A CB radio, or Citizen’s Band radio, is a device that comes in a variety of models and with a variety of features and add-ons that improve performance, make use easier, or provide other useful functions. In general, it’s important to purchase the proper CB radio equipment in order for it to be used as desired. It’s also important to realize that CB radio equipment from different countries is not interchangeable. For example, CB radios made for Australian markets and for the United States have different frequency ranges.
In terms of the CB radio itself, there are three different basic types of CB radio equipment. First, there’s the base station, meant to be set up and left in one place, Second, there’s the mobile CB radio, made for use on a vehicle, Third, there’s the portable CB radio, useful for taking into the field, fitting into small spaces in vehicles, and moving in and out of vehicles, if it’s necessary to switch. In each of these, special features, such as NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radio (NWR), which also includes AMBER alert and 911 outage emergency notification, and features such as backlit display or “nightwatch” can be critical to having CB radio equipment that does what the owner needs it to do.
CB radios have function-critical add-on equipment without which the radio will not function as desired. An antenna is — in most cases — an absolutely necessary piece of CB radio equipment. Although portable CBs come with a built-in “rubber duck” antenna, this may not provide good enough transmission and reception, depending on where in the field one is. Certainly, if the portable CB radio is being used in a vehicle, a mobile antenna is essential. CB radio equipment for tuning the antenna is also crucial, usually including an SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) meter and a jumper cable. For using a portable CB radio in a car, a car adapter kit is necessary.
Other CB radio equipment may qualify as necessary or as accessories. This includes CB radio brackets and mountings, antenna mirror or roof mountings, a power supply or power cord, a microphone — with or without a hanger, tether, holder, or hook — a noise filter or noise suppressor, and speakers. Also useful are power cords and quick disconnects, that separate a mobile antenna in order for a vehicle to pass through a low-clearance area.