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How to Build a CB Radio Base Antenna

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Citizen's Band (CB) radio is not as popular as it was in the 1970s and 1980s, but it is far from dead. It isn't elegant, but this quick and simple CB antenna design is ideal for children curious about radio, as well as anyone who might need to move their CB base unit frequently.

Inside a coaxial cable

Use your pocketknife to strip away the outer insulation from 102 inches of the coaxial cable. Take care not to damage the metal braided shield that lies under the outer insulation. The total length of your cable depends on the distance you anticipate running it back from the antenna and to your CB, but the last 102 inches will be used to make the antenna itself.

Pry or cut open a small hole in the braided metal shield, and draw out the wire inside it. When you finish this step, you will have a "Y" made up of 102 inches of metal braid, 102 inches of exposed wire, and the remaining length of cable.

Bring the braid and wire ends, and push them into an antenna insulator. The kind you will want in this case is a plastic or glass insulator that looks like a cylinder with holes on either end. With two 102-inch sections, you will have a 17 foot loop. 17 feet is appropriate for a 1/2 wave, which is ideal for CB use. You may wish to bind the ends together with electrical tape just below the insulator, to give the loop more durability.

Tie a rope to the antenna loop, throw the other end of the rope over a high tree branch, and use the rope to haul the antenna up a tree. The tree will serve as an antenna stand, but almost anything at least 8.5 feet high will do. The stand needs to be at least that high to get the antenna loop off the ground. Do not substitute a metal pole as an antenna, because the metal will interfere with the antenna.

Run that part of the coaxial cable you did not modify back to the CB base unit, plug it in, and start transceiving messages.

Things You'll Need:

  • At least 102 inches of coaxial cable
  • Pocket knife
  • Antenna insulators
  • Electrical tape (optional)
  • Rope


  • An antenna of this type should be disconnected from the CB during a thunderstorm.
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