I know what you’re probably thinking. Why would somebody jump into a hobby that’s almost dead? Well first off, CB radio certainly isn’t dead, and HAM radio is doing even better.
CB radio stands for Citizen’s Band. The CB saw its peak in the late 70s through the 80s and much of the 90s and turn of the century. Obviously, the nail in the coffin for CB use was hammered in with the development of cell phone technology. Luckily, not all CB users vanished when smartphones took over the market.
The CB radio offers 40 channels on regular four-watt radios. There are ways to access 120 channels or more, but that requires a radio that can operate on single sideband (SSB). I hesitate to derail the article by going on an SSB rant, so do your research if you’re interested in pushing the limits of CB radios.
It might seem silly to use a piece of communications equipment that will only allow you to talk within a few miles, and the lack of privacy on CB radio can be a big turn-off to new users. However, there are more pros to CB than most people think.
One big reason to have a CB radio is what happens when cell towers fail in the event of a serious national emergency? I don’t want to sound like an apocalypse-prepper, but the tension around the globe is heating up. Hopefully, cell towers never fail, and the world doesn’t experience an apocalypse anytime soon.
Maybe you have a group of friends you like to go off-roading with. If so, you probably already have a CB or HAM radio in your vehicle. When your group gets going on the trail, cell phone coverage isn’t guaranteed, and you don’t want to make a phone call multiple times and repeat the same information numerous times. CB radios make for easy rapid communication that can get your message to the entire convoy on the trail instantly.
If you are a farmer or planning to go into farming, you should consider investing in CB radios. With the right equipment, you could have communications from a barn, tractor, vehicle and the house. Radioing someone is much easier and cooler than screaming across a field.
It should be obvious that the biggest group of CB users are in the trucking industry. Granted truckers do not rely on CB nearly as much as they did before, most truckers still use them. Hopefully, everyone can at least agree on these polarizing times that traffic sucks to be in. When a traffic jam hits, channel 19 on the CB radio (common use channel) sounds like it might have in the early 80s.
I have gotten out of three massive traffic jams on the way to Atlanta since adding a CB radio to my pick-up truck. Truckers are human GPS systems. These people have traveled the country so much, there’s always one trucker with quick get out of traffic plan and usually, these navigational genius truck drivers are happy to share their secrets to fellow CB users.
Not all, but a good amount of radios produced and sold today offer weather channels. Having access to constant 24/7 weather updates could mean the difference in being prepared for a storm or getting blind-sided by a natural disaster. Storm chasers and weather enthusiasts love CB radios with weather channel capabilities for obvious reasons.
The CB radio is great for frugal penny pinchers. If you have invested in the gear necessary for a CB radio, then congrats, you have free communication. The government doesn’t tax people to use this radio and it doesn’t require licensing. This reason alone should bring every Libertarian to the CB community.
It is a fact that the CB doesn’t have near the same number of users as it did in it’s prime. That doesn’t rule it out as practical or useful. CBs are great for job site communication or keeping a group in contact.
Sure, a cell phone will get you in touch with the police or someone in your contact book. A great thing about using CB radio is you don’t have to know a person to get in contact with them. When you need help, you need it now. Calling a friend that is far away will not get you the immediate help that you may need. Even with the low number of users currently, if you need help there is always someone there listening to their CB radio-ready to offer help.
One big thing to know about CB radios before buying your first one is, there are three different types of CB radio set-ups: Handhelds, mobiles and base stations are the different types of CB radio you can have. Each has different uses and different pros and cons.
My recommendation for a new CB user is to purchase a good handheld radio. Handhelds can be used on the go, in your car or in your house as a base station. They offer versatility without compromising capabilities depending on the antenna you are using.
If you are interested in finding out more about CB radio, check out my blog by going to http://www.billyrayradarnews.com. It is a new blog, but I will go over CB topics and review products.