Peaking and Tweaking a Radio
Perhaps you have heard the term "Peak and Tweak" and wondered what it meant. Here is the skinny on that subject.
Peaking and Tweaking is a procedure to squeeze the maximum output out of a transmitting device such as a CB radio.
All legal CB radios that are imported to, or made for use in America, are limited to a maximum power output of 4-watts by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules. The FCC may spot check the radios (at the importer or manufacturing level) to make sure that the output power does not exceed the maximum limit. If they find one radio that exceeds the limit, the entire lot will be rejected and the importer or manufacturer will need to recertify the entire lot. For that reason, radio manufacturers will typically set the radios output slightly below the maximum if for no other reason than for potential variance between testing equipment.
Most, if not all CB's, have the ability to offer output power that is twice as much or more than the legal maximum limit. This "peaking" procedure is typically performed via adjustments to components mounted on the radios circuit board. It isn't something that should be done blindly by a person without experience and the necessary equipment to monitor the process.
Once the power has been "peaked", the signal modulation needs to be checked and "tweaked". If the modulation is too low, the audio output of the radio is reduced and if it is too high, the audio output becomes distorted. Both conditions affect the audio clarity at the receiving device. Ideally, the modulation is adjusted to 100% and is better to be a couple points low rather than a couple points high.
Peaking and Tweaking is a fairly inexpensive procedure that will double or triple the output power of a radio. For additional "umph", the addition of a power microphone (battery assisted circuitry) will be helpful.
Updated January 28, 2015