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During the great citizen’s band or CB radio craze of the late 1970s, it seemed like everyone had to have a CB radio and talk like a truck drive while driving down the highway.
CB radio is an unlicensed local radio service for individuals and small businesses. CB radios are quite inexpensive and can be very handy.
As you might expect, filmmakers and entertainers use a fair amount of artistic license in their portrayal of CB activities. If you start off your CB career with unrealistic expectations, you’re bound to be disappointed so let’s begin with the basics. CB radio was created in the 1950s by the FCC in and effort to encourage citizen’s to use the new radio technology.
The CB service provides individuals and small businesses with a low-cost way to stay in touch and coordinate their day-to-day activities up to a 5 or 10 mile range. If this sounds like what you need, CB might be just what you’re looking for.
Many two-way radio services require you to purchase a license from the FCC. The CB radio service isn’t one of them. The FCC does have some rules that you should follow though. You can find the rules tucked into the operating manual of your radio. You can also download them on the Internet.
The rules are easy to read and are organized as a list of common questions. They include technical rules about radios and antennas as well as what you can and can’t do on the air.
What you can’t do is fairly straightforward and laid out clearly in CB rule 13. You can’t advertise materials for sale or a political campaign, cuss, play music, or rebroadcast radio or TV programming. You’re also forbidden to intentionally interfere with other stations and make false transmissions particularly distress calls.
Each CB 2 Way Radio can operate on any of 40 channels centered on frequencies from 26.965 to 27.405 MHz. This frequency range is near the upper limit of the traditional shortwave or HF band tucked in between the Amateur Radio 10-meter band and a band used by business radios.
You can operate in regular AM mode or select either upper or lower sideband a variation of AM discussed later in this chapter. That gives you 120 different choices about where to operate.
By far, the most popular use of CB radio today is in vehicles. Using CB for business-to-business communications is less common than it was in the halcyon days of CB radio but farms, towing companies, local delivery services, taxis, and other mobile users still find CB radios very useful.
Professional drivers use CB radio for everything from keeping an eye on speed traps to checking in at the delivery dock and making idle conversation with anyone in range. Right behind the professionals are private citizens who use CB radio when they drive for many of the same reasons.