What Are CB Radio Frequencies? – CB World Informer

CB or Citizens Band radio has been around since the 1940s. The FCC controls the CB radio since then. It is a communication mode used for both personal and business operations, as well as controlling model aircraft.

CB equipment costs less than other types of radios, and it is legal to use without waiting for a license. The various CB frequency channels are used for various purposes.

What Are CB Radio Frequencies?

There are 40 CB channels with their corresponding frequencies. The following table will show all the 40 CB channels with their frequencies, as well as the customary use of each of these channels.

CB Frequency

CB ChannelCustomary Use
26.96500CB Channel 01open to all
26.97500CB Channel 02open to all
26.98500CB Channel 03open to all
27.00500CB Channel 04open to all – 4×4 channel
27.01500CB Channel 05open to all
27.02500CB Channel 06open to all
27.03500CB Channel 07open to all
27.05500CB Channel 08open to all
27.06500CB Channel 09Emergency
27.07500CB Channel 10open to all – regional roads
27.08500CB Channel 11open to all
27.10500CB Channel 12open to all
27.11500CB Channel 13open to all – marine, RV
27.12500CB Channel 14open to all – walkie talkies
27.13500CB Channel 15open to all
27.15500CB Channel 16open to all (also SSB)
27.16500CB Channel 17open to all – North/South Traffic
27.17500CB Channel 18open to all
27.18500CB Channel 19Truckers-East/West Hwy Traffic
27.20500CB Channel 20open to all
27.21500CB Channel 21open to all – regional roads
27.22500CB Channel 22open to all
27.25500CB Channel 23open to all
27.23500CB Channel 24open to all
27.24500CB Channel 25open to all
27.26500CB Channel 26open to all
27.27500CB Channel 27open to all
27.28500CB Channel 28open to all
27.29500CB Channel 29open to all
27.30500CB Channel 30open to all
27.31500CB Channel 31open to all
27.32500CB Channel 32open to all
27.33500CB Channel 33open to all
27.34500CB Channel 34open to all
27.35500CB Channel 35open to all
27.36500CB Channel 36open to all (also SSB)
27.37500CB Channel 37open to all (also SSB)
27.38500CB Channel 38open to all (also SSB, LSB)
27.39500CB Channel 39open to all (also SSB)
27.40500CB Channel 40

open to all (also SSB)

All authorized CB radio frequencies are opened to all. Some of them do have some special purposes to serve. For example, channel 9 is specifically used for emergencies in the US. Channel 19, on the other hand, is for the truckers to report about traffic. This channel has the best efficiency being in the middle of the band.

This channel has lost users since the innovation of cellphones, but even so, some rural communities still keep tabs on that channel for emergency calls. Specialized channels take heed from other contributors. Listeners are also welcome.

Beginners can start off by listening to the CB radio frequencies, especially on channel 19. Truckers have their own nicknames and jargon they go by, and many of them don’t let non-truckers get into that channel.

Don’t make yourself feel unwelcome by using too much jargon or misusing them. Doing either makes you an outsider. Believe it or not, they might even bully you out of the channel for doing so.

Now let us look at some other important factors related to the CB radio frequencies. As a beginner, these might come in handy for you.

SSB

Single Sideband Modulation or SSB is what uses the bandwidth and transmitter power more efficiently. We’ve got an article about the best SSB radios on the market.

Above and Below the CB Channels

The band at 27.430, 27.450, 27.470, 27.490, 27.510, and 27.530 MHz are channels used for Business Radio Service. This type of service is part of the UHF and the VHF 2-way radio bands. These are reserved only for commercial uses, mainly by companies, as well as religious, educational and health institutes.

From 27.540 up to 28.000, it is reserved for the federal government. CB users with modified equipment can use the frequencies illegally, such as from 27.575 and 27.585. Frequencies from 26.480 to 26.960, which belong to the US military is often used illegally by some CB radio users as well.

