CB Radio In The 21st Century
CB Radio was first popularised in the late 1950’s in the USA and first began to be noticed in the UK in the early 70’s. It was the release of two american blockbuster movies which popularised CB Radio and the import and sales of black-market American AM Rigs began to increase as the CB Radio craze in the UK took hold.
Following a long period of campaigning in the UK, the 27Mhz FM Band was legalised in the UK in June the production of ‘legal’ FM CB Radios began to flood the market and the CB Radio craze in the UK reached it’s Zenith.
The development of the Internet in the 90’s saw people moving to early ‘Chat rooms’ to meet up with people and CB Radio began to lose its popularity. With the advent of mobile phones and social media platforms the CB Radio was resigned to ‘old technology’ and fell out of fashion.
With a small ‘die-hard’ community some people began to recognise the benefit of CB Radio as a low cost way to keep in touch with people when compared to sending text messages and dial-up internet plans so CB Radio never really died out entirely.
CB Radio had always been a popular choice for elderly users as it was more familiar to them than more modern means of communication and helped reduce the feelings of isolation for those who found it difficult to leave the house or those who lived alone.
In April 1999, PMR446 was used as a standard for short range radios and the use of PMR handhelds became more commonplace for short range communications as it had a better range and uses less power than CB Radio equipment.
Also at around the turn of the Millennium, the Midband or PR27 range of frequencies were introduced to newer CB Radios to unify the different frequencies used in different countries around Europe.
In December 2006, the requirement for a licence to operate a Citizen Band Radio was removed and this began to increase it’s popularity after a slump of many years. The widespread use of the Internet also reestablished CB Radio as a hobby, particularly amongst middle aged men who remembered CB Radio in shier youth, with various online forums and latterly YouTube channels being created.
It wasn’t until April 2014 that Ofcom choose to legalise the AM mode as well as SSB mode in the UK. This allowed for additional power to be used allowing for people with the correct CB Radio equipment to reach further afield which in the case of Sideband frequencies in the right conditions could reach all across Europe and as far away as the US and Eastern European countries.
This has had a good deal of impact on the CB Radio community and in the years since the legalisation of the SSB mode more and more people are returning to CB Radio with regular ‘nets’ taking place up and down the country.
Popular internet platforms such as Facebook and YouTube have helped to grow the popularity of CB Radio allowing more people to take part in the hobby since it is possible to acquire the equipment you need to get set up relatively cheaply and there are always a lot of second hand CB Radios available on Ebay as well as newer radios available through online stores like Amazon.
It is clear that the number of users on the radio is on the increase and it seems to be a great time to get back into the Hobby or get set up in it for the first time.