The appeal of CB radio for off-road vehicles just doesn’t diminish. The antics of the Top Gear team on their epic road trips demonstrate just what a valuable and life-enhancing piece of kit CB radio is.
Think of Citizen Band radio as the social media of the truck world. CB radios also have a niche following amongst off-roaders and can keep you in contact with other Jeep drivers in areas where mobile phone signals are sparse or unavailable.
We have been selling CB radios for years, and there isn’t much we don’t know about Citizen Band.
If you want to join the CB party or are already an experienced operator, then read our review of the top 5 best CB radios for Jeeps.
|Midland 78 Pro Multi
||Anytone Smart II
||Midland 88 Universal
||Moonraker Minor II Plus 80
|VIEW PRODUCT||VIEW PRODUCT||VIEW PRODUCT||VIEW PRODUCT||VIEW PRODUCT|
The Top 5 CB Radio for Jeeps Review
Midland 78 Pro Multi - Best All-Round – Editor’s choice
The Midland 78 Pro Multi is the updated version of the old Midland 78 Plus Multi, which was the first multiband CB radio from Midland. This enduringly popular and trusted CB brand is an all-around favourite for many off-roaders.
The advantages of the Midland 78 Pro Multi-Channel are the number of features packed into an easy to use and compact product.
The LCD is large and backlit, so super easy to view, and there is a Digital Signal Metre PLL Tuner plus an Auto Squelch to keep the speaker quiet when there is no signal.
Multi-channel operation is quick and easy to operate using the up and down keys. Enjoy 40 UK and EU channels plus other European and North American frequency bands.
Supplied with a mounting bracket and precision mic, the Midland 78 Pro does the business whether you are a new convert to CB or an old pro. And at just a shade over £80, you really can’t quibble with the price.
Are there any drawbacks to the Midland 78 Pro? Well, we honestly can’t think of any, which is why it is voted best all-around CB radio and the editor’s choice. This updated version of the Midland 78 Plus Multi is everything you could want from a CB radio and a name you can trust.
PNI-HP-6500 - Best Value
Is it possible to buy a CB radio for under £40? Yes, it is, and the PNI-HP-6500 is proof that you can get a great CB radio that retails at a bargain price and with no reduction in either quality or output.
The PNI-HP is perfect for a Jeep as it fits in the smallest of spaces – it’s only 110x120x25mm.
Features include RF Gain to reduce noise in the receiver without limiting the radio’s power, key lock function, easy channel scanning and automatic and manual channel selection.
Choose AM or FM band. In addition to the bandwidth type, the station facilitates the selection of the frequency band, allowing the station to be used in other countries in Europe.
The PNI HP 6500 features a digital automatic noise reduction and interference system – Digital Automatic Squelch. Combined with the RF Gain, that noise reduction system offers finer reception and greater clarity.
Enjoy 40 channels and a box that contains a microphone mounting bracket and screws, power cable, lighter plug plus support and screws to hold the radio station.
The PNI HP 6500 offers an awful lot of kit for the price with good reception and fine tuning. The only drawback could be the durability and longevity of the unit, but at that price, you aren’t going to care that much.
Anytone Smart II - Best Compact
The Anytone Smart II CB is a compact and lightweight design weighing just 421 grams. AT 104x109x25mm, it is undoubtedly one of the smallest CB radios on the market. If you lack space in your Jeep, this is the model to choose.
The radio comes complete with all the mounting hardware, but you must buy the antenna separately.
Consumers might be nervous about the output from such a pocket-sized radio, but the output from the Anytone Smart CB is excellent. It indeed compares with bigger units that weigh in at a greater size and a higher price.
Squelch control and RF gain buttons filter background noise and make tuning for signal range easy. Both of these features ensure a tremendous clear voice output.
The Anytone is easy to operate; one knob and several buttons make it intuitive, with all the controls on the front panel so easy to reach. There is a backlit LED display to help the operator further.
The microphone features a handy push to talk button. Unfortunately, the mic is permanently attached to the unit, so this is a drawback as it makes it impossible to secure a better quality or different mic if you want to change it.
Besides the mic issue, this CB radio is compact, economical and easy to operate with good voice output.
The range is good compared to a standard CB, and it will certainly fit into any vehicle, including the snug environs of your average Jeep. And the price is slimline too, at £44.95.
Midland 88 Universal - Best features
If you want to push the boat out and have a CB radio with all the latest features, then the Midland 88 Universal is a versatile product packed with features and from a reputable brand.
