Best CB radio for the money?

Discussion in 'CB Radio Forum' started by JunkHauler, May 5, 2012.

  1. JunkHauler

    JunkHauler Light Load Member

    Jan 6, 2010
    Hamersville, OH
    I have always used a standard Cobra 19 radio and I have been debating on trying to get a better setup in my truck but I am not sure which direction to go?
  2. cuzzin it

    cuzzin it Road Train Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    Berea, KY
    Cobra 29's can be had cheap on craigslist, radio shops and T/S parking lots.
  3. Phantom409

    Phantom409 Bobtail Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    Manchester, Tn
    I picked up a LNIB Galaxy DX959 for $100 on craigslist, came with power mic, power cord, mounting bracket and a manual. Works great! has talk back plus roger beep.
    Best deal I've found an a used radio. Added a new Firestik antenna for good measure. The antenna and cable or more important than the radio for good performance.
    HotRodConner12 Thanks this.
  4. Xcis

    Xcis Medium Load Member

    Jul 9, 2008
    Bridgeport, Pa
    The dirty little secret on CB radios is that all factory stock CB radios output approximately 3 watts of power. A higher price gets you more features and a more prestigious brand name; but, more money does not get you more power in a factory stock radio.
    The only CB radio that I would advise you to avoid like the plague is the Cobra model 18. That has a very bad reputation for reliability and durability.
    When using a factory stock CB radio, the single most important component you will purchase is the antenna. For the money, nothing else even comes close. Buying another radio is not going to get you more power. If you have the money, option 1 is to buy an antenna with a loading coil. If you are on a budget, option 2 is to buy a 4 1/2, 5 or 6 foot antenna. The stock antennas that come with the truck are usually garbage.
    Unless you are running an amplifier or a modified non-stock radio with much higher output than 3 or 4 watts, changing to high cost coax cable really is not cost effective and does not provide much if any increase in performance. For a factory stock CB radio, RG 8 [sometime called mini 8] or RG 58 will be satisfactory with a single antenna setup.
    If you are going to modify a stock radio, then I personally would stick to the Cobra 29/Uniden 78 or Cobra 25/Uniden 68 radios.
    I personally cannot recommend purchasing a used radio. There are to many radios out there with blown transistors [some people refer to these as blown finals] for sale. Every few months some CB radio comes up on sale with a rebate at truck stops. Keep your eyes open and shop around.
    Last edited: May 6, 2012
    BTShepp and Moe Rhonic Thank this.
  5. rollingradios

    rollingradios Light Load Member

    Mar 9, 2012
    Richmond, Va
    Cobra 29 is currently inexpensive new, some truckstops have them for around $60-70. A simple adjustment of the modulation control internally (called the AMC) will increase the talk power from around 10w stock to 20w, and increase voice output volume (modulation) by around 30%.

    The mic that comes with it is fair at best unfortunately. With that particular radio the Astatic road devil best suits it, this is an amplified mic that uses a 9v battery. Set the volume control about 1/3 (or where the "V" of volume is) along with the internal adjustment I mentioned and it will be a marvelous sounding radio. This radio has the swr check function which allows you to check and/or adjust your antenna for best performance which will save you money and help it transmit and receive better.
  6. mike5511

    mike5511 Road Train Member

    May 15, 2011
    NW Arkansas
    I have always picked up export radios on the used market for about half, or less than what they cost new. (currently own 3 dual final versions) As long as they turn on and receive/xmit, they are not a risk to buy. Any other little tuning/tweaking problems can be fixed by a competent CB tech. The trick is don't give too much for them. Even a radio with blown finals or no receive can be fixed for a reasonable price. You give about $20 - $25 (talking the high dollar exports here) for one of those, spend $80 or so to fix it, and you have $200 - $400 dollar radio worth the money!
  7. jessejamesdallas

    jessejamesdallas Road Train Member

    Oct 3, 2008
    Republic of Texas
    Cobra 29, or a Galaxy 919...If you go with the 919 for around $100 New, if you don't have it P&T from the shop you buy it from...If you will take off the bottom cover and locate VR 16 (which is the modulation adjustment) and turn it all the way to the left (counter clockwise) it will make the radio much louder, and swing around 12w's...

    nice radio....large meter, and comes from the factory with a variable power knob so you can adjust your DK from .5 w's to 5 or 6w's...
  8. dude6710

    dude6710 Road Train Member

    Mar 26, 2010
  9. mike5511

    mike5511 Road Train Member

    May 15, 2011
    NW Arkansas
    For a legal 40 channel radio, that is good advice and is all most people really have a need for.
  10. ramkatral

    ramkatral Heavy Load Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    Tryon, NC
    I don't think you have any clue what you're talking about. No, not all radios have a stock output of 3-4 watts. My cobra 29LX was around 12 watts at stock. You can buy radios stock at 100w or more. I think you're confusing dead key for total output watts. And cable makes a huge difference regardless of wattage. Better cable will net better swr than totally crap cable.
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