The CB Radio: how to use it and which are its advantages?

22 March 2024
The CB radio: how to use it and which are its advantages?

The CB Radio: How to Use It and Its Advantages?

Many wonder today if CB radio is still useful in communications, and the answer in this case doesn't come directly from us but from all those people who interact with Midland daily to share their experiences.

Truckers, farmers, off-roaders, and RVers all agree that, despite technological evolution bringing forth new tools, CB radio remains an indispensable communication tool for anyone living on the road.

Let's go in order, and in this article, we want to share with you a practical guide on how to use CB radio, how to install it correctly, and which one to choose based on your needs.

What Is CB Radio?

CB radio is a radio transceiver that allows you to talk and exchange information under any condition.

In fact, unlike telephone lines, the radio signal is guaranteed in every area, even the most remote, because it's the antenna mounted on the vehicle that emits and receives it.

What does it mean?

With the radio, you are always present and reachable: in the high mountains, in the woods, in the desert: even abroad, when traveling in a caravan, the radio is a means to communicate always ready and without additional tariffs.

How Does CB Radio Work?

The frequency used is 27 Megahertz.

It's an analog radio and as such works in an analog way. It's a broadcast and half-duplex transmission, so one user talks, and an infinite number of people can listen.

The utility of the CB is just this: with the push to talk, you just press a button to activate the communication, and an infinite number of people, who are within the radio coverage range, can listen.

Moreover, CB is limited to the area where you are, therefore it's essential for exchanging information about traffic.

The antenna, which is 75 cm to 150 cm high, transmits omnidirectionally (circular), and all the people I can reach with my radio range, listen to my voice immediately.

Regarding the practical use by the users, it's just as simple, because all the controls and buttons are present on the front part: they are used to increase or decrease the volume, cancel background noise, and modify the Squelch, search for channels, and display them.

How to Use CB Radio?

In the world of CB, there's a dedicated language, made up of numbers and special acronyms. Some are derived from the Q alphabet, used by amateur radio enthusiasts, and some from the NATO alphabet (yes, the one used in war movies), which have given life to a real jargon that has no secrets for the enthusiasts.

For those new to the CB language, no worries: here we have created a practical guide with the CB vocabulary!

Meanwhile, we can share with you some useful tips to keep communications clear.

The first tip is that to start communicating on a channel, you need to speak one at a time. Indeed, if we press the PTT button to transmit while others are already speaking, no one hears us, and we interrupt what others are saying. Respect comes first!

Other useful tips:

  • The short pauses heard between one transmission and another are an audio signal to exploit and recognize to start the conversation (technically, this is called "leaving a gap," meaning leaving space for those who have more urgency);

  • Positioning the microphone close to the mouth and not in contact, the voice output is clearer;

  • There's no need to shout;

  • To avoid cutting off the speech, start talking a second after pressing the PTT button and finish before releasing it;

  • Needless to say, vulgar words or offenses are not welcome gestures: even if the atmosphere is friendly and convivial, do not disrespect;

  • It can be useful to leave the channel free for emergencies, so it's better to avoid too long transmissions;

  • Even though many become friends through CB channels, it's still a free transmission, and there may be strangers listening: do not openly give out private information and personal details.

Generally, channels are like squares: they have a group of people who meet inside, with a common passion or job.

Channel 5 is normally used by truckers. On 19, you find off-roaders, 11 and 15 by campers, and 9 is identified as the emergency channel.


Which CB Radio to Choose?

At Midland, we have developed different models of CB radios based on their use and the vehicles available. Generally, the choice depends on your profession or passion: are you a trucker? A farmer? Or do you love traveling in a camper? Or are you an off-roader?

If the road is your "profession," we recommend:

  • Alan Quarantotto - the king of CBs, the legendary small rig that cannot be missing from any truck;

  • Alan 48 Pro - the evolution of the Alan Forty-Eight, designed for those who travel in Europe and thus need to modulate power according to current regulations;

  • Midland 88 -the latest arrival at Midland, super versatile and perfect for any type of journey.

Are you in the fields every day?

  • Alan Sessantotto - if the Alan Quarantotto is an icon for truckers, the Alan Sessantotto is for those working in the fields; 

  • Midland M5 - compact and with reduced dimensions, perfect for the cabs of work vehicles that have less space;

  • Midland 88 - its versatility and compatibility make it perfect also for agricultural work.

Is traveling your passion?

For camper vans:

  • Camper Kit e Camper Kit PRO - real ready-to-use kits developed especially for RV enthusiasts. Both include the Midland M5. The basic kit includes the RV 65 antenna, while the Pro kit includes the Funk 90 antenna, the connector, and the antenna mount;

  • Midland M5 - super compact to the point that the CB is in the microphone itself. The radio body can be installed in the glove compartment;

  • M-Mini USB - easy to install, just connect it to the cigarette lighter socket and it has a USB input to recharge electronic devices.

For 4x4:

  • CB Radio 4x4 Kit - for off-roaders, we have also created a ready-to-use kit that includes the M-Mini USB, the LUX 1500-S antenna, the bracket, and the connector;

  • M-Mini USB - perfect for off-roading thanks to its reduced dimensions;

  • Midland M5 - in this case, too, its compact dimensions and the possibility to remote the radio body make it an ideal model for 4x4s; 

  • Midland 88 - compatible with all DIN compartments.

A very important thing to know is that the road code has equated the use of CB with the phone, so to not break the code while driving, it is necessary to equip yourself with a hands-free kit, like the Dual Mike

In this way, you can use your CB hands-free, in total safety.

Dual Mike is compatible with most of our CBs, in addition to being hands-free, it allows you to activate the roger beep, equalize your voice, and activate the echo. 

How to Install the CB?

The installation of the CB is the most important part because if it is not installed correctly, its functioning can be compromised.

The first thing to know is that every CB radio needs a power supply and an external antenna.

The installation of the antenna in particular must be done properly because it needs to have a good ground plane.

Some antennas can also be installed independently, such as the MC45 which is magnetic, and the RV 65 which is adhesive. Other antenna models instead require the intervention of an installer.

When installing the antenna, even independently, you must always check the part that exits the glass because it is the one that emits and receives communications. Finally, the longer the antenna, the greater the distance I will be able to cover with my communications.

Article updated on March 22, 2024