Why You Need A CB For Off-Roading – And How To Use It!

When you go off-roading in your truck after all your mods have been added and it is tricked out with big wheels and tires, a higher suspension, and steel bumpers, it is also important to have a reliable means of staying in contact with other drivers.

A CB is important safety equipment that every off-road truck or Jeep should have. While cell phones may work some of the time, CBs are more reliable in different settings.

Whether you do hill climbing at popular trail ranges or enjoy driving in more remote areas, a CB is safety gear that should be near the top of your upgrades list when you add bigger tires, a larger suspension system, and bumpers such as specialty steel truck bumpers.

Why Do You Need A CB Radio?

CB or Citizens Band radios are a method of wireless communication most known for their use by long-haul truckers. They're great for long distance communication, even in this day of wireless cell phones.

This is due to the fact that you can't get a wireless signal everywhere, especially when driving your off-roader in really remote, out-of-the-way places that just happen to be some of the best places for off-roading.

With a CB radio onboard, you can stay in contact with your group even when driving in the backwoods away from cell towers. This is critical for safety reasons.

When might a CB be  used? How about when someone gets separated from the group, has an accident, and needs help getting their vehicle pulled out with a winch mounted on a steel bumper. You might also simply want to alert a driver on a shared trail that you are coming their way. These are some of the times when a CB is your most reliable means of communication.

How Does A CB Radio Work?

Before you can benefit from a CB radio in your truck, you need to understand how it works. In a nutshell, a CB antenna captures radio frequencies that are converted into electrical signals that can be heard through the radio receiver and vice-versa.

It can do this anywhere within reach of radio towers, which are a lot more plentiful than cell towers, especially in more remote locations. There are different frequencies transmitted and received by different channels, each of which must be received by adjusting an antenna must be adjusted to the different frequencies.  

How Do You Use A CB Radio?

The thing about a CB if that you just can't install it, turn it on on, and expect it to work. There is a little more to setting up these systems for use, which is why a lot of people pass on them. It really isn't that hard to do and the benefits outweigh the time investment you make in learning how to use one. 

  • Installing the System - A CB installation includes a few different parts. There is a radio and a remote speaker, both of which must be mounted somewhere in your off-roader, and an antenna that gets mounted outside the truck. The radio is wired into an SWR meter, which is then wired to the antenna. The SWR meter is also wired to the electrical system, which powers the entire system.
  • Choosing the Antenna - The antenna length affects which frequencies you can most easily receive as well as how much power it can receive to improve reception. Shorter antennas receive a smaller range of frequencies, while longer antennas receive a broader range. Your antenna must be carefully tuned using the SWR meter so you can receive the most common frequencies and those the others in your party are using. Based on this critical function, you need to buy an antenna that is long enough and adjustable enough to meet your needs while not being too long for the size of your off-roader.  
  • What the SWR Meter Does - The SWR meter detects radio frequencies through the antenna. It is used for adjusting the length of the antenna so it will receive the desired frequency. This is usually the most difficult part of the installation and setup process. Once the SWR meter and the antenna correspond, the whole system should be usable.

While this is only a basic explanation of CB radios and how they work, the importance  here is to highlight why you should install one in your off-road truck. A CB gives you the broadest, most adjustable, and reliable method of staying in contact with the drivers in your party as well as the world out there when you're driving.

As with all other elements in off-roading including the addition of bigger tires, specialty suspension systems, and aftermarket bumpers such steel bumpers, safety should always be the prime concern. Get a CB radio and then learn how to adjust and install it!

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