5 Steps for Proper CB Antenna Tuning

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CB antenna tuning holds a very important place in the installation process of a CB system. It determines how well the CB antenna will perform in coordination with the CB radio once it is properly tuned. You may require your antenna to work as effectively as it can be to optimize your radio’s transmission and reception power.This guide describes the complete process for tuning a CB antenna effectively to get the best results. Let’s discover it out !!!

1. Tune Antenna in Open Area

Start by selecting the space where your  tuning will be conducted. The ideal place is any open area where there are no big buildings, large trees or other kinds of hustle and bustle.Ensure that windows and doors are closed down to guarantee an exact reading through.

2. Place a Good SWR Meter & Antenna in line with your System

It is necessary that you must have best Antenna & SWR meter. Usually, your CB radio will have an inbuilt SWR meter that works great. But preferable is that you select a good SWR meter with the appropriate dial and labels. Listed below are the best SWR Meter in Market.

  1. SWR2T + A8X1
  2. Para Dynamics PDC7
  3. Para Dynamics PDC1
CB Antenna tuning

CB Antenna tuning

Before Tuning your CB Antenna. You must have knowledge about SWR Meter. Some major factors that can  affect the SWR value drastically are

  1. Inappropriately tuned antenna,
  2. Ineffective length of the antenna,
  3. Grounding not done properly,
  4. Damaged coax etc.

The two most important labels that you need to notice on the meter are ‘TX’ and ‘ANT’ found on the two ends of the meter’s front face.The former provides a connection point for the radio while the latter serves the purpose for the CB antenna. On the back side of the meter, two corresponding jacks are also available right behind these labels. Make sure you connect the antenna and radio cable properly into these jacks otherwise your CB antenna tuning will lead to high SWR readings.

Now take the jumper cable that usually accompanies the SWR meter but can also be bought separately. Two separate pieces of jumper cable will be required for connecting CB antenna and CB radio to the SWR meter in their respective jacks.

Most popular CB Antennas in market

  1. Stryker SR-A10 CB Antenna   http://bit.ly/2aFxDS0
  2. Sirio 5000 Performer              http://bit.ly/2aYhNGV
  3. K40 CB Antenna                       http://bit.ly/2aNoLf8
cb antenna

Most Popular CB Antennas

3. Take Readings on Channel 1 and 40

Start the CB antenna tuning process by taking SWR readings on channels 1 and 40. First, tune your radio into Channel 1. Turn the switch on the SWR meter to ‘FWD’ and key the microphone by pressing down the talk button continuously. The needle on the meter will jump up indicating successful keying of the microphone.

Now move the calibration knob to bring the needle to the ‘SET’ position. Now keeping the mic keyed, turn the switch from ‘FWD’ to ‘REF’. Once you do this, the needle will instantly change the position and the point where it stops will give you the first SWR reading on Channel 1. After this, you can unkey the mic. The reading on Channel 40 can be obtained by repeating the same process for that channel.

The readings that you will obtain for these channels will determine what kind of treatment you will give to your antenna during the tuning process.

  • If the SWR on Channel 40 is greater than that on Channel 1, your antenna is quite long and the tuning will be effective when you will shorten it.

If CB Antenna is Longer

You can reduce its physical length. There are many techniques for reducing an antenna that varies by manufacturer. Check your owner’s handbook regarding precise directions regarding how to limit your antenna. Several antennas might need to be cut to get reduced. Do this within 1/4″ steps and after that get new readings to find out your results.

  • If the SWR on Channel 1 is greater than that on Channel 40, your antenna is a very short one and the CB antenna tuning will be effective when you will increase its length.

 If Antenna is Shorter

You can increase its physical length. Mostly antenna length is just too small are due to an absence of ground plane. In present day antennas, there’s often a way of adding length built into the antenna. Other options, such as adding a spring, will also work.

Read: Loveland shop helps spread the CB Radio Craze

4. Take Reading with Weather Cap on Antenna

CB Antenna tuning instruction - Weather Cap

CB Antenna tuning instruction – Weather Cap

Another important aspect that you need to focus on during the CB antenna tuning process is to leave the weather cap on the antenna while taking the SWR readings on different channels. Take it off when adjusting the antenna length. Once you loosen the set screws on the antenna, make small incremental changes in the length of the antenna, whether you are increasing or decreasing it. Take readings again after each adjustment to find its overall effect on the SWR.

5. Goals of CB antenna tuning

There are two main goals that you need to achieve during the CB antenna tuning process and by taking the SWR readings

  • The final SWR obtained should be below 2.0 across all the CB channels. It ensures that your CB antenna is operating efficiently and safely and your CB radio is free from any possible damages due to SWR fluctuations. Values obtained between 2.0 and 3.0 SWR are dubious. If an SWR of 3.0 or above is obtained during the tuning process, quickly turn the CB radio off as it will destroy your antenna’s performance and will damage your radio too.
  • SWR values obtained on Channel 1 and Channel 40 should be similar or very close to each other.

What should I do with my SWR meter once the Antenna tuning process has been completed?

Unscrew the jumper cable from the jacks and remove the SWR meter from your CB system. Now make a normal connection between your CB radio and antenna by connecting them to each other.

After following the instruction in a guide, your antenna performance will be up to the mark. In a case of any query, comment below.

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13 thoughts on “5 Steps for Proper CB Antenna Tuning

  1. Robert Fraley

    Consider anything around 1.5 tuning as a real waste of time especially with a small inefficient antenna like that. You are only making adjustment for 11 percent at 2:1. So, at 1.6 which is your highest loss there you were only losing 5%. This works out to losing only 1/4 watts. Stop wasting your time on less than 1.6 swr. You have to double your power in order to get one s unit increase on the other receiver. 100 watts at s5 needs 200 watts for S6, 400 watts for s7, 800 watts for s8 and on. You will not profit any gain by messing with low swr tuning under 2:1 really. You will want the radio happy at less than 2:1 then get close to 1.5 and stop. GET A GOOD ANTENNA TO START OUT. sr-a10 or sirio

    1. Lumpy

      Why use an swr neter, I use a bird meter. They are very effective, and tell you how many watts are coming back from the antenna. The lower the watts coming back, the better you are truly transmitting out

  2. 09ThunderOne

    I had to do this in an urban area, and I was able to tune the Antenna around 2.0 for both channel 1 and 40. Would SWR be high in urban areas? Or should I maybe swap my coax cable? It’s just a cheap RadioShack 20′ cable.

  3. Scott Skineer

    So if you’re using a multi band radio, which frequency do you tune the antenna from, am, fm, ssb?

  4. Bryan Batty

    How about cable length? The firestik antenna i got is way too long. should i just spread it out, or cut it down?


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