9 Best CB Base Station Antenna On The Market – Reviews
You have probably done your research on CB radio units and learned that they are offered with a maximum output of 4 watts (as per regulations). And you cannot do anything about the power, but you can do something about the effective range.
Thus, we are here today to take a look at some of the best CB base station antenna available in the market. The antennas themselves are quite affordable, so you do not have to worry about setting yourself back even further.
There are so many variants in the market. Fret not, we have sifted through them all and presented the very best in this nifty article for you to look at. So sit back, grab some food, relax, and have a read.
Best CB Base Station Antenna Reviews
So what makes the best CB base antenna? What sets these antennas apart from the rest of the ones available in the market? Let us take a deeper dive into the matter.
1. TRAM 1480 Amateur Dual-Band Base Antenna
8 feet tall? Check. High-quality fiberglass construction? Double-check. The 1480 dual-band base antenna from Tram has all the essentials covered to take it to the best of the best list.
Honestly, we consider it to be an absolute nugget of a deal because you are getting features you would get on more premium models at a fraction of the cost. The antenna comes with a SO-239 connector, so all you need to buy are is a PL-259 connector and a coaxial cable.
Every hardware needed to assemble the antenna and have it mounted to a mast comes in the box. We would call the installation process “intuitive,” but we still recommend that you go through the manual during the assembly process.
The antenna is stationed inside the outer casing. And the casing itself is quite durable and hard, so it should stand the test of time. The antenna can be split into two halves, and the half inside the casing can be adjusted. Also, the halved are connected by a connector, which can easily be adjusted with the included hex wrench.
One thing to note is that the casing can be tightened with the handset screw. The markings along the antenna helped us determine exactly where the two halved should come together, making for a straightforward process of adjusting our SWR. Simply follow the markings, and you will end up with a low ratio.
Moreover, the antenna radials are around ten inches long. Overall, we would say that this is a fantastic antenna for the money. Proper assembly yielded acceptable levels of SWR on 2M, that too without any adjustments. Therefore, the price to performance ratio of this antenna simply cannot be beaten.
2. Tram CB Base Antenna
Next, up we have a unique looking offering, again from Tram. Looks quite small but packs a punch, you cannot go wrong by including this one in your purchase choices. We had a hard time believing most other reviews of this antenna, claiming a 1:1 SWR straight out of the box. So, we went ahead and got one for ourselves.
Build quality-wise, it is very rugged. It is quite hard and durable and will not be giving itself away to the outdoor elements any time soon. And it should hold up against winds, won’t have the shape distorted or bent no matter what Mother Nature throws at it, earning it its well-deserved spot in our best CB base antenna list.
The unit is very lightweight (about a pound), and you can take it almost anywhere. It stands at three feet tall, further aiding its portability. Thus is makes it perfect for use in an apartment, or you could even bring it along with you on a road trip or your local campsite if you so desire.
This is one of those variants of antennas that do not require a ground to operate with maximum output efficiency. It merely uses the coax cable as a ground. In our testing, 25 feet of coax generated an SWR with a range of 1.4-2:1 across waves of 10, 11, and 12 meters.
Fifty feet of coax cable generated even better levels of SWR. Do note that when you are setting this up at home, the wires should not overlap or coil in any way. It should be evenly spread out.
Instead of going all the way to 50 feet of coax cabling, get a 25-meter one and attach a 102-inch counterpoise wire anywhere in the grounding section of the coax connector itself. You could achieve a perfect 1:1 SWR reading by using this hack. The antenna itself is not tunable, so you might find yourself using this method.
3. Sirio Starduster M-400
Now we are going to look at the Starduster M-400 from Sirio. The name seems a little farfetched (admit it, you think so too), but it certainly lives up to the name with excellent reception across all CB radio channels and an outstanding transmission range.
We were a bit disappointed with the overall packaging as it arrived slightly beat up. But thankfully, all the components inside were intact. Kudos for arriving on time. The assembly instructions leave a lot to be desired. And the language was terrible; the text was basically unreadable.
Thus, we only recommend this particular model to people who know what they are doing and most definitely know their way around CB radio antennas. Now we get to assembling the unit. The mast went together well enough, but the screw that is used to hold the upper section together is way too small.
And the radials are grooved in places, and that makes it quite the chore to try and get a proper seal. Everything else slowly fell into place afterward. We got the correct set of screws for the mountings and radials. From there onwards, it took us only a little while longer to get everything up and running. Your mileage may vary.
One additional thing that we did end up doing was adding some silicone adhesive on every possible joint, including the joints for all the radials. After the curing process, we wrapped the joint with some electrical tape. We then proceeded to mount the antenna.
After the mounting process, we started to test the system. Here is where the antenna really started to shine. The SWR maintained a flat line of 0.2 across 1, 20, and 40 band channels. The reception was excellent, and the transmission range surprised us. For us, the performance made up for all the previous shortcomings.
4. Sirio SD 27 Dipole CB/10
Looking for a high-performance antenna but do not want to go through all that trouble of fine-tuning it? Worry not for we present to you the SD 27 from Sirio. It comes factory tuned for mid-band transmissions. Just set it up, and you are basically ready to run!
