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AM CB Radios Q & A
1 May 2016

What range will a AM CB radio give me?

Generally speaking, range for a CB radio could be anywhere from 1 to 20 kilometers depending on terrain, type of antennas used and atmospheric conditions. The typical range to expect from a mobile CB radio is about 2 to 8 kilometers. Home base station setups with larger roof mounted base antennas will usually give more range than the ground level mobile units.

Why does there seem to be more static on CB channels than what I hear on other types of radios?

Just like your car stereo’s AM and FM bands. AM has more interference than FM. CB channels are transmitted & received using similar AM type of transmission mode. Look for CBs which have a noise blanker (NB) switch
which helps minimise some of the noise better than standard CBs which have no noise filters.

What frequency do AM CB Radios run on in New Zealand?

AM CB Radios have been allocated the 26 MHz frequency many years ago and therefore most AM CB radios that are in use in New Zealand are 26 MHz radios. In 2012, RSM (Radio Spectrum Management) announced that AM CB Radios will be allowed to also operate on the 27 MHz frequency in line with AM CBs in Australia and the United States. Be aware when making a purchase that nearly all trucks in New Zealand are currently running on 26 MHz and are very unlikely to change.

What is the best antenna for my mobile CB radio?

This is a tough question to answer and there are 3 variables. As a guideline, the taller the antenna the better it will work. Mount your antenna as high as possible on your vehicle and try to get at least 50% of it over your roofline. It won’t matter what brand name, colour or style, the antenna length is more important than other considerations. CB antennas that are less than 1 metre tall generally do not give the best performance.

Do I need a license to operate a CB radio?

No, since the early 1980s, the government agency controlling the use of the airwaves stopped requiring licenses for CB radios operating on 26MHz.

If all CBs are limited to 4W and 40 channels, isn’t a $200 set as good as a $500 set?

NO. Its like saying since all AM/FM car stereos pick up the same stations, isn’t a $200 unit as good as one that sells for $1,000. Factors like receive sensitivity and selectivity, noise filtering and modulation quality will all be better in a more expensive model. You get what you pay for! Also, features like mic and RF gain controls, built in meters, noise blankers and more will also vary with different CB radios.


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