Rugged Ridge eats, sleeps and breathes Jeep. They’re always looking for ways to make the Jeep Lifestyle more accessible and more enjoyable. So when I heard that they just came out with a new antenna mount that allows you to combine AM, FM and CB reception into a CB antenna, and mount it in the factory FM antenna location, I kicked myself. I was mad at myself for the time I had wasted researching, YouTubing, forum posting, trying to learn about how to purchase and mount a CB antenna. The new antenna mount kit from Rugged Ridge would have saved me time, and given me better performance. Read on and I’ll tell you more about this snazzy little gizmo.
CB Or Not CB
Installing a CB Radio in a Jeep® can help insure your ability to communicate when off-roading where cell service can be spotty to nonexistent. It can be a tricky task however, because you need to purchase and mount a CB antenna, which requires running coaxial cable to the antenna’s location. That location is usually near the swing gate or tub of the Jeep. That cable is usually stiff and pre-terminated, meaning the coaxial connections are already on the wire. I recently took on this project in my own Jeep, and it was a PAIN.
It seemed the best place to mount an antenna was on the spare tire carrier. However I had a 37″ tire mounted on my carrier, and I was not about to remove that monstrosity myself and partially uninstall the tire carrier just to install a CB mount. I ended up mounting the antenna to my third brake light support. It wasn’t a neat looking job, Furthermore, it is recommended that the antenna be mounted in front of the vehicle for best reception. This was however, the best I could do. Pulling that thick wire with the clunky coaxial connector through my tailgate grommet was very challenging.
AM/FM/CB Antenna Mount Kit
The new Rugged Ridge 17212.20 comes with everything you need to mount a CB antenna. What’s unique about it is that it replaces your FM antenna, and allows both signals to be received through the singe CB antenna.
Installing this kit requires you to remove your factory radio antenna and mount, which can be done in a matter of minutes with hand tools. Once the factory antenna is off, a new wire that will carry the combined AM/FM/CB signals is fished through the hole from the outside. The new mount is made of steel so it is very sturdy. A foam gasket goes on between it and your Jeep for protection, and the mount is installed using the original screws from the old antenna.
Once the new mount and wire are in place you can install your CB antenna on the mount with the supplied stud base. This base connects to the wire you fished into the Jeep’s body, and with that your work on the outside of the Jeep is done!
Multiplex, Not Complex
Remember the early days of DirecTV?
People wanted it, but no one wanted new holes drilled in their houses for new wires. Little signal combiners/separators were created to combine the dish signal with your old cable signal and send it in the house over one wire. One was placed outside to combine, and another inside to separate. They were called diplexers, because they combined/separated two frequencies. The Rugged Ridge antenna kit comes with a single multiplexer. It separates the AM/FM/CB signals, so that they can be routed to the appropriate radio.
In the kit are wires that allow your existing AM/FM wiring to connect to the multiplexer. Also included are various adapters to insure that you can compete the job. The multiplexer gets mounted in the passenger footwell and grounded to the nearby ground lug. Grounding a CB antenna is a crucial step for performance and safety.
The convenience and simplicity of this product is what sells you on it. But I can tell you first hand after seeing it installed, that the performance of the FM reception is outstanding. Noticeably better than stock. It is fully compatible with HD Radio reception. If you long to install a CB Radio in your Jeep, consider this kit from Rugged Ridge. It will work with jeeps from 1997 to current 2018 JK Wranglers.