Radios are both useful for travel communication and as emergency messaging devices during disasters. There are multiple other applications, but these are the most prominent uses, and having a good radio proved to be lifesaving in multiple situations. Therefore I believe it is an apt investment that helps in keeping you safe. The CB radio having easy SWR calibration is the best SSB CB radio beyond doubt.
Choppy or distorted conversations can prove to be detrimental as you cannot communicate appropriately during times of need. I felt lost in the woods where the reception was poor and with no proper GPS guidance. Finally, when I found the way out, that was the moment of realization that I need to replace the CB radio with a standard one.
As I researched them, I found each of the radios has its ups and downs, and I need to vet them carefully before settling for one. But I felt this research would be useful for many others who are having a similar requirement. Therefore I am sharing it here.
|Best Overall||Best Noise Cancellation||Best Sound Quality|
|Preview||Uniden BEARCAT 980||Galaxy-DX-959||President MC KINLEY|
|Dimensions||3.5 x 15 x 8.5 inches||9.25 x 7.9 x 2.35 inches||10.67 x 3.43 x 8 inches|
|Channels||40 Channels||40 Channels||40 Channels|
|Weather Alert||NOAA Weather Radio||–||7 Weather Channels|
- Best SSB CB Radio Reviews
- What to Look for When Buying An SSB CB Radio
- Other Important Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best SSB CB Radio Reviews
1. Uniden BEARCAT 980 SSB CB Radio
The rich noise-canceling technology microphone of BEARCAT 980 SSB CB Radio allows for crystal clear conversations by eliminating the background noise. Though the CB SSB range operates on full channel spectrum, what I like is the auto-switching emergency channel and the single-touch operated NOAA weather channel features.
This Uniden radio has an advanced LCD-display screen allowing you to choose your favorite color display out of the seven different choices. LED laser etched buttons are easy to read even from a distance and also in the dark. You should buy this radio as operating it is a breeze, freeing you of the bother about the complicated tuning process.
Needless to say, I feel comfortable while traveling long distances with this radio in the truck as I can trust its connectivity, unlike other single-sideband CB radios. I love the feature of wireless microphone compatibility as it gives true freedom to stay in touch even when I am off the truck for a while during travel. Antenna matches in a snap entirely due to the integrated SWR, which makes it very adaptable.
ANL/noise breaker provided reduces the static caused by the interference of weak signals and the electrical impulses caused by your vehicle engine. The background noise-free transmission is supported by the noise-canceling mic and the RF gain. These features make your reception as well as transmission better and clearer.
2. Galaxy-DX-959 SSB CB Radio
Galaxy is the top-rated CB radio with SSB as it has a proprietary GNF noise reduction feature to aid weak SSB signals and a 3-position tone switch for receiving. The large and yellow-colored frequency counter displays five digits, and the channel displays two digits, which are very easy to read.
Also, the power output scale has a large display with clear values and a large red pointer, promoting easy reading. I like the design concept of this radio as it contains sophisticated features yet easy to use. This high power CB radio satisfies the needs of both amateur and professional users equally.
Though it is feature-packed, it’s simple to operate knob controls, and minimal display viewing requirements help keep the drivers focus on the road ahead rather than on radio operation. I think the dimmer control for the display is an excellent option as you can adjust it to your optimum viewable levels.
Notably, this mobile CB Radio provides SWR alert warning, which indicates when high power is transmitted back to the radio that can severely affect the performance and also damage it. I also appreciate how clear this radio sounds on the other end without any noise distraction.
Besides, most users surely appreciate the multiple knobs and buttons with dedicated functions, yet can’t help wonder how they fit into such a small chassis.
3. President Electronics AM/SSB CB Radio
The 40 channels AM/SSB radio by President Electronics is one of the best long-range CB radio featuring three memories for the scanned channels. The ANL filter, Noise blanker, and the HI-CUT help in making the communication clear.