It’s just one function after another with the Midland 88 Universal Mounted. As the name suggests, this radio is suitable to mount on any surface. There are tons of accessories in the box, so you can fit it to the dashboard or hang it from the windscreen with different supports offered, including a fixing bracket, DIN bracket and suction cup mount.
It has a 12/24V power supply capability and features protection against antenna circuit mismatch. At just 77mm, the Midland 88 Universal Mounted is perfect for the small confines of your Jeep.
Channel change is easy with up/down keys, and the radio turns on automatically as well. The Midland 88 features a large TFT colour display with messages designed to be easy to read whilst you drive.
The Midland 88 is multi-band, so it offers both AM and FM so that you can talk to people beyond the UK borders. Functionality is top of the list for this radio with 4-channel storage, Dual Watch, which is a feature to monitor two channels simultaneously, and multi-level digital Squelch and Noise Blanker.
The Midland 88 Universal is one of the more expensive CB radios on the market, but it packs a punch with all those features and functions from a trusted and reputable brand and all at just under £150.
Perhaps best suited to an experienced CB operator who will make use of the tech, the Midland 88 Universal Mounted could also make a fabulous gift for someone looking to upgrade.
Moonraker Minor II Plus 80 - Best Seller
The Moonraker Minor II Plus 80 is one of our bestsellers with endorsement from real users.
The Moonraker Minor II is a high-quality unit retailing at £59.99 with a surprising number of features for the price. The traditional CB radio appearance is one of the key selling points for enthusiasts who are proud of their CB habit.
You will find a DC lead in the box with a pre-fitted cigarette compatible plug, so an easy connection to your Jeep is available. There is also a mounting bracket with thumbscrews and a microphone hanging bracket.
Enjoy the command microphone with Auto Squelch and RF Gain for enhanced quality. Simple up/down selection buttons make usage super slick.
Choose from 80 FM channels and just get talking; the Moonraker Minor II Plus is a bestseller for a good reason!
How To Choose a CB Radio for Jeep
There are some unique features of a Jeep to consider when picking the right CB radio and antenna kit. Plus, don’t forget the universal rules of choosing a good antenna in general, such as long is better.
Here are some top tips to help you pick the perfect CB radio set-up for your Jeep.
Cab Interior Space
Vehicle interiors are not that big, so avoiding bulky kits is essential. There are many compact or slimline CB radios, and small does not mean inferior performance either.
Robust and Tough Equipment
CB equipment for your off-road vehicles must be rugged as it will have to withstand plenty of vibrations. Plus, if the cab is in open-air weather conditions can get tricky.
The longer the antenna, the better performance the radio will deliver. Also, the higher the antenna is mounted, the better. The golden rule is at least 50% of the antenna above the vehicle’s roofline with a 30% minimum.
A 4’ (120cm) antenna is the recommended length for most installations. It needs to clear the roofline but beware of risk damage from overhanging trees.
On average, a 4’ (120cm) antenna will give a range of around 4-6 miles and a 3’ (90cm) antenna 3-4 miles, although a lot does depend on the specific conditions and terrain.
Avoid mounting to the vehicle's bumper if you are fitting to the rear of the vehicle and opt for the bonnet/hood, tyre carrier if you have one or roof, all of which should deliver better height.
Mounting to the Tyre Carrier
Rear mounting on the bumper or tyre carrier is one of the most prominent and popular antenna sites. Some Jeep models even have a special mounting bracket for the tyre carrier attachment.
Be aware that if you are mounting an antenna onto a swing-out tyre carrier, it is essential to make sure the tyre carrier arm is grounded to the vehicle. Sometimes, the swing hinge prevents the arm from grounding, and without a good ground connection, your CB antenna won’t work.
Check the fitting by using a multimeter. It’s quite easy to establish a ground at the hinge point if you experience this problem, using either a piece of wire or a grounding strap.
Fibreglass and Soft Top Jeeps
Rear mounting the antenna on a Jeep with fibreglass or soft top can reduce performance compared to mounting it on the vehicle’s front.
The antenna on a CB radio relies on the Jeep’s metal chassis to deliver and receive its signal. Rear mounting the antenna on a Jeep with fibreglass or soft top means it won’t function nearly as well.
Performance may be satisfactory enough; it depends on your requirements, but mount the antenna on the front bumper or Jeep bonnet if you want the optimal signal.
Magnet mount antennas can be viable on some Jeep models but require a solid metal top. With soft top or fibreglass top Jeeps, there is no available location to mount them.
Jeep Bonnet Mounts
Most universal bonnet CB mounts won’t work on Jeep, but specific Jeep bonnet mounts are available for Jeep Wranglers and the newer JK Jeeps, including models from 2007 onwards.
