There was once a time when CB, or Citizens Band, radios were the most sophisticated means of personal communication, and while their popularity today has been superseded by mobile phones, CB radios still continue to be highly useful for many individuals.
These devices are two-way radio devices through which individuals can communicate over radio frequency channels. Before the birth of internet based social networking, they functioned much like chat rooms for many. In the US, CB radios are mostly used by truck drivers who continually need to communicate with a large group of people or community that cellular phones are not equipped to handle.
Understanding the CB Language
Using your radio properly requires a basic knowledge of its own brand of language. Saying 10-4, for instance, means that you have received and understand the message. The unique lingo used on these devices is proof of the fact that over the past decades, CB radios have become part of our nation’s culture.
Understanding How It Works
In order for these radios to work, they need to first be plugged in electrically to power up. Next, it needs to be able to hook up with radio broadcasts through antennas that are usually found on the rear side of trucks and cars. On average, CB antennas are 10 feet in length. Once the antenna captures the radio signal, it then converts it to electrical signals that power the internal speakers, allowing a CB user to communicate. Operators then can tune in to any of the 40 different channels allocated for CB use.
As there are so many different channels available for CB radio users, a squelch knob is installed to help users focus on specific radio signals they wish to tune in. To voice back, operators need to simply press on the microphone key before speaking.
Understanding the Features of CB Radios
In addition to the squelch and microphone, these radios are also equipped with other features for smoother communication. This includes the volume control and the Radio Frequency, or RF, control that is used to fine tune the volume of the microphone. Pre-set buttons instantly give operators access to specific frequencies.
Understanding the Importance of CB Etiquette
Like all communication devices, certain protocols or etiquettes need to be followed and maintained. This is especially true for truckers who rely heavily on this technology.
1. Emergency channels – a specific channel is solely allocated for emergency use only, and all users are required to respect this rule.
2. Changing channels – CB radios are specifically used for issuing bulletins and advisories, and as such, they are not meant for long conversations. While this is not completely restricted, users are, overall, advised to switch to frequencies with less traffic to avoid clogging up channels.
3. Breaking In – before joining in on a conversation, you should first seek confirmation by breaking in. If you need to make an inquiry, you can say “break one nine” and wait for someone to acknowledge you before asking away.
4. Basic Manners – as these radios make use of public frequencies, keeping to your manners is naturally important. Avoid the use of profanities and learn to respect other users.
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