Best SSB CB Radio Reviews: High Power & Most Powerful CB Radios on the Market for Long Range Communication

Updated on Written by

So, you bought the best CB radio out there, installed it perfectly and is waiting to talk to your friend 10 miles further.

Except for the fact that there was no signal from the other end!

Ever been in a situation like this? I have.

This had happened to me a few years ago when I didn’t know I need the most powerful CB radio to talk long distance.

If long range communication is your priority, you should definitely get an SSB CB radio. These are high power CB radios which can comfortably give you far superior performance in terms of range.

This article will give you the best SSB CB radio you need to get.

You might be curious about what makes SSB the best long-range CB radios.

Single Side Band CB radios are powered three times that of the normal CBs and hence can give you 3 times the range of a normal CB radio.

Before we explore the reviews, here is a quick overview of our top picks:

Most Powerful CB Radios on the Market

Device Features and Highlights

Galaxy DX 959 B: Editor’s Choice

  • Powerful long-range performance
  • StarLite backlit faceplate
  • Clarifier control
  • Galaxy Noise Filter

Uniden Bearcat 980: Customer’s Favorite Choice

  • Value for money
  • Exceptional SSB stability
  • Noise-canceling mic
  • Five-digit frequency counter

President McKinley: Rugged & Powerful CB Radio
  • Rugged design
  • Great reception
  • Built-in SWR
  • Colour customizable LCD display

Galaxy DX 979: Most Compact SSB CB Radio

  • Ultra-compact design
  • NB/ANL noise reduction
  • Compatible with all antennas
  • Variable talkback feature

Galaxy DX 949: Galaxy’s Budget SSB CB

  • Pocket-friendly radio
  • Highly durable
  • Neatly arranged controls and knobs
  • Rear jacks for external speaker

Galaxy DX 2547: Best Base Station SSB CB radio

  • Best for base station
  • Highly adaptable
  • Pin-on-mic jack and handheld mic
  • Works on AC as well as DC

Uniden Bearcat 880: Most Affordable SSB CB

  • Sleek and stylish design
  • Rugged construction
  • Powerful transmission & clear reception
  • Access to NOAA weather channels

What is SSB CB radio

SSB (Single Side Band) CB radios are CB radios that are capable of communicating over longer distances. These are highly powerful.

An SSB CB radio is allowed a peak transmit power of 12 watts by FCC, which is three times the power allowed for normal AM CB radios (4 watts).

With less noise, SSB mode offers greater range (up to 15-30 miles) than AM mode with a good CB antenna.

SSB CB radios can transmit and receive upper sideband and lower sideband channels along with the standard AM channels. So you get access to more number of channels with an SSB CB radio than a normal AM CB radio.

Best SSB CB Radio Reviews

So, here you are- the most important part of this article.

We have given at most attention to arrive at these top 7 high power SSB CB radios on the market. Go through the reviews and I am sure you will find the beast you need.

1. Galaxy DX 959 B- Our Best Pick

➥Check the Latest Price on Amazon

A terrific combination of powerful performance and top notch features, Galaxy DX 959 B is a CB to trust for long range communications.

Pros and key highlights 

  • Powerful long-range performance
  • Galaxy Noise Filter
  • Starlite backlit faceplate
  • Large and easily readable SWR meter

This full function SSB unit offers you a powerful long-range performance.  With a maximum allowed output power of 12 Watts, you can easily reach up to 15-30 miles. In SSB mode, the Galaxy Noise Filter (GNF) circuit does a great job to receive far off signals clearly. It reduces noise very efficiently and recovers weak SSB signals.

The clarifier control (delta tune) is an inevitable feature when you operate your radio in the SSB mode. It gives you a wonderful SSB experience by drastically reducing all the unwanted statics, distortions and disturbances. Tuning is more accurate with delta tune.

The built-in SWR meter is really amazing. With this meter

  1. It is very easy to fine-tune your antenna and subsequently monitor the tuning
  2. You are free from recalibrating for each and every channel since it is self-calibrating

The variable dimmer control used to adjust the device’s display brightness also comes with a push switch. A gentle push is enough to turn off the meter lamp.

The Starlite backlit faceplate is a huge attraction. It assures you a wonderful user experience in the dark. The large and easy to read five digit frequency counter is a revelation.  It gives you a large readout of your current operating channel.

