Do you have a radio and you want to “squeeze” out of it more potential than it is now? Do you dream to get a signal without interference?
In this case, you need only one thing – the best CB amplifier.
If you are a fan of radio, this will be your good investment in many years. A CB amplifier will allow you to enjoy a high-quality signal and not worry about how many people and how high the building are around.
How to make the right choice and get the perfect amplifier? Read this review (full of useful and comprehensive information) to the end.
CB Amplifier Comparison
HYS HF Power Amp
Best CB Amplifier – Reviews
1. BTECH AMP-U25 Amplifier for UHF CB Radio
If you want to boost the communication range of your handheld radio, then you may want to take a look at this. It’s been tested to work on a lot of radio brands, and not just BTECH. It works with Motorola and Kenwood radios, along with ICOM, Yaesu, and BaoFeng. If it outputs 2-6 watts, you’re good to go as long as you have the right RF cable.
This offers 3 main amplification modes, depending on what you want to use for controls. You may want to just use this directly with the radio, or you can connect a headset or a speaker microphone to the radio. You can also use the speaker microphone on the amplifier.
Since you’re probably going to use this on the field, it was designed to be compact and lightweight. It only measures 5.5 by 4.5 inches, and it’s just 1.4 inches thick. It also weighs less than 2 pounds.
- Works with any handheld radio outputting 2 to 6 watts
- Lightweight and compact
- Transmits cleaner signal than your handheld
- Comes with RF sensing, automatic power control, over-temperature protection, and voltage spike suppression
- Has loud 4W built-in speaker for incoming audio
2. HYS HF Transceiver 3-30Mhz HF Power Amp for CB Radio
The maximum is actually 150W for AM/FM, and 300W for SSB. However, you can do this only for a short while, or else you’ll burn out the amp. Just go with the normal output power it can provide so you can use this for extended periods.
- Works on 10, 12, and 1q5-meter frequencies
- 70 to 100 watts output power for AM/FM
- 120 to 150 watts for SSB
- Comes with fuse and inverse polarity protection, plus a built-in fan
- Compact, and weighs less than 2 pounds
3. Lepai LP-2020TI Digital Hi-Fi Audio Mini Class D Stereo Amplifier
If you have a set of stereo speakers on your radio, this will give you an extra 20 wats RMS of clean audio power. These are rated at 12V, so technically you can use them for your car. However, it’s best for home use instead. This uses RCA jacks which can get wonky with the electrical interference you normally find in cars these days.
Use this for office and bookshelf speakers if they don’t give you the audio power you want. With this, you’re able to improve those dinky speakers so they sound much nicer. The sound suddenly becomes comparable to more expensive receivers and speakers.
- Gives you more volume from your tiny speakers
- Negligible power draw
- Doesn’t run hot
- Connects easily to mobile gadgets with 3.5mm stereo jack
- Uses RCA jack to connect to TVs and CD players
4. MFJ Enterprises Original MFJ-260C Dummy Load, 300 Watt, 0-650 MHz, Dry
This is a dummy load, and it’s handy for testing or even repairing various types of 2-way radios. If your radio is having some issues, then you use this dummy load as your “perfect” antenna so it works as your reference point.
This can deal with up to 300 watts for 30 seconds. With a lower power, you get more time (up to 5 minutes). You get a convenient power to time curve listed for reference so you know how long you’re getting depending on the wattage. It’s right there on the unit so it’s quite handy.
All in all, this thing works as advertised. It should last for a long while too, as it’s encased in metal housing with perforations for air cooling.
- Non-inductive dummy load for testing ham and CD radios
- Power-time curve listed on unit (300W for 30 seconds)
- Shielded metal casing
- Compact at 7 by 2.25 by 2.25 inches
5. Pyramid PS9KX Universal Compact Bench Power Supply
With this, you’re able to test out various 12V car systems first before you install them (and find out that they’re defective. This works with CB and ham radios, scanners, and charge your cellphones as well.
It’s this versatility that makes it so popular. You can power a radio for hours and you won’t have to rig a battery or an external power source anymore. You can just place this on a tabletop and desk as well.
