CB RADIO: How are CB channels used?
Do you have a new citizens band radio or are you putting an old rig on the air? What channels should you use?
Everyone knows what Channel 19 is used for on CB radio. It’s a legend that dates back to the 1970s.
For many years, most communities were covered by REACT and ALERT monitors who kept an ear on Channel 9 for emergency and motorist assistance calls. | Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Actually, Channel 19 wasn’t always the highway channel for citizens band users. When truckers started using CB in the mid-1970s, Channel 10 was the highway channel. But it was problematic. You see, Channel 10 is adjacent to Channel 9, the emergency frequency for 11 meters, and the splatter and distortion from Channel 10 to Channel 9 was horrible. Back then, REACT (Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams) and ALERT (Affiliated League of Emergency Radio Teams) as well as unassociated monitors kept an ear on Channel 9 to assist motorists and others with emergencies, long before cell phones entered the scene. They had trouble hearing those requesting help on Channel 9 because of the mess from Channel 10.
This article is sponsored by REACT International Inc. REACT teams continue to provide coverage on CB Channel 9 for those seeking help along the highway. If there isn’t a REACT team in your area, reach out to them at REACTintl.org or click on the ad above to see how you can help! | REACT International Inc.
There was an effort to move Channel 10 operations along the highways well away from Channel 9, and Channel 19 was selected. An on-air push was coordinated to make the change on Oct. 19 (get it, 10/19!) — I can’t remember what year it was in the 1970s — and the rest is history. Channel 19 has been the highway/trucker/motorist channel ever since.
But as a new or renewed CBer, what channels will you want to check out among the 40 available? Should you use AM, FM, lower sideband (LSB) or upper sideband (USB) modes on any given channel? It’s daunting to try and strike up a conversation when there are 40 channels times four modes, the equivalent of 160 channels!
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