Cb Radio Amplifiers
A Brief Guide to CB Radio Amplifiers
Good CB radio sets do not have to have CB radio amplifiers. These pieces of equipment are nice to have in some instances, but are by no means a requirement - so if you want to get into the hobby, but do not have the budget to purchase unnecessary gear, then CB radio amplifiers may not be for you.
If they are, though, there are a few things you should know about them before making a purchase.
What Amplifiers do
An amplifier in the world of electronics is a device that takes a signal from a transmitter and "amps it up", or, gives it more power, to transmit it farther than it would normally. How far a signal can travel, after all, depends directly on how much power is behind it.
CB radio amplifiers are no different. They take a radio signal sent from your transmitting device and increase its amplitude - and in doing so, raise what is called gain, or the ratio of output to input of a wave.
Short and simple: Amplifiers increase power, and therefore range, of radio waves from your CB unit.
Knowing the Law
The most important thing to know about CB radio amps is that they are illegal in the United States. The FCC restricted range for CB radio use to no more than 150 miles, and amplifiers take CB radio signals beyond that limit. That is why they are classified as illegal to own and operate in the United States with a CB unit.
The FCC limits CB radio operates to use no more than 4 watts of power, which gives a CB radio usually a range of 9 miles. The reasoning behind this restriction is that long-distance, high-power transmission interferes with other radio usage, both in the private and public sector. But, people try to skirt this restriction by using CB radio amplifiers anyway.
Prosecution of this law is admittedly quite lax, and many people use and operate CB radio amps. Still, know that the FCC does not approve of these pieces of equipment for domestic use and has prosecuted retailers in the past for selling them knowingly for illegal uses.
There are several brands of CB radio amplifiers on the market. Among these are Texas Star, Fatboy, Xforce, Palomar, and Ameritron. You can usually find these online or in specialty radio stores that service shortwave enthusiasts and professionals. Just remember that CB radio amplifiers are illegal or may require a special license to use and operate; just keep that in mind when shopping for CB radio amplifiers.