For truck drivers, a CB radio is more than just a simple communication device. It’s a crucial piece of equipment that helps you get your job done. To get the most out of their unit, many truck drivers upgrade with various CB radio accessories. As a leading producer of CB antennas and mics, we know a lot about the accessories truck drivers want the most. From power supplies and adapters to microphones, here’s our list of the 9 best CB radio accessories.
High-Quality CB Antenna
A great CB radio is nothing without an equally powerful CB radio antenna. Popular types include whip antennas, mirror mount antennas, and magnet mount antennas.
A strong CB antenna will maximize the performance of any CB radio, helping it reach maximum distance with clear, crisp voice communication. And it will withstand the tough weather conditions most truckers face.
There are several common brands including Wilson, Firestik, and Cobra, but an industry favorite is Stryker’s SR-A10, available in both magnet mount and the traditional trucker whip antenna. It mounts easily and is compatible with any CB radio. Designed and manufactured in the USA, it features an ultra-strong magnet that stays strong at any speed. It features a 63” stainless steel antenna and RG-8x coaxial cable—and handles up to 10,000 W of power. Whether you’re pulling a traditional or dual antenna setup, an upgraded CB antenna is always a great idea.
Pro-Tip: An overlooked but crucial part of your CB radio performance is the antenna stud. Cheap, low-quality studs break and cause all kinds of performance issues. Consider upgrading your stud.
Weatherproof Coax Cable
Out of the box, most CB radios don’t come with durable coax cables. Standard cables are either too short or aren’t weatherproof, which means they’re short-lived. Since most CB radios are operated using a vehicle’s battery power, they can be exposed to high temperatures and all kinds of weather. The heat means low-quality coaxial cables can strip quickly, leaving the truck driver with the annoying and time-consuming task of replacing the cable.
To avoid this, look for a coax cable with the proper length, a strong coating, and UV weatherproofing materials. Exposing your cable to harsh weather or leaving it improperly coiled for a long period can significantly damage the cable and PL-259 connector (also known as a UHF connector). That’s why an upgraded cable (with proper installation) is your best bet.
CB radios need to be tuned properly to work. An SWR (standing wave ratio) meter is essential for tuning operations. Some high-quality radios have built-in SWR meters that work well; when in doubt, use an external meter. Every transmission line experiences some degree of loss, which in turn weakens the reflected signal as it travels back down the antenna. As a result, the SWR is always at its maximum near the antenna and improves as you move away from it. You won’t regret the investment in an SWR meter!
Why is SWR important?
The SWR, or Standing Wave Ratio, serves as a gauge for your antenna’s efficiency. Essentially, the standing wave ratio represents the discrepancy between transmitted and reflected radio waves; the greater the discrepancy, the more interference within the transmission.
An SWR meter is a straightforward tool that measures the mismatch between the transmitted and reflected signals. Given that a properly tuned antenna has its highest SWR at the extremes of the band, it’s crucial to position the SWR meter as close to the antenna as possible. You’ll need to take readings at both ends of the radio’s frequency range to determine the average SWR of your antenna, . The closer these readings are to each other, the more consistent your signal is. Ideally, these two readings should only differ by a few decimal places.
Be sure your SWR meter is calibrated correctly – otherwise you’ll get a false positive reading for a well-matched system. For mobile installations, this loss is usually not significant enough to cause problems. However, if you’re working with a base station, typically located at home, this could be a bigger issue.
CB Radio Adapters
An adapter can be used to connect the CB radio unit to multiple devices. Most CB radios have a single adapter, most likely for power or microphones. Additional adapters can be purchased to add Bluetooth capability, different microphone types and brands, upgraded antennas, and power sources like a cigarette lighter plug.
CB Antenna Springs & Quick Disconnects
Because they’re mounted on the exterior of the vehicle, CB antennas, particularly fiberglass antennas, can break easily if they get caught on an object like an overhead pass or low-hanging tree. To reduce the chance of sudden breakage, consider a spring and quick disconnect system.
Springs are typically add-ons to the antenna unit. They sit between the antenna and the mount. Their coiled, flexible design gives the antenna extra flexibility to bump and move around.
A quick disconnect system makes it easy to disconnect your CB antenna in a snap. Simply twist or pull the antenna to remove it when you’re going under low-clearance areas to avoid potential damage.
Boosted External Speakers
Trucks tend to be noisy, especially on the job site or driving in heavy traffic. An external CB speaker gives you that extra volume you need to use your radio in any condition.
CB radios often have low-quality, quiet speakers built-in to the unit. If your unit is mounted under your seat or slightly away from your person, it can be hard to consistently hear what’s being said. An external speaker system makes sure you don’t miss a thing.
Noise-Canceling CB Radio Microphone
What’s the point of having a CB if you can’t hear what people are saying? One of the more overlooked but underappreciated CB radio accessories is the CB microphone unit. A quality CB mic will feature noise-canceling technology while being lightweight and easy to handle.
Brackets, Mounts, and Hangers
If you’re having issues with your CB radio unit or antenna moving around too much, you likely need an upgraded mount (also referred to as a hanger) to keep it in place.
Some options include a dashboard mount that connects directly to your vehicle and makes it easier to access the CB unit or a floor mount in case you need to utilize floorspace for your radio.
If you’ve got your radio on the floor, it’s a great idea to use a protective case to protect the radio face and knobs from dirt.
Wrapping It Up
There is no shortage of CB radio accessories available for truckers. While we haven’t touched on everything, our list focused on the CB radio accessories truckers and on-the-road drivers need most. There are plenty more accessories for handheld CB radios if that’s more up your alley.
As always, be sure to check out our entire line of CB antennas, CB microphones, CB radio accessories, and ham radios. Stryker’s best-in-class warranty and stellar customer service make us a top choice among both professional and amateur operators who expect the best from their radios.