Why have we abandoned the CB?

Nerd

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Imagine if we had as many CB users as Waze. "Left lane, westbound, Route X, mile blah blah or near exit blah blah."

Cops sneaking up behind you with radar off is pretty much the only thing we have no countermeasure for. Waze can't report things in motion. Radar detectors don't see them with their radar off. Laser jammers are only good against cops that Waze, ideally, would already have reported. Scanners might give you some general location data, but only as the cops themselves are reporting it.

Why does it seem nobody believes in CB anymore? It's cheap and easy to use. It isn't illegal anywhere. Telling people where you see a cop is protected speech as per the "flashing your brights," case. It's the only way I can think of that we could keep a near real time awareness of cops in motion - especially on the interstate.

I've heard some talk of a mini radio resurgence in the form of MGRS but this really seems to be limited to the overlanding/prepping communities.
 

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I've never really gotten into CB's, but I figure Waze does the job and has way more users, without us needing to stick a big antenna on our cars, have another box in the cabin, and have to listen to trucker talk while driving. :p

If you're into it and want another layer of protection though, go for it. :)

Have you found it providing saves where Waze/RD's/LJ's don't help?
 

sdrawkcaB

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I suspect most don't bother with it as it isn't perceived as something easy to use or worth the money to them. Many people don't want to deal with the hassle of getting the right setup. It takes a bit of trail and error to match up your radio with your vehicle with your antenna. Then there is the lingo learning curve, as well as discipline in ensuring you're always running it and on the best channels. I usually do a dual watch setup for CB Channel 17 & 19. Channel 17 is your trucker channel for North & South traffic, while Channel 19 is your trucker channel for East & West traffic.
 
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Nerd

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Channel 17 is your trucker channel for North & South traffic, while Channel 19 is your trucker channel for East & West traffic.
I never knew this. I always just camped on channel 19. Thanks for the tip!
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Have you found it providing saves where Waze/RD's/LJ's don't help?
I received one report of a cop approaching an accident at the epicenter of a big traffic jam. I was on channel 19 because the truckers can see further down the road and will often discuss good detour options, which exit is your last chance to bail, or what lane to move into if they're closing one. A few truckers alerted about a cop trying to wade through the jam, and I thought to myself, "why don't we just do this all the time?"

Waze is great for parked cops, it does nothing for cops in motion. With a CB, we could give drivers a mile or two up the road a heads up when a cop is working his way through traffic. All we'd need to say would be route/direction/nearest mile marker or exit.

How else can you be alerted to creepers with their radar off? Without a spotter, your only hope is to watch your mirrors constantly - but you still might not spot an unmarked until it's too late.
 
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DOCEX

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The CB was a great tool back in the 70s 80s and 90s, but people abused it so much that you had to turn it off if you had your family in the car. Back in the day I would know everything that was happening all the way to work everyday and back. We had an old couple in town that had a good base station, they were on the air by 6am and really enjoyed the CB, if you had a problem they would get on the phone and call for help. Those days are over, cell phones with free minutes were the death blow to CBs.

Truckers are telling me that when they get a new rig they will not install a CB.
 

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The CB was a great tool back in the 70s 80s and 90s, but people abused it so much that you had to turn it off if you had your family in the car. Back in the day I would know everything that was happening all the way to work everyday and back. We had an old couple in town that had a good base station, they were on the air by 6am and really enjoyed the CB, if you had a problem they would get on the phone and call for help. Those days are over, cell phones with free minutes were the death blow to CBs.

Truckers are telling me that when they get a new rig they will not install a CB.


I know what you mean. There's some clown, somewhere, with a massively over powered station or a recording on infinite loop that completely bogs down channel 6 in my region. And as you said, nobody wants to listen to hours of garbage on the off chance they get one or two good things out of it.

I think ham radio has been protected from these issues by the licensing requirements - but that also prevents widespread adoption.

I've heard some talk of MGRS becoming more popular with overlanders/preppers/truckers, but this seems to be limited adoption at best. Radio in general has fallen out of favor.

Still - I'd like to think our community would benefit greatly from the CB for alerting others of cops in motion. Waze can only tell you where parked cops are. Radar can only spot them if they have their radar on. A CB is the only effective way for one person to alert many drivers of a moving cops location, and the direction they're going - in real time.
 

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When I was a kid we drove to FL from the NE from time to time and my father always had a fixed mount CB in the vehicle with an external ant. It was always entertaining to listen to the communications and I do remember a lot of reports of police as well. With the pandemic we cancelled our flights the other year and made the trip by car. I bought a decent hand held just for the fun of it with my own kids. There was less communication than I remember, but that also could be due to the shorter range without the ext ant. It was still fun to run though and a trip down memory lane.
 

