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How to Take CB Radio Past "Breaker, Breaker"

CB really came of age in the 1970s, and ever since then its been a regular part of life on the highway. The big advantage of CB is not only that it provides communication, but also that it fosters a sense of community on the road.

How Do CB Radios Work?

Citizen Band radio works on the 27 MHz frequency of the AM band. Its a short range communication system with systems limited to 4 watts of power. There are two main kinds of CB radio, standard AM, and Single Sideband, or SSB. Both operate in the same frequencies, but SSB offers a longer range and higher effective power.

  • AM Radio: AM radio works by sending a carrier wave along any of the 40 channels allocated to CB radio. This signal is amplitude modulated; creating two sidebands, one above and one below the carrier channel. Its these two sidebands that actually carry the signal.
  • Single Sideband: SSB radios suppress the carrier wave and one of the sidebands inside the transmitter; only transmitting on one of the two sidebands. This allows for more effective power as one sideband takes all the energy of the signal but requires a special receiver. This receiver creates its own carrier wave and superimposes the sideband on that to recreate the signal.

How Do You Use CB Radio?

While the principles behind CB Radio are very simple, there are a few points that you need to consider while on the road. Some are technical, while others are more social in nature. No matter what youre doing, it always helps to know what works and why. Here are a few things to be aware of:

  • Antennas: While handheld units have their own, base stations require a CB antenna to function properly. The antenna should mount as high as possible with no masses of metal to one side that might mask the signal. Secure it with attention to potential weather that might dislodge it.
  • Channel Etiquette: CB is a shared communications system, so you should be aware of other people on the radio. This is particularly important as only one person can transmit on any channel at a time. Dont interrupt other peoples conversations.

Benefits of Using CB

Anyone who spends a lot of time on the road can benefit from a Midland CB radio in their vehicle. Once you tune the antenna and learn the channels you can gain lots of valuable information about road conditions and the best place to eat. Its an introduction to a new culture and all you need to join is radio. Its not the same culture you may have heard about in old movies, but its a vibrant part of life on the road. Grab a Midland CB, hook up your antenna, tune to a channel, and listen in.

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