Correctly mounting a CB antenna is vital for it to work as intended. Without this, the CB radio may have poor transmission, poor audio quality, or even become damaged.
In this guide, we’ll walk through a simple 4-step process to mount your antenna. This guide is intended for those mounting a CB antenna to their pickup truck or car, but the principles apply to off-road vehicles and boats, too.
Antenna Installation Supplies
You’re going to need a few tools to get started, including a few different wrenches, the CB antenna stud mount, the CB radio antenna mount, and an SWR meter. If you’re installing a magnet mount, you might need any tools.
Step 1: Choose the Best Spot to Mount Your CB Radio Antenna
The first thing you need to do is choose a place for your CB antenna mount. You’ll want to consider how long your antenna will be, and also the type of antenna (magnet mount/center loaded antenna vs. a whip antenna/fiberglass antenna) as this can change the best mount location for your antenna.
Some popular places to mount a CB antenna include
- on the hood of your truck
- on the top of the roof
- on the bedpost (if the bed of your truck is made of metal)
- driver’s side fender/antenna mirror mount
- on top of your toolbox (center of the truck)
- At the rear of the truck/on the tailgate or the spare tire mount
Magnetic Mount Antennas
There’s not much to mounting these types of antennas, provided your vehicle is steel (which most are). Simply mount it to the top/center of the roof and you’re done. If your vehicle is aluminum, you will likely need to install a metal bracket that your antenna can stick to. If you find there are issues, simply move the antenna magnet to a different location, and be sure to clean underneath it regularly to avoid paint damage.
Heavy Duty CB Antennas
Ideally, the center of the roof is the best place to mount your mobile antenna because of the ground plane coverage. Wherever you mount your CB antenna, make sure it’s above the roof of your vehicle for the best transmission. You may need to add an extension for this to occur.
- If you plan to install the CB antenna on the fender, bumper, or any location near the vehicle’s edge, it might lead to a weak signal. For example, if the antenna is on the front side, you’ll get a weaker signal on the front left side of your vehicle
- The coil for a CB antenna needs to be beyond the vehicle’s roof line
- Try to keep the antenna as tall as possible for better reception. However, ensure it doesn’t crash into obstacles, overheads, or bridges
- The ground plane coverage is the most important thing for the CB antenna. So, placing the CB antenna on or near the roof is ideal
Step 2: Place and Mount the CB Antenna
This step can either be simple or complex, depending on the CB antenna. A simple magnetic mount will stick to the roof, whereas a door jamb mount will need proper measuring, drilling, and modifications.
You must have all the vital elements to attach your antenna mount to the coax. For instance, a few mounts will require a ring terminal connector on the coax, whereas others would need a PL259 connector on the coax.
Before installing the mount, make sure the mount bracket is connected to metal, whether it’s the body of the truck, the toolbox, or another metal element for best grounding.
We recommend following the instructions on your CB antenna kit. Simple factors like keeping the mount screws and washers in the correct order can make a huge difference in how well your CB radio operates.
Step 3: Running the Coax Cable
The next thing you need to do is route the coax cable. If you are familiar with the installation of stereo speakers, then this step will be easy for you. All you need to do is pass the cable to the CB radio from the CB antenna without showing much of it. Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Find a path that gives you as little slack as possible so the cable doesn’t get accidentally caught and damaged
- Avoid heat at all costs, whether from sunlight exposure or engine heat. An overheated coax cable will wear out, fast
- It is best to use something other than an inverter or devices that can lead to noise interference. Cheap cell phone chargers can be a problem as well
- It is best to avoid running your coax right next to any other cable or cord
- Find a cable with a PL259 connector that unscrews so it is easy for you to route it. Our Stryker SR-A10MM has a removable PL-259 for easy coax routing. If you have a regular PL-259 connector, running a coax is more challenging
- Avoid cutting the coax to shorten its size. The coax comes with a specific length for the CB antennas, so it is best to avoid shortening it
- Store the extra coax properly and avoid putting it in the coax in the coil since it will create a choke and lead to high SWR readings or poor receive
Step 4: Tune the CB Antenna
Last but not least, you would have to tune the antenna to ensure it won’t damage your radio. It will also help you to optimize the antenna system. CB antenna tuning is best done throughout the installation process before transmitting the radio.
An important thing to note is that high (Standing Wave Ratio) SWR readings can negatively impact your radio. Therefore, it is best to set your SWR every time you move your antenna or do any of the following steps:
- Add spring or quick disconnect
- Change your coax length
- Hit your antenna on something
- Modify your vehicle with a significant metal component
- Switch to a different mount
You’ll need an SWR meter to tune your CB antenna correctly. A few radios might have a built-in SWR meter, but some don’t. You can review your radio’s specifications to understand it better, and be sure to check out our guides on how to tune a CB antenna and which CB channels you should use.
Will This Work for Any Truck or Vehicle?
Yes. The principles here apply to virtually any vehicle (semis like Freightliner Cascadias, trucks like Fords, Chevy, Toyotas, and off-road vehicles like Jeep Wranglers, Jeep Gladiators, etc.) and to most mobile CB antennae brands like Wilson, Firestik, and Stryker). Some of the antenna modifications and steps may be different depending on the type of antenna, so please consult your manufacturer’s instructions.
Factors To Consider When Buying a CB Antenna
If you own a pickup truck or SUV and are looking for a CB antenna, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Choosing the right size for the antenna is essential. The antenna should be as tall as possible to catch the signals correctly while still fitting your vehicle correctly. The type of CB antenna you buy may depend on your needs like whether you’re primarily a highway driver or doing offroading. Our CB antenna buyer guide has both mobile and base station CB antenna recommendations.
We hope this guide simplifies the process of mounting a CB antenna onto your vehicle. If you’re in the market for a high-quality CB antenna, Stryker Radios offers a full line of trucker and magnet mount CB antennas.