It gives me the convenience of enjoying my favorite channels with the touch of a button without actually scanning for them each time I turn on the radio. The beep function allows you to keep the conversation with the other people clear as they know when you are done speaking.
Furthermore, the automatic squelch feature helps in improving the output even during the low signal strength. I love how the front microphone plug helps me in plugging in the microphone effortlessly.
Plus, the external loudspeaker jack allows you to connect to larger speakers for higher sound output. It has both Mic-gain and RF-gain features for clearer reception and transmission.
I find the rotary switch for controlling the channels used with this radio is more comfortable than the other channel tuning methods. Similarly, the volume adjustment is managed precisely using another rotary knob that helps in adjusting the volume even while driving efficiently without looking.
Speaking of volume, let me add that you can also use this radio for Public address(PA) by connecting it to the announcement system on your truck.
The multifunctional LCD-display displays essential information in clear and big letters. For your information, the F function key, dual watch, digital -S meter, and many more such advanced features are present in this CB radio for truckers.
Also, weather channel alert is a useful function that keeps the truck drivers aware of the weather conditions and helps them prepare for the situation.
4. Uniden Bearcat 980 SSB CB Radio
The sleek and modern design radio, which looks like a stereo meaning less intimidating for amateurs, is the specialty of Uniden Bearcat 980.
The model has simple soft-touch buttons and a large faceplate that can display seven colors. Its channel numbers indicated on display are big enough to know in a quick look. I believe the different colors give you the facility to change the light according to your mood, aiding your senses.
You get a one-touch weather button that gives weather alerts without the need to tune in every time an update is required. The S/RF indicator displays the RF gain necessary for crystal clear transmission. You can enjoy the wireless mic compatibility by buying one and pairing it with the Bearcat 980 quickly and easily.
The Uniden brand is well known for its quality radios, and they understand their customers rather well. Despite a presumed notion that modern radios are complex, this manufacturer gives you a simple to use yet highly operative radio. The single touch buttons for the weather, emergency, and other similar most used functions emphasizes this fact.
You have a volume control knob and the clarifier knob for more explicit audibility control. The menu needs to be looked at while driving but let me tell you once you get used to it, it’s like the back of your hand. You can just feel it with your fingers and enjoy the simplicity it offers.
5. Galaxy DX-979 AM/SSB CB Radio
The slim profile of the Galaxy DX-979 SSB CB radio comfortably fits into the smallest vehicle you own without eating up the much-needed space.
It is just 7.25 inches wide yet features the complete range of operations along with its compact design advantage. The blue backlit display is soft on your eyes even while night driving; hence, it can aid you to complete your journey safely by not tiring your eyes.
This radio features the variable mic option for setting your mic at an optimal level. Also, the talkback function is handy to check the transmission if it is going through correctly or not without the help of another radio. Most useful is the RF gain, which I believe is the ultimate mark of quality radios for excellent transmission.
The single-sideband can operate on the lower sideband as well as the upper sideband modes. It has a facility to modify the power output, and this is one feature that is not commonly found in all radios, especially of this size. But don’t think that it features just any power meter but a large and clear display, which again does not fail to amaze me.
6. Galaxy DX-949 AM/SSB CB Radio
The talkback feature of Galaxy SSB mobile CB radio makes it stand out from others as you can easily make sure if you are transmitting correctly.
Another convenient feature is the roger beep along with on/off switch for uncluttered communication. It has the SWR alerting LED using the automatic circuit mechanism, which indicates the SWR anomalies with the incoming signal.
I am glad to find the large power display with clear meter scales where I can easily read the power values while varying the power output. Additionally, the channel display features two digits in large size and of yellow color. There is a lamp provided at the electric meter, which is handy at night, and what’s impressive is it comes with a dimmer.
Even the digital display can be controlled with the dimmer provided. Tone variability using the 3-position switch helps you modify the receiving signal audibility.
