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A Brief History Of Cb Radio

There was, and is, another media craze which has nothing to do with the Internet

, though it does depend on technology. What I'm talking about is CB radio.

Although CB radio really come to fame in the 1970's, with over 7 million CB radios being sold in one year, the Citizens Band (CB) radio service was established by the FCCas one of several personal radio services designated for use by the public back in 1945. The original CB radios were UHF, they operated in the 460-470 MHz frequency range, and were relatively expensive for the average consumer. In 1958 part of the CB service was moved away from the UHF range to 27 MHz, and this 'band' then became known as 'CB'. The remaining CB services on UHF later evolved into the General Mobile Radio Service and the Family Radio Service.

Within a few years businesses began to use the CB service for communication; anyone who needed to make service calls found CB useful, including electricians and plumbers. The service was regulated by the FCC and everyone needed a license and call sign to operate, but as time went on, the technology improved and became both smaller and cheaper. More CB sets were sold, CB clubs were formed and a completely new type of slang evolved for CB users, an adaptation of the '10' codes used by emergency services.

An explosion of popularity occurred in the 1970's when President Nixon signed the 1974 Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act. This prohibited speed limits higher than 55 mph, effectively imposing a 55 mph maximum speed on all American roads.Although the move was a result of the oil crisis, many drivers were upset by the new regulation believing that the right to set speed limits should belong, as it had, in the past, to the individual states.29 states had to lower their limits, some, like Nevada and Montana had previously had no speed limits on some rural roads. Fuel rationing was a problem and CB radio came into its own as a way for travelers to communicate and warn each other of empty gas stations or police speed traps. CB radio was also used to organize protests. The craze spread to film with 'Smokey and the Bandit' and TV programs such as 'The Dukes Hazard' as well as popular songs (Convoy) and the CB phenomenon spread across the world. Many people ignored the regulations, operating without a license and using made-up names rather than an authorized call sign. These 'handles' as they were called, were similar to the names many use on the Internet, and allowed a certain lowering of inhibitions as CB users could chat anonymously. Eventually even the requirement for a license was dropped and in 1977 the original 23 CB channels were extended to 40.

CB suffered from it's own popularity. Thousands of users meant crowded frequencies and communication was, at times, difficult - but things got better.The mobile phone became the communication method of choice for many families rather than the radio, but for travelers such as truck drivers, nothing could take the place of CB communication and it is still extremely popular throughout the United States and the rest of the world.

by:Tom Thors
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