CB Radio - The Tools of The Trucker

March 27, 2008

CB Radio Most things change over time, but one of the tools of a trucker that has remained a staple for the last five decades is the CB radio. Without a doubt it is the quickest and easiest way to find out what is ahead on the road as well as to pick up the latest in chatter from throughout the trucking community.

There is a rich and interesting history of CB radio from its birth in 1945 to the present day. When first initiated and until the mid 60's, users were required to have a license, but so many ignored the requirement that it was eventually discarded. There were only 23 channels until 1977 when it was expanded to the present day 40 channels.

One thing that has remained stable is the power limitations. Four watts for AM and 12 watts for SSB are the legal limits for the 27 Mhz frequencies that are spread about the 40 channels.

The antenna used for CB radio can enhance its capability to receive and transmit and the most effective arrangement is two antennas. These are referred to as "co-phased" and improve the capability of the radio to the front and rear with a lessening of capability to the sides. The key is that the antennas should be separated by a distance of at least 8 feet to realize the best performance. There are dozens of manufacturers of CB radios but, the standard appears to be the Cobra radio that has sold millions and claims to be the CB radio industry leader. Cobra is about to offer a new radio that combines Bluetooth technology with their radio. You can now talk on the phone using a CB. The new LTD 29 BT which will be available this summer for $189 will enable users to accept phone calls over their CB. Cobra claims "The new unit also offers 4 AM RF power output, the maximum amount of power allowed by law. Other features that make Cobra CB radios the preferred companion for professional drivers include Talk Back controls to adjust the desired amount of modulation talk back that is present at the speaker; a channel indicator displaying channel selections in cool blue illumination; Delta Tune to clarify incoming signals; and adjustable Dynamike boost, which increases the microphone's sensitivity for increased voice clarity.

Whether this innovation will be adopted by the trucking community needs to be determined. Cobra has a display at the Louisville Truck show that features this new radio.

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