To know how does your outgoing audio sounds, Galaxy has incorporated the talkback feature with which you can hear yourself via the speaker. If the output doesn’t seem good, you can make the necessary adjustments.

If you have enough space inside your vehicle to set up a full-sized radio, just go for Galaxy DX 959 B.

2. Uniden Bearcat 980- Customer’s choice

➥Check the Latest Price on Amazon

The most popular SSB CB from the most trusted radio manufacturer, Uniden. Bearcat 980 is a must-have for those who are looking for a value for money experience.

Pros and key highlights 

  • Gorgeous 7-color digital display
  • Noise-canceling mic
  • PA/CB switch
  • Channel scanning feature

The SSB frequency stability of this device is exceptional! You don’t really need to continually adjust the clarifier control. This radio does not drift too much up or down.

Bearcat 980 is great for weather monitoring as well as normal/long-range communication. In fact, it’s one of the best CB radio for truckers.

With full 40 channel operation, this device has access to all the channels including:

      1. Seven NOAA weather channels
      2. Emergency channel 9
      3. Information channel 19

The receiver on Uniden 980 is very sensitive. It is able to capture even the weakest of the signals. Crisp and clear communication is hence guaranteed. To filter the local signals from long-range signals, a very handy local/DX switch is also provided. This reduces channel interference significantly.

RF gain feature functions well to adjust receive gain in strong and weak signal areas. This keeps you in the range all through a long journey on road.

Quality of your microphone is key to hassle-free long-range communications. Uniden has come up with a high-quality noise-canceling microphone. Try recording your own audio with this mic. You will just love it!

Bearcat 980 is a full-size radio that will take up some space. However, it is much compact to fit into most types of vehicles.

3. President McKinley- Most rugged CB radio

➥Check the Latest Price on Amazon

A strong contender among SSB CBs with a rock solid construction. President McKinley is made for those who love to take adventures.

Pros and key highlights 

  • Solid SSB frequency stability
  • Colour customizable LCD display
  • Channel scan feature
  • Compact and rugged design

High-quality long-range communication is guaranteed by McKinley. This CB offers you AM/USB/LSB modes with 40 channel AM operation. You will get up to date weather information with the weather bands offered along with the weather alert feature.

The reception of this CB radio is great. With the single-sideband, you can utilize all of the power to talk to the farthest. McKinley also features solid SSB stability.

The built-in SWR feature is a boon. You don’t have to struggle too much fine-tuning your antenna. There is no calibration required. Good SWR and bad SWR can be easily identified by the long solid tone and beeping tone respectively.

With the channel scan feature, you can scan

    1. All the channels
    2. Only your channel plus channel 9/19
    3. Your channel along with 3 memory channels

This helps largely in monitoring your comrades on the go.

The color customizable LCD display is large and easy to read. You can choose between amber, green and blue whichever suits your vehicle’s interior. The front-firing speaker is a great addition.

The Automatic Squelch Control and NB/ANL noise reduction circuit does a great job to assure quality communication.

Being compact, President McKinley is best suited for cars and SUVs. It can be mounted easily on the dash of your vehicle. The rugged design is a big advantage too.

4. Galaxy DX 979- Smallest SSB CB radio

➥Check the Latest Price on Amazon

Ultra compact and ready to fit in any vehicle. If space is a constraint for you, DX 979 is a great choice.

Pros and key highlights 

  • Ultra-compact design
  • Excellent transmission and reception
  • Compatible with all antennas
  • NB/ANL noise reduction

DX 979 is a great long range performer with Single Side Band capability on both LSB/USB modes. It has an excellent reception of signals. There is no visible difference even on weak signals. Transmission is also experienced to be great. SSB is surprisingly stable.

The NB/ANL circuit functions fairly to keep away unwanted static and interference. It adds to the quality of long-range communications.

The aesthetics of this radio is just awesome! It’s one of the best small CB radio. This device has a classic Galaxy look. All the blue lamps on the unit add to its beauty. The two-digit channel display of this device is fairly large. The Starlite backlit display is of great use in the dark.

Galaxy DX 979 lacks a frequency counter. However, you can add an extra Galaxy six-digit frequency counter using the rear connector. The built-in analog SWR meter has scales for power output, modulation, SWR and the incoming signal. A high SWR alert LED is also included.

Other standard features included are:

      • Automatic SWR circuit
      • Variable power output control
      • Pubic Address capability
      • High SWR alert
      • Variable talk back

The device is compatible with all antennas available in the market. The medium-sized chassis with front mic jack easily fits into the dashboard of most vehicles.

