What is RF Gain and Squelch on CB Radio – Complete Guide

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It is crazy when the radio signal is corrupted by statistical noise. There is instant disappointment: a) nothing is clear and b) any radio amateur will be upset by the terrible signal.

This problem is very common. I have heard these stories a lot. Fortunately, this problem with statistical noise is now completely solvable.

When you develop an interest in radio, you often hear about RF gain and squelch. Newbie’s are horrified, since they have no idea what it is.

It is actually simple. RF is the sensitivity adjustment. These are two amazing features will make the signal noise free.

I will tell you why you should pay attention to this and how to handle it.

What is RF gain?

RF gain means sensitivity adjustment. RF gain describes wireless signaling that is not done by wire but through the air. It actually works like a phone in your home. How is RF gain useful? If you are familiar with CB radio, you know that there is a large amount of noise that interferes with successful signal transmission. This noise comes from the nearest channels, the atmosphere and many other possible sources.

There is actually so much noise, that it is a miracle you receive any signal. You may ask why do I get a signal, if there is so much noise?

The answer is simple – RF gain counteracts noise that increases distance. Therefore, squelch is a sensitivity filter that reduces the noise in the receiver.

When the noise is reduced, there is no reduction in receiving power. For example, CB noise reduction affects the power that can be reduced.

What is Squelch?

Why do you need squelch? It is necessary to determine the strength of the signal, before you hear this signal. Squelch is usually set at between 9:00 and 3:00.

You need to have a squelch control on the CB radio. This is one of the most important elements of the radio.

Squelch control is important because it sets the threshold within which the signal will come out of the dynamics of your radio.

When you turn the squelch high, the incoming signal becomes stronger. If you want to hear only strong signals, you turn it to the right. If you want to hear weak signals, you turn it to the left.

Why is it regulated? It is because statistical noise is also constantly changing. During the day, the noise is different. This is due to the charged ionosphere and the increased activity in urban areas.

What is the difference between Squelch and RF Gain?

RF gain is similar to squelch. However, RF gain controls the gain of radio frequencies.

The perfect signal occurs when both functions work together. Squelch filters the signal from noise, and RF gain controls the range of the received signal.

How Does RF Gain Work On CB Radio?

It is important to understand that RF gain only works on CB radio. Therefore, your CB radio can suppress noise in several ways.

Everything will work well if you use only RF gain or if you use RF gain with the built-in noise reduction function (and also with squelch). The signal will be without unnecessary noise.

How do you use RF Gain?

It depends on where you want to hear the program. If you are going to hear the transmission from a long distance away, then you need to keep the gain wide open.

Conversely, if you want to hear the nearest transmission, you need to turn the gain clockwise, until you get the desired close signal.

This does not mean that is absolutely has to be done this way. In fact, many radio amateurs and drivers do otherwise.

They turn off the squelch (turn on the radio) and turn off the RF gain on the CB. They then include RF gain until, the noise disappears completely.

How do you decide what to do? The choice is up to you. You make the decision. However, the second method helps to get rid of intermittent signals. However, there is a drawback. This type of “noise cancellation” allows a distant signal to pass through.

Imagine that you are approaching a car. The closer the machine is to you, the stronger the signals (and volume).

What if the signal fades? You should increase the RF gain and reduce the squelch on the radio. If you choose a “double blow” for the noise, use both RF gain and the noise suppressor.

CB types with RF gain

Not all CB radios have RF gain. We will discuss which ones have it.

Let’s start with the classics! CB base stations have RF gain. They can be found in a house or in a business office. In addition to RF gain, base stations also have a noise filter and an automatic silencer.

Mobile versions of CB radios also have RF gain. It is often powerful enough for RF gain and has a single-band transmission (this is not always true).

RF gain and squelch can work with any kind of CB. You do not need to buy a very expensive model. Any standard radio station can handle this.

And now we have reached the main topic:

How Do You Connect RF Gain and Squelch?

The following five steps are need to connect RF gain and squelch.

  1. You should turn off your portable radio.
  2. Turn the squelch and RF gain fully counterclockwise.
  3. Turn on a certain volume level.
  4. Raise the squelch slowly, until the radio is silent.
  5. Raise (also slowly) RF gain until there is no noise, then slowly reduce it until the noise stops completely.

How does this help? This connection will help you to hear the voice, but not hear the noise.

There are some tricks here: if you keep the squelch and RF gain low, then you will hear every signal without noise.

Recommended Resources:

1. Which stubby antenna do you need? – check our top list
2. Best CB Antenna for Pickup Truck (Semi Truck) – Reviewed and Guide
3. How to Hook Up a CB Linear Amp
4. How to Tune a CB Radio without a SWR Meter
5. Complete List of CB Ten codes and useful slang

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