By: Jeremy Neisser
What is RF Gain on a CB Radio?
RF Gain is a feature on a CB radio that acts as a sensitivity filter to reduce noise in the receiver without reducing reception power. It is used to counteract noise that interferes with signals, which comes from the atmosphere, other nearby channels, and environmental surroundings.
RF stands for "radio frequency," which refers to the wireless communication of signals through the air rather than through wires. Unlike a CB radio squelch, RF gain does not reduce reception power while reducing noise in the receiver.
What Does RF Gain Do On a CB Radio?
RF gain is a feature on a CB radio that helps to control the amount of background noise that you hear during transmissions. It is another way to "squelch" noise without using the CB squelch, or in conjunction with the squelch. By adjusting the RF gain, you can control the sensitivity of your CB radio's receiver.
When you increase the RF gain, you will hear more of the weaker signals that are farther away. This can be useful when you want to hear transmissions from a greater distance. On the other hand, if you want to focus on the transmissions that are closest to you, you can turn the RF gain down until only the strongest signals remain.
Some truckers prefer to turn off the squelch and turn the RF gain all the way up, then adjust it until almost all the noise disappears. This eliminates choppy signals that a squelched radio produces, while still allowing distant signals to come in. As vehicles travel closer to you, the signals will get stronger and louder due to their proximity.
To maintain a conversation with someone whose signal is fading, you can turn the squelch down and also turn the gain up to give you a somewhat longer range to finish your talk.
In summary, RF gain is a useful feature on a CB radio that allows you to control the amount of background noise you hear during transmissions. By adjusting the RF gain, you can focus on the transmissions closest to you or hear transmissions from farther away.
What's The Difference Between RF Gain and Microphone Gain?
When using a radio, it's important to understand the difference between RF gain and microphone gain. Microphone gain is a volume control for your microphone, while RF gain is a sensitivity control for the radio's receiver.
If your voice is loud, you won't need much, if any, microphone gain. However, if your voice is soft and people are having trouble understanding your transmissions, increasing microphone gain should help.
On the other hand, too much microphone gain could distort your transmissions and include too much background noise from your environment.
RF gain, on the other hand, controls the sensitivity of the receiver. If the RF gain is set too high, the receiver can become overloaded and pick up too much noise. If it's set too low, weak signals may not be heard. The best compromise is to set the RF gain just high enough to pick up the desired signal without picking up too much noise.
In summary, microphone gain controls the volume of your transmissions, while RF gain controls the sensitivity of the receiver. It's important to find the right balance between the two to ensure clear and effective communication.
CB Radios That Have RF Gain
Base CB Radios With RF Gain
I have found that most base CB radios are equipped with RF gain capabilities. The Galaxy DX 2547 is one of the last base station CB radios currently being manufactured that has this feature.
In addition to RF gain, this full 40-channel base Galaxy has mic gain and can be powered by AC or DC. It also has several convenient extras, including a roger beep that lets the listener know when you've finished transmitting and have "unkeyed" the microphone. The talk back feature allows you to hear how you sound when you transmit, and it can be turned on/off with a switch.
This set includes a good noise filter and automatic noise blanker, as well as instant emergency channels 9/19 that can be reached by throwing a switch. There's also a public address (PA) system function.
The Galaxy has an SWR alert to let you know when your standing waves are traveling back through the coaxial cable, causing inefficiency in your set and alerting you that it's time to re-tune your antenna system. This set provides many luxuries as well as all of the essentials to enjoy using the CB in the home or commercial business. However, it cannot be used as a mobile radio.
Mobile CB Radios With RF Gain
I have found that some mobile CB radios also have RF gain capabilities. Here are a few examples:
Uniden BC 980
The Uniden SSB Bearcat 880 is the only current model from Uniden that has the single side band (SSB) capability, in addition to having RF gain. The SSB is another way of transmitting a signal wirelessly that is used in amateur radios and for other purposes. The drawback of SSB is that both the sender and the receiver need to have an SSB enabled radio to communicate, which is limiting.