5. Galaxy DX 949- Most affordable choice

 

➥Check the Latest Price on Amazon

A pocket-friendly CB from Galaxy with SSB functionality. Jam-packed with advanced features despite being cheap.

Pros and key highlights 

  • Most economic choice
  • Amazing SSB functionality
  • Well-arranged knobs and controls
  • GNF and NB/ANL to reduce noise

Galaxy DX 949 is a highly durable SSB CB radio. With the best in class SSB functionality and full access to 40 AM channels, this device stands out among other CB radios in the market. This CB gives an awesome range. You can easily achieve up to 5 miles range on highways without much disturbances.

To reduce noise Galaxy has incorporated two circuits- Galaxy Noise Filter (GNF) and the standard two function (NB/ANL) noise limiter. GNF helps fairly to recover weak SSB signals.

The SWR circuit works really well in this model. For quick SWR reading and to avoid recalibration, the auto control feature is very useful. Galaxy has provided rear jacks for external speakers. An additional jack is provided for an external six-digit frequency counter.

The controls and knobs are arranged in the best possible layout to ensure a hassle-free user experience. No worries during long and tiring drives! The end of the transmission roger beep is a great addition.

Two minor drawbacks we see in this device are

  1. The side-mounted mic is a bit inconvenient. In some vehicles, it is difficult to mount this device.
  2. The speaker is good, but not the best. We recommend that you use an external speaker for crisp and clear communication.

However, at this price range, the user-friendly DX 949 is a value for money experience for sure.

6. Galaxy DX 2547- Best for base stations

➥Check the Latest Price on Amazon

The best base station radio you will get. A wonderful SSB CB that offers you an outstanding combination of reliability and performance.

Pros and key highlights 

  • Best base station CB radio
  • Easy to set up and operate
  • Works on both AC and DC power
  • Bulky central control dial

Being one of the best base station CB radio in the market, Galaxy DX 2547 boasts of unparalleled transmission and reception capability. With six-digit frequency counter, pin-on-mic jack and a handheld microphone this SSB CB is set up in such a way that even amateurs can master the radio easily.

DX 2547 works best as a base station radio. This device is highly adaptable.

  1. You can use it as both commercial and residential base station.
  2. It can run on AC as well as DC power supply.
  3. You can power it up either from an AC wall adapter for home operations or from a DC power source for field operations.

The central control dial of this base station CB radio is another major attraction. Being bulky, you can easily set adjustments on this dial. The SWR meter with 4 scales is large and easy to read.

You will also love to see that NB/ANL circuit works pretty efficiently to reduce noise, providing crisp and clear signals perfect for a home environment. Galaxy has also incorporated an additional Galaxy Noise Filter to make noise elimination more efficient.

With the help of the user manual and online instructions, you can easily set up this base station SSB CB radio anywhere you wish. You just need adequate space to accommodate this full-size radio.

7. Uniden Bearcat 880- CB you can trust

➥Check the Latest Price on Amazon

Uniden is a brand you can trust. With a sleek and stylish rugged design combined with immense power, Bearcat 880 makes a great outdoor SSB CB radio.

Pros and key highlights 

  • Large and easy to read display
  • Noise-canceling mic
  • Display dimmer and laser-etched keys
  • Compatible with wireless mic

With Bearcat 880, you can definitely set your expectations high. Powerful transmission, clear reception, and quality range are guaranteed by this SSB CB radio.

The 6-pin noise-canceling microphone functions great. It is capable of reducing background noise to a pretty good extent. Bearcat 880 comes with an extra-long mic cord. Once mounted on the dashboard of your vehicle you can operate the radio freely at the backseat. Surprisingly this SSB CB radio is compatible with wireless microphones too.

The 7-color LCD display is pretty large and easy to read. Control knobs and buttons are backlit for an enhanced experience at night. Display dimmer is very handy to control the brightness of your display. The laser-etched keys in addition truly enhance readability. In short, you can play with the menu and function freely without losing focus on the road.

Other major features are:

  • Access to NOAA weather channel and emergency channel 9/19
  • Noise Blanker/Automatic Noise Limiter circuit
  • PA/CB switch
  • Radio diagnostics and talk back
  • Digital SWR/SRF meter

You can easily mount this device in any vehicle. If you are a frequent long-distance or night traveler, you won’t regret buying this long-range CB radio.