Taking it out of the box, we were blown away by the quality of the components. Lightweight and sturdy, you really get what you are paying for. It has a waterproofed joint sleeve made out of an aluminum alloy, and thus, it should stave off whatever the great outdoors can throw at it.
The mounting brackets felt solid and robust in hand. And the pack also includes polythene sleeves for waterproofing the radial whip. And finally, we have a female UHF connector.
Fully assembled, it stands tall at around 16 feet. We went the extra mile and wrapped electrical tape around the sliding parts and also the fixed end of the gamma match. This is to prevent rain and melted snow from getting inside and messing with the SWR.
This is one of the first all-metal antennae we are reviewing, and it is a pretty nice break from all the fiberglass ones available in the market.
So what are our results? We obtained an SWR of 1.0 on CB channel 1 at a frequency of 26.965MHz. On band 40, we got an SWR of 1.2. Pretty good performance. There is far less grounding noise. Coupled with very competitive pricing, it warrants itself a spot on our best CB base antenna list.
5. Workman Saturn B100
A high-performance and decently construction from Workman, the Saturn B100, does not require a grounding plane to operate at peak performance levels. It is ideal for installing on the roof of your RV or any sort of roof.
Out of the box, the overall construction of the antenna feels very light and premium. We were slightly confused about the coax length, but a short call to their tech support yields a host of useful info.
And a cable of 50 feet is required to get it to work properly (though in fairness, our radio and antenna were separated by 110 feet, so your mileage may vary). Assembly was very easy, and it was not long before we had everything hooked up and flicked in on switch.
We ran the SWR test runs across channels 1, 20, and 40. The antenna yield SWR levels that range from 1.2-1.4:1. It was highly resonant and had more-than-acceptable SWR levels. We were pleased with the SWR performance.
So after running a few other diagnostics, we were pretty much ready to deliver our verdict. The antenna is very well made and is good looking (if you are into that sort of thing).
If it is not working for you, it can usually be attributed to the following reasons: a short coax cable, problems in the connector assembly, or poor cable quality. This is an excellent antenna, and there are only a handful of places where things could go wrong during the installation process.
Easy to install and competitively priced, we highly recommend this antenna for those individuals who want an antenna that is pretty much designed to work right from the get-go.
6. Falcon 2400 Watt Dipole CB Radio Base Station Antenna
This is the first dipole base antenna we are featuring in our recommendations list. Fret not; we would not have included it if it were not any good. A very basic antenna, we recommend this for anyone wanting to set up a system in their attic.
Again, this is one of those units that come tuned straight out of the factory. You do not need to do much of anything other than simply setting it up and connecting it to your CB radio.
In our case, we ended up using it on an inverted V configuration on our back porch (which is about a foot off the ground). We ended up catching and transmitting signals up to 20 miles away. For something as small and compact as this, it does seem to pack quite the punch. Neat!
One thing we would like to add is that we waterproofed it even further before installation (it’s the back porch after all). Even so, we managed to bring down the SWR range to 1:1. We would call that dumb luck, but hey, this is not the first antenna we have installed. And it is certainly not going to be the last.
We would describe the included instructions as being adequate. Not the best, but it is enough to get the installation done without a hitch.
Now obviously, it is going to perform better if installed as high up as possible. It is well constructed, but it is small enough to be placed in the attic. You should receive levels similar to what we have achieved from our installation, if not better, across all 40 channels!
7. Tram CB Base Station Antenna in White
Once again, we bring you another antenna from Tram. This time, however, it is a no-nonsense, absolutely basic model. However, it is very good at being what it is, a basic antenna. We highly recommend this for anyone looking for a basic antenna which is reliable, easy to set up, and does not take much effort to maintain.
The best feature of this antenna is its price. When we compared the build quality, or rather, what we are getting as a whole, this is quite the steal. Its competitors in a similar build quality bracket demand a much higher premium.
And the instructions, as with many other models we have featured in this list, are what you would call adequate. They help get the work done, but you would need a while, especially if this is your first time assembling an antenna. A big note that the unit does not come with any cables, so you will need to source them separately.
It does, however, come with the compatible mounts and screws. Thus, you do not really need to worry about that bit. One thing we will say about the instructions, though, the tuning segment is quite accurate. Following the instructions, tuning the antenna yielded excellent performance. The SWR levels were close to 1:1.
We also noticed that there was no loss in TX power. This variant does not need a ground plane. However, it is quite sensitive to any nearby metal objects. So take that into consideration. We recommend sticking this somewhere high.
All in all, a very basic antenna with no additional features like weather-proofing, which usually comes as standard with most antennas these days. However, you are getting this at a fraction of the cost of another antenna with exemplary performance. We repeat. Absolutely zero compromises when it comes to performance.
8. Hy-Gain SPT-500
If you were wondering when we were going to include a full-sized antenna in our list, well, we were saving the best for the last. An absolute giant of an antenna, the SPT-500 from Hy-Gain features a low radiation angle, successfully focusing all that power to the level you want it.
Boy, were we excited to review this behemoth! Unboxing, it was a real treat. One thing we would like to point out earlier on is that you would need to invest in a beefier set of clamps. The included set of clamps is too feeble to hold this monstrosity in place.
