Quick Guide to CB Radio

March 04, 2013

CB Radio: A Quick Guide​If you're a trucker you already know how to use a CB, but if you're a road warrior in an RV, you may be new to the world of CB communication. Here's a brief guide to get you started, and provide you with some etiquette tips.

CB stands for Citizen's Band radio, and the 40 channel service is free across the United States (and beyond), provided there's signal strength available. Range for CB signal is generally a few miles, although some transmitters do boost signal illegally to extend their range.

Here are some of the notable channels, although keep in mind some of them are unofficial:

Channel 4: The channel for 4X4 off-roading vehicles.

Channel 9: Emergency channel, for emergency help as well as traveler assistance. Sometimes monitored by authorities in rural areas.

Channel 13:RV channel, as well as marine recreation.

Channel 17: North to south freeways trucking channel.

Channel 19:East to west freeways trucking channel.

Those are channels fairly dedicated to those groups, on other channels, who knows what you'll find. The key to CB communication is politeness. You will have no idea who you're conversing with, so best to start off on a positive note. The term 'breaker' is fairly antiquated, so if you're hailing a channel, you can try “Break nineteen” for example, to get in on the trucking channel. You can add your reason for wanting to talk, such as “Break nineteen, local 411,” if you needed directions or wanted to know about traffic ahead.

The more you listen in on your CB the more of the casual lingo you'll pick up. Over time you can develop your own style for conversation. Just remember to close your conversations as politely as you start them, with a “Thanks, driver.”