ILS27L

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Breaker Breaker 19 ......what's it look like over your donkey ?
I miss those days.
 

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I’m almost 50 years old and I don’t ever recall a C.B. being popular that I can remember, no one I knew used one, I think they ran their course in time like Kmart and they are now a thing of the past.
 

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I’m almost 50 years old and I don’t ever recall a C.B. being popular that I can remember, no one I knew used one, I think they ran their course in time like Kmart and they are now a thing of the past.
You're absolutely right - my argument is, it shouldn't be that way. The CB is the ONLY means we have of effectively reporting police in motion. It would take the crowd source alerting aspect that makes Waze so powerful, and apply it to cops driving with their radar off - the one scenario where we have no way to see them coming other than to literally SEE them coming
 

Spearscrue

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You're absolutely right - my argument is, it shouldn't be that way. The CB is the ONLY means we have of effectively reporting police in motion. It would take the crowd source alerting aspect that makes Waze so powerful, and apply it to cops driving with their radar off - the one scenario where we have no way to see them coming other than to literally SEE them coming
I agree with you a lot of good things have come and gone though out the decades. Heck I wish Rock & Roll was still like Hair Metal and Country Music was actually Country music. Change is ever evolving and alot of times it’s not for the better.
 

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Disclaimer: The following is a post by a CB fanboy. Take it as you will.

Nothing beats a CB for real time highway accident information. Truckers still have them and when something happens, CH19 will light up like a Xmas tree and you can use that real time information to start planning an alternate route. Yes, whatever navigation app you are using will try to figure out an alternate route or just send you and updated ETA but, it’s hard to beat real-time information and act on it before any app prompts you with whatever notification.

A CB really isn’t a CM. Yes, people will announce bear traps but, relying on people to announce bear trap reports on a CB is a bad idea unless you’re wearing Bad Idea Jeans.

However, what’s the point of driving above the speed limit? Obviously, to reduce your time from point A to B (or you just get a thrill driving fast) so, too conclude, the CB is not so much a CM but, another resource in your arsenal to assist in achieving the shortest time en-route possible.

Personally, having a CB has saved me many hours avoiding traffic.
 
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WildOne

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Childrens Band....used to be mildly useful on the interstate if you could filter through the crap. I'd rather listen to my stereo and original Escort detector. Too much work for people these days to hook it up and figure out how to use it, IMHO..... ;)
 

volaray

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I've never really gotten into CB's, but I figure Waze does the job and has way more users, without us needing to stick a big antenna on our cars, have another box in the cabin, and have to listen to trucker talk while driving. :p

If you're into it and want another layer of protection though, go for it. :)

Have you found it providing saves where Waze/RD's/LJ's don't help?
What, you got something to say about my ride? :D

Haha. To the original post though, I've always thought about it. I had a colleague years back with a CB in his Jeep and he loved it. He claimed it was as good as an RD - all from a man without an actual RD, however and therefor I lost motivation.

I wonder how much nuisance chatter there is these day though like @WildOne mentions.
 

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Vortex

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DOCEX

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New cars make it difficult to install a CB, if you run an afterburner you must use a high amp line to power it. Back in the day if you had a high powered base station, and many people did, the FCC would track you down and take all of your equipment and issue a heavy fine. We had a local guy that would sell us export radios that were maxed out and had extra channels that you could switch to for private conservations. This guy had a van with high powered alternators and a bank of truck batteries to power his linears. He could talk all over the country, they could never track him down because he was mobile. He would ride thru town, change traffic lights, go over store intercoms, splash over police radios and any other radios.

In the past year I have only seen one car on the road with a CB antenna and very few with radar detectors.
 

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New cars make it difficult to install a CB, if you run an afterburner you must use a high amp line to power it. Back in the day if you had a high powered base station, and many people did, the FCC would track you down and take all of your equipment and issue a heavy fine. We had a local guy that would sell us export radios that were maxed out and had extra channels that you could switch to for private conservations. This guy had a van with high powered alternators and a bank of truck batteries to power his linears. He could talk all over the country, they could never track him down because he was mobile. He would ride thru town, change traffic lights, go over store intercoms, splash over police radios and any other radios.

In the past year I have only seen one car on the road with a CB antenna and very few with radar detectors.
Good lord. Changing traffic lights is like radar jamming - there's no way to make it worth the felony charge. I can see how somebody would get away with it for a while though - especially back then. Has pirate radio vibes
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Nothing beats a CB for real time highway accident information. Truckers still have them and when something happens, CH19 will light up like a Xmas tree and you can use that real time information to start planning an alternate route. Yes, whatever navigation app you are using will try to figure out an alternate route or just send you and updated ETA but, it’s hard to beat real-time information and act on it before any app. promps you with whatever notification.


