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How To Tune A CB Antenna Without An SWR Meter?

Writen by Edwin Jones

Fact checked by Andrew Wright

how to tune a cb antenna without an swr meter

It seems to be a challenge for you to tune a CB antenna without a SWR meter. Don’t worry, learn from our 5 simple steps and get things done immediately!

As you may know, all technicians use the SWR measurement to find the right radio frequency. However, it doesn’t seem easy for you to get an SWR meter. So, how to tune a CB antenna without an SWR meter? Let’s scroll down and grasp some detailed instructions as well as valuable tips and advice to get things done completely.

Things You Need For Tuning A CB Antenna Without A SWR Meter

Under any circumstances, you should prepare carefully before setting the antenna. If you lack one of these things, the final result may not live up to your expectations.

A car and an open area


A car and an open area play an essential role in helping you catch the right radiofrequency. Also, it’s useful for creating a secure place for you to deploy your equipment.

If you cannot prepare a car, try to build a simple tent as a temporary solution. However, make sure that there are no holes on the tent canvas; otherwise, things aren’t functioning correctly as you wish.

CB radios


The next thing you should never forget in this progress is one more CB radio. You may question yourself: “Why does it have to be 2 instead of 1 radio?”. For your information, the other radio will play the role of an SWR meter.

If you cannot afford the SWR equipment, don’t be so disappointed because a CB radio can do a great job at finding the radio range.

However, not everyone has a spare CB radio ready for use all the time. In such scenarios, use your phone instead because some of its features are similar to the radio.

A radio antenna


Of course, an antenna is an indispensable tool to tune a CB antenna without a SWR meter. With this equipment, you can quickly find and catch the range of the radio.

In this case, the best type of antenna is a long-range antenna that can handle an extended frequency zone without any users’ effort. Nonetheless, it should enhance your radio’s sound quality and withstand severe climates like rain or even storms.

A microphone


Some may ask: “What’s a microphone used for?”. The microphone will provide further support as you connect with other people while changing the antenna’s range.

In case there is no microphone in hand, you can use your wireless headphone or earphone instead. We use wireless stuff because it’s hands-free for you to adjust the antenna.

5 Steps On How To Tune A CB Antenna Without An SWR Meter

Here are the specific instructions to guide you to tune a CB radio without an SWR meter.

Step 1: Find the open location

When setting up the CB antenna, it is vital that you stay in a wide-open area to avoid potential sources of interference. Hence, tuning up the radio system can become more accessible and manageable.

These interference sources include cars, buildings, and even people. As a result, you need to drive your vehicle to an open parking area or an empty field and ensure no obstructions, trees, or buildings within at least 15 meters.

The best choice is to keep away from anything that obstructs radio tuning. Thus, getting out of the city is highly recommended.

Another valuable piece of advice for you is to avoid opening windows, hood, and your vehicle’s doors when turning the radio, or else your signal will be interrupted.

Step 2: Check the antenna before tuning

When you set up tuning a radio, you should carefully check your antenna. Notably, the antenna needs to get a plastic lid on the peak.

Additionally, it is of importance that you ensure the antenna matches your feeder. Radio systems such as feeders, sources (also called transmitters), loads (or receivers), and antennas all have a feature impedance.

For the system to work effectively, these have to match with each other, otherwise interfering tuning.

Step 3: Prepare one more CB radio

While tuning CB antenna without SWR meter, you need to check on the other CB radio. Firstly, you should try on with this CB, then set up some spaces from your vehicle’s CB. If you have difficulties, you can ask for help from someone around or use a smartphone.

When installing this CB antenna on the bumper, fender, and anywhere else near the edge of your car, you will receive a weaker sign going far from the vehicle.

For example, putting it on the front car owner’s side fender should lead to a worse signal out to the front left of your vehicle. In addition, you need to choose the exact same channel on your CB radio.

Step 4: Set Up An Association Between The CB Radios

At this time, you must create a connection between the radio that you tune-up and the other CB radios, not to mention your mobile phone.

You can have a criterion connector attached to your vehicle radio system (or everywhere else on the middle console). On the other hand, you also need to plug the cable in the dashboard, so your smartphone is successfully linked.

Step 5: Use A Microphone

As mentioned before, we recommended that your kit includes a microphone. Now, we will explain the reason why it’s necessary.

The microphone helps to establish the connection for you to communicate. You can talk via the radio that you will tune-up, then use the other CB radio or mobile phone to hear things transmitted to the first CB radio.

Additionally, you can use your earphones/headphones as well. Connect the headphone jack to the aux port ( or line-in port) on your vehicle’s audio system. When the signal detected is not stable enough, tweak your CB antenna till when you have a great signal.

Why Do You Need To Tune A CB Antenna Without A SWR Meter


It’s common to encounter radio problems like losing frequency, deviating antenna, or even damaging your radio. Of course, you need to adjust the CB antenna and try to make things function better.

Keep in mind that you won’t likely catch the right radio frequency without the help of an SWR meter.

SWR stands for standing wave ratio, which helps to evaluate rada and make broadcast range changes. Usually, the SWR meter is connected with the jumper wire to give the best result.

This meter can define your radio’s condition (good or bad). If it gives a bad report (in red), you must change the radio’s transmission to adjust the CB antenna into good condition.

The maximum specification of a standard radio condition is 1.5. 3.0 or more is a warning sign that requires you to change the radio antenna immediately, or else it will mess up with your broadcast. Try to keep it as close to the standard frequency as possible.

On the other hand, you cannot bring the SWR along all the time. That’s why finding an alternative way to tune a CB antenna will be extra helpful.


As you can see, the SWR meter is a crucial piece of equipment for adjusting your radio. Meanwhile, you can still change the radio antenna range even without any professional tools in hand.

We hope that our instructions will provide some valuable information and tips on how to tune a CB antenna without an SWR meter. If you like this article, don’t hesitate to leave your comments below and share them with others.

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