Help Choosing a Package...
(Last update : 4/1/2012)
There are a lot of CB's available...
If you just want to see our recommendations for which CB you should choose, scroll down the page to the "Our Recommendations" section...
If you want to know more about how we decided on these recommendations or just want to decide for yourself - carry on reading from here :
Build Quality - expected lifespan Receive and Transmit performance Features and Facilities - 24v operation, PA, memories etc Size - and where to mount it Aesthetics - what it will look like in your vehicle
Build Quality / Manufacturers
The general build quality and strength of the switches and buttons can be important in a CB destined for an offroad vehicle, especially if used offroad regularly and enthusiastically!
The less well designed CB's tend to shake themselves to death in a seriously used offroad vehicle - if this sounds like the kind of place you'll be putting the set, it's probably best to keep away from the cheapest CB's (with the exception of the Maas KCB-8040), although all the sets we sell are generally fine in vehicles used less vigorously.
The best built radios in our opinion are the President range. Naturally these cost more than most but you would expect these sets to last longer in a tough environment. Switchgear and controls are very good, as is the sheer board design and quality of the components used inside. The Johnson II has build quality upto professional level and looks and feels more like a business radio than a CB.
The Intek range is next in terms of build quality - many have rubberised buttons for the main controls, making them hardier than the hard plastic over a microswitch that can be found on some makes. The microphones on the Intek range tend to be nice and strong and "chunky" and as this is usually the part that gets moved around the most, this makes good sense in an offroad vehicle. Quite a few of their mics don't have the channel change buttons that can lead to accidental channel changes (suddenly nobody in your group can hear you and you can't hear anyone!), and if they do have the channel change facility, they have a prominent "LOCK" button, to prevent this scenario
The Midland and TTi range are just very slightly below the general quality of the Inteks and about on a par with each other... the TTi's are cheaper, so probably offer better value in this respect.
Both of these manufacturers CB's tend to be rather voltage sensitive, and do not always work correctly when powered from a cigarette lighter. This is mainly due to the amount of cable and connectors the voltage has to pass through on it's way from battery to cigarette lighter socket and varies from vehicle to vehicle. There is no issue with these sets when connected to the battery directly (our prefered way of powering any CB).
Traditionally Team CB's have (in our opinion) not been so well made, but the lastest radios like the TS-6M have been a great improvement on their previous radios (in fact we run a TS-6M in one of our 4x4's) so this is worth considering too.
There are a couple of makes that only have one or two radios in the market - Maas, Cobra and Lafayette... Cobra are very well known in the USA in particular and both Maas and Lafayette are "big" in europe and are actually very well made. The Maas KCB-8040 is curently our fav budget set as build quality is very good and it's sound is loud and clear - for the money it's incredible really! The Lafayette Venus is a unique radio with all the controls on the microphone (along with the speaker - plus another speaker in the control box) and is a high spec, well built radio. The Cobra 19DX IV EU is also worth looking at for a basic (and very small) radio - this radio has a particularly chunky mic (the biggest currently shipped with any CB), so i deal for big hands or use while wearing gloves.
Albrecht have a number of radios in the market currently and are a subsidary of Alan/CTE who also make Midland. The built quality of the Albrecht sets seems to be higher than Midland, partly because they are aimed at a slightly higher price bracket, but they are also more advanced radios generally.
Apart from the older Team sets being a bit dissapointing in this department and President being top dogs, all the sets we sell nowadays are all pretty well made, and would normally gives years of good use under normal circumstances... the differences between them are splitting hairs. Most of the previously available CB's that weren't so good have been "weeded out" basically because there are so many good radios out there now, theres little point suppliers like us stocking "duff" ones as they just cause problems for us and our customers, so they didn't sell and have been withdrawn.
Receive and Transmit Performance
As a general rule, the more you pay for a CB, the better it's receive and transmit range will be.
This is not because they put out more power but because the quality and efficiency of the internal components is higher in the more expensive radios.
By far the biggest factor regarding range is the efficiency of your aerial... the differences between an expensive CB and a cheaper one might only be obvious at "fringe" levels, when you are struggling to hear someone, or to be heard, whereas the differences between different aerials and between aerials that have been correctly set up and those incorrectly set up are much greater.
