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What is the Best SSB Radio (Most Powerful CB Models)

man standing in front of truck

SSB radios are more powerful than regular CB radios and can emit about 12 watts. More power means more reach, so SSB radios are great for those who need a wider range. 

Let’s take a look at a few SSB radios for long-range communication.

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Best SSB Radios Reviews

1. Uniden Bearcat 980 40-Channel SSB CB Radio

Aside from the very desirable price, the Uniden Bearcat 980 is also the only one from the manufacturer with SSB capabilities. So if you are a fan of Uniden products, this is the only one with a further range.

The design and display of the Uniden SSB radio also earn it some points with the modern design with silver trim and large blue color display (with 7 different color combinations) that is easy to read. 

The SSB radio also allows you to connect to emergency channels and NOAA weather channels with the simple click of a button.

The large microphone with the device has a noise-canceling feature that will eliminate all background noise and static that can interfere with transmissions.

Pros

  • Illuminated display for easy reading
  • Modern design
  • Only one from Uniden with SSB capabilities
  • Connect to NOAA weather channels
  • Connect to emergency channels with a click of a button
  • Affordable price
  • Noise-canceling microphone
  • Compatible with wireless mics

Cons

  • RF gain and squelch aren’t as powerful

2. Galaxy DX-959B Mobile CB Radio

The price of this particular Galaxy SSB radio is higher than the others for many reasons, and you can start by seeing it in the display. It features a large display with control knobs easily labeled for control.

It even has a meter showing the decibels, power, and SWR. You can also choose the lighting for the backlit display that suits your preference. The device is even smart enough to display all lettering as white during daylight.

The noise filter in this particular device is also higher-end and can effectively cancel any background noise to make sure you have crystal clear audio.

Of course, for the price, you also get an ANL (automatic noise limiter), squelch control, talkback, and more.

Pros

  • Talkback feature
  • Large display
  • Backlit display
  • Informative meter
  • Dimmer control
  • Easy to use knobs
  • Squelch control
  • RF gain
  • ANL
  • SSB capabilities

Cons

  • The blue display can be very bright
  • Doesn’t have up to 7 colors to choose from

3. President Electronics MC Kinley USA Transceiver CB Radio

It also features a built-in SWR meter that will show you the tuning of your antenna, making it easy.

Similar to the other devices, with President Electronics, you get access to the full range of CB channels (40 in total) and the SSB ones as well.

There isn’t any adjustment required when you purchase this CB radio because it comes optimized for use. Features you get with the President Electronics MC Kinley CB radio include squelch, channel scanning, memory channels, and access to the NOAA weather.

The display is also large with block lettering and is backlit with orange light during low light conditions. However, you won’t be able to pick from 7 different colors.

Pros

  • Access to all CB channels
  • SSB enabled
  • ANL (automatic noise limiter)
  • Squelch function
  • Can connect to weather channels
  • Large display
  • Channel scanning and memory
  • Talkback

Cons

  • The display can look a bit jumbled
  • Not a lot of lighting colors

SSB Radio Buying Guide

SSB CB radios can give you an even longer range, meaning you can communicate with people further away. Picking out a CB radio and one with SSB capabilities is pretty similar.

Some of the features you should definitely want in an SSB radio are as follows.

SSB Capability

The SSB capabilities your radio has is to help you reach a wider audience (more channels). A regular CB radio can only allow you to communicate with people within a few miles. 

If you know you need a further reach than that, then SSB capabilities is a definite must.

Transmission and Reception Quality

To make sure you get the best quality audio, the antenna is very important. In general, the larger the antenna, the better reception you get. You can also buy multiple antennas for different purposes and switch them out.

white truck driving in the middle of nowhere

Noise Reduction

Keeping on the topic of better transmission and reception, we move on to the features of an SSB radio that can help with this.

  • Squelch Control

It is considered quite a basic function and devices that make our list will definitely have it. It is responsible for reducing the static in incoming transmissions.

If you have operated any sort of communication device, you will know that static can be a real headache and have an enormous effect on the clarity of the transmission.

Not only that, but the squelch control is a smart function that will only receive a true transmission. This saves you from having to listen to static while waiting for your reply.

  • ANL (Automatic Noise Limiter)

Next up is the ANL or Automatic Noise Limiter. The ANL is responsible for filtering out background noise (such as engine sound) from your end.

With the two features together, you can have crystal clear communication between both parties.

Size

Where you plan to use the device directly affects the size of the SSB CB radio. If you plan on installing it in your smaller vehicle, then you would need to consider a more compact size.

For truckers or people who want to set up a base station, the SSB-enabled CB radio can be of a larger size.

Ease of Use

Is the interface intuitive? Is the CB SSB radio easy to install? These are all questions you should ask yourself before pulling the trigger. You do not want to spend more than half an hour at most working on the radio.

Ones with side microphones can get in the way of the radio fitting snugly into its cubby. In this case, for those mounting it in their vehicle, a front-facing microphone would be better.

Display

This feature may slip a lot of people’s minds, but you need to make sure your display has a backlit feature.

Without this, it could be very difficult to read what’s on the screen without any lighting at night. The letters and numbers should preferably light up as well (LED lighting) for an even easier time reading.

Some devices even have customizable color lighting combinations and a dimmer switch to make sure the LED isn’t too bright.

man with mask standing beside truck

PA System

Depending on what you need the SSB CB radio for, a PA system could come in handy. Just in case you need to make a public announcement or talk to people who do not have a CB radio, you can click on the PA function.

Weather Channel Access

For those who experience long hauls on the road, knowing exactly what sort of driving conditions you may face is very important. 

This is why a lot of the SSB enabled CB radios out there have access to the NOAA weather channels [1] for real-time updates.

Emergency Channels

Emergency channels are important as well. Channel 9 is reserved for emergencies and channel 19 is exclusively for truckers.

You can receive real updates and emergency broadcasts via channel 9 and get on-the-road alerts from fellow truckers about potential hazards and any other element that may affect your drive on channel 19.

Channel Scan

Instead of having to scan channel by channel manually (40 channels is a lot to scan through), the channel scan function on your SSB radio can do it for you.

The radio will scan through channels until it detects activity before stopping for you to listen.

This activity can occur while you are on the road, without needing you to take your hands off the wheel or to stop your vehicle.

truck driving on the countryside

FAQ

What is the most powerful CB radio on the market?

The most powerful CB radio on the market would be the Galaxy DX-959B, although the ones that made our list can all transmit at long ranges.

What is the best CB radio for long range?

The best CB radio for long range is the Cobra 148 GTL. However, since SSB capability can catapult the power output to 12 watts on a lot of other devices, the ones on our list are great for long range as well.

What is SSB on a CB radio?

The SSB, or single side band, is a function that gives users access to more channels than just the standard 40 on a CB radio.

How far can an SSB radio transmit?

An SSB radio can transmit as far as 30 miles! This is a big improvement on the under 10 miles a regular CB radio transmits.

Our Top Pick: Uniden Bearcat 980 40-Channel SSB CB Radio

Our top award goes to the Uniden Bearcat 980! This SSB CB radio offers all the basic features and more for the best price on the market. It has a rugged build and a very sleek and modern design with a display that is visible day and night.

You can expect crystal clear communication with the SSB radio since it comes with an upgraded noise-canceling microphone.

It can connect to all the necessary channels easily and the compact size of the radio makes it easy to install.

Wondering which CB radios are the best? We have a list of our top CB recommendations you can read next.

William