Many of us have heard or already used CB radio. It is a radio with a long history, which has not changed for many years, except for the new single side band (SSB) feature.
Why buy a CB radio with SSB, and how does it differ from CB radios without SSB?
Citizen’s Band (CB) radios transmit on the AM channels, and the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) restricts the transmission power to 4 watts on the standard channels.
However, the FCC also allows CB radios to use lower sideband and upper sideband (SSB) channels in addition to the standard channels. CB radios equipped with SSB capability can access these extra channels. Also, the FCC allows 12 watts of transmission power on the SSB channels instead of the normal 4 watts.
So if you’re in a remote location, or anywhere where it’s harder to get a transmission signal out, SSB lets you use three times more transmission power, helping you to connect with more people, and offering better signal strength. But to receive and transmit on the SSB frequencies, you need a CB radio that’s equipped with SSB capability.
So what radio transceiver should you buy to use the SSB channels? Well, we have the answers for you! Just read below to find the best SSB CB radios in our reviews.
Our Top Picks
Uniden BEARCAT 980
Best SSB CB Radio Reviews
1. President McKinley USA 40 Channel CB Radio
SSB CB radio is a new generation radio and the President McKinley USA CB radio is a perfect example of it. We recommend this as the best SSB CB radio for new users to put in a vehicle, as it offers all the basic features you need and some really useful extra features, but there is not too much you need to learn to enjoy using this transceiver. It’s got 5 buttons and 3 rotary dials—that’s it!
This McKinley brand transceiver has cool features such as switchable talkback, roger beep, variable RF power control, noise blanker, and three filters to cut down on electrical noise and static (NB/ANL/HIC).This CB radio has all the necessary features to receive (and transmit) signals of very good quality.
The scanning feature works its way through all 40 channels, so its handy for finding the channel you want. And you can store your three favorite channels in memory for direct access. Best of all, this radio features a new, much easier way to check your SWR settings. A long tone means everything is fine, and a beeping tone means your SWR is bad. It also shows you the SWR on the LDC display.
- 40 channels and SSB bands
- Operates on 12 or 24 volts.
- Fits in the stereo space built into your dashboard, so it’s easy to mount in a vehicle
- Access the weather bands by pushing a button—that’s easy!
- Offers channel and memory scanning, Dual Watch function, VOX ability, Mic and RF Gain Controls to boost incoming signals.
- There’s a 3-color large LCD display that’s easy to read.
- The radio has Automatic SWR reading Zero in “Beep” function to tune up it easy.
- Equipped with microphone, mounting bracket, and standard 3-pin power cord so you can
- Front panel has a mic plug, external loudspeaker jack, and a front loudspeaker.
- 3 memories, preset 9 and 19 help you run across your “must hear” channels and emergency channels.
2. Galaxy-DX-959 40 Channel AM/SSB Mobile CB Radio
It is time to speak about the best Galaxy CB radio with SSB functions. The Galaxy DX 959 SSB is a mobile radio transceiver for serious CB operators. It offers more functions and more controls than the President McKinley reviewed above and perfect for serious, experienced cb radio operators.
This transceiver has 8 dials and 5 switches, so it offers you a lot of flexibility and control. Make sure you know which control is where before you start driving!
This radio has been on the market for 15 years, which shows how popular it is. Its features include a roger beep, SWR alert, Delta tuning, microphone gain control, squelch control, an automatic noise limiter, noise blanker, clarifier, galaxy noise filter, tone switch, SWR alert, and talkback control (on/off).
- Variable power output, modulation and SWR scale to make radio tuning easy.
- Five-digit frequency and two-digit channel displays with large yellow signs to see all info without straining your eyes and to use in the nighttime.
- There is variable talkback circuit with ON/OFF switch, Automatic SWR circuit (as well as SWR alert), and dimmer control with a push switch.
- Noise Filter, Automatic Noise Limiter, RF Gain will help you to boost the strength of signals.
