Breaker, Breaker

World of CB Radio coverThe World of CB Radio
Long, Crystal, Keating

When I was in high school, CB radios were considered a cool accessory for your car. It sat right next to the 8 track tape. Youngsters, this was like twitter and cell phones combined. My knowledge of CB radios extends to seeing Smokey and the Bandit at least twice as a teen.(Side note: This was when Burt Reynolds was THE man. If you need a Burt Reynolds fix, please jump to this and this post where Burt shares his backside with his adoring fans.)

My late father-in-law would just like to listen to truckers chat. I have still had the rare reference question here and there with respect to amateur radio but I don’t think I have heard the term CB radio since the early 1980s. Any radio people wish to update us?


World of CB Radio back cover

Basic Modulating

Ten Calls

CB Radio index


  1. I recall that during a family trip to the UK in 1983, one of the people we stayed with was a CB enthusiast. She talked my sister and me into getting on and speaking to some of the truckers or whoever it was that you could reach from Oxford in the afternoon. She made us both pick handles, and I remember that mine was “Vorpal Blade,” but I remember nothing about the conversation.

  2. For the quintessential 1970s mashup, see this book in which the characters from Welcome Back Kotter get involved in the wild and wacky world of CB radio:

    I can only hope its glory will one day be featured on ALB. But that would require a library somewhere to still have a copy.

    Other than the song “Convoy,” this book was my main association with CB!

  3. We once borrowed my father-in-law’s car for a road trip. Maybe thirty years ago. It had a CB radio. At one point while we were driving, the traffic on the other side of the highway was at a dead stop. Truckers were asking if anyone knew what the holdup was. We got on the radio and told them about the accident ahead of them. Made us feel very important!

  4. Actually, amateur radio isn’t the same thing as the CB radio. “Ham” radio operators (the word “ham” comes from the word “amateur”) must have licenses to operate, while CB users do not need one. The CB radio band does not reach nearly as far as the amateur radio band does. As late as the 1950’s, amateur radio operators had to know Morse code. (I don’t know whether that’s still a requirement.) The ham radio operators are the people who can get in touch with others around the world (not just down the road) if all the electricity goes out.

  5. I agree with Dinah, above. Ham and CB are two different things. You need a ham license to operate a ham radio, which includes passing a written exam to obtain and get your own call sign. It was too complicated for me to try to do so I never went much past reading the test material. CB radio is basically a long-range walkie-talkie and anyone can still buy them at your handy local electronics store or online. Just find a channel and go for it with friends (especially great for road trips with multiple cars). Sometimes you can pick up a signal from someone else miles away, even on CB (but even further on HAM). So, long story short, I’m 34 and there are a fair number of people who still do this stuff. Still, I’d say this is a weeder because the technology is always being updated for this.

Comments are closed.