Good ol' CB Radio

The Engineering Web

Review of what CB Radios are and if they are still useful.


Everyone has heard about the CB (the 11 meter kind) radio popularized in the 1970s by the romaticized trucking industry and movies like "Smokey and the Bandit."

The Classic - AM and SSB most likely the best mobile CB ever made. Typical Base Station
The Classic Cobra 148 Base Station with classic D104 Mic

The original Citizen Band frequency allocation from the FCC is in the 27MHz band. Cheap radios, AM modulation and license free operation made this a very popular communication for mobile users like truckers, and civic minded groups like REACT International who provide volunteer radio communications for events.

It is still around and is still strong, but the original CB band has degenerated into something less useful than it once was.

Also, because of the long wavelength, CB antennas (good ones anyway) are large by nature. The best antennas are from five to nine feet in length.

If you travel on the American highways, having a cheap CB radio in your car and a K40 five foot mag mount antenna on your roof is a smart move. Truckers are still the knights of the highway, and help can be found quickly if you can call them on their party line radio system - the CB radio.


Well
Known
Channel
Name
Frequency Notes
1 26.9650 MHz -
2 26.9750 MHz -
3 26.9850 MHz -
4 27.0050 MHz -
5 27.0150 MHz -
6 27.0250 MHz -
7 27.0350 MHz -
8 27.0550 MHz -
9 27.0650 MHz Emergency use primarily. Monitored in some areas by "REACT" and/or other volunteers.
10 27.0750 MHz -
11 27.0850 MHz -
12 27.1050 MHz -
13 27.1150 MHz -
14 27.1250 MHz -
15 27.1350 MHz -
16 27.1550 MHz -
17 27.1650 MHz Sometimes used by truckers in the western US states
18 27.1750 MHz -
19 27.1850 MHz "Breaker 1 9" Yes, this is the classic trucker's channel (You might not want to let your kids listen)
20 27.2050 MHz -
21 27.2150 MHz -
22 27.2250 MHz -
23 27.2550 MHz This use to be the highest CB channel - in the "Smokey and the Bandit" days ;-)
24 27.2350 MHz -
25 27.2450 MHz -
26 27.2650 MHz -
27 27.2750 MHz -
28 27.2850 MHz -
29 27.2950 MHz -
30 27.3050 MHz -
31 27.3150 MHz -
32 27.3250 MHz -
33 27.3350 MHz -
34 27.3450 MHz -
35 27.3550 MHz -
36 27.3650 MHz -
37 27.3750 MHz -
38 27.3850 MHz -
39 27.3950 MHz -
40 27.4050 MHz -

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