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A quick start to CB Radio

By Ashley Hopper (The Spanner)


This is my guide to to help people interested in CB radio understand quite a bit about using it.

What is CB?

CB stands for 'Citizens Band', which relates to a number of frequencies available for the general public to use. There are rules for businesses when using CB but they are aloud to use them. To use CB, you also need a licence (if you are over 21 and under 70). This licence costs 15. Even if you are under 21 and over 70, you still need to send the form to gain your licence. Licences are not available to under 14 yr olds.

The ranges you can get using a CB depend on the antenna (twig) and the location you are in. You can normally range on average about 10 miles.

Who uses CB?

CB is used by anyone who wants a short two way communication, with no costs (except licence). It can be used by anyone, people who want to speak to their friends, people who want traffic news and information, or business use, and not forgetting, the truck drivers. And unlike mobile phones when driving, you can use your CB legally!

Getting started with CB

There are three main requirements for a CB setup. These are a twig (antenna), a power source, and of course the radio itself.

Radio: There are many different looking radios out there, with many different features as well. For legal use in the UK the radio must comply to certain regulations regarding the frequency its running on and the amount of power it is giving the twig. (Max allowed in UK is 4 watts.) Most radios come with 40UK channels and 40EU channels, giving you a total of 80 channels to use.

Twig system: There are many different twig shapes and sizes, with different mounts to mount them onto your vehicle or house. For vehicles there are magnetic mounts, mounts to mount your twig onto your side mirror, boot, door and front of car. You can also just drill a hole in the car and screw it in. The twig then has a coax cable running from it down into the radio. DO NOT EVER POWER UP YOUR CB WITHOUT HAVING THE TWIG ATTACHED. This will completely damage your rig.

Power supply: The power supply depends on the application. But most normally run on a power supply of 12-14 volts. You can get CBs that run on 24 volts for trucks. To use your CB on a mains supply 240 volts, you would need to buy a power reducer that reduces the power down to around 12 volts. If you connect your CB to an incorrect power supply, you could damage your rig.