CB Antennas for Pickup Trucks
Pickup trucks are one of the most common vehicles that utilize CB radios and cause the majority of mounting questions. There are a number of things to understand and consider when mounting a CB antenna for your truck:
Like most vehicles, the best place to mount the antenna is on the top of the truck’s roof. This minimizes interference from the vehicle’s chassis and allows the antenna to be a high as possible for peak performance. If the roof isn’t a viable option, the second best place is, surprisingly, the driver’s side rear stakehole. This allows for the second best obstruction-free mounting location. A number of mounts and kits make this an easy and hole-free location to mount an antenna.
The worst possible places to mount the antenna are in the bed of the truck and directly behind the cab. Both these locations cause significant signal interference and will result in an antenna that is extremely difficult to tune (i.e. achieve acceptable SWR levels). For a complete chart on the best and worst antenna mounting locations on a pickup truck, please refer to this great Pickup Truck Antenna Guide from Wilson.
While many people love the look of dual antennas, they aren’t very effective when used on the narrow bodies of most standard pickup trucks. To be effective in increasing performance, dual antennas need to be spaced at least 8-9 feet apart from each other. If the antennas are within 4-5 feet, they can actually work against each other and decrease system performance. While dual antennas may look great, you’ll need to have them far enough apart to make any noticeable difference.
If you mount your antenna along the back half of the truck, make sure that the bed portion is well grounded. A continuous ground to the battery can be interrupted by rubber washers or other non-conducting materials that are used to connect bed to the cab. If you don’t have a good ground, make sure to run a few ground straps from the bed to the cab in order to achieve a solid ground and a well performing antenna.
Type of Antennas
Base loaded and top loaded antennas are the most common types of antennas used with pickup trucks. Top loaded fiberglass antennas are relatively inexpensive, versatile and perform well with pickup trucks. Base loaded antennas are relatively simple to install on pickup trucks, but are primarily limited to the roof due to their coil location. There are a number of available Firestik CB antennas and Wilson CB antennas that are well suited for pickup trucks.
In our next post, we’ll discuss some things to keep in mind when choosing and mounting CB antennas for semi-trucks and 18-wheelers.