You would also expect to get a slightly better sound from the more expensive sets, and probably be able to turn them up louder without distortion than you could a cheaper unit.
Likewise, transmitted audio should be slightly better with a more expensive set, people will hear you better, and it might not pick up so much of the background noise in a noisy vehicle.
Features and Facilities
There are some features that if you want them, you gotta have them, and this will form a major part in the decision process - these are :
12v/24v Operation If you have a 24v vehicle like some ex-military land rovers, some farm machines or an HGV or similar, then you might need a CB that can sense it's supply voltage (either 12v or 24v) and adjust itself to work appropriately - currently there are only 4 CB's like this : Midland 38 Plus 24-12, TTi TCB-771, TTi TCB-881 and the TTi TCB-1100.
PA Facility This is a very useful feature, allowing you to place a waterproof horn speaker under your bonnet, and when you switch the CB over to PA, your voice comes out of the speaker (very loud!) instead of being transmitted. Great for recovery work, attracting attention, directing people or nearby vehicles or just having a laugh. Back in the 180's every CB seemed to have PA and a couple of years ago there were only 2 or 3 but now there are a few more - look out for a mention of this in the descriptions
Generally, the more you pay, the more facilities and features you get. Many of these are quite useful, and even someone who's never used a CB before will soon know enough to program their frequently used channels into the memories, or use the scan or dual watch functions.
Size - and where to mount the CB
Compared to the CB's of old, many new radios are fairly small, but you've still got to find somewhere for it, and thats not always easy in modern vehicles.
Mounting the CB in a spare DIN slot, where a car stereo would go is a popular option for those with a spare slot, or who've replaced a large factory-fit radio with a standard car stereo and have an empty space.
The CB manufacturers seem to recognise this and over the last couple of years there have been more and more CB's available that have a front facing speaker (rather than the usual way of having the speaker on the bottom), and sopme of these actually come with DIN fitting kits, and a couple go even further by being the exact same size as a standard car stereo, making for a very neat installation.
When considering installing a CB into your dash or cubby box, glovebox etc, it's worth cheaking the depth you have avialable as most CB's tend to be far deeper than car stereos are.
To help you see where a CB could fit, cut a piece of card to the width of the CB you're interested in... fold it twice so you have a U shape representing the size of the set and try that in different places around the vehicle.
If you've got a particular cubbyhole or mounting place in mind, measure it and compare this to the sizes we give for the CB's.
If you plan to fit the CB above eye level (in the rooflining or in an above-sun-visor-map-pocket, for example), then it might be worth going for a CB that has a LED display, opposed to an LCD, which can be difficult to read at some angles. The Midland 78 & TTi-550 seem particularly bad for this with the display being unreadable if viewed from below. This is because there is generally a lens in front of the display which makes them viewable from greater sideways angles but often at the expense of viewing from below the CB
Aesthetics - what it will look like in your vehicle
Some units have green backlighting, some have orange, some have blue and several have various display colours you can choose from to best match the lighting of your dash etc. Some people like to make sure the CB fits in nicely with the interior' colour scheme, some people really don't mind - it's all down to personal preference and taste.
What I think is a "goodlooking" CB may be completely different from your taste, so this is very subjective. At night - do you want the CB's display colour to match the colours of your dash, or contrast with them, or howabout electric blue neon type - or do you not care... only you can decide this.
Multi Standard Radios
All but one of the CB's currently available are multi-standard so even if they don't expect to go abroad, most customers end up buying a CB that can be used legally abroad as well as in the UK. The exception being the Midland 38 Plus 24-12 which conforms to a 1990's specification and should not be used outside of the UK. If there is the slightest chance of you taking the vehicle abroad with the CB in it, you should make sure you choose a multi-standard CB.
