The Importance of a CB Radio
I got to be careful what I say. Not only is my family listening now, HI PEGGY! But I have a couple people from my safety department, possibly the big boss (Hi Dave) as well as a couple of our drivers listening to me, lol. This should be fun.
So just a disclaimer if this is the first episode you’ve ever heard there is most likely a cuss word or two that gets thrown out once or twice. But I do try to keep the show family friendly.
This week I’m going to talk about a well documented and well proven piece of technology called the Citizens Band Radio. It can help you with your daily work better than any app on any phone operating system. It’s better than a GPS or even Google Maps. It can help you maneuver in tight spaces, on the road at highway speeds and can even get you out of a very dangerous situation.
For some of you new drivers your company may have a policy that you cant have a CB in your truck. If it were me I would tell them I quit and go drive for someone that allows it. For the number one reason that a CB can save a life. Yours or someone else’s. I know that some use the “its distracted driving” argument and I will argue with them till I turn blue. These are mostly the same people (who most likely have never been inside a moving truck let alone drove one) that has convinced a bunch of other people who make laws that we should have a computer in the truck to tell us when we are safe enough to drive. They say don’t use a CB but yet they stick a tablet on the dash that a driver has to constantly take his or hers eyes off the road to check to see if they have enough time to make it to a stopping point. One thing about these elogs that don’t make sense is the warnings of when you are close to end of hours. Each company has them set up at different times but nearly all of them has a bright screen overlay either in red or white accompanied by flashing lights and they all want you to touch a button to acknowledge that you see it. While your driving? But the CB, phone, GPS is a distraction. Hello? Pot meet kettle, guess what color both of you are?
Lets list some reasons you should have a CB in the truck.
6 Important Reasons to have a CB and use it!
- BRAKE CHECKS! STOPS THE PILE UPS!!!!
- Ease of maneuvering a 75’ long 13’6” tall 8’6” wide truck at highway speeds
- Communication of road conditions and weather
- Communicate with shippers and receivers
- Getting directions and information
- Help maneuvering in tight spots to back into. At customers and truck stops.
In the United States, the Class D Citizens’ Radio Service, or Citizens’ Band (“CB”), is one of several personal radio services defined by the FCC’s Part 95 rules. It is intended to be a two-way voice communication service for use in personal and business activities of the general public, and has a reliable communications range of several miles, though the range is highly dependent on type of radio, antenna and propagation. Class A and B are no longer in existence (the frequencies were folded in to the GMRS radio service), Class C is a Radio Control (“R/C”) model service and is covered further down in this article.
CB Radio is most frequently used by long-haul truck drivers for everything from relaying information regarding road conditions, the location of speed traps and other travel information, to basic socializing and friendly chatter.
There are no age, citizenship, or license requirements to operate a CB radio in the United States, and the service falls under the “License by Rule” part of the FCC rules (basically, if one follows the rules one is considered licensed). Operators may use any of the authorized 40 CB channels; however, channel 9 is used only for emergency communications or for traveler assistance and the higher number channels are almost exclusively SSB modulation. Use of all channels is on a shared basis. However, foreign governments and their representatives are not eligible to use citizens’ band radio within the United States.
Operation is permitted anywhere within the United States and its territories or possessions; as well as anywhere in the world except within the territorial limits of areas where radio services are regulated by a foreign government, or another U.S. agency such as the Department of Defense.
Transmitters must be FCC certified and may not be modified, including modifications to increase output power or to transmit on unauthorized frequencies. Output power is limited to 4 watts for AM transmitters and 12 watts peak envelope power for single sideband (SSB) transmitters. The antenna may not be more than 20 feet (6.1 m) above the highest point of the structure it is mounted to, or the highest point of the antenna must not be more than 60 feet (18.3 m) above the ground (47 CFR 95.408(c)) if installed in a fixed location.
AM and SSB modulation is used in the USA, some other countries have similar services in their countries that use FM.
North American/CEPT frequencies
| CB Channel | Frequency | Typical Use (US) | | Channel 1 | 26.965 MHz | Used by truckers in eastern USA & Canadian maritime provinces | | Channel 2 | 26.975 MHz | | | Channel 3 | 26.985 MHz | | | Channel 4 | 27.005 MHz | Often used for 4×4’s/ Off-roading | | Channel 5 | 27.015 MHz | | | Channel 6 | 27.025 MHz | Considered the Super Bowl channel | | Channel 7 | 27.035 MHz | | | Channel 8 | 27.055 MHz | | | Channel 9 | 27.065 MHz | Emergency communications or traveler assistance | | Channel 10 | 27.075 MHz | Often used by truckers for regional roads | | Channel 11 | 27.085 MHz | | | Channel 12 | 27.105 MHz | | | Channel 13 | 27.115 MHz | Considered the Marine/RV channel | | Channel 14 | 27.125 MHz | Commonly included transmit/receive crystal in many vintage walkie-talkies | | Channel 15 | 27.135 MHz | | | Channel 16 | 27.155 MHz | | | Channel 17 | 27.165 MHz | Used by truckers on North/Southbound Highways on the west coast (primarily I-5) | | Channel 18 | 27.175 MHz | | | Channel 19 | 27.185 MHz | Highway trucker channel
Notable as being the center frequency of the band.
| | Channel 20 | 27.205 MHz | | | Channel 21 | 27.215 MHz | | | Channel 22 | 27.225 MHz | | | Channel 23 | 27.255 MHz | | | Channel 24 | 27.235 MHz | | | Channel 25 | 27.245 MHz | | | Channel 26 | 27.265 MHz | | | Channel 27 | 27.275 MHz | | | Channel 28 | 27.285 MHz | | | Channel 29 | 27.295 MHz | | | Channel 30 | 27.305 MHz | Depending on local needs, channels numbered above 30 or 35 are generally used with SSB operation. | | Channel 31 | 27.315 MHz | | | Channel 32 | 27.325 MHz | | | Channel 33 | 27.335 MHz | | | Channel 34 | 27.345 MHz | | | Channel 35 | 27.355 MHz | | | Channel 36 | 27.365 MHz | | | Channel 37 | 27.375 MHz | | | Channel 38 | 27.385 MHz | SSB calling channel, LSB mode | | Channel 39 | 27.395 MHz | | | Channel 40 | 27.405 MHz | |
Channel 19 is the most commonly used by truck drivers on highways, to the point that some radios even have a dedicated button to bring up channel 19 instantly. In most areas of the U.S. Other channels regionally used for this purpose include 10, 17, and 21. Channel 13 is preferred in some areas for marine use and for recreational vehicles.
Several countries reserve a channel for emergency use, for example, channel 9 in the United States. In CB’s heyday in the 1970s, channel 9 was monitored by parties who could relay messages to the authorities, or even directly by the authorities themselves. With the popularity of cellular phones, support for Channel 9 as an emergency channel has diminished, though volunteer organizations such as REACT (Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams), and private individuals still monitor Channel 9 in some (particularly rural) areas.