This high-end Uniden features the full 40 CB channels - and a scanner for all channels, which is a desired but hard-to-find feature. The noise-canceling microphone's gain is handled with a hi/lo button. Additionally, there is an ANL/NB control. Another handy meter is the antenna/RF/Voltage indicator. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather channels could be lifesavers while on the road - as could be the instant channel 9/19. Although this Uniden CB radio is a more expensive set than others, it doesn't skimp on features or quality.
Cobra 29 LTD Classic
The Cobra 29 LTD Classic is another standard size CB mobile radio that includes RF gain and mic gain. It is less expensive than the Uniden BC 880, so if you don't need or want the SSB feature, but still want RF gain, you could take a closer look at this set. This is a large unit and has been around since the 70s; little has changed, which testifies to its reliability. In addition to RF gain, there is mic gain, called Dynamike.
This simple set still has connectors for an external speaker and a CB/PA switch and connector for PA. There's a button for the instant emergency channels and ANL/NB and a switch for bright/dim display. The strength meter for SWR/RF/Signal is convenient. Cobra has packed a lot of great features in this reasonably priced package.
Cobra 75 WXST
The Cobra 75 WXST is an all-in-the handset CB radio. It doesn't have an RF gain per se, but it does have SoundTracker technology that automatically reconfigures the transmission signal. The signals are expedited through the multitude of signals out there in the air at any given time. Simultaneously, SoundTracker changes the way signals and noise/static relate, thus effectively reducing the static on incoming signals.
So, SoundTracker works both on the reception and the transmission of signals. However, SoundTracker is not so effective when there's a lot of background noise.
Along with SoundTracker, this compact and convenient Cobra has many useful features, such as all channel scan, an external speaker connector, instant emergency channels, memory channels and weather. The all-in-the-handset is popular among the RV crowd and off roaders.
Where to Find Good Deals on CB Radios with RF Gain
When searching for a CB radio with RF Gain, Amazon or Wal-Mart is a great places to start. Their websites offers a variety of options including mobile, handheld, base, and kits. By selecting the type of radio you want, you can further refine your search by brand and features to find the perfect fit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different types of CB radios available?
There are several types of CB radios available in the market, including handheld, mobile, and base station CB radios. Handheld CB radios are portable and suitable for outdoor activities, whereas mobile CB radios are designed to be installed in vehicles. Base station CB radios are larger and more powerful than handheld and mobile CB radios, and they are designed for use in fixed locations.
What is the purpose of RF gain on a CB radio?
RF gain is a feature on CB radios that allows the user to adjust the sensitivity of the radio's receiver. It controls the amount of signal that is received by the radio, and it can help to reduce background noise and interference.
How do you adjust the RF gain on a CB radio?
To adjust the RF gain on a CB radio, you need to locate the RF gain control knob on the radio. Turn the knob clockwise to increase the gain and counterclockwise to decrease it. It is recommended to adjust the RF gain to the minimum level necessary to receive a clear signal.
What is the difference between RF gain and squelch on a CB radio?
RF gain and squelch are two different features on a CB radio. RF gain controls the sensitivity of the radio's receiver, while squelch helps to reduce background noise and interference by muting the audio output when no signal is present.
What is the purpose of squelch on a CB radio?
The purpose of squelch on a CB radio is to reduce background noise and interference. It works by muting the audio output when no signal is present, and it can be adjusted to the minimum level necessary to receive a clear signal.
What is mic gain and how does it affect CB radio communication?
Mic gain is a feature on CB radios that controls the sensitivity of the microphone. It determines the strength of the audio signal that is transmitted by the radio. Adjusting the mic gain can help to improve the clarity and volume of the transmitted audio signal. However, it is important to avoid setting the mic gain too high, as this can result in distortion and feedback.
Hi & Welcome!
My name is Jeremy and I have been an avid car nut for many year. My first car was an 1987 Honda CRX. I put in my first Kenwood stereo, amp, 2 10" JLs and a CB Radio in it and have been an avid user of CBs and car radios for years. I'll do my best to share my tips, information and thoughts to help you with whatever question you might have, ABOUT ME