CB Options for your FJ

CB Options for your FJ

CB for your FJ CruiserBefore choosing a CB radio for your FJ, it is important to understand that all stock CB radios broadcast with the same amount of power due to regulation imposed by the FCC. When CB radios are produced, the products must transmit at or under 4 watts of power in order to be within regulation. This is important as it makes choosing a CB radio less about the power and more about choosing a radio that fits your vehicle and your needs.

Choosing a CB Radio for your FJ
FJ drivers are often avid off-roaders, and as a result, we have seen almost every model of CB installed inside an FJ. While there is room to install almost any radio, we have found that compact CB’s are the most popular choice. Our favorite compact CB’s are the Cobra 75 WX ST and the Uniden 510 Pro XL.

While both of these radios are compact, the design styles are very different. The Uniden 510 is a traditional-looking CB that has basic functions and is built on a heavy-duty chassis. This radio is ideal for users traveling in dusty locations with rough roads.  Popular mounting locations for the Uniden 510 include the top left portion of the dash, the passenger side of the center console, and the cup area of the center console.

The Cobra 75 is a unique radio that has all the CB controls integrated in the microphone, making the radio very compact.  The advanced microphone attaches to a small control box that is easily hidden, enables the radio to be mounted almost anywhere, and is easily disconnected. Many FJ drivers mount the control box in or under the center console and drill a small hole where the microphone can attach to the control box. Additionally, the Cobra 75 receives 10 NOAA weather channels, which makes it easy to track current weather conditions.

Choosing a mounting location for the CB antenna
Once you have determined the CB radio and its mounting location, it is time to think about where to mount your CB antenna. The antenna’s mounting location will have to be metal and well grounded to the chassis of the vehicle. The CB antenna uses the chassis of your vehicle to create a ground plane and transmit signals. If your mounting location is not grounded, your CB will not perform properly.

While choosing a mounting location might sound like a daunting task, the FJ community has made this a simple process. Originally created by Bandi of FJcruiserforums.com, the Bandi mount has become the most popular way to mount a CB antenna to a FJ cruiser. The Bandi mount uses existing bolts and easily installs onto the rear hinge of the FJ cruiser for a factory look. The mount is easy to install and can support a large CB antenna. However, the Bandi mount is powder coated, which will prevent the mount from grounding and cause CB issues. When installing the mount, be sure to scrape off the powder coating, allowing the mount to properly ground to the vehicle.  Additionally, the Bandi mount does not include an antenna stud, so one will have to be purchased separately. We recommend a ring-style coax for use with the mount as it creates a low profile and is easy to install.

Other popular FJ mounting locations are the front hood rail or the roof with a magnet antenna.

Choosing a CB Antenna
Choosing the proper antenna for your vehicle is very important since the antenna determines your range - not the radio. Most FJ users prefer fiberglass antennas as they are durable and have the antenna coil at the top of the antenna. The most popular fiberglass antenna is the Firestik FS, as it has a heavy-duty build, is able to transmit long distances, and packs a 5-year warranty. The Firestik FS is available in multiple lengths, but most FJ users choose a 3’ or 4’ antenna. For best CB performance, it is recommended that half of the antenna clear the roof of the vehicle. 

If you are interested in a magnet mount antenna, rather than a fiberglass model, we recommend the Wilson 1000 as it can transmit long distances and is easy to pair with a stock CB radio. 

Tuning your CB antenna
Once you've attached your CB radio, coax cable, mount, antenna stud, and CB antenna, the final step is tuning your CB antenna.  All CB antennas need to be adjusted to match the vehicles chassis and mounting location, as the ideal length differs for every vehicle.  While this process might sound intimidating, it is actually quite simple.

To tune your CB antenna, you will need an SWR meter. Full-size CB radios, such as the Cobra 29, have a built-in SWR meter while most compact radios do not. If you have a compact CB, such as the Cobra 75 or the Uniden 510, you will need to purchase an external SWR meter. Once you have the meter installed, you can test your SWR while incrementally raising or lowering the adjustable tip on your antenna until the SWR reading is as low as possible. Good SWR levels are close to 1.0 and anything under 2.0 is fairly decent.  If your SWR is over 3.0, you have an installation problem, likely caused by a poor ground. 

For detailed antenna tuning instructions please see our online CB antenna tuning guide.(http://www.rightchannelradios.com/tuning-cb-antenna-adjusting-swr)

Enjoy your new CB system
Now that your CB system is complete, it’s time to get out and explore the world via your FJ cruiser. Before you get on the trail, it is a good idea to go out with a friend and test your CB’s range. Be aware that natural features such as hills and valleys can affect CB transmission, so start close while slowly moving farther away. Once you figure out how far your system can transmit, keep that distance in mind when you are exploring the backcountry.

About the Author
Right Channel Radios (http://www.rightchannelradios.com) specializes in CB radios, antennas, and accessories for off-road drivers.  We are dedicated to helping drivers select the best equipment for their vehicle and ensuring it works properly out on the trail.

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