CB Radio Information

How to Use a CB Radio on the Road

Citizen band radio is still an ingenious form of short distance communication, notwithstanding the entry of cellular technology. This is because it is very cheap, quite reliable, and less prone to interference as is the case with cellular technology.




The object and the intent of the discussions that follow are to enlighten you on the various means, ways, and procedures through which you may use a citizens band radio while on the go.



Follow these steps to use your citizen band radio effectively while on the road:

Step I: Familiarize yourself with the CB Technology as a whole

Before you even contemplate using the citizen band radio for communicating with your contacts, you should familiarize yourself with the technology altogether. Get to know the basic principles in which the technology operates.

This device basically utilizes the short waves to send and receive information. Its overall range varies between 40 miles (64.4 km) and 100 miles (160.9 km).

It generally works by converting the sound waves that originate from the speaker’s voice into electrical signals. These electrical signals are first assigned an appropriate frequency and a carrier. They are then transmitted to the surrounding areas using the built-in transmitter.

The signals are then picked up by the antenna on the receiving citizen band radio. They are then re-converted into the sound waves by the built-in speakers at the extreme receiving end. Thereafter they become audible once again.

The strength of the signals is determined by several factors. These include the existence of obstacles, weather conditions, time of day, geographical terrain, and the volume of traffic, among others.

Step II: Familiarize yourself with the various Codes

Codes refer to the system of unique words, figures, letters, or other symbols that are substituted for other words or letters while relaying information. They are used for the purposes of upholding secrecy.

In order for the communications that are relayed via the citizen band radio to be flawless, some codes have been invented. The following are some of the major codes that are used to relay citizen band radio communications:


  • 10-1 = Receiving Poorly
  • 10-4 = OK Message Received
  • 10-7 = Out of Service, or Leaving Air (when you are going off the air)
  • 10-8 = In Service or Subject to call (when you are back on the air)
  • 10-9 = Repeat Message
  • 10-10 = Transmission Completed or Standing By (when you will be listening)
  • 10-20 = “What is your location?” or “My location is…” It is commonly asked as, “What is your 20?


Step III: Determine your Unique Handle or On-air Pseudonym

A handle or a pseudonym is a unique nickname that you will use for all your subsequent communications. It is the one that uniquely identifies and distinguishes you from all the other radio users within that locale. A good handle should be one that is simple to memorize, and closely mirrors your real name as possible. This is to eliminate any unnecessary ambiguities or confusion.


Step IV: Tune into the Appropriate Channel

A typical citizen band radio has the ability to ‘listen to’ and ‘communicate with’ around 40 channels at a time. Of these channels, the following are restricted to certain calibers of users:


  • CB Channel 04 = open to all—4 by 4 channels
  • CB Channel 09 = Emergency channel
  • CB Channel 10 = open to all–regional roads
  • CB Channel 13 = open to all–Marine, Research Vessels
  • CB Channel 14 = open to all–walkie talkies
  • CB Channel 17 = open to all–North/South Traffic
  • CB Channel 19 = Truckers–East/West Highway Traffic
  • CB Channel 21 = open to all regional roads

All the remaining channels are open for all potential regardless of their uniqueness.


Step V: Test the Radio Channel and Begin Speaking

Test the entire radio before getting started. Switch it on, and then start listening once you have tuned into the right channel. Chances are that you might pick conversations that are thousands of miles away. These are called ‘skip’ conversations. Just ignore them. Try talking to the others within your range and hear them respond.

To begin speaking, set the microphone gain control button to the maximum. Wait for a break or pause in the conversations you will hear, and then shout ‘break’ to let the other users know that you are available and ready to begin speaking. As soon as you have received clearance from the other users, begin speaking.


Step VI: Manage your Conversations Accordingly

Monitor the status of your conversation by observing the signal meter. This meter ranges from 1-30. It shows how well someone’s signals are coming through and how close they are to you. It, therefore, helps you to ascertain the distance between you and the other interlocutors as well as the strength of the signal.

Regulate the quality of the signals you send or receive by use of the squelch knob. Turn the Squelch knob accordingly to either filter the noise or cut off any unwanted signals. Be sure to utilize this button wisely. This is because you risk losing some channels/stations should you turn it up unnecessarily.

Clarify the quality of the incoming signals by taking advantage of the Automatic Noise Limiter (ANL). Turn up the automatic noise limiter in case you are in heavily populated areas that have plenty of airwave activities.

PS: Always keep your conversations brief and to the point. Some interlocutors may turn out to be vulgar. In case you encounter such, just ignore them altogether. Once you are through with your conversations, close the transmissions by removing your thumb off the microphone.



As you can deduce from the discussions above, using a citizen band radio is a fairly intricate undertaking. To do so effectively, you may have to master some technical jargons or expertise. You may also want to invoke the intervention of a qualified expert to guide you in the field.

That aside, this form of communication is still reliable and relevant, notwithstanding the advent of the cellular technology. It is particularly useful in terms of search and rescue, in isolated areas, where cost is a concern, or in times of emergency. Because of these, no serious long distance traveler, truck driver, or search and rescue companies may afford to overlook it.

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How to Use a CB Radio on the Road
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How to Use a CB Radio on the Road
How to use a cb radio on the road? Follow the steps- Step I: Familiarize yourself with the CB Technology as a whole , Step 2: Familiarize yourself with the various Codes, Step3:
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