CB radios are back again

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CB radios were & still are a useful tool for truckers. In the 1970s & 1980s, portable communication devices were popular. 

The 1940s

Canadian-born, Ohio-raised Al Gross invented the CB radio in 1948. RoadPro Brands says Gross also invented the walkie-talkie & cordless & cellular phones.

In 1945, the FCC founded the Citizens Radio Service, reserving aside radio spectrum for home use. CB World says this would authorise & regulate remote-controlled model planes.


CB radios have a transmitter-receiver and antenna. Earlier radios ran at higher frequencies, which required more equipment (which, in turn, cost more). 


In the early days, when CB radios required to "warm up" to relay a complete message, codes were devised as a shortcut to communication, LGT Transport notes. 


The FCC expanded CB channels from 23 to 40 in 1977. Most CB radios have a 3- to 20-mile range, depending on topography, so they're not for long-distance conversations.


In its early decades, CB radio was utilized by farmers, the military, & the government. In the 1960s, taxicab businesses used radios to communicate with drivers, suggesting wider use.

Use Rising

Economics drove the '70s CB boom. Because of the 1973 OPEC oil embargo & a new 55 mph speed restriction aimed to preserve U.S. gasoline, truckers used CB radios to organize.


From trucking, the CB radio sprang into national consciousness via entertainment, such as C.W. McCall's 1975 No. 1 hit song "Convoy," which inspired a 1978 Kris Kristofferson film of the same name.


CBs also appeared in Jan-Michael Vincent & Kay Lenz's "White Line Fever" (1975) and "Smokey & the Bandit" (1977) & its sequels. "Movin' On" (1974-1976) starred Claude Akins & Greg Evigan.

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