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How to Power Your CB Radio

Almost all CB radios come with an unprocessed power line, which consists of a ground and a hot wire. Getting power to your CB radio can be a little tricky. Luckily, there are a few different options depending on your level of electrical ability and your specific vehicle setup.

Tap Into Existing Wiring

If you’re fairly knowledgeable about electronics, you can tap into one of the existing power lines used for other vehicle accessories such as stereos, speakers or seats. While this can be convenient, it’s not recommended for those with little electrical experience.

Use a Fuse Tapper

A fuse tapper looks like a standard fuse, but has a hot lead wire coming out of the top of the fuse. This allows you to use power from the fuse box to easily power your radio without any complicated wiring. The black wire can be attached to any metallic element that grounds to the vehicle’s chassis to complete the circuit and power the radio.

Use a Cigarette Adapter

Another simple way to power your radio is to use a cigarette adapter. For radios that use a standard 3-pin power cord, you can buy inexpensive 3-pin-to-cigarette adapter power cords that will work with the radio right out of the box. For cheaper CB radios that don’t use a removable 3-pin power cord, you’ll need to have a cigarette adapter that can be used with bare-end wires.

Wire Directly to the Battery

For minimal electrical interference, you can run the hot line directly to the hot terminal of a vehicle’s battery. The ground wire can be connected to the ground terminal of the battery or to any metallic element of the vehicle attached to the frame. If you’re experiencing significant engine noise that interferes with incoming signals, wiring the radio directly to the battery will usually reduce or eliminate the interference.


Next, visit CB Radio Frequencies and Channels to learn more about where to legally operate your CB.

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