What is Delta Tune on a CB Radio and What does it Do?

If you have an older, crystal-controlled model, you may want to know about the delta tune feature on a CB radio. The feature may not be present in the newer models, as it was designed for the older CBs that worked on crystals. There was an increased chance of users going off the frequency with these models. But the delta tune knob allowed users back in on their frequency and enabled clearer transmissions. Therefore, its primary function is to make adjustments to the receive frequency. You will find this knob on the front panel of some of the older CB radios. 

This article will explain what Delta tune is and what does it do on a CB radio. Let’s explore!

What is Delta Tune on a CB radio?

The “delta tune knob” or clarifier control helps minimize static during transmissions, which occurs because of drifts in frequencies. These drifts happen in the single-sideband (SSB) mode, which is why this component is quite handy in SSB! When you turn the control, it decreases voice pitch to make the other person sound less squeaky. 

Some devices do not have a manual delta tune component and instead automatically adjust as you tune into a frequency. When you tune into a station and notice stable frequencies and zero static, that’s when you know your device has automatically adjusted.

What Does Delta Tune do on a CB Radio?

Without delta tune, you would only receive muffled transmissions with interference from frequencies above or below from the one you are tuned to. You may also find the audio sounding high-pitched or deep, making it difficult for you to comprehend crucial information. But, most modern CBs are more tolerant today and have stable frequencies. Therefore you may not need to fine-tune them. You may still need the feature in some situations. For example, you may need delta tune to speak to the older, crystal-based CBs. However, if you’re communicating with someone with a newer model, then the function may not make much of a difference to your transmissions.

How to Adjust Delta Tune on Your CB

Here’s how the delta tune control work. The knob adjusts the actual frequency you’re receiving on your CB radio. It allows you to go 2.5 kHz below or above the CB station. To make slight adjustments to the receive frequency, turn the knob gradually until you receive the desired audio clarity. Typically, the center position is the ideal setting. But, as you switch stations, you may also need to make adjustments to the delta tune knob. You may notice that not all CB devices feature the delta tune or clarifier. If there is no knob or slider on your radio, you can look for guidelines in your device’s user manual. 

CB radios with Delta Tune

So, if you are looking for some of top CB radios with Delta features, check out the options below:

Cobra 29 LTD Classic

The Cobra 29 LTD Classic offers more refined sound than most other high-end CB radios, thanks to its delta tune component, which helps clarify all incoming signals. Besides this, the device also boasts SWR Cal for the antenna calibration to allow maximum performance. It’s the ideal emergency communication tool as 29 LTD offers access to emergency Channel 9 and enables operators to use their CB as a Public Address System. The easy-to-reach and tactile controls make the Cobra 29 LTD Classic a top choice for professional drivers and truckers. 

Uniden PC-78XL

The Uniden PC-78XL is another popular choice for CB devices with the delta tune knob. Similar to Cobra 29 LTD, PC-78XL offers instant access to Channel 9 and features a PA/CB switch. You also get analog S/RF/SWR meters for optimum CB performance. Uniden is a brand name you can trust! With the delta tune control, you can easily adjust to receiving frequencies to reduce static for ultimate voice clarity. 


If you’re looking for a device that has it all and can communicate with older devices, then look for one that features the Delta Tune Knob. Granted, it may not come in handy every day since most modern models have stable frequencies and come automatically adjusted. It’s still a practical function to look for in a CB radio, even today so that you can have clear transmissions, even with the Pre-80s CB units!