how to hook up a cb linear amp

How to Hook up a CB Linear Amp

Learn how to hook up a CB Linear Amp with this handy guide.

Linear amps are some of the most useful tools that can help you improve your CB radio’s transmission range. Ideally, they work by taking the output of your radio and boosting its signal so that it can travel farther.

They are usually designed for use at home or in mobile applications, but the only difference is that each simply has different power requirements. The good thing, however, is that the process of hooking up a CB linear amp is the same.

In this article, we look at the process of how to hook up a CB linear amp in a step-by-step process. In addition, we will also outline the items you will need for the process and offer a few tips to make the process easy for you.

What to Expect

With regards to transmission range, your CB radio should be capable of transmitting for longer distances due to the increased power. In addition, your radio will still be powerful even in areas that lack repeaters.

The process is not entirely difficult if you follow the instructions carefully. Since it needs some technical skills, you would be slightly advantaged if you have basic electrical skills, however, these aren’t a necessity.

You should also be careful not to break local laws when using a CB linear amp. The use of this tool is illegal in most countries because increasing a CB radio’s power output beyond 4W and for long hours may be dangerous.

Items You’ll Need

  • Standard pliers
  • Soldering iron
  • Counterboring tool
  • Stereo to mono plug adapter
  • Drill with 1/8-inch or ¼-inch bit
  • 2K Ohm resistor
  • 1/8-inch mono headphone jack

As a safety precaution, you should desist from working in tight spaces and especially when using the soldering tool. It is also better to remove the circuit board from the radio as this will reduce the chances of wet solder dripping onto the circuit board.

Procedure to Hook up a CB Linear Amp

Step 1

First off, ensure the SWR reading on your antenna is well below 1:5. If you have a higher reading, you risk damaging output transistors in your CB linear amp. In addition, the dead key of your radio should not be greater than 10W, or else it may eventually overheat.

With that said, access the back panel of the radio and navigate to the amplifier section. You can find this by finding where speaker wires originate on the radio’s circuit board.

Next, place the amplifier next to the radio with a 3-4-inch ventilation space all around the amplifier. You can then secure the amp using a screwdriver and the mounting hardware.

Step 2

The next step involves removing the antenna connected to your CB radio and plugging it into the antenna jack on your linear amplifier. Ideally, you are simply bypassing a direct connection to the antenna.

In addition, you will also need to drill a hole for the exact size of jack you intend to install on a side of the radio that is closest to the linear amp as possible.

You will need to measure and cut enough wire that will run from the hole you just made to the amp board. Strip the wire at the ends then solder the leads onto the open circuit headphone jack. If you have a closed-circuit jack, you will find unmarked leads on the side of the jack.

Afterward, solder the wire from the speaker’s positive terminal to one of the leads on the jack. The other lead on the jack should be soldered to the positive speaker pole. Once done, you can then cut the original wire from the amp to the speaker.

Step 3

In this step, you will be mounting the headphone jack in the drilled hole. You can use the counterboring tool to help widen the opening you had made earlier if it is still small.

Once it is in place, you can then connect the jumper cable of the amplifier to the antenna jack of your CB radio. The set of terminals found on the opposite end of the jumper cable should then be connected to the amplifier’s input jack.

Step 4

This is where you will be needing the 2K Ohm resistor. You are to solder one end of the resistor to the positive wire from the headphone jack while the other end of the resistor needs to be connected to the speaker’s positive pole.

There are chances that your amplifier will output 25W. If this is the case, you may need to solder an 8-ohm or a 16-ohm resistor to the positive and negative poles of the headphone jack to ensure the amplifier’s output is properly balanced.

You can then replace the back panel and connect the radio to a power supply. Before connecting the linear amp to a power supply, you need to ensure that it can supply the exact amount of power. This will go a long way in ensuring that the entire setup performs at its best.

Troubleshooting Potential Problems

Despite following the procedure correctly, there are chances you might experience some problems after you are done. This can include things such as excessive power drive, getting less than rated power output, or experiencing distortions.

Poor grounding or poor wiring are usually the causes of most of these issues. However, there is also the possibility that your antenna has a high SWR.

While you should expect your linear amplifier to get a little warm while in operation, a linear amp that is too hot may be a sign of poor air circulation.


Summing it all up, hooking up your CB linear amp with your radio will give you the much-needed power boost that will extend your CB’s range. 

Though we boiled down the procedure to just 4 steps, you could always get a detailed guide by following the instructions that come with the linear amp. 

Additionally, you also need to be sure that using the linear amp is legal in your country to prevent issues with the local authorities.

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