Personally, having a CB has saved me many hours avoiding traffic.
This has largely been my experience with it so far. Truckers are the first people to figure out a traffic scenario - while waze is just alerting me of traffic ahead and pushing back my ETA, channel 19 CB already has a detour with detailed instructions on how to get there.

Two major weaknesses I've found with Waze, and all navigation apps. One, they will never tell you to make an illegal left or illegal uturn, even when it's completely safe to do so - rural deserted roads or leaving a store that's on a double yellow road. Nobody wants the liability of you getting T-boned, so nav apps will gladly add 20 minutes to your journey to avoid a single technically illegal but completely safe turn. Two, they are reactionary.

A trucker sees somebody get absolutely destroyed a quarter mile ahead of them on the interstate. He knows how this plays out. He knows the entire highway is gonna shut down until they can evacuate casualties and clear debris. He knows exit X is just 200 meters ahead and he can take that to street Y, to access road Z, and get back on the interstate just a few hundred meters ahead of the wreck.

Meanwhile, Waze is just getting a couple reports of heavy traffic and updating your ETA.
 
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FoxStang

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I tried CB for a year or so, it was a fun hobby detour and was part of the reason I ended up getting into amateur radio. There’s a few reasons it doesn’t make for a good CM, in my opinion.

There is a barrier to entry in the form of having to purchase and install equipment. It takes knowledge and diagnostic equipment to properly tune a CB antenna to a radio. Yes, CB gear can be had for quite cheap, but that’s irrelevant. We have users here all the time for whom a basic radar detector is a sizable financial investment. Some people really can’t afford another single-purpose device, which leads me to my next point.

Basically everyone has a smartphone. A free app like Waze presents no additional barrier to entry to someone who already uses their phone to navigate, so the user base grows to usable proportions. CB equipment on the other hand, has a learning curve that lends to its use primarily by hobbyists and professionals who are required to use it so the user base remains pretty restricted. Even truckers increasingly use Waze, and spend all day on the phone via headset rather than talking on CB

Waze speaks a universal language, CB does not. Just about anyone can understand what a policeman icon on a map means, but everyone talks differently on the radio or in another language altogether.

CB requires much more active participation. Pushing the report button in Waze seems to be enough of a hassle for some people, never mind picking up a microphone and actually talking into it. The brilliance in Waze comes not from the reporting features, but in how they reward users for doing so. You accrue points for using it, and are provided a dopamine hit in the form of notifications when other users have hit the all-important thumbs-up button on your report. The same instant gratification and game-like reward structure is not present to entice otherwise recalcitrant people to report things over CB. The most you could hope for is someone to jump on and say “hey thanks man!” in response.

There is age stigmatization with CB. Getting adoption among younger people is challenging when they see it as something for truckers and their grandpa.

Cops will occasionally monitor CB. Not frequently and usually just intentional patrols at truck stops, but if word gets out there’s an uptick in usage by speeding cars, you bet they’d listen in for their own purposes. You can’t control who is tuned in on the other end.

CB antennas look increasingly out of place on modern cars. Sure you can try for stealth in a couple ways, but the reality of CB’s lower frequency means that shorter antennas are a huge compromise in effectiveness. A 5-foot whip made my old Mustang look like an RC car, and most people aren’t crazy like me and willing to put something like that on their sleek, modern ride. Even the scanner and ham radio antennas I have on my car currently (16” and 10” respectively) get me funny looks all the time.

So, while I would love to have the additional information on the highway, I just don’t see it being a realistic thing right now. Radios are still a fun hobby and if you’re curious about CB then by all means give it a try, but I wouldn’t expect it to be much help on the road.
 

LinuxD

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I have been running a CB in every car I have owned since I started driving and am pushing mid 50's. Use mine in my current pickup truck all the time.. and the radio was made in '83! It lead me to being an amateur radio operator that does HF, VHF/UHF (FM and Digital) and CB while mobile... I listen to it and report cops when I can. most useful for traffic jams as others have said.

I think besides fiddling with it to get the antenna matched and all, it being AM, noone wants to listen to static from leaky Xformers and such fading signals and all that... It's like AM radio.. how many people still listen to it? Some.. but not a lot.... I do. I still geek out on shortwave.. most ppl nowadays have no idea what it is.. but at one time, it was THE way to get news and info... times change.. Hell at one time they even dabbled in AM Stereo... that woulda been cool I think to see if at distance the stereo signal still worked as intended...with signal fade and all..

One time for fun as a teen I made a CB antenna with an old timer Ham operator guiding me, for short range cooms, maybe a mile or so as my buddies had cb's in their houses as I did. I used scrap copper wire,PVC tubing and a round pizza pan as the ground plane, and the old fella helped me match the SWR's It was fun and I learned a lot from that geezer.
 
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