How to buy a High Power CB Radio

best SSB CB radio for high power

All SSB equipped CB radios to transmit at 12 watts of power while AM CB radios transmit at 4 watts as limited by FCC rule. So the most powerful CB radio is the one that can transmit at the highest power allowed by FCC, which is 12 watts for SSB mode. Major attributes you need to focus on before buying an SSB CB radio are listed below.

1. Attainable range and how well the SSB works should be given utmost consideration. More the range, the better the device. The purpose for which you are buying the radio also plays a major role here. If you need a CB to communicate within a small circle, you may want to concentrate more on other features rather than range and SSB performance. If long-distance communication is your priority, a CB with the best SSB performance may be chosen.

2. Quality of reception/transmission is another major thing to look for. A device with a well-designed branded antenna can give great transmission and reception. Squelch control and RF gain features are important to consider here. They can also improve reception and transmission.

3. A high power CB radio should also be characterized by an efficient noise reduction system. Go for CBS with an efficient noise blanker/automatic noise limiter. This will improve the performance of your device to a large extent.

4. The size of the radio cannot be neglected. Choose the CB that fits best in wherever you intend to install it. Compact radios are preferred for cars and SUVs while full-sized radios with larger knobs and controls may serve better for base station purposes.

5. Ease of installation is something you cannot overlook while choosing a CB radio. Once you choose a suitable size CB, make sure that it can be mounted and set up easily. Devices with front-mounted mic may be preferred over the ones with a side-mounted mic if you plan to mount your radio on your vehicle’s dashboard which has space constraints.

6. The display is a very important component. A large and easy to read display should always be preferred. Also, a backlit faceplate provides an enhanced experience in the dark. You can easily view the menu and functions with the backlight. Go for the ones with these features.

7. The public address system is a great addition always. It helps largely when you need to talk to your fellow drivers or people on the street. Therefore an SSB radio with a PA/CB switch is of great value, especially for truckers.

FAQ

What is SSB on a CB radio?
SSB is the abbreviated form of Single Side Band.

SSB is one of the ways in which the radio waves are carried over the air. SSB radios transmit and receive the standard 40 AM channels along with lower sideband and upper sideband channels. So you get more channels to operate on.

Additionally, SSB radios are more powerful than normal CB. However, SSB functionality is required on both transmitting and receiving ends to communicate in SSB mode.

Do I need an SSB CB radio?
SSB CB radios can legally transmit at a power of 12 watts as allowed by FCC compared to AM radios that transmit at 4 watts. Therefore with an SSB CB radio, you can communicate over longer distances, though the audio quality may be low.

So if you want to communicate over long distances frequently, an SSB CB radio is a must. Truckers can benefit largely from an SSB CB radio as they are in constant need to communicate over longer distances. Another use of SSB CB radio is in the base stations and job sites(if it’s too big).

What is the range of an SSB CB radio?
At the additional 12 watts transmission power, an SSB CB radio can communicate over 15-30 miles.

You can improve the range by fine-tuning your CB radio setup. A good CB antenna can bring in a huge impact in this case. Adjusting the squelch control, RF gain and power output can largely affect the range of your SSB CB radio.

How do I use an SSB radio as a normal CB radio?
All the SSB CB radios can be operated in AM mode. Using the AM/USB/LSB switch you can change the mode or the way your radio transmits and receives signals.

When it is switched to AM mode, your radio will transmit and receive AM signals only. Same in case of USB and LSB modes. Talk radios are commonly found in the AM mode. In SSB mode you can communicate with other SSB radios only.

How many channels are there on an SSB CB radio
All 40 AM channels are available on any SSB radio. Along with these 40 channels, an SSB CB also gives you access to channels in the upper sideband and lower sideband in extra.

Most SSB CB radios have access to the 7 NOAA weather channels, emergency channel 9 and information channel 19.

Got the Best Long Range CB Radio for You?

As I said before, SSB CB radios are highly powerful CB radios that can transmit at 12 watts of power. Single sideband is a very efficient model for radio transmissions. To operate your radio in SSB mode, a little bit of extra tuning using a clarifier control is required. But ultimately you get to enjoy fair quality long-range communication.

Before going to get the best SSB CB radio, you should check whether you need it or not. Most people don’t need a CB radio with SSB if you need it for a short distance. On the other hand, SSB CB radio is a must if you need to constantly communicate over long distances.

Leave a Comment