In recent decades, communication technology has evolved drastically. Technology that may have otherwise been too expensive or restrictive to use in the past, such as cell phones, is now used en masse. This, of course, has meant that older technology such as CB radios has been pushed to the wayside a little. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t still used, though. In fact, you will be surprised at how common CB radio usage still is. On this page, we not only want to give you the answer to ‘are CB radios still used?’, but we also want to talk to you about why.
What Are CB Radios?
In the United States, CB radios have been kicking around since the 1940s. It was then that the FCC decided to open up certain radio bands to ‘normal’ people. This allowed people to communicate over the radio waves. This resulted in a completely new communication method. People could quickly learn how to talk on a CB radio and connect with people in the local area, completely free of charge (short of picking up a license, which is no longer required).
Instantly, a lot of people in certain professions started to pick up CB radios. The technology meant that it was easier for long-distance drivers, hunters, and sailors, to communicate over larger distances (up to about 50-miles), something which was nigh on impossible before. Obviously, in this day and age we know just how simple it is to communicate over long distances ‘on the go’. You just need to pick up a cell phone. However, back then, you couldn’t do that.
Are CB Radios Still Used?
As we mentioned before; CB radios are not used with the same frequency they were in the past. However, you will find that there are still a fair number of people communicating via CB radio. It is especially popular among sailors and long-distance truckers. You may even find people using CB radio recreationally. There are several reasons as to why this is the case. In many situations, CB radio may actually be far better technology to use than other methods. People still use CB radios on a boat and though not as common, you can even see CB radios on farm tractors.
You Don’t Need To Know The Contact Details of People
Many people may think that cell phone use has replaced CB radios. It hasn’t. The only way you are going to be able to communicate with somebody on the cell phone is if you know their number. This means that cell phones are not that great for communicating certain messages. For example; long-distance truckers will use CB radio to communicate with other truckers in the local area. They will easily be able to get updates on:
- Police and speed checks
- Sharing and looking for job opportunities
Truckers in the local area will be constantly changing. Information sharing will also be immediate. In fact, in many cases, you will find that traffic updates will be conveyed faster through CB radio than any app you could have installed on your phone. All of this can be accomplished without needing to know a single person’s telephone number.
CB radios will also have a greater range than competing radio technologies. This includes Family Radio Service or FRS.
Can Be Used in Emergencies
Obviously, 911 should always be used in serious emergencies. However, CB radio (in the United States) has a designated channel for other emergencies e.g. roadside assistance. You will be surprised at the amount of information that can be gathered from channel 9, even if you are not actively seeking emergency assistance yourself. You can always use that channel to see whether other people require your assistance.
Works When Cell Phones Do Not
Outside of larger towns and cities in the United States, cell phone reception is spotty at best. Good luck trying to get a cell phone signal in the middle of nowhere. This isn’t going to be an issue with CB radio. As long as you have your CB radio switched on and tuned to the right station, you will be able to communicate with people in the local area who are also switched to that station. The weather may impact it slightly, but you will always get a decent range (sometimes up to 50-miles!). This can make CB radios perfect for hunting trips and the like.
You may also be surprised to know that the emergency services will also use CB radio in the event of a natural disaster. It is great for conveying information and communicating with others. It is also something that is going to continue working even when other infrastructure goes down. In fact, some people love the fact how a CB radio works independently from other communication infrastructure.
Remember; CB radios will also have better battery conservation than modern cellphones. A typical cell phone may last a day or two without charging it. A handheld CB radio may last over a week. A CB radio that is wired into a vehicle won’t lose its power unless the battery is completely drained, which is unlikely to happen if the vehicle is constantly moving.
Used by Hobbyists
The hobbyist scene for CB radios is still alive and well. You can turn on your CB radio at almost any time of the day and listen to hobbyists communicating over the waves. Yes, there are a few ‘weird’ people communicating on the waves, and some people are using illegal techniques to ensure that they dominate certain stations, but CB radio hobbyists are always looking to bring new people into the fold. You will be able to have a good conversation on occasion. Although, do make sure that you learn CB radio etiquette if you are planning to communicate regularly like this.
It is fair to say that CB radio is waning in popularity but, as we have demonstrated, it is a technology that still sees heavy use in some professions. Sure, it no longer is as crowded as it was in the 1940s through to the 1980s, but it is still popular. If you are a trucker, boater, or hunter, then purchasing a CB radio is a good idea.