What sets this apart is how tough this is. Place this in a ventilated area and you can leave it on indefinitely (24/7). This comes with a fuse, and it offers protection against over-temperature and short circuit. At the back, you have a handy heatsink made of aluminum along with a built-in cooling fan.
- 5 amps constant, 7 amps surge
- 115V AC power input, 13.8V power output
- Vehicle cigarette lighter power accessory outlet connector
- Over temperature and short circuit protection, and fused as well
- Aluminum cabinet heatsink with built-in fan
- Great for testing lights and powering radios
6. HYS TC-300N HF Transceiver HF Power Amplifier for CB Radio
An excellent time-tested brand HYS offers us its powerful linear amplifier. As my experience with this amplifier has shown, it has a standard (and fairly complete) set of all the “gadgets” and necessary functions. And yes, it does its job 100%.
The black color amplifier has a compact size and can work with any CB radio in the frequency range from 20 to 30 MHz. The CB radio amplifier has a solid construction and you can easily put the radio on it before installation.
I should also note that this amplifier has radiators and a ventilator, which is very good because it is protected from overheating and poor performance.
The creator company assures us that the maximum power (for example, for SSB) is 300 W, but this does not come more than 150 W (although this is more than enough).
- HYS TC-300N HF Transceiver has power buttons and Tx/Rx switches on the front panel.
- It is intended for any CB radio with a power not exceeding 5 W (AM/FM) or 10 W (SSB).
- TC-300N HF has built-in reverse polarity protection.
- It has a High Rotation Speed ventilator, which has a unique heat dissipation feature.
- The operating voltage of this amplifier is 13.8Vcc, and the input current (or power) is 14-20 A.
- It works perfectly in the range from 20 to 30 MHz (from 10 to 15 m also works).
7. BaoJie BJ-200 HF Power Amplifier
And one more compact, lightweight, an aluminum amplifier for your radio: BaoJie brand released a version of the BJ-200 HF linear amplifier. And as we can see, both versions turned out great.
Outwardly, that is similar: we see a power indicator and a few buttons in the front, various connectors, and a power cable in the back.
You can safely use BaoJie BJ-200 HF for AM, FM, CW and SSB CB radio. This version of the amplifier also has built-in reverse polarity protection, an integrated ventilator.
Completion of this amplifier shows that you will use this amplifier for a long time because it will easily withstand the test of time.
I recommend using this amplifier in frequencies from 20 to 30, and preferably 25-27 MHz and then you will be surprised at the high quality of this portable miracle.
- This amplifier can be boosted to 50 watts for CB radio.
- The initial voltage of this amplifier is 13.8 V, the input current is 8-11 A.
- Input power is 1-5 W (for SSB 2-10 W).
- The output signal for FM is 50 W and for AM is 100 W, for SSB it is 150 W maximum.
- AM, FM, CW and SSB CB are the operating modes of this amplifier.
- BJ-200 HF is equipped with an on/off switch, an automatic receive / transmit switch and a cable.
8. BaoJie BJ-300 HF Two Way Radio Power Amplifier
BaoJie BJ-300 HF amplifier is a very good thing that shows perfect performance and is worth the money. Yes, you may suffer a little so that the switch is placed upside down, but this is only a matter of habit and does not affect the quality of work. The booster works great on 10, 11 and 12 m.
As for the design, the CB radio linear amplifier has an aluminum frame, a front panel with 3 buttons and a power indicator. Connectors (for the antenna, CB radio), power cable are located on the rear panel and it is very convenient to install the amplifier.
A good compact amplifier that does not overheat, has built-in protection against polarity and can work for a long time (of course, if you do not torture it).
- BaoJie BJ-300 HF will work with AM / FM radio and SSB with a power of 3-5 watts and 2-10 watts.
- The maximum possible power is up to 300 W (150 W is the average maximum).
- The amplifier operates in the frequency range from 20 to 30 MHz (most effective in the interval between 25-27 MHz).
- Suitable for mobile radio.
- It has a voltage of 12-14 V, input current/power of 14-20 A.
- The amplifier case is also equipped with a mini ventilator.
9. MegaWatt S-700-12 50 Amp Continuous 10.5 to 14 Volt Ham CB Radio
I have noticed that MegaWatt S-700-12 50 Amp can work in parallel with other power supplies and it requires simple installation.
