ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Picking a CB Antenna for Your Vehicle

Updated on July 10, 2008

Usually the most difficult part of assembling a CB system for a vehicle is determining what type of antenna to use and where on the vehicle to mount it. As the CB antenna is the most critical system element that affects performance, it’s important to select an appropriate antenna and mounting location.

Mobile CB Antennas by Type

CB antennas used with vehicles generally are classified based on their antenna coil location. Most CB antennas contain a coil, which refers to the section where the antenna wire is wrapped tightly around the antenna shaft. This tightly wrapped coil allows for shorter and more convenient antenna lengths to be used.

Base Loaded CB Antennas

A Wilson Base Loaded CB Antenna
A Wilson Base Loaded CB Antenna

A base loaded CB antenna will usually have the coil encased in plastic housing at the base of the antenna. Magnet mount, roof mount and trunk lip mount antennas are all classic examples of base loaded CB antennas. Base loaded antennas are often the easiest to install as they usually don’t require a separate mounting bracket; their base simply mounts directly to the vehicle’s surface. Due to their simplicity, they are often used with automobiles, vans and pickup trucks. While they are usually the easiest antenna type to install, they tend to be the least efficient at transmitting and don’t offer as many mounting options as center and top loaded antennas.

Center Loaded CB Antenna

The Wilson 2000 Center Loaded CB Antenna
The Wilson 2000 Center Loaded CB Antenna

Center loaded antennas usually contain the antenna coil in a plastic housing in the middle of the antenna. These antennas usually are made up of a thick steel lower shaft and an upper thin steel whip. Unlike most base loaded CB antennas, they require a separate mounting bracket in order to mount to the vehicle. Nearly all CB mounts and threaded antennas utilize an industry standard 3/8” x 24 thread, which makes the vast majority of antenna mounts and antennas interchangeable.

Center loaded antennas are popular with professional truckers and are often used in pairs in a co-phased installation. They offer a good balance between high wattage capbilities, transmission efficiency and mounting location flexibility.

Top Loaded Fiberglass CB Antennas

Top loaded antennas are traditionally made from a fiberglass rod and have the antenna coil near the top of the antenna. They are usually the most cost efficient antenna, are the most efficient at transmitting a signal and offer more mounting options than base loaded antennas. Subsequently, fiberglass top loaded antennas tend to be the most popular choice for CB vehicle installations.

While efficient and flexible, top loaded antennas don’t offer the wattage handling capabilities that base and center loaded antennas do. Unless you’ll be using heavily modified CB equipment (usually illegal) or HAM radios, this shouldn’t be a concern. All top loaded antennas can easily handle the 4 watts of transmission power used by most stock CB radios. As previously noted, top loaded fiberglass antennas are the most popular CB antenna used with vehicles and can be commonly seen on semis, trucks, cars, vans, RVs, jeeps and other vehicles.

Mounting Location Guidelines

There are a number of factors to consider when picking a mounting location, many of which will be heavily influenced by your vehicle type and antenna selection. Keep the following guidelines in mind when considering a mounting location:

1. It’s important to have the antenna coil above the roof-line of the vehicle in order to achieve satisfactory performance. In this regard, top loaded antennas offer more mounting flexibility as they can be mounted more places on the vehicle and still comply with this guideline. A CB antenna can be mounted with the coil below the roof-line, but performance will suffer.

2. Try to mount the antenna as high on the vehicle as possible. The higher the antenna is, the less likely the vehicle’s chassis will interfere with the signal and the better the antenna will perform. When choosing a mounting location, make sure to consider required antenna clearance for daily driving and parking needs. Accessories such as quick antenna disconnects can be used to quickly remove a CB antenna without tools and can be extremely useful.

3. A good vehicle ground is critical and without one the antenna will perform poorly. When choosing a mounting location, try to select one that is well grounded to the vehicle’s chassis, or can be grounded using a short jumper cable. If a good ground isn't available, you'll need to use a no-ground plane CB antenna which is able to function correctly without a proper ground.

Following these general guidelines should help you to get the best performance possible from your vehicle's CB antenna.


There are a number of quality, reasonably priced antennas on the market today. A Wilson antenna, Firestik antenna or K40 antenna should serve you well as all are high quality CB antennas. Keep in mind your particular needs, your vehicle's characteristics and the discussed mounting considerations and you’ll be able to select a CB antenna that performs well.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)