Used by truckers for years, CB radios gained prominence in the late 1970s thanks to the C.W. McCall song “Convoy,” and a major motion picture inspired by the tune starring Kris Kristofferson.
With all of today’s advanced technology, you may think trucker radios are a thing of the past, but they’re still a valuable tool for the 21st-century truck driver.
Do you want to learn more about the fascinating history of CB radio? Ah, breaker-one-nine, this here’s the Rubber Duck. Get your ears on, copy?
The Citizens Band Radio Service
The Citizens Band Radio Service or CB Radio was invented in 1945 by Al Gross. Gross’s other famous invention was the Walkie-Talkie, and he also owned the Citizen’s Radio Corporation.
The radio grew popular with small businesses and blue-collar workers seeking efficient communication.
As it grew in popularity, the production price dropped. By the early 1960s, these radios were inexpensive enough for the average radio hobbyist.
FCC Makes CB Radios Public
Shortly after the CB radio debuted on the market, the FCC realized the device’s potential and made the 23 channels available to the public. They became popular with home radio enthusiasts because they don’t require an operating license.
Unlike other amateur radios, CB channels are open for use. The channels are shared, and users must wait their turn to communicate.
As public demand grew and technology increased, radios became more portable and easy to use.
Gas Crisis Creates a Craze
The United States experienced a fuel shortage in 1973. The US Government reduced the national speed limit to 55 MPH, and long-haul truckers were unhappy.
On top of increasing fuel costs cutting into their profits, a reduced speed limit delayed shipping times.
The CB radio then found its most famous use. Truckers learned they could use them to communicate about speed traps. By 1977, CB radio was so popular the FCC increased channel availability from 23 to 40.
Trucker Radio Communication Continues Today
A 2019 survey of trucker CB radio usage showed that only 75% use their CB radios daily.
While that’s still a majority, truckers use them fewer thanks to technological advances like smartphones. CBs are still a useful tool for truckers, however. They are helpful when traveling through areas with spotty cell service.
They also come in handy during natural disasters. While cell phones are a preferred communication method, the CB is a reliable backup for when cell service fails.
If you’re interested in top-of-the-line CB radios and radio repair, refer to this web page.
CB Radios Forever
Given the limitations of cell phone service and ease of use, CB radios will be around forever. Though the technology is nearly 80 years old, it remains a valuable tool for America’s truckers and amateur radio enthusiasts.
Are you about to put the hammer down? Do you want more information on CB and other types of radios?
Join the discussion on this topic with Arts On Earth Blog by visiting our contact page