The Civil Air Patrol uses 26.620 MHz, although the CAP uses the VHF frequencies more regularly. The Ham band runs from 28.000 to 29.700 MHz frequencies.

Illegal CB Radio Frequencies

As mentioned above, there are handheld CB radio users with modified devices who like to use channels illegally. Any frequency of 28.000 MHz and above are out of the CB channels range even with the best cb antenna.

This is for the licensed radio operators with Amateur Radio (Ham). They use it exclusively for Morse Code. A modified export CB radio lets you go into the illegal frequencies.

For example, if you get the Galaxy, the 19 high settings can put you at the 28.085 frequency. While talking on that particular frequency, you will be noticeable to the Official Observers of the Amateur Radio community.

Thye will need to break their own band rules to notify you. This is because voiceover is not allowed at that frequency, even for those using licensed amateur radio. They will most likely report you the FCC with evidence.

The FCC can then fine the companies of the truckers, causing the trucker to lose their job. To not bring upon such misfortune, make sure to stay within the 40 channels.

Bootleg Frequencies

Only the licensed operators are allowed to use the Amateur Radio’s 10-meter range with a modified CB radio. The ones sold in the US are labeled as ‘FCC Approved.’

All radio users, including the ham radio operators, are supposed to use only the FCC approved radios made for channels 1 to 40 legally. These are also open for modification, but it is a difficult task.

Freebanding

It does sound like something fun and interesting to do, but don’t get involved in this business. Freebanding or Outbanding on random channels or frequencies is a term used for the operator who uses the channels or frequencies within an 11 meter, which is above or below the 10 kHz frequency illegally.

Many channels outside the 10 kHz frequency are private. Those with proper authorization and a license can use them. But that doesn’t stop everyone from using the channels illegally.

The international call frequencies of 27.555 and 26.285 are unauthorized. It is commonplace for the long-distance operators to reach out to each other or receive calls from other stations. Talking is not permitted in these frequencies. Listening on these channels is alright, but no talking.

There are 2 reasons why freebanding is illegal and goes against the FCC regulations.

  1. CB radio channels need to be open in cases of emergencies.
  2. Illegal transmitters and amplifiers are made poorly, which causes distortion or splatter on a frequency. This makes disruptions in important communications.

How Is Freebanding Done?

CB radio users doing freebanding generally do it by one of the two ways:

  • They get a CB radio with frequencies that are legal in other countries but illegal in the US
  • Users modify amateur radios to use those channels illegally

Even with the ban by FCC for marking and selling any CB radios that can be modified, clever radio operators are still capable of rigging up almost any amateur radios. They can easily reach the off-limit frequencies with their rigged-up radios.

Why Freebanding?

Because the 40 channels open for use in the US can become overcrowded at times, especially during special occasions or in cases of national emergencies when everyone wants to reach out to others.

This is why many radio users do freebanding. A frequency below the 40 channels is often quiet, as not many are using it illegally.

Some radio operators do freebanding just for the sake of it. Getting news from other parts of the country or from somewhere around the world is fun.

Sometimes they do it only because they like doing forbidden things. But if you get caught by one of the licensed users (And you WILL get caught), there will be serious consequences.

Freebanding Penalties

You will, at first, get issued a Notice of Apparent Liability or NAL. If you respond to this quickly, you might avoid getting a fine. But for continuous use of illegal frequencies, there are some severe punishments such as:

  • A fine of $10,000
  • Equipment seizure
  • License suspension, even for other FCC regulated services

So rather than venturing out to the forbidden world, stay within the 40 CB channels to continue using the radio. Don’t buy radios from shady dealers. To stay legal, it is best to buy an American made CB radio with FCC certification.

Use the Right CB Radio Frequencies!

As long as you stay within the permitted radio frequencies, you are free to use the CB radio channels as per your wish. Reach out to others while in need and provide information when needed, and you will be satisfied using the CB radio frequencies.

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