It also has a ventilator, which, according to the manufacturer, is capable of cooling the work of the amplifier 60,000 hours. MegaWatt Amp perfectly eliminates interference in signal transmission not only in CB radio, but it can also be useful in audio equipment as well.
As practice has shown, the amplifier has the greatest compatibility with equipment that operates at 13 volts (approximately). This amplifier has a more interesting “filling” than the above mentioned. For example, it has automatic short circuit protection, and this feature is quite rare. Generally, it is a compact amplifier that has a complete set of satisfied parts and is easy to install.
- The amplifier has automatic protection against short circuit, over voltage does not create radio frequency noise.
- MegaWatt S-700-12 50 Amp case is equipped with a ventilator for heat control, double ball bearing, terminal cover.
- Adjustable output voltage ranges from 10.5 to 14 volts.
- Included is a grounded power cord (works with this).
- The amplifier is designed to work in parallel with other power supplies S-700-12 (this will give a current of 50, 100, 150, 200 amps, and maybe more).
- So powerful that it can work 24 hours without a break.
10. NAGOYA NA-300N HF Transceiver HF Power Amplifier
NAGOYA is also a great brand that has done such a powerful thing as the NA-300N HF Transceiver.The amplifier is not equipped with something supernatural, there is everything you need.
First, it is a compact size — 4.5 inches wide, 3.25 inches tall. Plus, it is quite lightweight and there is space for a ventilator, placing the connectors on the rear panel.
Secondly, this amplifier is made specifically for CB radio (+ FM/AM and SSB CB), so it works great in the range of 20-30 MHz. And yes, the best power of this amplifier is 5 or even 10 W (it can reach 250 W, as well).
In my opinion, the NA-300N HF Transceiver is a great thing for amateur radio.
- This radio amplifier has a ventilator and radiators for cooling and dissipating heat.
- The output power of this amplifier (for AM/FM) is 100 watts.
- Input power is from 5 to 10 watts at a maximum power of 250 watts.
- This amplifier is portable and has a size of 109x225x35 mm.
- NA-300N HF has an automatic switch TX/Rx, an electronic switch.
- It is equipped with polarity inversion protection.
CB Amplifier Buying Guide
Before you make a purchase and enhance the work of CB radio, you should be aware of a few theoretical nuances. I invite you to read them before purchase.
Why need CB Amplifiers?
You need a CB amplifier if you have a CB radio and would like it to be more powerful.
CB radio can produce poor quality sound, especially if you use a radio in a big city. High buildings, a large number of people, and even open windows in a car can spoil the sound quality.
If a high-quality sound is important to you, the CB amplifier will be a great device that will make the sound professional.
Types of CB Amplifiers
Before buying a CB amplifier you need to know about types.
The matter is that there are several types of amplifiers and each of them has its own classification.
For example, one type will be useful for amplifying the sound, while the other will amplify the signal.
Depending on what you lack when you use CB radio, you need to choose an amplifier type.
According to one (the most common classification) CB amplifiers are divided as follows:
- CB linear amplifier
- Valve RF amplifiers
- Common-emitter amplifiers
A CB linear amplifier is the most popular thing to amplify an outgoing signal.
The second type of amplifier is good for powerful signal transmission. And I would recommend the third type of amplifier for a signal that is poorly picked up by the antenna.
In most cases, people who want to get better performance from an amplifier, opt for a CB linear amplifier.
The fact is that this amplifier is the most powerful of all the above mentioned. For example, using a linear amplifier, you cannot worry about the distance between you and the person who receives your signal.
But besides this classification, there is another one. According to the second classification, all amplifiers are divided into several classes, namely:
- Class A
- Class B
- Class AB1
- Class AB2
- Class C
At first glance, it seems that everything is as difficult as remember all different types of gas masks, but this is not so.
Class A amplifiers are weak amplifiers and make only 50% of what other amplifiers do. But amplifiers of this class can reproduce the signal very well.
Class B amplifiers are more efficient than Class A amplifiers and require high power because that only hold half of the input signal.
Class AB1 is characterized by a grid offset. In this case, it is shifted negatively to class A.
