A popular form of short-range communication is through a citizens' band radio, or CB radio. CB radios can be either portable units or base station models. With the number of uses CB radios have, it is important to know how to buy a CB radio. A CB radio Guide will help you determine which features you need, which CB radio to buy for personal or professional use and what the CB radio advantages are.
>> What will the radio be used for?
When you are considering how to buy a CB radio, you will want to know how the radio will be used. CB radio types vary greatly and so do CB radio uses. Truckers use them to keep in communication with other truckers to know road conditions and report accidents. They can also be very handy in personal use to track severe storms or communicate with friends for less money than a cell phone.
Truckers will want CB radios that have antennas and a powerful transmission, due to frequent use and the need for a larger range. Homeowners who are using the radio in times of emergency only may find the best CB radio to buy to be a more basic, less expensive CB radio.
>> Consider the quality of materials
When you go to shop for CB radios from electronics departments, you will see that there are different CB radio types and materials. To know how to buy a CB radio, you might want to consider its material. Many of the CB radios that are for sale are made from plastic; however, there are some that are chrome cased. Chrome CB radios are more durable while plastic CB radios are less expensive.
>> Consider distance and antennas
When looking at distance from the base, you will need to consider the power of the radio and the size of the antenna. All CB radio types can only transmit up to four watts, but many can be expanded. When you expand the CB radio, you will want to consider the quality of that transmission.
When looking at how to buy a CB radio and which CB radio to buy, you will want to consider the type of antenna that you purchase. There are two main types of antennas: fiberglass and magnetic. Fiberglass antennas are extremely popular because they are easy to mount. They can also be purchased with car audio and electronics. The base is threaded and you can use a variety of mounts. You will notice that some antennas are extremely long, and that is for extended reception. If you want dual antennas, you will want to put them far enough apart to create a significant difference in reception.
The other type of antenna you can choose when going CB radio comparison shopping is a magnetic antenna. Magnetic antennas are all-in-one and do not require a separate mount or coax. The magnetic installation offers better performance, and it is mounted on the highest spot of the vehicle. However, magnetic antennas are not as durable. So if you are traveling a lot or have a vehicle that requires higher clearances, you will want to go with a fiberglass antenna.
>> Consider features
When you are determining how to buy a CB radio, you will want to shop for CB radio accessories and additional features. In deciding which is the best CB radio for you, consider the fact that the more features on the radio, the more expensive it will tend to be, but it will also generally be more useful. If you are planning to use the radio regularly, the CB radio advantages will grow with the additional features.
Most features come standard on high quality CB radios, but you will want to look at whether or not they are ones you will use.
Feature Description Automatic Noise Limited Known as ANL on the description of the radio. It is a noise filter so the reception quality will be improved. The noise it can filter out includes engines, static and traffic. Squelch Control Squelch control is a very popular feature as it only transmits sounds when a transmission is received. The user does not have to sit and listen to static. This is a feature on most radios. Weather Updates Weather capabilities are among the most popular features on a CB radio They allow the user to listen to weather reports as they drive through different areas. It can also be used at home base stations to stay up-to-date with the current weather. RF Gain The RF Gain on a CB radio is the description of how sensitive the radio is to other frequencies. It can eliminate all weak signals and then filter the remaining signals based on strength. PA Capabilities PA capabilities allow you to make public announcements over a horn. You can address people outside of your vehicle, similar to a police officer. Instant Channels Instant channels allow the CB user to save popular channels for later and repeated use. This is ideal for weather channels and highway updates. Backlit Display Most truckers find the backlit display a must on CB radio units. It lights the display so you can still easily see and use the radio when driving at night. CB Radio Microphone The microphone quality will affect the reception and transmission. Microphones can also be purchased separately and then added to your radio. Be sure to research any CB radio you are considering purchasing to your full satisfaction so that you will have the peace of mind knowing that you found the best CB radio to meet your needs. Pay special attention to any instructions, warranties or requirements a particular model might have.