In this era of advanced technology where new discoveries are being churned out daily, CB (Citizens Band) radios may seem like something obsolete from a bygone time.
Everything we need is only a few taps
away on a smartphone, be it food, conversation, transportation, and traffic information, or education.
So, are CB radios completely dead to the people of the modern decade? Or are there still some who hold them dear? We are going to find that out now.
What Is Citizens' Band Radio?
Citizens' Band radio, often simply called CB radio, is a system of short-distance, two-way radio communications using a selection of 40 channels within the 27-MH-z (11 m) band. The Citizens’ Band Radio Service originated in the U.S. in 1945 to provide citizens a radio band for personal communication. It was regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC.)
Originally, there were only 23 channels. The first 22 channels were what used to be an Amateur 11-meter band, while channel 23 was shared with radio-controlled devices. Some CBers still refer to it as "11 meters."
In the 1960s, CBs became popular with small businesses as well as truck drivers and radio enthusiasts. Advanced technology in solid state circuitry and electronics allowed the weight, size, and cost of radios to decrease. This allowed the general public to enjoy a medium previously only available to specialists. Many CB clubs were formed along with a unique slang language. CBers also used similar emergency service “10-codes.”
The Main Users of CB Radios
Traditionally, truck drivers have always been the most faithful users of CB radio, along with the police, and anyone who is just looking for someone to talk to.
While truck drivers use channel 19 (due to its middle position in the bands which ensures the best connection), channel 9 is for emergency uses. The latter channel is monitored by federal agencies, highway officials, first responders, etc.
CB radios reached peak popularity in the mid 1970’s due to them becoming a sort of fad. However, this meant that millions of users were hogging a limited number of frequencies, which made communication quite inefficient for those who really needed to make use of the CB radio.
Thus, this immense popularity also became the downfall for CB radio as hobbyists who had bought into the charms of radio conversation opted out as well.
Should You Get a CB Radio?
CB radios are actually still quite useful in a lot of situations and a lot of people still use them.
I wouldn’t be without one if I were out on the road a lot, because you can’t count on a cell phone to find out what’s going on in the local area… because you most likely don’t know anybody in the same area, lol. If there’s an accident up ahead, you’ll know if you have a cb, and can stop to eat or detour, etc, rather than sit waiting in line.
CB’s work in cell phone dead zones, meaning they are frequently the only practical and cheap out in the field option for farmers and contractors in rural areas. Plus the CB is ALWAYS in the truck, you will NEVER forget it!
And now that cell phones are so common, most people have quit using CB radios…. meaning the CB channels aren’t so crowded anymore..
If you’re out in the countryside, you will find that there are some traffic free channels almost anytime.
So some people who are short of money who depend on cb to talk to their nearby friends and family because it’s free. No monthly bill.
Two old women who live near me are locally famous locally for being on one particular channel just about all the time, even though they live within sight of each other, lol. This is important for them, because they don’t have land line phones, and their cheap cell phones have limited minutes.
But CB Radio Is Not Just for Emergencies
Using CB radios could also be a great activity among friends. You and your friends could each buy a CB radio and antennas, choose a channel that is not crowded (or one that is not required for emergency services, such as channel 9 or channel 19), and speak to each other on there.
CB Radios aren’t dead yet. They are being kept alive by those of us who like to keep a souvenir of a time when technology wasn’t threatening us with the pace of its development.