Jeeps are performance vehicles designed to deliver the supreme off-road experience in various terrains and conditions.
A rugged CB antenna is essential, and many Jeep owners say that fibreglass is by far the best choice for a Jeep. Centre-load antennas can break more quickly, but fibreglass can withstand the worst rigours of terrain, trees and overhanging foliage, and the weather.
Fibreglass antennas can be stiff, which in some conditions makes them vulnerable. Those conditions can be eased by fitting an antenna spring. Alternatively, choose a bespoke, flexible fibreglass antenna if you regularly drive in wooded locations.
An antenna spring allows the antenna to flex at the mount point and is recommended for all Jeep installations to help protect the antenna and extend its life.
The coax or coaxial cable is the piece of kit that transmits radio frequencies from one point to another, specifically your radio to your antenna.
When buying coax cables, you can source patch leads with PL259 connectors already attached and moulded patch leads are the best. However, you might want to add the connectors after you have found the the best route for your coax cable, otherwise, routing holes have to be drilled more prominent to accommodate the PL259 connectors.
Choose a thickly insulated coax cable as this will offer better protection against the weather.
How To Set up a CB Radio on Jeep?
Some drivers have the hardware professionally installed and set up, but it’s not that difficult to do yourself. There are plenty of online tutorials to guide you.
Mounting the Hardware
Start by installing the radio unit in the Jeep cab and then fit the antenna to the outside of the vehicle.
Location in the cab is critical as you need to reach the radio buttons whilst you are driving – it sounds obvious, but if the terrain is challenging, you won’t want to reach too far away from the steering wheel.
Most Jeep drivers mount on the dashboard but don’t mount behind the steering wheel as this will block your view. Choose a location that doesn’t interfere with any driving function, and don’t forget your passenger!
However, some users will install it under the driver’s seat because of the temptation of fiddling with the radio whilst you are driving.
Think about the impact of the weather. A location in the cab that stays dry is essential, and also, the unit needs protection from the sun, although you can put a UV protective cover over it.
The radio unit should be installed in the cab first, followed by the antenna on the vehicle’s exterior and then, lastly, the microphone. If you try and key in the mic before the antenna is installed, you risk damaging or destroying your radio.
The coax cable connection is crucial to hook up, and a poor connection can diminish the radio performance by as much as 25%.
The coax cable has to run from the antenna to the radio unit in the cab, plus you will need a power source for the radio – most people use the cigarette lighter. Still, you can also connect directly to the vehicle battery.
If you use the cigarette plug, then always make sure the CB radio is off when the vehicle is not in use, as the cigarette plug might just keep the power on, which will drain your battery.
Standing Wave Ratio (SWR) metre
A Standing Wave Ratio metre will help you mount the antenna in the best location on your vehicle. The aim is to get the ratio as close to 1:1 as possible. Using an SWR metre will give the best output from your kit.
You’re Live, So Tune In!
There are 40 stations on CB radio, so it is quite easy to connect with other CB users.
Some channels can be busy; others are seldom visited.
Understanding CB Codes
CB codes give the user information, so it is worth knowing what these mean to help you operate the radio more efficiently.
10-1 means poor reception
10-7 means out of service
10-4 means message received
10-9 means repeat the message
10-20 means what’s your location?
Do You Need a Licence to Operate CB Radio in the UK?
Prior to 2006, you used to need a licence.
But on 8th December 2006, Ofcom, the telecommunications regulator in the UK, announced that CB radio usage was legal in the UK without a licence.
Is it Legal to Talk and Drive on UK Roads?
That is a good question. CB radios are not affected by the same laws that govern mobile phone usage behind the wheel. But bear in mind that anything that distracts the driver and results in a traffic offence or accident can form part of a charge of driving without due care and attention. CB usage is legal in the UK, but that does not justify impaired or unsafe driving practices.
CB radio is exempt from mobile phone regulations. As CB uses semi-duplex communication, this does not fall within the rules about mobile phone usage because the conversation is only one way at any given moment.
Ofcom provides a handy guide about CB radio use and operation in the UK.
Despite the influence of tech and modern communication devices in the 21st century, CB radio still has a place in the hearts of many drivers. Tune into your channel with a group of friends with just a tinge of smugness as you motor in areas with limited or zero mobile signal coverage.
You can rely on us at Moonraker to source the best CB radios.
Choose from one of our top five rated products and enjoy all those essential features like LED-backlit display, Auto Squelch, and RF Gain with a range of radio sizes and budgets to suit every driver.
Shop now and discover everything Moonraker has to offer!