Proprietary Galaxy Noise Filter (GNF) Circuit helps in recovering the weak SSB signals giving you uninterrupted coverage. Also, the clear-cut setting facilities of various functions help you to customize the radio to your choice comfortably for a satisfying experience.
I find it easy to focus on the road using the dedicated switches rather than to look at the menu for choosing an option like in other similar advanced radios. The DX-949 has AM/SSB and PA modes with the ultimate flexibility of modulating SSB using the power output through an easy-to-use power calibration meter.
7. Galaxy DX-979F AM/SSB CB Radio
The Galaxy DX-979F model comes with a radio mounting bracket as well as microphone mounting equipment to place the handheld microphone comfortably in your vehicle.
The device comes with a power cord, sparing you from the trouble of buying it separately. You will find the owner manual very useful as it clearly explains all the settings.
Furthermore, Knobs provided on this radio are big enough to operate without looking while you are on the road. The unit features a big calibrated power output meter, front mic jack, SSB setting options, and backlit display, which are found only in high-end models like this one.
Forget the complicated modulation process when you adjust using the easy-to-read large scales for doing it. The automatic SWR function eliminates the need for complex calibration giving you the instant advantage of working with the low signal as well as providing you the alert during high values.
You can operate this radio on various models such as AM/SSB and PA, depending on your necessity. Among the CB SSB radios for sale, this is the best suitable radio for SUVs owing to its size, which gives you the ultimate advantage of both spaces as well as rich functionality.
8. AnyTone AT-6666 CB Mobile Radio
The mobile radio by AnyTone is the most powerful CB radio available in mobile type, with a 10-meter range. Its frequency range is controlled using the phase lock loop synthesizer, which is programmable between the ranges of 25.615-30.105MHz and supports frequency bands of a wide range.
It has steadfast frequency stability of 0.001% and allows you to tune in using the frequency steps of 100Hz 1KHz 10KHz 100KHz 1MHz, along with a frequency tolerance of 0.005%. I find it interesting how precisely you can alter the signal using the multiple frequency settings and how much care is taken to provide the end-user with such meticulous service.
Apart from excellent frequency settings, it also has some other very useful provisions found only in high-end models such as push-to-talk(PTT) as well as different settings for private and public channels. The microphone is equipped with UP/DN along with PTT and has a coiled cord. Its input voltage is 13.8V and operates well between the temperature range of -20℃to +50℃.
Although all the functions of this mobile CB radio are pretty impressive, the most useful feature is the large LCD screen. It is very convenient when you can see what you are up to clearly, and color-changing is a bonus. Without the detailed display and with so much sophistication, I would be lost if there is no proper indication of the enabled functions.
The variable USB, LSB, FM, AM, PA modes present in the radio allow for both two-way communication along with other useful applications making it an all in one..
What to Look for When Buying An SSB CB Radio
When you are entirely aware of the different features available in a single sideband CB radio, you will know what to look for. The main features of a basic SSB CB radio are Automatic Noise Limiter (ANL), antenna calibration (CAL), channel scan, clarifier, backlit screen, delta tune, squelch, external speaker connection.
Similarly, Mic Gain, FIPS, GPS, Hi-cut Filter, a direct emergency channel, RF gain, SWR, Noise blanker(NB), TX/RX, S/RF meter, Weather(WX) are also essential but not found in all SSB CB radios. Features such as Bluetooth connectivity, dimmer, Digital Selective Calling (DSC), roger beep, sound filters, talkback, and more are found mostly on top-notch radios.
Speaking in non-technical terms and based on utility requirements, you need to check for the below.
Clear Transmission And Reception
The RF gain eliminates the background noise by blocking out faint transmissions, and automatic noise limited (ANL) will filter out the static for clear reception. Checking for these two qualities will provide you with excellent communication in the defined range.
Weather And Emergency Channels
Depending on your traveling habits and places you usually go, you need to decide if having these features is essential to you. If you use your radio on a boat, then the weather reporting channel is a must, and having an auto alert feature would be advantageous.
