Surroundings affect the range of CB radio, if it exposes to a crowded area or packed area, the range should face diminishing. On the contrary side, the CB radio placed in an open area packages the extension of range.

Why Does It Happen?

This is because the obstacles in the path of radio waves cause them difficult to travel, but as there will be no or less compact material, the penetration will be easier.

Antenna’s Length

The length of the antenna is directly proportional to the range of the antenna. However, make sure to mount the antenna correctly and at the height and length of the antenna should belong.

Antenna’s Type

Types of antennas also affect the CB radio range. There are many types of antennas available in the market. It is preferable to use the antenna with the power to receive radio signals range correctly.

Antenna’s Location

Try to mount the antenna at a higher position, so obstacles in receiving signals may not affect the range of a CB radio. Also, make sure the corrected location of the mounted antenna receives the radio signals properly.

Proper Installation

There is no need to install the antenna but ground it properly because installation affects the range of a CB radio.

Enhanced Power Output

Enhancing the output power will likewise add to the CB radio range. Hence, for this purpose, you can use an amplifier or RF linear, ultimately detailing the frequency, and increasing the range.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of citizens band radio?

The Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS) is a licensed, short-distance, and two-way voice communications service available to the general public for personal or business use. Additionally, it can be utilized for voice paging.

What characteristics of CB radio led to its great popularity?

The benefits of fewer users sharing a frequency increased authorized output power, FM transmission clarity, lack of interference from distanced stations due to avoid transmission, and coherent communication channels managed to make the VHF (Very High Frequency) radio an excellent proposition to the overcrowded CB channels.

Are CB radios worth having?

While CB communicators are no longer the primary mode of communication, they remain an extremely essential tool to have on the road. If you have a flat trailer tire, another vehicle may be able to alert you by CB before the tire begins burning like a tar cauldron and catches fire.

Can I listen to CB radio on my phone?

Yes, you may watch CB channels for free on your Android or iPhone. These CB apps act as internet radio, allowing users to connect with other CB teams or friends who also have the app installed on their cellphones. They act as a connective tissue connecting your smartphone and CB radio.

Do CB radios work in the mountains?

The underlying premise is straightforward: CB radio signals cannot pass through solid surfaces. There is an exception to every rule, and here is one. When you are on a mountainside, you can communicate down the mountain to others within your line of sight, extending your range.


Citizen band radio allows bidirectional voice communication from individual to individual at a shorter distance. Yet you can use it for business or personal purposes without any license. CB radio ranges from 4.8 km (3-miles) to 32-kilometer (20 miles) that major depends on the terrain and surrounding. Here, in this article, we have taken an in-depth look at the CB radio functionalities, its features, and the factors that affect the range. Summarizing the key points of factors, the CB radio range is; tuning, antennas length, antennas type, antennas length, surrounding, antenna location, and proper installation.

Note: If you are looking for a better long range communication device, you better buy the best long range CB radio.

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