Do You Need a License for a CB Radio?

Do You Need a License for a CB Radio

Are you in need of a CB radio but unsure if you need a license? Well, here we will clear up all your confusion regarding the CB radio license.

Now, the rules regarding the usage of CB radio are covered under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Rules. You do not need a license to use a CB radio, but you do need to abide by some regulations if you will be using one.

So, let’s get to know them!

Rules of Using a CB Radio


Despite not needing a license, CB radio must comply with the technical parameters set out in the FCC rules. Failure to operate accordingly will result in getting a fine from the FCC. There have been instances in the past where a man was fined for not following the regulations.

Anyone is authorized to operate a CB station unless they are a foreign government or a representative of one or the FCC has discharged a cease and desist order still in effect against the person. CB radio can be used in any country and state the FCC has authorized.

Height and Frequency Rules

Raising the power output of a CB radio is prohibited. Linear amplifiers used to raise the powers of a CB radio are also strictly prohibited. For buildings or structures, the highest point of the antenna must not exceed 20 feet above the highest point of the structure the radio is mounted on or 60 feet above the ground.

If the CB station is near an airport, additional restrictions regarding the height may apply. The highest point of the antenna must not be more than one meter from the airport elevation from the nearest runway.

However, such height limits do not apply to devices mounted on vehicles or to handheld ones. The frequency channels for CB radio are different and authorized by each country on its own. These country-specific restrictions must be followed. Among the channels, channel 9 must only be used for emergency or traveler aid.

Despite having channel 9 for that specific purpose, you may use any other channels for emergency or traveler assistance. The user must, at all times, give the first concern to emergency communication messages regarding immediate life safety situations or immediate protection of property.

Location Rules

There are some specific restrictions on the locations of CB stations. If the CB radio is mounted on a location controlled by the Department of Défense, there may be some additional regulations the user must comply with.

Provided that the CB station is to be constructed on a site that is considered environmentally sensitive, or if the CB radio is intended to be used in a manner that could raise environmental problems, the user must provide an environmental assessment and undertake an environmental review.

Channel & Certification Rules


Any CB channels will not be permitted or assigned by the FCC to be used privately or exclusively by any CB station or groups. CB is a two-way radio, so FCC will not permit the usage of any channels exclusively for single side-bands. In short, all CB channels must be used with other users.

All CB transmitters must be FCC-certified, so make sure to check that out when you get your equipment. To identify an FCC-certified device, simply check the certification label provided by the manufacturer. Alternatively, you can also check out a list of certified equipment at FCC headquarters or any FCC Field Office.

Modification & Transmitter Rules

You should not make any internal modifications to certified CB equipment; it is prohibited. Internal modifications cancel the transmitter has certification and void the user’s authority to use the device.

Any CB transmitter power output must not exceed 4 watts for AM devices and 12 watts for SSB devices, and any modifications to do so are restricted. Using a CB transmitter above the permitted power voids your authority to operate the equipment. Usage of any kind of power amplifier is prohibited, too.

General Usage Rules

Using a CB station to transmit messages involving any activity against local, state, or federal law is prohibited. Other kinds of prohibited communications include transmitting obscene & profane language or words, intentionally interfering with the communications of some other CB station, advertising the sale of goods, etc.

One-way communications are also barred except for emergency, traveler aid, and radio tests. CB must also not be used for entertainment purposes, such as transmitting music or sound effects. Transmitting the word ‘MAYDAY’ is also prohibited unless you are on a ship or aircraft threatened by imminent grave danger.

International communications using CB stations are barred except for General Radio Service in Canada. Advertising political campaigns or political candidates is prohibited, too, though you may use CB radio for the organizational or business aspect of the campaign.

Rebroadcasting a television or radio show on CB stations is barred, as well as transmitting deceptive or fraudulent messages. You can’t be paid for using your CB radio. However, you can use your CB radio to provide a service & take payment for that service. Just ensure you are not taking payments for the transmission.

Length of Usage Rules

The communication length is also restricted; the user must limit their CB communications to the minimum practical time needed, and continuous communications must not last for more than five seconds. After ending a conversation, the user must not transmit again for at least 60 seconds.

So, if you are buying a CB radio for truckers, you need to remember that.


Do I need a license to use a CB radio?

No, you do not need a license to use a CB radio. However, you must abide by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations.

What are the restrictions on the power output of a CB radio?

The power output of a CB radio must not exceed 4 watts for AM devices and 12 watts for SSB devices. Using linear amplifiers to raise the power output is strictly prohibited.

Are there any restrictions on the location or height of a CB radio antenna?

Yes, for buildings or structures, the antenna must not exceed 20 feet above the highest point of the structure it’s mounted on or 60 feet above the ground. Additional height restrictions may apply if the CB station is near an airport.

Can I use any channel on a CB radio for private or exclusive use?

No, the FCC does not permit any CB channels to be used privately or exclusively by any CB station or group. All CB channels must be shared with other users.

What are the consequences of violating FCC rules for CB radio use?

If the FCC finds a user violating any of the rules, the user can be fined up to $10,000. So, it’s important always to be mindful of these rules when using a CB radio.


The specified length of communication rules can be ignored if you are helping a traveler reach their destination or get the necessary services. Using radio remote controls to operate a CB radio transmitter is prohibited, but you can use wireline remote controls provided you have specific written approval.

If the FCC finds a user violating any of the abovementioned rules, the user can be fined up to $10,000 by the FCC. So, even though you do not need a license, always be mindful of these rules when you are using a CB radio.

So, now that you know all about the license, get yourself one of the best CB radios.