When you travel to remote areas, frequently, having a one-touch emergency button is handy. These are just a couple of instances, but you got the idea, right?
While driving at night, you cannot correctly operate your radio in the dark. So having a backlit radio proves to be useful. There are other advanced options like changing the color of the display letters, or the display screen color or merely a dimmer to adjust the amount of lighting. Choose it based on the amount of lighting you can bear on your eyes and your aesthetic preference.
Radio needs space, and for deciding which radio to purchase, you first need to estimate where and how you want to place your radio. The space available for mounting is crucial as you cannot buy something more significant and regret later, not being able to fix it in the vehicle.
On the contrary, if you opt for a smaller one than what you could have allowed, you might have compromised on a few features. Hence size matters a lot for having appropriate radio.
As the price of the radio improves, the quality of the radio improves. Here quality means better sound transmission and reception, good range, and operating hassle-free in layman terms. In short, buy wisely by investing right rather than buying inferior quality stuff only to replace it again and again.
You expect your radio to function more than just radio, then go for advanced features like Bluetooth connectivity enabled or wireless compatible units. They offer you a lot of flexibility and ultimate performance because these features are present only in high-end models. High-end models feature a dual clock, talkback, and other super-advanced characteristics that keep you wondering how you lived without them until now.
Other Important Factors to Consider
You might be a first-time buyer or have bought a few already, purchasing an SSB CB radio is always a challenge. SSB CB radios have many choices, and knowing what is right for you is a bit tricky. Hence, you need to know what an SSB CB radio does and the types of SSB CB radios are available.
What Is An Ssb Cb Radio?
Usual CB radios transmit three signal waves, which require a lot of transmission energy and hence result in a reduction of range efficiency. Single sideband transmits only one wave, i.e., either the upper band or the lower band reducing the load on the transmission, thereby increasing the range of transmission.
Who Is This For?
Despite several advances in technology, the SSB CB radios remain unshaken for a reason, the unfailing service they offer where every other device fails to function. Along with emergency or travel communication, you can use these radios for short-distance communication like the job site and the main office.
Apart from work-related serious users, there are plenty of people who still find it to be a fascinating hobby. Truckers or hobbyists are both equally happy to have it and are in peace with the fact that these radios do not require any license.
How Does It Work?
SSB CB radio transmits over the same CB frequencies but in a different way.
Working Of SSB In Lay Terms
The AM wave requires a large bandwidth and is modified at the receiver end. The SSB signal requires less bandwidth than AM and is rectified right at the source and reaches the endpoint quicker and more apparent than an AM wave.
- As each of the sidebands contains the entire original signal encoded in them; the SSB concept utilizes these waves to transmit the communication.
- It is done by eliminating the carrier signal and one of the sidebands resulting in the reduced size.
- Thus, the isolated signal is amplified at a low level in a linear amplifier, giving us the power advantage.
- Since the wave is transmitted linearly, it is more efficient than AM and allows longer range transmission.
- Even the spectrum is reduced to half of AM.
- By using stable frequency, broadcasters can receive and send communications effectively using single-sideband adjustment.
What Are The Different Types Of SSB CB Radios?
The Mobile CB radio, All in one handset CB radio, and Handheld CB radio are the three main types of CB radios in use.
- Mobile CB Radio
This radio is the most popular type for use in vehicles owing to their size and adaptability. Its size varies widely, and so do the features. However, one thing is for sure; it is the best-preferred radio in vehicles by many.
- All In One Handset CB Radio
These radios are compact and suitable for smaller spaces. Now you get it, why is it the second most popular option? But do not be deceived by its size; it is still well loaded with features regardless of its small dimensions. The ergonomic design also gives you one-hand operation control.
Apart from the space constraints, another reason to consider this radio for your vehicle is the intricate mounting mechanism of your means of transport. This type of radio needs to be just plugged in into the connector and can fit in anywhere like under the dash.
