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Can I talk to a CB with my phone?

Citizens band (CB) radio allows people to talk to others nearby using a simple radio system. CB radios operate on 40 channels around 27 MHz, letting users transmit and receive signals over several miles. A basic CB setup requires a radio unit and an antenna. With the right equipment, you can absolutely use a CB radio with your phone.

Using a Phone App for CB Radio

The easiest way to access CB channels on your phone is with a mobile app. Apps like Zello allow push-to-talk style communication over CB frequencies. With Zello, you can use WiFi or cellular data to connect. The app interfaces with Zello’s servers to relay your CB transmissions. This gives you access to CB radios worldwide, since you don’t need a dedicated CB radio device. However, you do need to purchase a subscription to use the app.


  • Lets you use your phone’s microphone and speaker for CB
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Transmits over the internet, so you can communicate long distance


  • Requires a subscription for full functionality
  • Only communicates with others using the app
  • Relies on internet access, not direct radio contact

CB apps can be very handy for staying in contact with friends and family. However, you won’t be able to reach traditional CB radios without additional hardware.

Connecting a CB Radio Device to Your Phone

For direct access to CB radio frequencies, you need a physical CB radio device. There are a couple options for integrating a CB device with your phone:

CB Radio with Bluetooth

Some newer CB radio models have Bluetooth built-in. This allows you to pair the CB with your phone, transmitting and receiving CB audio directly through your phone’s Bluetooth connection.

Here is an example setup process:

  1. Get a compatible Bluetooth CB radio
  2. Pair it to your phone via Bluetooth settings
  3. Launch the CB radio app on your phone
  4. The app interfaces with the CB radio using Bluetooth
  5. You can now transmit/receive CB channels through your phone

This gives you a fully wireless connection to the CB radio without cables. Sound quality is excellent since it’s transmitted over Bluetooth audio.


  • No cables required
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Works with any CB radio that supports Bluetooth


  • Need a compatible CB radio (added cost)
  • Limited range from phone to CB radio device
  • Drains phone battery faster

Wired Connection

You can also connect your CB radio to your phone using a physical audio cable. This requires a CB radio with a headphone or microphone jack. Follow these steps:

  1. Get a CB radio with a headphone and/or mic jack
  2. Use a cable with 3.5mm plugs on each end
  3. Plug one end into your phone’s headphone jack
  4. Plug the other end into mic/headphone jack on the CB

This wired connection lets you listen and talk through your phone’s earpiece and microphone.


  • Works with any CB radio that has a headphone jack
  • Inexpensive to set up


  • Wires can be inconvenient
  • Audio quality depends on the headphone jack
  • Mic may pick up background noise easily

Choosing a CB Radio

If you want to connect a dedicated CB device to your phone, you’ll first need to choose one to buy. Here are some things to look for:

Legal Channels

The CB should support all 40 legal CB radio channels. Channels 1-40 are approved for use in the United States.

Output Power

Maximum legal output is 4 watts on CB bands. A 4-watt radio will give you the maximum allowable range.

Mic and Headphone Jacks

For a wired connection to your phone, the CB needs microphone and headphone jacks. Some have one or the other, so verify it has both.

Bluetooth Support

If you want wireless Bluetooth connection, get a CB radio that specifically lists Bluetooth as a feature. Many newer models support Bluetooth.

Hands-Free Use

To safely transmit while driving, look for a CB with a handset or microphone you can use hands-free.

Recommended Models

Here are some quality CB radio options with phone connectivity:

Model Key Features
Cobra 29 LX Bluetooth, smartphone app
Midland 75-822 Wired mic/headphone jacks
Uniden PRO510XL Large display, easy controls

Setting Up Your CB Radio

Once you’ve selected a compatible CB radio, you’ll need to set it up properly for use:

  1. Select a safe, convenient mounting location
  2. Install a quality antenna tuned to 27MHz
  3. Connect the antenna and power up the CB
  4. Pair with your phone via Bluetooth or use a connector cable
  5. Tune to an open channel between 1 and 40

Be sure to adjust the squelch control so the CB only receives clear, intended transmissions. Setting the radio up correctly will ensure you have the best connection and experience.

CB Radio Etiquette

CB radio has some general etiquette guidelines users should follow:

  • Be polite and respectful in your transmissions
  • Keep transmissions brief to allow others to use the channel
  • Avoid channel crowding – don’t hog a busy channel
  • Don’t blast loud music, noises or voices
  • No swearing or offensive language
  • Identify yourself with a handle when transmitting
  • Avoid revealing personal/sensitive information

Following basic CB etiquette makes the hobby more enjoyable for everyone. Being responsible on the airwaves helps build a positive CB community.

Legal Requirements

Here are some key legal requirements for CB radio use in the United States:

  • No license required
  • Must use FCC approved CB radios
  • Only channels 1-40 permitted
  • Maximum 4 watt transmitter power
  • No profanity or offensive language
  • No business/commercial use

Ensure your use stays within the law. The FCC enforces CB regulations and can issue fines for violations.

Staying Safe on CB Channels

CB radio is generally safe, but here are some tips for staying secure:

  • Use a radio handle – don’t share real names
  • Be wary of strangers asking personal questions
  • Don’t broadcast your location to unknown users
  • Set up passwords with friends you communicate with
  • Turn off the radio if you hear threatening transmissions
  • Report any inappropriate or illegal use to the FCC

These simple precautions can prevent potential issues. And as with any hobby, avoid CB use in dangerous areas or situations.


Connecting your phone to a CB radio is totally doable with the right equipment. Apps offer the easiest method, providing wireless access without extra hardware. Or you can connect a compatible CB device to your phone via Bluetooth or a wired headphone adapter. With a quality CB radio properly installed and following good operating habits, you’ll enjoy clear communication with friends, family, drivers, and hobbyists across the channels.