How to Tune a CB Antenna without an SWR Meter in 4 Steps?

Using CB radios without a SWR meter for a long time, you must have many experiences when the station lost signal. This problem is largely due to the influence of the antenna, so you should adjust the length of the antenna, and the CB radio will work fine again.

Tuning the antenna will be easier with the help of a few tools, especially your SWR meter. However, if you do not have this tool, how to tune a cb antenna without an swr meter?

In this case, you will need the help of another radio. After tuning this radio, you proceed to connect both radios through a channel.

Then, thanks to the microphone and adjusting the screw on the antenna, the transmission will be stable, and you are done with CB radio tuning.

If you want to know specifically what to do, then follow the article below!

What to Prepare Before Adjusting the Antenna

The CB antenna tuning process will be more convenient when you fully prepare the following tools:

  • Car
  • An open area with around 40m of space
  • 2nd CB stereo
  • One person to assist in the adjustment process
  • Micro
  • The CB radio you want to tune
  • Electricity supply
  • An antenna that has a plastic cap and has been adjusted to the point where it can’t be any shorter

Detailed Instruction on Adjusting the CB Antenna Without the SWR Meter

Tuning a CB antenna without a SWR meter is quite complicated, but your CB antenna will normally work again if you apply this process very quickly.

Step 1: Go to a location with open space

First, bring all the tools you prepared earlier to put in the car and go to an open ground with very few obstacles. This piece of land must not have many buildings within a 40-meter distance. You should find this place before deciding to go.

An open place is required because it usually gets less interference, so the signals travel better. As a result, it is also more convenient to tune CB antenna without swr meter.

Another thing is that you should close all the car doors. If there is an accidental gap, the signal can be affected during tuning, so you will get erroneous results.

Remember, before you leave, contact your support person. That person will turn on the power of the second CB radio & place it somewhere slightly distant from the radio you want to tune.

You must ensure that the other CB radio has been tuned before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2: Select a channel

As previously mentioned, you should link two radios through a pre-selected channel.

You can choose any channel, but don’t choose channels 9 and 19. These two channels have a lot of activity, so it can sometimes make the adjustment process confusing.

Step 3: Set a connection between the 2 radios

After making sure your support person has successfully tuned the 2nd radio, try to set a connection between this device & your vehicle radio. Now is the time when you use your microphone; press on the button of the microphone and speak.

Then ask the person in charge of the other radio whether the transmission is clear.

If the person’s answer is “unclear,” you ought to move on to the next stage.

Step 4: Arrange Antenna radio

Start turning the screw of the radio antenna until the two sides receive each other’s signal.

Whip antennas will usually have screws, and the screw position will be at the top of the antenna (often the tip) or the antenna’s bottom. Some other types of antennas will have rings to move.

Loosening the screw will help you adjust your antenna’s height. Similarly, move the ring for the same purpose. Depending on the type of antenna, the height will be different. These will be in the manufacturer’s instructions for use.

By reading the instructions and observing the actual situation, you adjust the antenna to the correct height for better wave propagation.

Continuously arrange the antenna until you receive a confirmation of stable signals from the supporter. You should also keep the sound continuously through the microphone to ensure no signal loss in parallel with the adjustment.

If you tune a cb radio without a swr meter, you’ll have to depend on your luck, so it will take longer than using SWR meters.

The Reason to Adjust the Antenna

Regularly checking the antenna will help it always receive good reception. Thanks to that, your radio works perfectly. Therefore, when you see that the CB radio shows signs of poor signals, you should adjust your antenna immediately.

If you have a SWR meter, check its readings regularly. In case the number is greater than 1.5, you must take care of your radio so it works better. At the same time, you can enjoy communicating via the CB radio.

Without SWR meters, you cannot actively monitor the indicator of antenna signal. In this case, when the radio loses signal, you need to re-adjust the antenna according to the instructions above.

What are the Benefits of Using a SWR Meter


Tuning a CB radio without a SWR meter is not too complicated. However, they are quite time-consuming. So if possible, prepare yourself an SWR measuring tool. Besides, it helps you to be more proactive, and there are many other benefits.

Not take much time

When using SWR meters, instead of waiting for luck to tune the CB properly, you just need to look at the indicator on your SWR meter. Looking at it, you will know now what to do next, and how much to pull the antenna up or down.

When you clearly define what to do, you can complete the adjustment quickly, and most importantly, it ensures absolute accuracy.

Long term use

The SWR tool is a durable physical product that you can use for a long time. It can also be used when you change to a newer radio and need to tune it again.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can find out a lot of information regarding antenna tuning through the questions below.

Should all CB antennas be tuned?

Antenna tuning isn’t required, but it’s important to do this task if you want your CB radio to work properly. Properly tuning your CB antenna would increase your radio’s performance while preventing it from failing.

What setting should my CB radio be on?

You should set the antenna to the lowest possible SWR reading, at least 1.5, for the CB radio to work most stable.

For example, when reading from channel 1 to 40, if your SWR meter is always below 1.5, this shows that your CB is very good.

How much does it cost to peak and tune a radio without a SWR meter?

Tuning your radio can take place at some CB shop if you don’t want to tune it yourself or don’t have an SWR meter. Prices at these locations will vary slightly depending on the area as well as the skill of the worker.

Some stores charge you around $75, though some stores offer it for $25. Shoppers say $25 is a fair price to pay.

Why does my CB say “antenna warning”?

A red light would be warning that the antenna does not match the CB. You should replace the antenna with a new one or take your CB to an electronics repair shop. It’s also possible that your SWR number is too high.


Tuning CB antenna without SWR meter will be easier if you apply the above procedure. It can be a bit time consuming, but the results will be satisfying.

However, to ensure the safety of your CB in the long run, buying a meter is essential. Or, if you have another effective way to tune your CB antenna, better than using a meter, please leave a comment to share with everyone.

If you have any questions related to our guide on how to tune a CB antenna without an SWR meter, do not hesitate to ask.

Last but not least, if you feel our content is useful, please share it to help more people solve this problem.

Thank you for reading!

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