The multi standard CB's have the ability to transmit and receive in the AM mode, which is not legal here in the UK. However (and i must not be seen to condone illegal use here!!) for those out in the wilds, talking to other offroading companions, switching over to an AM country configuration can have a couple of advantages... AM has a quieter "noise floor" so the background noise is a much softer hiss than that on FM, and AM signals generally carry further than FM ones do. A couple of things to bear in mind though if you do decide to do this (and you shouldn't really!) ... using AM is ILLEGAL and you could have your equipment confiscated and face a hefty fine if you're caught (very unlikely, especially if offroading somewhere remote) ... also, one of the country codes that allows the use of AM only has a 1w system, so if you are going to do this, make sure you select one that has the full 4w output on AM - check the radios handbook for this - all the multi standard sets can go on all the country bands
Our Recommendations Here we've split our reccomendations into 3 sections, depending on the general spec levels of the different sets... some people just want a very basic set while some people want all the "bells and whistles" :
Very Basic :
Cobra 19DX IV EU complete package
Intek M-100 complete package
President Truman ASC complete package is coming soon - contact us to purchase
Fairly Basic :
Maas KCB-8040 Colonia complete package
Intek M-150 complete package
Team TS-6M complete package
If you regularly goes offroad, either laning or at offroad sites, it's likely that the CB will be bumped around a fair bit, so build quality should be a priority, also it's probable you might like a CB that has a few more facilities than the more basic sets, but still remain easy to use and be well enough made to stand up to life in an offroad vehicle... our particular recommendations are :
Intek M-799 complete package
President Johnson II (front speaker) complete package
TTI TCB-771 complete package
Top of the range/Advanced :
Here's where the choice can get a little more confusing as there are quite a few sets in this sector, but to name a few these are our recommendations :
Albrecht AE6890 complete package
Intek M-490 complete package
Intek M-760 (front speaker) complete package
Lafayette Venus (controls & speaker in mic) complete package
Midland 248 complete package
President Harry III complete package is coming soon - contact us to purchase
President Walker complete package
CB's For Farm Vehicles :
The situation in farm machines is much the same as in offroad vehicles, a cheap CB will not last that long in a tractor being used all day every day (with the possible exception of the Maas KCB-8040), so bear this in mind when choosing
CB's For Road Vehicles
Many of our customers don't go offroad, they have CB's fitted in cars, vans and lorries so the build quality is not generally so crucial - the majority of the CB's currenly available are well built enough to give years of service in a standard car or van etc.
In this case, the physical dimensions or the actual look of a CB might be the deciding factor, and it's prettymuch safe to go for whichever set appeals to them/you on these grounds
Still can't make up your mind? Choose an Intek or President CB (or the Maas if you must have a budget set)
This recommendation is not because we make more on the Intek and President units than we do other sets - we don't. It's because Intek sets are generally very reliable, and they have consistantly kept a good range of units from basic to advanced, and the President radios for their sheer reliability and Presidents historical "good standing" with current CB users.
It's worth remembering that we'd prefer you to buy one of the more reliable sets as it means there's less chance of problems or a return in the future - saving both you and us cost and hassle!
Having said this, ALL our packages are proven systems - thats the whole idea of them, we have put them together to give the customer the best for their needs and at certain price points.
All of the CB's we have chosen to be in our Package Deals are solid performers as long as you think sensibly about the environment it will be in, and buy appropriately - quite honestly the UK CB market is too small to support sub-standard units, they just wouldn't sell (or be sold, as returns and problems are never good for CB retailers!)
Ultimately if you are still unsure, give us a call on 01306-881137 or drop us an email and we'll advise on your individual situation.
Buying a CB Radio as a gift for someone... A CB setup can make a great present - either as a replacement for already owned equipment, or for those who've never had a CB before.
CB isn't covered by the "handsfree" mobile phone laws, and you no longer need a license, so you're totally legal to use a CB while driving and using one involves no further costs - once you've got the equipment, you have completely free communcation!
Vehicle-to-vehicle range is around 3-6 miles with vehicle-to-base ranges upto 10 miles, depending on the size of base aerial used, so CB can have real practical benefits for many people - keeping in touch with work colleagues, family or fellow travellers on the roads.
CB is pretty easy to install, in fact with a magnetic aerial mount and cigarette lighter plug on the CB's power lead, it can be a 2 minute job installing it.
There are now over 30 different CB's available, and the choice can be overwhelming...
Generally you get what you pay for - especially with the President CB's - these are very good quality, but are more expensive than other makes.
With the Midland, Intek and TTi CB's, the build quality increases with cost, although all of them are pretty well made and should give good service, but the more you pay shows more directly in the numbers of facilities and features a CB has.
Again, give us a call on 01306-881137 or drop us an email and we can discuss what might be the best choice.