It has a standard Pl-259 type connector, so you will have no trouble sourcing the necessary coaxial cables. Highly adjustable, this antenna is rated to withstand winds in excess of 80 miles per hour.
We recommend getting another person to help you out during the installation process. This is a whole lot of antenna for a single person to handle, even for hardened professionals. We recommend tuning this unit before putting it up on the mast.
The tuning process is made very easy as the instructions provided are basic and clear cut. As for the performance, well, nothing much to say, really. It performs pretty much as expected of a full-sized antenna.
Moreover, the minimum range is 20 miles, and it only goes up from there. We reckon you could reach a range of up to 90 miles depending on where you live and if certain environmental conditions are fulfilled.
9. FireStik IBA-5
Next up in our top CB base antenna list, we have an indoor antenna set, the IBA-5 from Firestik. For use in a temporary base, apartment, or at a campsite, it really does not get better than this.
With this one, we especially love the adjustable antenna length feature. So you need not do much to bring down the SWR levels. Just tinkering with the length should bring the range down to one that you can work with.
Do note that you will require some grounding for this one. Nothing that a short trip to your local hardware store cannot solve. Also, this is not exactly a plug-and-play solution, like the other models we have featured. You will need to tune it every time you set it up.
As for setting it up, we recommend placing this somewhere like in the attic, at least 2-3 stories high, with the optimal performance being delivered at 3 stories. The results speak for themselves. Low angle TX patterns and SWR levels of 1.2:1 and below. Too good.
What to Look for before Buying
Now, before you invest in a CB radio, you must come to the realization that our base station antenna is the most important component of our CB radio system. CB radios, in general, come with output limited to a maximum of 4 watts. The way you capitalize on this output is by investing in a decent antenna.
We want to make sure we are making the most out of our system, and we do that by topping out the range at which we receive and transmit our radio signals. Thus, we need to pay special attention to this like the length of the antenna, the brand, and of course, how and where we mount it.
Generally, there are three types of CB antennas; fiberglass antennas, base station antennas, and whip antennas. For the purpose of this topic, we are going to focus more on base station antennas than the other two types.
Base antennas are much taller than the other two types (range from 12-18 feet) and are typically made of aluminum or fiberglass. Their length restricts their usage to the base station, that is, in fixed locations, unlike the traditional mobile CB units.
The taller the antenna, the better the range, the optimal antenna length being ¼th that of the radio wave wavelength. But that is very unfeasible for mobile use. However, we could look into such a range for a base antenna.
How CB Station Base Antenna Works?
CB radio antennas are made to do two things. They receive radio signals, which are, in turn, sent over to the receiver, which converts the signal into electrical signals. The opposite also takes place where the receiver takes electrical signals generated by the transmitter and converts them into radio signals.
The other function of an antenna is to send out signals. And the highest efficiency, in terms of sending out radio signals, is achieved when the wavelength of the radio signal exactly matches the antenna’s length.
Also, CB antennas radiate radio signals across 40 bands or channels. The signals can vary with regard to their frequency. It is not practical, not feasible to have an individual antenna for each different frequency. So the designers of antennas pack a frequency from the bands and choose a corresponding antenna length.
This happens to be quite the compromise, and thus, we need to determine whether or not that works for us. And we do that by determining the SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) of the antenna itself and the cable between the antennas. We tune the antenna until we reach acceptable SWR levels.
And we tune the SWR in the system until we reach a ratio of 1:1. This is an ideal situation, and this takes place when the impedance of the line and the antenna match each other. In such a scenario, a full 100 percent of the electrical signal sent from the transmitter is being converted to radio waves and is sent out into the atmosphere.
That is how a CB base antenna works.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the most commonly asked queries regarding CB base station antennas:
1. What CB radio offers the highest range?
All CB radios are limited to 4 watts of powers. Thus, we can say that all CB radios will have the same power output. Price does not play a role here. Therefore the main determinant of range and performance is your antenna and how you install it.
2. Why should I consider tuning my antenna?
Maybe you are new to the tuning process, or you are looking into how to further improve your antenna. Tuning works two folds. They improve the performance of the radio by increasing its efficiency and by improving its range.
They help protect your radio. Un-tuned antennas may reflect the signal back into your radio in the form of heat, which can potentially damage your radio.
3. What is SWR?
SWR is short for Standing Wave Ratio. It is essentially a measure of the efficiency with which your radio transmits a signal and is usually expressed as a ratio. A ratio of 1:1 indicates that your antenna is fully transmitting the signal, at 100 percent.
4. What are the pieces of equipment needed in tuning my antenna?
All you need are an inexpensive SWR meter and a jumper cable. You should not spend more than $20 between the two of them.
5. How do I know which radio I should be looking into?
As we have stated earlier, all radios are rated to output 4 watts of power. No more, no less. So choosing one for yourself comes down to which additional features are important to you.
So there you have it, our best CB base station antenna list. All of the products we have featured have undergone proper testing and rigorous quality checks so you can safely put any of them up for consideration. We hope our article helped you reach a purchase decision. Happy hunting!