In the case of class AB2, it is opposite to class AB1 because the grid is displaced negatively than AB1 and because the current will increase if the grid is made positive. Accordingly, the power of this class is also higher.
Both AB1 and AB2 work better than the A and B classes but transmit a signal worse.
And finally, the most powerful and effective amplifiers belong to class C. As a rule, these are non-personal amplifiers and are not suitable for all radios. You can use it for FM, CW, RTTY modes.
Such a class has disadvantages as high distortion due to amplification of the output signal (higher than the input signal), and this reproduces the signal worse than class A’s amplifiers.
The best amplifiers for linearity and reproducibility of sound are class A’s amplifiers. But amplifiers of other classes will be more efficient.
So, there is a paradox. You get more efficiency and a distorted signal, or you get low efficiency and a great signal. What to do?
You have two choices: a) come to terms with life and continue to live on, b) use feedback or direct connection or DPD and some other additional circuits along with amplifiers of classes A and B.
What Does A Linear Amplifier Do?
CB radio transmits low-frequency signals. And the situation may worsen if you live in a larger city because a big city can make big interference in the radio operation.
A linear amplifier improves the signal quality and also increases the distance at which you will catch the signal.
Experts claim that the correct tuning of the antenna can give a good connection for 8000 miles. This is quite a lot.
Are CB Linear Amplifiers Illegal?
It may seem strange or even funny, but the CB linear amplifier is indeed illegal.
Firstly, it is illegal not everywhere, but in some states of America and in some countries of the world. Before buying a CB linear amplifier, it will be logical to know whether it is legal to use an amplifier in your state or country.
As you probably already know, many people live in places where the CB amplifier is illegal and this does not prevent them from being interested in the radio and using stuff to improve the signal. Why?
There are several options: a) they are not afraid to pay a fine or even become imprisoned, b) they know that few people have problems with the FCC because of this.
If you use the CB linear amplifier wisely, you will have no problems. And if you are going to listen to music and exceed the allowable power (for example, 1000 W), someone from the FCC will come to you for a “pleasant conversation” and a fine.
Interpol will not search for you immediately after you buy an amplifier. And it will continue as long as you create problems.
It is important to remember: the permissible power when using AM is 4 W and when using SSB it is 12 W.
Features To Look For During Purchase
If you decide that you are a daredevil and are ready to “cross” the law, your “illegal activity” must begin with a very high-quality product. How to get a quality CB amplifier? For example, this is a CB linear amplifier which has the qualities listed below.
Compatibility with CB radio
Compatibility with CB radio is the most important choice. If the amplifier cannot be combined with the radio, you do not need such an amplifier at all.
I have already said that the FCC expects from you that you will not exceed the maximum output power of the radio, namely 4 W and 12 W.
Therefore, the input power CB of the linear amplifier should be in the region of these values. Plus, the frequency, which can be in the range from 20 MHz to 30 MHz, is also important.
If the CB amplifier that you choose has all this, then everything is OK
This item is very important because you buy an amplifier only for this.
Amplification is how the CB amplifier makes the sound better. Therefore, the higher the gain the better.
I advise you to check this item through careful study of the brand and its characteristics, as well as through the study of reviews.
The quality can be badly damaged if you install it incorrectly and you will hardly use it.
Paying attention to the design, I would highlight the following points:
- Availability of radiators and ventilators
- Antenna cable and button connectors
- Reverse polarity protection (but let’s talk about it later)
Why do we need radiators and ventilators? They are needed to make the cooling function if the amplifier has it.
And connectors and buttons are needed to connect the amplifier to the radio. If not, why do you need a brick?
Almost all CB linear amplifiers are miniature in size and do not interfere with use. You can put it on the floor or under the radio.As for weight, it is also easy to carry.
CB linear amplifiers heat up when you use it. And if the device is hot, its performance is not good.If the heating is very strong, some parts may even melt.
Therefore, the linear amplifier that you are going to buy should be equipped with a ventilator (at high speed) or some other cooling feature.
Here the rule works: the more modes, the better. However, I doubt that you will be able to find a CB linear amplifier with a small number of modes. The fact is that almost all existing amplifiers are “stuffed” with all possible modes.
Reverse Polarity Protection
We said a little about this.