Moreover, if you have more than one vehicle, you can use the same radio in them by installing just a connector box in them. You can simply plug in the radio and shift its vehicle to the vehicle without any difficulty.
- Handheld CB Radio
They are similar to walkie-talkie units to look and connect using the cigarette cord connector for use in vehicles. These devices run on batteries, and they are portable so you can also use them while on foot or in your vehicle, by connecting a magnet mount to these radios for attaching an antenna for short period use and mount a fixed antenna for prolonged use.
Why Do You Need A CB Radio With SSB?
The powerfulness of radio is estimated mainly based on the range it can cover. The radio that covers an extensive range of distances with the clear transmission is the best. Usually, the best CB radio transmits 10+ miles distance. However, not all CB radios are capable of achieving long-distance communication.
On the contrary, if you opt for a Single Side Band CB radio, you can achieve a 3 x powerful transmission range of a standard CB radio. If the SSB feature is clubbed with the high-performance CB radios, needless to say, those radios outperform all the other radios on the market with their extraordinary range capacity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Radios are such a vast subject that you never stop having doubts about many aspects of it. Let me address some of the most common questions that arise for the beginners with a blend of technicality and practicality as required.
What Are The Most Trusted SSB CB Radio Brands?
Uniden, President Electronics, Galaxy, Cobra are the trusted SSB CB radio brands that offer top-notch quality radios. These brands are having a reputation for being in business since the early ’60s.
- Uniden was established in 1966 and continues to deliver top-notch quality products even after half a century.
- President electronics was established in 1969 and grew with time, and they have a worldwide network of businesses indicating everyone loves their products.
- Though much about Galaxy’s history is not known, what we know are its products, and they speak for themselves.
- Finally, the Cobra brand company was incorporated in 1961 as Dynascan and later changed the name to Cobra Electronics in 1993. However, the founders of this company were into electronics since 1947 and had vast experience making quality electronic equipment.
What Is The Range Of An SSB CB Radio?
The citizen band radios (CB) are allowed 4 watts for AM stations and have the power to transmit about 3 miles to 20 miles depending on the terrain conditions. The 10 miles is a usually achievable range.
However, the 12-watt transmission permitted in single sideband radios (SSB) increases the range of three folds. It again depends on the surrounding setting, but the typical working range is 30 miles.
How To Use It?
These are the five main steps to get you started with your SSB CB radio.
Step 1: Installation
You need to install the radio, mic mounts and place your radio as well as the antenna in their ideal places for good reception. Choose the perfect place where you can handily operate the radio without the need to look at it much.
Step 2: Power
Connect your radio to the power source. Once everything is in place, you can power up the radio and start using it. According to the radio model, you might need to connect it to your battery or plug it into the cigarette socket.
Step 3: SWR Ratio Adjustment
A longer antenna means better reception; also, check your SWR ratio to be approximately 1:1. If this ratio reaches 2:1, then there are high chances of your radio getting damaged. Therefore always be aware of this value, and some radios come with an inbuilt SWR checking facility, but if yours don’t, then consider buying one. Major malfunctions and constant fuse blowing out are usually fixed when this value is proper.
Step 4: Single Sideband Selection
The usage of SSB CB radios is similar to CB radios, and the only change is in their range. You need to switch the mode to USB or LSB, meaning any of the single sidebands from AM mode of a standard CB radio. Then the SSB mode will kick in and help you increase your range. Once you set the frequency for the channel you want, you will start receiving the communication.
Step 5: Clarifying
The primary use of a two-way radio is mutual communication by tuning in into specific stations. Not all are experts at tuning a radio; therefore, you or your partner may be slightly off the channel frequency, then using a clarifier to match the other person’s frequency will make your exchange clearer.
Other intricate functions can further fine-tune your transmission and reception clarity, but the above is the necessary action for you to get started with using the SSB CB radio.