- It has variable power output control, variable dimmer control with ON/OFF switch, as well as roger beep and LED indicator.
- The Galaxy DX 959 box includes a handheld mic, radio mounting bracket, mic mounting hardware, and power cord.
3. Uniden BEARCAT 980 SSB 40- Channel SSB CB Radio
The Uniden BEARCAT 980 SSB radio is a great choice for CB operators, especially if you often use the CB when driving at night. The BEARCAT 980 is suitable for nighttime because of an easy-to-read 7-color digital display and backlit control knobs.
It has a six-pin microphone plug, but the unit comes with a four-pin adapter, so you can use any mic with the BEARCAT. I didn’t like the quality of the microphone and suggest you get a better one, but the transceiver itself is a great piece of gear.
The unit has volume squelch control on one dial, a channel selector/menu knob, a fine/coarse clarifier knob, and you can switch between the S/RF meter, a Calibration setting, and a SWR meter (reading) display. Along with the standard Mode button, ANL/NB noise reduction features, talkback, frequency scanner, and weather button, there’s a nice LCD display with 7 colors.
The 7” x 7” size is perfect for using in a vehicle. The transceiver comes with a mounting bracket, hardware, power cord and microphone.
- The hi-tech interface includes a 7-color LCD display, backlit control knobs and digital SWR meter.
- It has 40 AM and SSB channels, Upper and Lower sideband channels, instant channel 9/19, and activate weather alert.
- This SSB radio has PA capability, SWR meter, a calibration setting, and an S/RF meter.
- Signals became stronger because of dynamic Squelch control, RF gain control, mic gain control.
- The BEARCAT’s stable SSB frequencies are a major plus.
- It includes channel scanning and a dimmer switch.
4. Galaxy DX-979 40 Channel AM/SSB Mobile CB Radio
The next SSB radio is the Galaxy DX-979. We love this radio because of its backlit display, which is a huge help at night. This is one of the best galaxy CB radios we tested Also, the, DX-979 has many hi-tech functions.
The list of features includes public address, backlit display, built-in SWR, single side band (SSB), delta tuning, dynamike boost, high swr indicator, noise reduction (nb/anl), rf gain. the radio has a small size and wide about 7.25 inches.
- The list of features includes variable power output, modulation, SWR and the incoming signal.
- Backlit faceplate makes it easy to operate the transceiver at night.
- There is a 2-digit channel display.
- Automatic SWR circuit, an alert, variable dimmer control helps a tuning of the antenna.
- It will work with an optional Galaxy six-digit frequency counter (purchased separately – not included).
5. Galaxy DX98VHP 200 Watt 10 Meter Radio with Single Sideband
One more SSB radio by Galaxy is DX98VHP that pushing 200 watts of modulation. This is the best long range SSB CB radio.
There is something new for CB radio operators. The Galaxy DX98VHP has additional output power and two internal quiet, temperature-controlled fans. The fans are needed to provide air flow over the enlarged heat sink, making this radio especially good for people who drive long distances and use their CB for long periods of time. Salespeople, truckers, this is for you!
We found the blue LED display that shows frequency and channel, and blue meter lamps in the extra-large meter to be easy to read
Using the Galaxy DX98VHP, you can improve the quality of incoming signals by using the RF Gain Control.
The great power, loads of features makes this radio an indispensable part of your travels
- There is variable output power (from 10 to 50 watts for AM, pushing over 200 watts).
- It has variable RF Gain Control, built-in voice changer to control received signals.
- The variable dimmer control is total adjustable control for the faceplate, channel, frequency, and meter displays.
- Included variable Talkback Control (and you can turn it off).
- Equipped with ON/OFF, roger beep and an automatic SWR circuit.
- AM/USB/LSB modes are available.
6. Mobile AM/SSB CB Radio with Frequency Counter
What else can Galaxy come up with for SSB operators? The DX-979F. It is one of the best Galaxy SSB radios, and has a small size and big possibilities.
