Blast from the past! The CB radio lives on

While growing up during the Smoky and the Bandit culture, do you ever remember hearing phrases like “What’s your 20”, “10-4”, or “breaker breaker 1-9”? If you or any members of your family were part of the CB radio craze, these phrases may be all to familiar to you. Although the CB radio has lost its popularity, there’s hope for truckers and a few CB enthusiasts out there, because the CB is still being manufactured and it is still alive today, though ill forgotten. Let me tell you how it all got started.
In 1973, the federal government imposed a speed limit of 55 miles per hour, across the nation. Truck drivers used their Citizens Band radios to share information about cheap gas and speed traps. After the FCC relinquished the special license required to own a CB radio, they became an inexpensive means for truckers to communicate with their loved ones, and while away the long hours in conversation with other drivers, while driving down the highway. When truckers purchased their new CB radios, they installed them in their vehicles, installed an antenna on either the roof or the hood, and instead of giving out the call number required by the FCC, they created nicknames for themselves, which were dubbed Handles. These “handles” were used primarily to keep the cops from identifying them, incase they were wanted for speeding or some other criminal charges.
At the time the Smoky and the Bandit movies popularized the CB radio, truckers became increasingly frustrated to find the airwaves overcrowded with people using their CB’s to chat, tell dirty jokes, and waste endless hours. In hindsight, CB radios were the social network of the 1970s and 80s. For instance, you could turn your CB radio to channel 19, and hear people gossiping about what went down at the local pool hall.
Although as with every new gadget, the CB craze eventually died out, but it hasn’t died as have the old bag cell phones of the 1980s, VCRs, and other gadgets of yesteryear.
As a matter of fact, CB radios are still being manufactured and used today. Although truckers can use their smart phones to keep in touch with their family members, track their locations and get turn by turn directions to their destinations, when not using the built-in GPS systems in their vehicles, There are times when a CB radio is needed. For example, if a trucker is driving through rural areas where cell service is very limited, if nonexistent altogether, they can call for help should trouble arise. Truckers can also use their CB’s to alert others about bad weather, road hazards, traffic conditions, vehicle trouble they’ve witnessed on the highway, andCertain trucking companies prefer that their drivers communicate with the terminal via Cb radio. CB handles are also still in use today by some, while trucking companies use the call numbers on their radios instead. Here is a demonstration of a CB radio in use, with today’s technological enhancements.


15 thoughts on “Blast from the past! The CB radio lives on”

  1. Mercy sakes, good buddy, I sur do remember my CB days. I was Cosmic Christian and I hung out on Channels 1, 5, and 23. I also had sideband rigs. I sure do miss local coffee brakes where my CB friends and I would bucket mouth for a few hours and get to know each other.

    I still have my 23-channel Navaho 30A CB and two full-power walkie-talkies. They all bring back such good memories, even though turkeys did spoil the channels with their dead carriers and playing music. I also worked skip from quite a few American states. What days those were!

  2. Amazon sells CB radios. You can buy a handheld, 40-channel rig for under $100, which can be powered by batteries or a wall wart transformer.

  3. Hi Ann, this is an interesting article, I enjoyed it. We bought our oldest son one and in the same week, someone broke into his truck and stole everything. What a shame, he never really got a chance to use it.

    • No problem, I was remembering the time when my parents had a CB radio at the house and in my dad’s truck, and the article idea came to me, and would not let go until I wrote it. This was the most fun blog post I have ever researched and written.


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