A complete UHF CB system is an essential piece of kit for any 4WD enthusiast. One of the most important aspects of that system in the antenna. Without one, you won’t be able to transmit properly using your radio. And although setting up your antenna is relatively straightforward, different 4WD antennas are suited to different terrains.
4WD antennas can be divided into three different categories based on their decibels rating: low gain, medium gain and high gain. So which is the right type for you?
Low gain 4WD antennas typically operate between 0 to 3dB. They offer a much wider, yet far shorter projection from the antenna. Low gain antennas are able to transmit over hills and through gullies. These are generally used when going down 4WD tracks with other vehicles that are going to be in close proximity.
Medium gain 4WD antennas have a rating between 3 to 6dB. They can transmit much further than a low gain antenna, but have a shorter projection, making them less practical to use in hilly terrain. These are seen as the ‘jack of all trades’ for 4WD antennas and can operate effectively in most terrains.
High gain 4WD antennas feature a rating typically larger than 6dB. These are used to communicate long distances over flat ground, like when travelling on rural highways. They operate poorly in hilly terrain due to the short width of their projection.
Most 4WDers opt for a dual antenna system, where they are able to swap antennas based on their terrain. For example, a person who plans on doing some bush-bashing with their friends may use a 9dB high gain antenna while on the highway, but will swap over to the 2dB antenna when he reaches the track.