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How to Increase Watts on CB Radio in 6 Simple Steps?

Writen by Edwin Jones

Fact checked by Andrew Wright

how to increase watts on cb radio

A citizen’s band or CB radio is a public and personal two-way radio service. Its frequency band has 40 channels used in a public transmission with a frequency of 27 MHz. These frequencies are used to send and receive on every channel.

Increasing wattage improves the overall performance. After reaching a maximum of 4 watts, several methods are available for increasing the power and reception of the radio. Choose a good location, install an antenna, use an SWR meter, and boost the signal with an amplifier, among other things.

Read on to learn more about how to increase watts on CB radio.

What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial

Before I share with you this tutorial, below are some of the materials you need to prepare for boosting the wattage of a CB radio.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Increase Watts on CB Radio


Based on the regulations from the Federal Communication Commission, a CB radio must transmit only a maximum of 4 watts. Legally, you cannot increase the wattage of the radio. However, if your radio has less power than the maximum, you can do a few tweaks, including those that I will share in this guide.

Step 1: Check the Manual

One of the first things to do is to consult the manual. Follow the recommendations from the manufacturer about how to use the radio, especially in terms of higher wattage. The specifics can vary from one model to another.

Step 2: Pick the Right Location

Like with other types of radio, the environment has a significant role in its performance. For a clearer reception, find the best location possible. If you are in a forest, tall trees can obstruct the frequencies. The same thing is true in the city where tall structures weaken the reception.

Take note that CB radio waves will not penetrate solid objects. So, pick a location that is as open as possible. It will lessen the signal noise. It travels in a line of sight. Therefore, it is crucial to have no obstacles that will affect how the frequency travels from one point to another.

Step 3: Add an SWR Meter

For optimizing the CB radio’s performance and wattage, you will need an SWR meter. A standing wave radiometer will help in assessing a radio’s output. It connects to an antenna through a coax cable. Even if it does not directly turn up the watts on a CB, it helps in optimizing performance.

Check the SWR meter for the reading of the antenna. The best is to have a low setting, which should ideally be 1:5.

Step 4: Install a Good Antenna

This is another thing that does not directly increase CB radio wattage. However, it is effective in enhancing its performance. Anyone who has used a radio will know the importance of a good antenna. From its height to its material, it is highly influential in gaining a sturdy reception.

Even if you are using a high-quality radio, if the antenna is inferior, the performance suffers. Choose one with an adjustable height to set the length based on what can optimally absorb the frequencies needed. Place it as high as possible while also putting it away from the obstructions.

For the best quality in an antenna, one of the must-haves is an excellent coax cable. It will have a significant influence in minimizing noise and improving the overall sound.

While there are many available options, one that stands out is the K40 Model K-30 Magnet Mount Stainless Steel Antenna.

Step 5: Invest in an Amplifier

To be able to make my CB radio more powerful, an amplifier is another must-have tool. It dramatically increases the dead-key wattage of a CB radio to improve the reception and performance. It boosts sound and enhances clarity, making it easier to hear the person on the other end.

While there are many types of amplifiers that you can use, one of the best is a linear amplifier. It connects the antenna and radio efficiently. This CB radio power booster provides additional power to your dead-key wattage.

Step 6: Use the Radio’s Manual Squelch

Improving the wattage and overall radio performance is also possible by taking advantage of the squelch function. It allows the users to customize the sensitivity depending on what is suitable for a specific situation.

If your radio has a lower squelch, it will allow you to gather even signals from afar. Nonetheless, while it defies distance, it also increases the background noise. Meanwhile, with a higher squelch, the background noise is lesser, but you won’t be able to pick up signals from distant locations.

Pro Tips


It is not enough to follow the steps above. For the optimal performance of a CB radio, follow these:

Step 1: Pick a CB Radio for a Specific Application

It is crucial to know the types of CB radios available and look for the one that is suitable for your intended application. For most cases, a mobile CB radio will suffice. For more extensive uses, such as commercial purposes, look for all-in-one sets that have larger controls. A hand-held CB radio, meanwhile, is for times you need one like a walkie-talkie.

If you are looking for a general-purpose CB radio with advanced features and superior functionality, I suggest the Midland 75-822 40-channel CB-Way Radio. It has a 4-watt output power, which is the maximum that the FCC allows.

Step 2: Look for an RF Gain

When looking for a CB radio to buy, an essential feature is the RF gain. It will allow you to open and close the radio’s receiver instead of the squelch control. In turn, it improves reception, even when you are trying to absorb a radio signal from afar.

Step 3: Choose the Right Channel

Aside from increasing wattage, choosing the right channel is also vital for improving the radio’s overall performance. Many channels are not often monitored, resulting in poor reception.

Channel 9 is one of the most popular, usually for sending emergency signals. On the other hand, channel 19 is for sending traffic updates amongst truckers. It is also the most common channel for communicating with other people over the network.

Step 4: Master the Codes

Technically, this isn’t a way to increase wattage, but this will help you have a better overall experience. You will easily understand the other person and prevent miscommunication. The language or codes are pretty common and similar to those used in walkie-talkies or other forms of two-way radios.


Legally, the maximum wattage that the FCC permits for CB radios is 4. Nonetheless, while you cannot go beyond such, there are many things that you can do to improve the overall performance, such as adding an SWR meter, installing a good antenna, and using an amplifier.

For the best experience, choose a product with impressive features for superior clarity and top-notch functionality.

Did you enjoy reading this tutorial on how to increase watts on cb radio? Is there anything else that you would like to add? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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