Correctly Install a CB Radio

Introduction: Correctly Install a CB Radio

About: Hi :) Thank you, humbly for taking the time to explore my projects. I thoroughly enjoy learning and working with my hands, and hope that you find what I create, and the intentions behind them both worth you...

Installing your CB radio correctly isn't difficult, and a job worth doing is worth doing well!

So get ready to enjoy the wonderful world of free communication in this super simple instructable!

Step 1: Hardware

-CB radio (Mic included)
-Antenna (may already have Coax cable)
-Coax cable (may already be connected to the Mount/Magnetic Mount)
-Tapping clips (1)
-Antenna spring (so it'll flex in lieu of snapping/shattering)

Note: All CB radios are equally powered (out of the box), but not always the same price. I've heard that you should spend $100 on your first setup; that is: $20 for the radio and $80 for the antenna. With experience and in time, you'll start refining your setup. For now, these are just instructions on How To Correctly Install what you've got.

Step 2: Mount Your Radio...

Mount in a place where you can clearly see what channel you're on, and you can comfortably reach the unit.

From the driver seat (tho this picture was taken from the passenger's POV), this spot is ideal for me.

Step 3: Connect

-Mount your antenna onto the spring; taking care not to have the tip blocked by roof rack accessories and such. And mount the spring onto the magnet mount.

-Connect your Coax to the antenna (some antennas are grounded automatically by the car body -as is the case with magnet mounts). Connect the ground wire to anything metal -if you have one.
(Note: My Tri-Mag antenna mount is already prewired with a Coax cable. After connecting the antenna to the Spring, and the spring onto the mount, I just put the mount where the signal wouldn't be blocked or interrupted.)

-Connect the Coax to the back of the Radio. The Coax should be routed from the antenna to the radio with as little 'kinks' as possible.

-Connect your mic.

Now it's time to connect to the power supply!

I'm sparing the lengthy details on how to screw/connect things together because it's a pretty intuitive process; all connections should fit, and only require a few twists to mate the contacts (like from the antenna to the mount) ;-)

Step 4: Like a Pro!

Remove any necessary panels to get to the back of your lighter plug.

Access the RED+ wire of said Plug, and (using your wire tap crimp) clip on the RED+ wire from your radio. This clip makes a clean connection with the radio and the 12V DC line.

Now, find any metal screw attached to your car's metal body panel, and crimp the end of the BLACK- wire onto that bolt.

Your radio is now ready to go!



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    16 Discussions

    very simple and easy to understand the instructions. However, keep in mind that if you use the cigarette lighter to power other devices, it may overload the current and blow the fuse. You can run it directly to an empty 5 amp slot in your fuse box to avoid the potential overload or directly to the battery. If you connect directly to the battery, be sure to turn your CB off when you exit your vehicle so you don't end up with a dead battery. As far as grounding, a screw to the metal framework is fine as the frame of the vehicle is grounded to the negative post of the battery.

    can i use speaker wireas an extenion to hook up to the battery cause the wire on cb radio is to short

    1 reply

    On most modern vehicles the 12V acc plug (cig lighter) wiring is not enough to handle the amperage of a CB radio wile transmitting. RX(listening) only it would be ok, but to transmit I wouldn't use and wire less then 18ga (approx 10Amps)

    2 replies

    the cable on cb rigs ie 4w fm output in uk to the 15w ssb max o/p in EU wouldnt carry more than 5Amps do the maths- V x I = Watts 13.2v x 2A = 26watts

    As a radio ham i regularly run 20w vhf /hf from a cig lighter socket as 10A at 13.2v is 130w, and no need for negative(black) lead to go to battery , has body of car/truck is a much better conductor than any cable.

    hi m8 u use radio a lot please send me a message for instructions on how 2 use one there a cruising channel email is I would like a sponsor like you can I have just got my pops fave.A GME TX3220 How do I talk to just 1 person

    taking advice from a guy that wears crocs? bad idea

    Happy Chicken: Yes. Caveat: try and use a matching gauge, and keep the connectors clean.

    i wouldnt take my power from the radio wiring. its best to just go right to the battery. if you cant, go to the fuse box. the factory wiring may not be able to take the added draw.

    2 replies

    if u do, do u need to connect the ground wire to the battery? or can i just connect it to metal in the cab?

    you can do either. some people report better performance from running the negative to the battery but i haven't noticed any difference.

    if u do, do u need to connect the ground wire to the battery? or can i just connect it to metal in the cab?

    if they are mobile radios then yes. they all run on 12VDC. even my base rigs have a 12v connection in addition to the 120v power cord.

    @Abax969: Thanks for the feedback! I had hoped someone would ask about tuning. To be honest, my antenna was registering long. I used a basic Firestik (I forget the model), but was bored and tried a mobile TV antenna for the heck of it. SWR showed good readings! I've been told the signal sounds clean from my end... perhaps it's because I was situated atop a hill overlooking the valley, though:)!
    Anyway, Tuning Your CB would make an excellent Instructable! I'll get right to it once I'm able to gain access to one -otherwise, I wouldn't mind learning from more experienced CBers out there or even on skip! I go by azükiBEAN; "What's your handle good buddy?"

    Not a bad instruction, but I see no mention of Antenna Tuning.
    Without a proper tuning you will not get optimum range.