Ah, Yes.... CB Radio.... Before there were cell phones, before pagers, heck even before car phones, there was CB radio. For one group in Amarillo there might just be some life left in the technology that today serves mainly the trucking industry.

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CB Radio had a big run in the 1970's when it really got a push from movies like Smokey and The Bandit, Convoy and even Cannonball Run. If you aren't familiar with the technology,  I'll catch you up.

CB Radio is actually an AM based two way radio service where users can transmit and receive messages with the use of radios that come in the form of base stations that are used at home, mobile radios for the car and handheld units(walkie talkies) for portable use. What makes CB such a valuable service is it's range, it's not uncommon for a standard radio to have a range of 15-20 miles during the daytime and even further at night due to the nature of the frequency band it operates at.

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The service proved valuable not only to over the road truckers but agriculture operations, off road vehicles, businesses that needed inexpensive communication and motorists on long trips. with it's original 23 channels (later expanded to 40) there was and continues to be plenty of room for conversation. There are a few channels that became national use like 9 which is used for emergencies and often still monitored by law enforcement and 19 which has become the mainstay for over the road truckers.

The Lingo Lingers

Occasionally you might hear the occasional '10-4 good buddy', or perhaps Old Lady when referring to ones wife or What's your 20? which is simply asking where are you? In a way if you grew up in the 90's in chat rooms there's something reminiscent of this except you wont get A/S/L on CB. Some of the more common phrases you might hear

  • Bear - State Trooper (sometimes Smokey Bear)
  • Local Yokel - Any Local Police or Sheriffs' Department
  • Busy With a Customer - A lawman who is giving a ticket
  • Got Your Ears On? - Is your radio on?
  • Roger - understood
  • Yardstick - Milemarker

The lingo may have lived on but the service itself has fallen out of favor to cell phones and FM radio services like Family Radio and GMRS which offer more privacy and clarity.

One Amarillo Group Wants To Bring it Back

There's a group dedicated to using Channel 14 here in the Amarillo area and according to their Facebook Page it looks like they are ready to bring some chat back to the airwaves.

Check it out here

No License is needed to operate CB radio equipment and it's a hobby that you can spend a few bucks on or quite a few depending on how elaborate of a setup you would like. Grab your ol' Cobra 29, President Grant or Navaho, get that antenna up and give us a good 10-4!

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