cb radio frequency chart channel

CB Radio Frequencies and CB Channels: What You Need to Know

CB radios are great for a number of reasons. Unlike ham radios, they do not require you to have a license to use them and they have up to 40 channels at your disposal. The vast number of channels means that you have plenty of options whenever you want to engage in short distance communication. 

However, knowing the CB channels and the CB radio frequencies they correspond to can be helpful if you plan to be a regular CB radio user. As such, this article explains a few things about CB radio frequencies and channels that you need to know as you explore the amazing world of CB radios.

Below is a list of all the CB radio channels as well as their CB radio. While anyone can access a channel of his/her choice, you will notice that a few of the channels have special kinds of users. A good example is channel 19 which is popular among truck drivers in the U.S.

Channel

Frequency

Max Power

Who can use it?

1

26.9650 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

2

26.9750 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

3

26.9850 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

4

27.0050 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

5

27.0150 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

6

27.0250 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

7

27.0350 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

8

27.0550 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

9

27.0650 MHz

4W

Open to everyone but used for emergencies

10

27.0750 MHz

4W

Open to everyone but ideal for regional roads

11

27.0850 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

12

27.1050 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

13

27.1150 MHz

4W

Open to everyone but used by marines and RVs

14

27.1250 MHz

4W

Open to everyone but popularly used by walkie talkies

15

27.1350 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

16

27.1550 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

17

27.1650 MHz

4W

Open to everyone but used mostly by the Northern or Southern traffic

18

27.1750 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

19

27.1850 MHz

4W

Used by truckers mostly on the East/West highway traffic

20

27.2050 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

21

27.2150 MHz

4W

Open to everyone but ideal for regional roads

22

27.2250 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

23

27.2550 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

24

27.2350 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

25

27.2450 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

26

27.2650 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

27

27.2750 MHz

4W

Enter your text here...

28

27.2850 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

29

27.2950 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

30

27.3050 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

31

27.3150 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

32

27.3250 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

33

27.3350 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

34

27.3450 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

35

27.3550 MHz

4W

Open to everyone

36

27.3650 MHz

4W

Open to everyone (including SSB)

37

27.3750 MHz

4W

Open to everyone (including SSB)

38

27.3850 MHz

4W

Open to everyone (including SSB and LSB)

39

27.3950 MHz

4W

Open to everyone (including SSB)

40

27.4050 MHz

4W

Open to everyone (including SSB)

CB Frequencies vs. CB Channels

You may be wondering why CB radio frequencies are important since you can always change a CB channel with one touch of a button.

Because CB radios do not strictly follow a worldwide standard when it comes to frequencies, it is possible to find certain channels belonging to different frequencies when you move to other countries. The allowed power levels may also be different. In the U.S., for instance, CB radios have a maximum power limit of 4W for regular CBs. On the other hand, SSB CB radios have a maximum power limit of 12W.

Despite all this, most countries have adopted the America's channels and their frequencies. This has partly made things easy. However, if the country you currently live in has a different frequency allocation, you can manually program your radio to use a specific frequency for a channel.

In New Zealand, for example, CB radios use a frequency plan that ranges between 26.330 – 26.770 MHz while countries like Russia and Ukraine use frequency plans that range between 26.5 – 27.860 MHz. Japan is perhaps the one country that uses the most unique allocation. Its CB allocation has eight voice channels and two radio control channels. In addition, CBs in Japan should have a maximum power output of 500mW.

You should also remember that not all CB radios let you change the frequency in the same way. As such, you need to consult with your radio's manual to find out how you can change the frequency of a particular channel.

Popular CB Channels

In the U.S., certain channels are known to belong to specific groups of people. We had already mentioned that channel 19 belongs to truckers, but it is possible to find truckers using other different channels depending on the state you are in.

To help you easily identify the popular CB radio channels, we categorized them according to the groups of people that use them.

Channel for Truckers

Channel 19 is the most common for truckers in the U.S., and it could very well be the busiest channel.

However, if you were driving in the state of Oregon or Washington, you could also find many drivers on channel 17. On the other hand, channels 15 and 21 are also common among truck drivers especially in Los Angeles and San Diego.

Emergency Channel

For emergencies, you can tune in to channel 9 to get updates on emergencies in your area. Since CB radios facilitate short-range to mid-range communication, you will only be getting emergency updates within your locality and not necessarily from the entire state/country.

Many modern radios even include an instant channel 9/19 switch which lets you get to these two channels with ease.

Though there exist other special channels like channel 13 which favors marines, it is not always a guarantee that you will find marines communicating in that channel. Since truckers widely embraced CB radios, you will find that channel 19 is perhaps the only channel that has a loyal user group.

What Lies Beyond the CB Frequency Limit?

CB radios are not the most powerful kinds of radios out there once you consider the 4W power limit. This means they are only legally limited to a specified frequency range. 

As such, frequencies directly above 27.4 MHz have been set aside for the Business Radio Service (BRS). These frequencies still fall under VHF and UHF bands but have been dedicated for use by businesses and institutions.

The federal government did not also forget about itself. Its frequencies start from 27.540 MHz to 28 MHz. Of course, these frequencies are illegal since the government does not intend for the public to use them.

That also explains why hooking up your CB to a linear amp might not be a good idea in some countries. Linear amps often boost the power of a CB above its allowed limits. Such a CB radio could then be able to access these illegal frequencies.

On the lower end of the frequency limit, you are bound to find the U.S. military which uses frequencies that range from 26.480 MHz – 26.960 MHz.

Even with a ham radio (which is far more powerful than a CB), you won't get access to these illegal frequencies because the frequency band for ham radios runs from 28 MHz to 29.7 MHz.

Bootleg Frequencies and Freebanding

As you spend more time with your CB radio, you will learn that it is easy to modify your radio for use as an amateur radio. Sadly, you would need a license before you can transmit using an amateur radio.

For CB users, frequencies that have been set aside for 10-meter radios are usually referred to as bootleg frequencies. Licensed ham operators won't get into any kind of trouble with the law for modifying their CB radios so that they can use them as ham radios.

However, the FCC equally prohibits licensed ham operators from transmitting on unauthorized frequencies. The use of these prohibited frequencies is what is known as freebanding. Ideally, you need proper authorization for you to use the illegal channels that we had mentioned earlier.

Ham radio operators are only allowed to listen in on certain frequencies such as the international call frequency but not to transmit.

Beware that the FCC constantly cracks down on the illegal use of frequencies and you could land in trouble if caught transmitting using unauthorized frequencies.

Conclusion

All in all, there is a lot to learn about radio frequencies beyond the CB radio frequency chart. Since many of the frequencies are illegal for use or would require you to have a license, you are better off sticking to the regular CB frequencies. 

In addition, you should also know that frequencies may vary from country to country even though many countries nowadays use channels and frequencies like the ones used in the U.S. Nevertheless, you will find out that channels 9 and 19 are perhaps the most popular channels you can tune to regardless of the  state you are in.

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