In this piece, we are going to discuss the many accessories that CB radios usually come with. The first item is the antenna. The antenna you choose decides much of how your experience will be. The performance, in other words, depends a lot on the antenna you go for. The biggest reason is that the 27 MHz (11 m) band, in which the CB radios operate, is relatively a very long wavelength.
Additionally, you have the option to choose from a variety of equipment and accessory options when it comes to the various components of an effectively working CB radio.
Let’s dive right into it.
First, you have to understand that certain accessories are in-built. These accessories are more like basic technologies that help the entire CB radio technology to work smoothly. We will first have a look at those.
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In-built technologies and accessories
CB radio service uses, mostly, AM-only phase lock loop. This is a technology that utilizes ICs. An IC stands for an integrated circuit. Before the integrated circuits were winning over the market in almost all radio and transmission fields, the CB radio services had to use solid-state transmitters. Solid-state transmitters replaced the vacuum tubes, which were the most rudimentary accessories for radio and transmission purposes since the beginning.
Slowly, transistors replaced quartz crystals, which were less efficient and costlier at the same time. Since the mid-1970s, the CB radio service uses PLL instead of crystal synthesis.
There are many more internal accessories that help the CB radio service in many ways by enabling various technological features. The automatic noise blanker is one of the more important accessories.
Without it, you will be getting a ton of background noise. The SWR meter, volume control, RF gain, PA for bullhorn, automatic level control, and the CB/WX switch for the weather-radio receiver selection are some more in-built accessories.
Your microphone choices
You have a good deal of options to choose from when it comes to your microphone choice. Let’s go over a few mic accessories and their advantages so that you can make a better decision about what to go for.
It could be a noise-canceling microphone that reduces background noise; an electret microphone that electrostatically converts the sound to electrical signals; an echo mic that forces some distortion or echo into the audio you transmit; a ceramic mic with high impedance but low cost; a dynamic mic that uses permanent magnet; or a power mic.
The power mic is a pre-amplified microphone that amplifies the audio before the audio manages to get to the radio. A lot of people speak softly and sometimes, we all struggle with weaker signals. A powered mic is the microphone of choice for that. The options are many, some good ones come for around $15-20 or more. A battery is required. And there’s usually a knob on the backside.
External speakers do one very simple but very effective job: boost the volume. Sometimes, you might be driving with your windows down, or you just need a little more volume – an external speaker is what you should go for.
There are tons of good external speakers that can get the job done. They also come loaded with added features. For example, you can purchase waterproof external speakers for yourself!
Other kinds include big mouth speakers, noise-canceling external speakers, dynamic speakers, mini speakers, boomers, chrome speakers, pre-amplified speakers, talkbacks, noise blankers, wedge speakers, and so on.
What you need depends on your day-to-day usage.
Headsets are integral if you want to communicate hands-free. Hands-free voice communication is a thing that’s very popular and user-friendly. Whether it’s wireless or not, a headset can ease your job by a good amount.
Wired headsets are cheaper. Wireless ones (that use the Bluetooth technology) are costlier but equally effective. Depending on what you need and what will make things easier for you, you can choose any kind.
There are also dedicated motorcycle headsets that are not like traditional headsets but more like smartphone earphones. Some are intercom style while some are closed-face kits.
If you’re looking for handheld CB radio check out this top-ranking list.
Noise and sound filters are very important in certain cases. You will find a lot of interference sometimes. And it could be internal or external interference. There is also electrical and engine noise sometimes that bothers CB radio users.
For all these noises, there are specific troubleshooting tips and tricks. But none of them are sure-shot and 100% functional. For increased effectiveness, you need filters. Some high pass filters are costly, but most of the common filters that will sort out the problem for you come for as low as $20.
There is more stuff that you can add to your CB radio to multiply its functionality.
- Adapters and connectors: the coax connectors that are so widely used are just the tip of the iceberg. Depending on your particular usage, you might be needing anything out of these: 90-degree angle adapters, crimp-on adapters, UHF adapters, TNC adapters, PL259 coax ends, BNC connectors, microphone plugs, wire connectors, antenna adapters, Y adapters, etc.
- Springs and quick disconnects: springs are used to save antennas from objects like branches while quick disconnects are mechanisms to quickly set-up and remove an antenna.
- PA speakers: PA speakers or bullhorns allow you to send your voice outside your vehicle.
- Power Acoustik radio speakers: these are high-quality, branded speakers for cars. From coaxial speaker pairs to component systems and stereos: installing these in your car can give you finer audio from your CB radio output.
- Cases: many of us ignore that the radio (or scanner) that we use needs protection as well. That’s why they have cases. Heavy-duty leather carrying cases are all the rage right now.
- Belt chips: belt chips enable you to attach your CB radio to your belt using a holster. They sometimes come with mounting clips and screws.
- 12 Volts: there are tons of 12-volt accessories on the market right now ranging from vacuums and soldering irons to chargers.
- Meters: SWR meters allow you basic tuning capabilities of CB radios which are crucial to setting up your antenna for your desired use of CB radio service.