A CB Radio can literally be a lifesaver! Knowing how to use is actually pretty simple once you understand how they work, radio etiquette, and what you might need. A quick read through this beginners guide to CB radio should help you get an understanding of some basics, but don’t forget to check out our blog full of helpful information.
Channels and Age Requirement
One of the big benefits of CB Radios is unlike HAM Radios, using a CB Radio does not require a license. The number of channels on CB services is 40 channels, which can be found in AM Mode or Single Sideband (SSB) mode. The benefit of using SSB is that its less prone to noise, and also covers an extensive range when compared to AM mode. Furthermore, it also occurs on the high end of CB radios. As far as age goes, there is no age limit when you want to use CB radios. In fact, anyone can use a CB radio. The channels on CB radios and frequencies are not assigned to a specific party. Usually, you can use CB Radio on any of the 40 channels and frequencies reserved by the FCC, but there are some key factors to consider.
Factors When Using CB Channels
First, you can only use the 40 channels and frequencies that are available with your CB radio. However, Channel 9 is best reserved for emergency purposes or when traveling. Any channel can be used for emergency or travel purposes. Furthermore, since all these channels are shared, it’s best to give priority to emergency communications in all channels.
A Beginners Guide to CB Radio: Maximum Power
The maximum required for operating CB radios depends on the type of signal you want to transmit. Usually, the AM signals have a maximum of four watts. Furthermore, SSB mode has a maximum power range of 12 watts Peak Envelope Power, otherwise referred to as PEP. According to the FCC, you cannot raise the power output of the CB unit, connect it to an amplifier or perhaps modify the connectivity of the device. Plus, you are only allowed to use an FCC-certified device, with each label being certified for specific purposes.
A Beginners Guide to CB Radio: Communication Range
CB is only suitable for short-range and local communications. However, you can increase the range by performing a signal bounce off the ionosphere, otherwise referred to as “skipping.” This technique is referred to as a “shooting skip,” and some CB users can bounce a signal for hundreds of miles. However, the FCC has specific rules for CB station communication ranges, which average at 155.5 miles. That said, CB signals are known to skip naturally based on various factors, so it is not unusual to send transmissions in unintended directions.
A Beginners Guide to CB Radio: User Etiquette
Since the 40 channels are shared with other users, there are some rules to consider when operating CB radio. Users should never speak with another station for long durations, which usually surpass the five-minute mark. You must for a few minutes, before starting another communication process. During the early days of using CB, the FCC did not necessitate users to have a license or call sign. While neither of these is no longer required, it is still common to reserve a “call sign” usually in the form of “CB handle.” Users can create their unique handles based on FCC rules.
Also, CB users have specific lingo and codes, which are reserved for communication purposes. Usually, ten codes are accepted universally for CB transmission, when in the AM mode. Also, the Q signals are typically reserved for Single Side Band signals.
A Beginners Guide to CB Radio: Antenna
When getting a CB radio, the most critical factor to consider is the antenna. Even if antennas are often components of Handheld CB radios, they are usually not included with the mobile units. You must purchase these components separately. Regardless of whether it’s an entry-level radio or a top performer, the type of antenna you pick can have many benefits. See here for our recommendations for handheld, fiberglass, whip antennas