How To Care And Maintain?
The radio works based on the antenna, and placing it correctly to avoid high SWR is essential. If you have an SWR alert, then you will know when your radio is receiving high SWR, and you can fix it accordingly. If you do not have an alert feature then keep checking externally from time to time.
Sometimes the performance of the radio drops, and this is also due to high SWR, and you might not find it as it is not as high as requiring an alert. Even in this case, checking out your SWR will help. Maintaining your antenna as well as the SWR will fix most of the issues of your SSB CB radio.
Some settings that need to be understood for sound transmission
Knowing the functions of each option allows you to utilize them at their maximum. Here is a little guide to essential functions.
- Scan: Automatically searches for channels with activity and stops when it finds one. You can either choose to fine-tune that channel or scan again for checking the next available activity.
- Emergency Channel 9/19: A channel where you can turn to during emergencies for help.
- Rf Gain: It works both ways to eliminate weaker signals and strengthen the strong signal that you are talking with or to support the weak signals for better hearing.
- Automatic Noise Limited (Anl): Used to reduce the interference from other sources like from the receiving end or form the vehicle engine.
- Squelch Control: You keep your radio on for receiving communication, but static is transmitted all the time, and it is annoying to keep listening to it. Squelch control keeps this static off and activates the speaker only when there is some reception.
- Public Address (PA): If you have a PA horn, you can transmit a public address using your radio using this feature.
What Is The Difference Between High And Low-End Model SSB CB Radios?
Static reception is a significant difference between high and low-end models. If you use radio sparsely and do not travel a lot but need it for an emergency, then you can prefer the low-end model. Be aware that they have a lot of static, and the exchange will be unclear with a lot of disturbance, but your message will go through.
If you cannot stand the buzz or need it for regular use, then you will find it useless. Going for a mid to high level will decrease the noise level proportionally, and you will even receive more features to make your operation easy.
Many truck drivers like me who need radio as a guiding factor choose radios from above mid-level. As you go towards expensive models, you get additional features like sleep timers, SWR Bridge, Bluetooth connectivity, weather alerts, and many such useful sorts of options apart from RF gain.
For instance, radios like Uniden Bearcat 980 and Cobra 148 GTL are high-end models that offer lots of features but are expensive. But they are worth the cost as they provide high-quality service for a long time.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of SSB CB Radio
Like any other application, even SSB CB radios have their advantages and disadvantages. However, we also have a feasible solution here. Therefore let me list them out for you below.
There are several advantages while you operate on SSB CB mode. Your SSB CB radio will carry a straight carrier wave rather than an atmospheric wave of a standard CB radio. The 12 watts of output power is permitted by FCC, where the CB radios operate on 4 watts. Both these modifications help in achieving greater distance for transmission.
One disadvantage of this method is when you are in SSB CB mode, you cannot communicate with the CB radios, which are not in the same setting. Both CB radios and SSB CB radios have the same 40 channels, but still, they cannot cross communicate unless they are in the same transmission mode.
However, if you need to communicate with CB radios in the range, you can switch to the standard AM radio. That will allow your SSB CB radio to act as a traditional CB radio, but the range also changes accordingly.
When putting this list together, we made sure to note down why a particular CB radio is considered the best SSB CB radio than others and which feature obtained a lot of attention.
RF gain got the most attention as it helps in adjusting the static and allows you to have better reception due to the excellent noise reduction system. RF gain is usually the best in high-end CB radios with larger chassis and is expensive.
As a professional driver spending a little more for clear reception without much interference, I feel, is a wise investment. High quality always pays off in pleasant experience and reliability; hence purchase accordingly.
Richard Pennington is the one to consult when you need professional insight into electronics. With over a decade of experience in the field of electronics and communication engineering, he now serves as our chief content editor.
He is an advisor for multiple articles and videos with topics revolving around ham radios, electronics devices, and communication.