Are you having trouble with your CB transmissions? Is your radio losing signal on your car too often? Then, you might need to invest in a new antenna for your CB radio. Having an antenna for a strong signal on your radio is important.
But you don’t always have to go to the market to get one. You can make your very own CB antenna, right from the comforts of your home.
How, you ask? Well, that’s what we are here for. In this article, we will tell you all the things you need and all the steps that go into making a CB antenna. Take note. It’s not only a cheaper option, but it is also quite a fun task.
How to Make a Homemade CB Antenna?
Making a CB Antenna
With just a few materials and tools at hand, you’ll own a brand-new antenna for your CB radio. And that too, without a trip to the store. A homemade CB antenna will work just like any store-bought antenna.
You can adjust the height according to your needs and control it from anywhere in your vehicle. The antenna will work best if you can customize it according to your needs and the type of vehicle you’ll be putting it in.
Even the best CB radio on the market works with a power of 4 watts. With this power, you can send and receive from a few miles at most.
If you want to improve the signal strength, you must increase the distance you are sending and receiving messages. You’ll have to remember things like the height of the antenna and where and how it’s mounted on your car.
In case you can mount your CB antenna in the right place, you can get up to 20-25 miles. It’s a sweet deal compared to the 1-2 miles you’re currently getting.
Before you can make an antenna, you must understand how it works. CB radios use a frequency band of 27 Mhz. And the wavelength of this band is a little over 17 feet or 204 inches.
What you’ll need to do is take two halves of this wavelength, that is, two 102 inches of copper wire. Then you have to insulate and ground these two lengths of wires, connect them to your CB radio, and finally mount them to the highest point of your vehicle.
Below, we have made a list of all the materials, tools, and instructions that you need for your homemade CB radio.
The materials required to make a homemade CB antenna are as follows:
One 55-58 inch non-conductive rod
This could be made of wood, aluminum, or PVC. Whichever you choose, make sure that it’s sturdy enough to withstand a strong breeze. We recommend you to use a quarter-inch fiberglass pole but really, any of them will work just fine.
Two copper wires of 110-inches each
For proper transmission. Note that you actually need 102 inches to match the wavelength, and the extra 8 inches will be used to attach the copper wire.
To wrap up the finished antenna.
Two Insulator Eggs
To isolate the ends of the copper wires.
One RG-8 CB Coax Cable
To connect the antenna with your CB radio, you need this cable, so it has to be long enough to stretch from where your antenna will be mounted, to the place in the car where your radio is.
One RP-SMA Female Connector
To connect your antenna with the RG-8 coaxial cable.
- Soldering iron
- Double sided tape
- Assorted clamps
- Wire cutters
- CB Microphone
Building the Antenna
Follow these simple steps carefully, to build an antenna for your CB radio.
Step One: Take the insulator eggs and wrap 4 inches of each end of the two copper wires around the hoops of the insulator eggs. You have to make sure that there are no pointy ends and that they have a strong mechanical and electrical contact twist at the ends. Then, solder the twists together.
Step Two: Cover the antenna rod with the double sided tape all the way from top to bottom.
Step Three: Start wrapping the two copper wires around the rod. Make sure the wires don’t touch each other. The wires will go up parallely, and once you’re done, it’ll look as if you’ve wrapped four wires around your rod.
Step Four: Cover the entire rod using the duct tape. You can wrap it spirally or lengthwise, whichever is easier for you, but make sure that the whole rod is covered except for four or five inches for the mount.
Step Five: Cut off one end of the RG-8 cable and using your soldering iron, solder the center lead wire of the cable to one end of the insulator egg. This is your transmission connection.
Step Six: Take the silver braided part of the RG-8 coaxial cable and solder it with the other end of the insulator egg. This is your ground.
Step Seven: Attach the RP-SMA-Female connector of the other end of your RG-8 coaxial cable and connect it to your CB radio. That’s it! You’ve just made your homemade CB antenna.
Now that you’ve made your antenna, it’s crucial that you mount it somewhere on the car where you’ll get a maximum signal. Antennas can be mounted on various places, for example, the roof, trunk, bumper, hood or even mirror bars.
These are some important points you need to remember about mounting the antenna.
- The higher the antenna, the better the signal, and thus, better performance.
- The copper wire coil of the antenna should be above the roof of the car.
- For best results, at least half of the antenna should be above the roof.
You’re likely to get the best signal in your car if you can mount it in the middle of your vehicle.
Although tuning is not exactly a part of making the physical antenna, without tuning your antenna, you’re not going to get a good signal on your radio.
You’ll be able to get better tuning results in open spaces. Use an SWR meter to get the two readings as close as possible. A 1.5:1 ratio or below is good reading and will give you a good signal.
What are the materials required to make a homemade CB antenna?
The materials required include a 55-58 inch non-conductive rod, two 110-inch copper wires, duct tape, two insulator eggs, one RG-8 CB Coax Cable, and one RP-SMA Female Connector.
How does a homemade CB antenna work?
A homemade CB antenna uses two 102-inch lengths of copper wire, which match half the wavelength of the 27 MHz frequency band used by CB radios. These wires are insulated, grounded, connected to the CB radio, and mounted to the highest point of the vehicle.
How can I increase the signal strength of my CB radio?
To increase the signal strength, you need to consider factors like the height of the antenna and its mounting location on your car. If mounted correctly, you can get up to 20-25 miles of range, significantly improving over the typical 1-2 miles.
How should I mount the homemade CB antenna on my car for maximum signal strength?
The antenna should be mounted at the highest point on your car, with the copper wire coil above the roof. For best results, at least half of the antenna should be above the roof, and ideally, it should be mounted in the middle of your vehicle.
What is the importance of tuning the homemade CB antenna?
Tuning is crucial for achieving a good signal on your radio. It should ideally be done in open spaces, using an SWR meter to get the readings as close as possible. A 1.5:1 ratio or below indicates good tuning and will provide a strong signal.
That’s how simple making your homemade antenna is. Most of the materials are readily available in hardware stores, and a couple of hours of your time will greatly boost your CB radio.