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yellow semi truck

How to Install a CB Antenna on a Semi-truck (Guide)

Updated On June 3, 2022

A CB radio keeps you posted on most road situations like traffic jams, road accidents, and road and weather conditions. It is, therefore, crucial to have a CB radio in your truck. You also need to have your antenna properly installed to get a clear signal.

I installed my CB antenna in various positions on my semi-truck and tested the signal for each vigorously to figure out the best positions to set a CB antenna. In this guide, I will teach you how and where to install your CB antenna on your semi-truck for maximum signal reception.

  • In Short, to install a CB antenna on your semi-truck, unscrew the screws on the side of the truck door.
  • Grab your spacer and insert it right into the hole from where you have just removed the screw.
  • Now fasten your mirror mount on the hole using an 11mm socket.
  • Next, get your antenna together.  Start by loosening the screws on one end of the antenna using the Allen Wrench.
  • Pull the adjustable section of the antenna and then secure the antenna on the door side.
  • After mounting your antenna, connect the coaxial cable to the antenna and the radio inside the semi-truck.

The CB radio is located right above the dashboard of the truck in most trucks. However, it doesn’t matter; you just need to install your CB antenna correctly to obtain a strong signal. I will go into detail in the following sections.

What you Need to Install a CB Antenna on your Truck

You will need the following tools to get the job (CB antenna installation) done:

  • CB radio set up (for my case I have a gear keeper micro tractor, microphone, trucker series external speaker, Wilson trucker 2000 series)
  • White Gold Lettering – with a tool and lock washer
  • CB antenna mount
  • A coaxial cable – 18 feet
  • A t40 Torx bit
  • Spacer
  • Allen Wrench
  • 11mm socket
  • SWR meter
  • A coaxial cable jumper

Where Should I Mount my CB Radio?

In practice, the middle section right above the dashboard is the ideal position to mount your CB radio. Simply secure your radio using a bracket.

Where Should I Mount my CB Antenna?

You may be wondering where to mount your CB antenna; the door side is the best for semi-trucks. Installing the CB antenna in the wrong position will negatively impact signal capture, so, you need to install it on the door side for convenience. CB antennas also work well on the rear part of the truck but that will be inconvenient considering the large size of the truck. You may require a longer coax cable in that case.

Generally, the antenna should be mounted in such a way that it is the highest point on your semi-truck to avoid signal interference and maximize reception. If you cannot reach the highest point, then use an adjustable antenna that stretches high above the track level. This will enhance its performance.

Mounting the CB Antenna

Now let’s focus on the CB antenna installation. It is a simple process that you can accomplish in a few minutes. Before you start setting up the antenna, make sure you have your CB radio secured on the roof section just above the truck’s dashboard.

You need to mount your CB radio in a place where you can easily access it and comfortably press the buttons to switch stations.

Also, avoid mounting the CB radio behind objects like the steering wheel because you won’t be able to see the radio properly in the rear-view mirror. It is dangerous. The microphone cord may hang down creating a distraction. Furthermore, the microphone can fall and hit the driver. So, make sure you station your CB radio correctly to avoid such incidents.

If you have a smaller CB radio, install it on the dashboard. You may also install it with the U bracket in the box. Larger CB radios should be installed with a bracket. Now let’s install the CB antenna on a semi-truck to get a strong signal.

Mounting the CB Radio Antenna: Procedure

After you have found and put aside all the required tools, your CB radio must be secured now. Follow the procedure below to install a CB antenna:

  1. Using a t40 Torx bit remove the screws on the side mirror section on the truck door. Make sure it is compatible with your car model.
  2. Insert the spacer into the hole you have just created by removing the screw on the truck door.

  1. Fasten the white gold lettering on the hole using a 716 Wrench to hold it in place. (1)

  1. Set up the antenna. To set up the antenna, first, loosen the screws on one end of the antenna. The screws hold the adjustable part of the antenna. After loosening the two screws using an Allen Wrench (often supplied with the antenna), pull the adjustable section up.

  1. Mount the antenna on the white gold lettering.

  1. After you have mounted the antenna, proceed and stretch your coaxial cable. Link the CB radio and the antenna. You may need to unscrew some screws on the roof section of your car to pave way for the coaxial cable. You may also run your coax cable through the firewall section on your truck and into the driver’s cabin. And then mount it on your CB radio.
  2. Another alternative to using to run the coaxial cable is through the trunk lid, and then run it via the doorframe and the pillar (on the window). Finally, insert the coaxial cable on the right port on the CB radio.

  1. Which coaxial cable should you use in the CB radio antenna installation? The type of coaxial cable you use will affect the signal your radio receives. You need to fetch and hook a coax cable that’s thickly insulated. A properly coated coax cable will not be affected by the weather.

SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) Meter

The SWR meter is a necessary tool that is required to wrap up or cement the antenna installation process. The SWR can be either a built-in or a separate unit.

The SWR meter can help you determine the correct position to install your antenna. A coaxial cable jumper is necessary if your SWR meter is separate from the CB radio. Most SWR packages have a jumper.

The goal of using an SWR meter is to bring the SW ratio as close as possible to 1:1. You can achieve this by twisting or moving the antenna around until you obtain a ratio close to 1:1. The spot where your SWR meter ratio registers 1:1 is the best for antenna installation. The ratio close to 1:1 indicates maximum signal reception.

While searching for the best spot to erect your CB antenna on your semi-truck, move your car to a clean place with no obstruction. Hills, buildings, valleys, and trees affect the signal reception on the antenna. Make sure you avoid them to obtain genuine results. (2)

Go on and adjust your SWR meter as per the manual’s guidelines. Press the key on channel 1, and then continue to channel 40 to test the SWR meter. Slightly adjust your antenna by lengthening (stretching your antenna by 1/8th inch increment) if the reading on channel 1 exceeds that on channel 40.

If that’s not the case (reading on channel 40 is higher than on channel 1), adjust the antenna to a shorter length.

Avoid an SWR ratio of 2:1 as it can damage your SWR meter.

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References
(1) lettering – https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2013/01/understanding-difference-between-type-and-lettering/
(2) trees – https://www.britannica.com/plant/tree

Video References

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Survivor Gamer

About the author 

John Temple