The most obvious features of this radio are its big calibrated meter and backlit faceplate. Otherwise, the Galaxy DX-979F looks like the other Galaxy models, especially the DX-979.
In addition, this radio has all the necessary functions to help you get the most signals, and the best signal quality:, including RF gain control, noise blanker and automatic noise limiter to catch any important information due to noise.
- Medium sized chassis with front mic jack allows installation in tight quarters.
- This SSB CB radio has a built-in 5-digit frequency counter, and a 2-digit blue LED channel display.
- There is backlit faceplate with light blue lettering for nighttime use.
- Large, easy-to-read meter with power output scale calibrated for AM and SSB
- High SWR alert circuit with warning LED.
- RF and mic gain control, Automatic Noise limiter circuits, and noise blanker to improve signal quality.
- Handheld microphone, radio-mounting bracket, microphone mounting hardware, and power cord are in the box.
7. Galaxy DX-2547 AM/SSB CB Base Station w/ Freq Counter
The last SSB CB radio is by Galaxy, and it’s the DX-2547 model. This radio is different because of its size and shape; at 4-3/4″ x 11-1/4″ x 13-1/2″ this 12 lb radio is best suited to use as a base station, although it operates on AC and DC power, so you can use it in a vehicle if you have enough space for it. This radio has the standard 40 channels plus SSB.
The big meter is easy to read, and has four scales. The “S” Meter indicates up to 60 dB over S9; there’s a Modulation Percentage Scale for use on AM bands; a power scale calibrated for AM and SSB bands; and an SWR scale. Also, you don’t have to calibrate the SWR meter. It’s automatic!
But perhaps the most unusual feature is that the unit offers front feet that flip down when you want to use them. This angles the display so it’s easier to read.
Also, the unit comes with a complete, soft cover service manual!
- 13.8 V DC or 110 V, 60 Hz AC power.
- There is an automatic SWR meter
- The transceiver has variable RF output power and talkback controls.
- Switchable roger beep
- LED frequency display
- The box includes a handheld microphone, mounting hardware, AC power cord, DC power cord, service manual and operator’s manual.
Overview of The Best CB Radio with SSB
What is SSB CB Radio and How Does it Work?
SSB means single sideband modulation. Single sideband modulation is another radio wave band, with both upper and lower bands. SSB radio transceivers transmit and accept standard CB channels in addition to the SSB channels. Why is that useful? SSB gives you more channels, and you can operate them at up to 12 watts of power instead of the 4 watts allowed for the standard CB channels. This gives you much longer range. Be aware that you can only talk with other ham operators who have
And you can find SSB functions only on the top-end devices. What should you do if other operators do not have SSB radios? You need to switch to the main channel for communication with them.
Let’s look at some numbers to understand how SSB works. Imagine that the signal is about 2 MHz, so its first bounce is 200 or 400 miles from you. If the signal is about 4 MHz, then it can be 400 – 600 miles from you; if its 6 MHz, the signal will travel 600 – 1200 miles, and so on.
Plus, the useable signal range depends on certain solar periods and landscapes. The frequency comes unpredictable when it is higher than 26 MHz.
Imagine that the antenna you use is 3 feet. Speaking about wooded terrain, a CB’s max range (without SSB) will be about 3 km, and an SSB CB’s max range will be about 10 km.
That is why two ham operators (with SSB) can talk at longer distances across woods, forests, mountains and other signal obstructions. Is there a difference? Oh, yeah!
What about flat terrain? A CB’s max range will be about 5 km, and an SSB’s range would be about 20 km, using the same antenna as in the example above. You can talk with another SSB operator at a distance of 20 km, using SSB.
Best SSB CB Radio Buying Guide
You can get the opportunity to communicate with other SSB operators at 20 km distance. At first, you need to buy the SSB radio with great features. I will tell you right now how to do it.
The best SSB transceivers have the following features.
As I said above, SSB CB transceivers transmit at up to 12 watts of output power. But CBs without the SSB function transmit at 4 watts maximum. This is due to a federal US law that forbids the use of higher power levels.