It would be better if the amplifier you buy will have protection against polarity reversal. Fortunately, most devices have this feature.
These could be some kind of diode or DC-powered circuit, a wire that protects the circuit, and so on.
I know that we are not considering headphones. So why do you need a noise canceling in it?
This feature allows the amplifier to suppress background radio noise, which usually occurs when there is no signal.
To get rid of background radio noise, all you have to do is turn on the noise cancellation and keep it on until the noise goes away.
Generally, this function will keep your receiver quiet and nothing will annoy you.
This is another mandatory feature for which you buy an amplifier – an increase in output power during signal transmission.
Output power should be more than 150 watts and this will be the case in most cases (although sellers talk about 250 watts or even 300 watts).
There are several best-known brands that are always popular and people buy them more often than products of other brands. What are these brands? More I will tell below.
The price may be completely different. It depends on the quality, a number of functions, and power.
I do not advise to pay attention to a price when choosing the best CB amplifier. First of all, pay attention to the functions, and then to the price.
How to Build a Linear Amplifier for a CB Radio?
Linear amplifiers are a cool thing that improves the quality of the incoming and outgoing signal, and more. But if you build a linear amplifier, you will get even more options.
In addition, if the amplifier breaks once, you can fix it by yourself, since you already know everything.
So, you can build a linear amplifier as follows:
You will need a chassis, a frequency meter, a power supply, and connectors. Fortunately, all the necessary parts are sold in the kit, so be attentive in the store.
It is better to buy the parts in the kit because that is the same size. It will deprive you of unnecessary moving.
Check This Out
If the parts are not new, then make sure that there is nothing oxidized and cracked. If there is something with a defect, then replace it.
Be Sure About The Chassis
At this stage, you need to calculate the area of the frequency meter and IEC power supply.
Then cut out the rectangular holes that will be used for the frequency meter, the IEC socket. Plus, with an electric drill, you need to make a mounting hole on all sides (choose a 4 mm drill bit).
And remember that the meter should be located at the front and the power connector at the back.
Before Connecting The Circuit
Clean the tip of the soldering iron. Use a damp sponge for this, and then coat with a cotton cloth.
Remember that resistors, transistors, capacitors, potentiometers, relays must be considered. Each of this is inserted into the appropriate connector and do not abuse the pressure, because it must be optimal.
Flip The Circuit Board
So that the front side looked down.
After that, press the connector pins to its flat state on the metal strip. Then solder all the connectors on the strip and screw the circuit board into the base of the case.
It Is Time For The Power Wire
Solder it to the output connector of the frequency meter. Then proceed to the wire at the output terminal of the IEC power supply.
At this point, start setting the frequency meter, IEC power source, and jacks that you soldered in the previous step.
Now you need to connect the frequency to the potentiometer, and the power source must be connected to the positive eyelet of the board.
The ground wire should be attached to the negative eye on the board, and the input connector to the eye in front of the first resistor.
Finally, the output connector should be soldered to the eye after the last resistor.
The final step
will be – tightening the chassis cover.
Also Read: CB External Speaker Reviews by Expert
How to Install CB Amplifiers?
It was difficult to build an amplifier. Believe me, with the installation of a CB linear amplifier everything is much simpler.
Step 1 – Check Antenna Position
Until you check the SWR meter, you do not have to connect the amplifier to the radio. If the SWR is bad, it will break your CB radio.
Step 2 – Place The Amplifier
This is important. You can put it next to the radio, put it under it or on the floor. If you are going to put the radio nearby, please be sure that there are 3 or 4 inches of free space (for adequate ventilation).
Often, amplifiers can be installed with radio mounting hardware, but this is the case with mobile use.
Step 3 – The Connection Preparation
Now you need to disconnect the antenna that was connected to the CB radio up to this point. By the way, what you just unplugged is called a coaxial antenna cable. Now connect this cable to the antenna jack on the amplifier.
What to do with the free CB antenna jack? You need to insert an amp jumper in there.
The fact is that this jumper has two ends. The other end should be connected to the input jack on the CB linear amplifier.
Step 4 – How About The SWR Again?
You need to check the standing wave ratio again. It is important that this indicator does not change.
