The CB, or Citizens Band radio, was created in 1945. It was first used by families, farmers, and other businesses to communicate over long distances. Now, truckers and hobbyists use CB to communicate with others across vast distances, and even across the planet.
History of the CB Radio
In 1948, the original CB radios were designed for operation on the 460–470 MHz UHF band. Al Gross established the Citizens Radio Corporation during the late 1940s to manufacture Class B handhelds for the general public.
Originally designed for use by the public sector, the Citizens Radio Corporation sold over 100,000 units, primarily to farmers and the U.S. Coast Guard. On September 11, 1958, CB service Class D was created on 27 MHz, and this band became what we know today as “Citizens Band.”
CB radios operate on the 27 MHz radio frequency band between 26.965 and 27.405 MHz with a channel space of 40 channels. Channel 9 is designated for emergency traffic only and is still monitored by some law enforcement agencies.
CB usage was heavily influenced by military use during the war in Vietnam. As many men were drafted and sent to fight, the number of CB users spiked with civilian interest in radio communication.
There is no license requirement, and all radios are sold as “General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS),” their power output is restricted to 4 watts (even though there are many with amplifiers).
CBs are still used today
CBs can be found in every truck stop and travel center. Brands such as Cobra, Astatic, RoadKing, and Galaxy are top picks for truckers.
Prices for CBs range from $49 to over $300 for a “peaked and tuned” unit, meaning it has been calibrated to the best settings possible by a technician. Most units are set to a default setting by the manufacturer.
On October 4, 1978, President Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation acknowledging the CB radio’s importance. 77 years after the first commercially available model was sold, CBs are still a vital part of the trucking industry.