How To Tune Your CB Antenna? (Quick & Simple Ways)

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swr tuning

swr tuning

So you have already tussled with your CB radio and got your antenna mounted on the surface and you are finding everything perfectly fine, right? NO! You have only done half of the work by now. Tuning the antenna is the next most important step after the installation of CB radio and antenna.

To enhance the radio’s performance, tuning antenna is a crucial step as all the CB radios comes with the power of 4 watts. So this makes tuning of antenna pivotal as they are solely responsible for the radio’s transmission and the reception.

The better-tuned antenna will lead to good quality contacts, better signals and no interference. Where poorly tuned antenna can harm your radio too.

Solving The Myths:

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that tuning of the CB antenna is not the same as tuning CB radio. There lies a difference. CB radios are mostly tuned to enhance the performance level.

While tuning the CB radios, as the final output is to make the radio sounds good and effective, we adjust the power and the modulation. We are here tuning the radio, not the antenna. Most people think they are tuning the antenna to the radio which is a myth.

While tuning CB antenna is correcting up the signals of the antenna for the vehicle or application not to the radio.

tuning cb antennas

Additional Material Required:

To tune the antenna we need:

  • The coaxial cable of short length or jumper lead

  • SWR meter

  • Pen and a paper

How To Tune The Antenna?

First and the most important step while tuning the antenna is to measure the before performing level of the system with an SWR meter and later on adjust its length or the location according to improve the quality of the signal. Try to get the lowest SWR reading possible either by increasing or decreasing the length of the antenna.

Follow The Following Directions To Tune Your CB Antenna:

  • Park your vehicle into an open noise free surrounding. There should be no obstacles like big trees or houses within the range of 10 to 15 meters. Make sure windows of the car are properly shut down and you are also sitting down in the car.

  • The next step that the coaxial cable has been to disconnect from the back of the radio in order to connect SWR meter. Make sure SWR meter has been connected with the antenna not with the coaxial cable. Now mark the connection “transmitter” or “XMIT” by using the jumper lead to form the connection between the radio and the SWR meter.

  • Measure the SWR meter reading at different levels or at different channels. It is important not to the distance of the microphone. Place it at the same distance for each reading.

  • Switch on the SWR meter to “FWD”

  • Make sure the channel one is turned on the radio.

  • Hold the button and depress it after few seconds to add on the channel.

  • Use the buttons like “Set” or “Adjust” of SWR meter till the time needle reaches to its correct position where there is no disturbance of the sound and position of the needles reaches to the end of the range.

  • While working with the microphone, use the switches like “REF” or “SWR” positions of the SWR meter.

  • By using the paper and the pen quickly jot down the regarding which you can see on the SWR meter and after that realises the transmit key on your microphone.

  • Now the repeat the same steps to tune more channels.

tune cb antenna

Keep It In Mind:

Before adjusting the length of the antenna, there could be the following two basic situations. Let’s understand them:

CASE 1: If SWR reading on channel number 40 is higher than the regarding on channel number 1, then you need to shorten the height of your antenna.

CASE 2: If SWR readings on channel number 1 are higher than the reading on channel number 40, then you to increase the length of your antenna.

CASE 1: If Length Is Longer

If the length of the antenna is longer than it is important to shorten the length of the antenna. There are varieties of methods used by manufactures to shorten the length. You can take the advice or consult your owner’s manual for the well-defined instructions.

Some antennas may require to be cut down to be shortened but some may require “tunable tip or tuning tip”, a feature of the antenna with a small screw on the top of it. Give it a shot by “1/4” increments and then read the new readings to cross-check your performance level.

CASE 2: If The Length Is Short

If the antenna is too short, the desired length will be achieved by increasing its length. Mostly antennas are long but there could be some situations like this. Adding up a spring also works or in the modern antennas, there is a method to add up more length in the antenna.


Hope this article helps you to successively tune your antenna and keep the height in the mind as neither too long nor too short length will give the best performance.

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