It is good if nothing changes. And it is bad if something changes, then you have to fix the problem. Connect the SWR need as it is stated on the amplifier.
Step 5 – Direct Connection
Now just take the power cord from the amplifier and plug it into the wall outlet. Then turn on the power and the amplifier should start its work.
If you have a mobile device, the red power cord should be connected to the red cable and the black one to the black power cable on the CB radio.
Top 4 CB Amplifier Brand
Everyone asks, “WHAT BRAND IS BETTER?”
This is difficult to answer because functions are primary things, and the name of the product is only of secondary importance.
But I will allow myself to recommend several brands to you:
This brand makes amps for portable CB radio. Usually, the products of this brand are compact and light.
In the amplifiers of this brand, there is almost everything: it can withstand up to 30 MHz frequency, has a solid construction with a ventilator for cooling, conveniently placed buttons, and automatic switches.
Additionally, this brand can be used with any CB radio, the signal of which can be improved up to 300 watts.
The amplifier from this brand has a durable aluminum body, power indicator, a few buttons, and antenna connectors. But you can use this brand for AM / FM and SSB.
And this brand incorporates reverse polarity protection, a ventilator in amplifiers.
Firstly, this brand makes a very compact and lightweight amplifiers. It is suitable for CB radio, FM/AM and SSB.
And then everything is standard – the ventilator, radiator, range up to 30 MHz. If you use the amplifier of this brand, you can get power up to 250 watts.
These are the same lightweight and compact amplifiers, the voltage of which you can easily adjust. You can also use the amplifiers of this brand in parallel with other power supplies and get a current from 50 to 200 amps.
Care and Safety of CB Amplifier
- Install a CB amplifier in the room that is ventilated, because the amplifier, as an electron device, can be hot and interfered with.
- Since the CB amplifier is an electronic device, it is important to install it in a dry place so that no water gets on it.
- Always be confident that the antenna can withstand maximum output power. If everything is OK, then the new amplifier will work for a long time.
- It is cool if you have an amplifier or radio with a microphone in the kit because this will allow you to tune the radio with an amplifier.
- If you choose a microphone, it must be with a noise reduction function.
- If you want to set up a CB radio with an amplifier, send it to an open area where there are not a lot of people and skyscrapers.
- When setting up a CB radio with an amplifier in the car, the windows, doors, a trunk is closed, because all this can knock the signal off.
What is a CB radio linear amplifier?
This is a device that takes the standard CB radio output (typically 4 watts) and then boosts it to a much higher power level. If your CB radio is limited to just transmitting to people in town, then with the amplifier you may be able to transmit to the next town over.
How Do I Know That I Can Use A Linear Amplifier?
If the CB radio and the linear amplifier are compatible according to the characteristics, you can use such an amplifier without problems.
Another thing is whether it is legal in the place where you live. But even if it is illegal, you can use a linear amplifier and not exceed the permissible power. An amplifier can help you avoid interference when receiving a signal anyway.
Are CB amplifiers illegal?
Technically, they’re illegal. In theory, the FCC can fine you for the offense and even jail time is a possibility. At least, that’s the theory.
In real life, thousands of people use this and none of them have been hassled by the FCC. You’re just breaking the law that no one really cares about. It’s like jaywalking when there are no cars around.
Why do truckers use linear amplifiers with their CB radios?
The most basic reason is that they’re able to communicate with more CB radio users. The amplifiers boost the signal, so that they’re now able to talk to even other truckers from farther away. Most truckers can’t use the best antenna for their CB radios, so they compensate with linear amplifiers.
What Is The Best CB Linear Amplifier?
The ideal linear amplifier is one that is not visible to the FCC. Joke!
The best linear amplifier for CB radio is one that has a constant gain at different values of the input signal, remains independent of frequency, and does not add noise. The ideal linear amplifier is not subject to temperature change, it remains stable even if it works for a long time.
Actually a high-quality amplifier with “iron nerves” is a good investment, especially if you are a fan of the radio.
It seems to me that it is much more convenient to use the amplifier than to suffer from a long antenna or change the radio circuit. Setting up the best cb amplifier takes a few minutes and leaves you satisfied with the signal quality. I wish you that!