A Citizens Band radio, more commonly referred to as a CB radio, is a system that allows for short-distance communication via two-way radios.
They offer 40 channels for communication and can be used within the 27 MHz band.
History of the Citizens Band Radio
In 1945, the Citizens Band Radio Service was created in the United States. It was designed to offer citizens a way to communicate with one another personally. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) monitored and regulated the Citizens Band Radio Service.
Initially, CB radios offered 23 channels. Of those channels, 1 through 22 were on an 11 meter band. The last channel – channel 23 – could also be used by devices that were controlled by radios.
Sometime in the 1960s, CB radios started to become popular tools used by truck drivers and small business owners. People who were interested in and had a passion for radio were also enthusiastic about their use. As advances in technology were made, the size, the weight, and the cost of CB radios significantly decreased. These factors made it possible for the public at large to start utilizing these devices, as well. It was then that CB clubs started to form. CB users developed their own form of slang, which they used to communicate with one another on these devices. They also utilized the 10-codes, which were intended to transmit emergencies and other pertinent information.
The Rise in Popularity
In the 1970s, the popularity of CB radios exploded. In part, they were made popular as a result of the oil crises that occurred in 1973. They were also made popular as a result of the introduction of a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour.
CB radios were often used by truck drivers. They used these devices to assist one another, helping them find service stations with fuel and to warn them of speed traps. CBs became extremely important tools for truck drivers. In fact, in 1974, the played an instrumental role in the organization of blockades as a way to protests the introduction of the 55 mile per hour speed limit.
The popularity of CB radios continued to grow throughout the 1970s and well into the 1980s. CBs were tools that people could use to easily communicate with one another. In fact, they were so popular that they became a focal point of many television shows, movies, and even songs.
At first, a license was required to use a CB radio. Users also had to pay a fee and use a call sign. When the popularity of CB use was in full-swing, most people began ignoring those regulations. Moreover, once the FCC began receiving more than a million applications for licenses a month, the requirement to have a license was removed.
Introduction of 40 Channels
It wasn’t until 1977 that the 40 channel band that is used on CB radios today was introduced. In 1960, it was decided that channel 9 would be used strictly for emergencies (which still applies today). Initially, channel 10 was reserved for highway communications, which then changed to channel 10 east of the Mississippi River and channel 19 west of the Mississippi River. Eventually, channel 19 became the high channel that users preferred because it lacked the interference issues with emergency channel 9.
Channels 9 through 15 were used for inter-station calls an channels 1 through 8 and 16 through 22 were used for intra-station calls until 1975.
Decrease in Popularity
The popularity of CB radios has fizzled out in recent years. That is largely due to the introduction of newer, more advanced, and more reliable methods of communication – such as mobile phones.
The decrease in popularity can also be attributed to the difficulties in communication that developed as a result of millions of people using CB radios. It was difficult to hear and challenging to communicate.
While they may not be as popular as they were in their heyday, CB radios are still useful tools. Several manufacturers still make them, and they are of much higher quality and offer many more features today than they ever did before.
For those who need to communicate while driving and don’t want to risk the dangers of using mobile phones, a CB radio is still a great choice.
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For more info on CB Radios take a look at this great article on wiki.