The transmission distance will be longer in CB equipped with the SSB function, since they are allowed to operate at 12 watts of power.
This is a standard feature that reduces static on incoming transmission. Most SSB CB radios include this feature.
It is a function that is similar to squelch control. It works by blocking faint signals and selecting strong signals. This “discernment” helps to get rid of background noise.
Plus, RF Gain helps you to hear a weak signal better by increasing its strength.
Automatic Noise Limitation
This is the best function for making outgoing transmissions “clearer” by filtering out background noises like engine noise, road sounds, city noises, and static.
The Automatic Noise Limitation function cleans a signal of extraneous noise to improve the sound quality of the transmission.
Squelch Control, RF Gain, and ANL is the best combination of functions you can use to boost the strength of incoming signals.
The function of weather alerts is important, especially since it can stop you from driving into bad weather. The weather can change dramatically at a distance of 20 km.
You have to be ready for anything on a long trip. So protect yourself by having the weather channel and weather advisories available to you on the SSB CB radio you choose.
Emergency Channels (9 and 19)
Channel 9 is used for emergency broadcasts. Channel 19 is what truckers use to pass information about traffic conditions, so you can avoid accidents, traffic tie-ups, and other traffic conditions.
This feature automatically scan the 40 AM CB channels, so you don’t have to manually try and tune in each station. This is especially helpful when you’re driving as it lets you change stations and keep your attention on the road. The auto scan will stop on the first channel it finds. Then y you can scan for other channels by pressing the appropriate control.
SSB CB transceivers come in two sizes. The smaller sizes are meant to be installed in a vehicle, and many of them are made so you can remove the radio in your vehicle and mount the CB with SSB in the same place on your dashboard. Bigger units can only be used in trucks or as base stations in a building.
When using SSB CB radios, it really helps to have a backlit display, NOAA weather updates, memories to save your favorite channel, and a built-in SWR meter.
Choose SSB CB radio with features that will help you communicate with other truck drivers or amateur drivers. Find the best stops and broadcast information about bad weather.
When choosing an SSB radio, also give preference to strong and reliable antennas and a wide display with adjustable backlight. These are “must haves” for any driver. To find the best SSB CB radio for your needs, check our reviews. We update them on a regular basis.
What is the range of a CB radio?
The range depends on the efficiency of the antenna, the amount of power transmitting and receiving the signal, and the environment (if there are forests, mountains, etc.).
The range will be longer on an open road than if you’re in an area with many tall trees and buildings. Obstacles like trees and buildings block the signal.
The type of CB radio station does matter. For example, base stations will have a greater range than a mobile and portable cb radio.
Do you want to get the maximum range? You will get the maximum distance with a good antenna, the right SWR, in an open area without solar activity.
How to tune SSB CB radio?
At first, you need to install a radio and antenna. You need to do it to be sure that the radio was equipped totally.
There is no one way to tune the radio that it could differ from brands. I will show you an average way to tune your SSB CB radio.
First, you have to find an open space that is free by obstacles like trees and building and so on.
Next, you need to join SWR-meter to the radio (skip it if the radio includes built-in SWR-meter). Observe the SWR-meter testimony. And the tuning of SSB CB radio is done.
How to use SSB CB radio?
To begin with, you need to tune the radio using an SWR meter. Many SSB CB transceivers include an SWR meter, but if you don’t have one you can buy it separately.
What else? Step 2 is about the law and the CB radio.
The FCC law allows anyone to listen to CB transmissions, but to talk on CB channels you must have a license. There are two licenses. Also, the FCC requires that the standard AM CB channels are limited to 4 watts of transmitting power. The SSB bands, however, can use up to 12 watts of transmission power!
Now you know the difference between SSB CB radio transceivers and ordinary CB, and how to choose the best long-range SSB CB radio.
For the best reception of SSB and regular CB signals, you need a good antenna. Check our reviews to find the right CB antenna for your needs. See you next time!