Trucker's CB Radios: Fire on the Wire!!!

by Pappy

Puttin' Fire on the Wire!!!!!!!

Well it's been a many years from the last time I keyed a mic and squawked a bit across the median to opposite going rigs. My 'CB' or Citizen Band Radio it self is nearly 26 years old from my reckoning. It has 1099 different frequencies I can talk on...thanks to upper an lower sides along with FM sides and shortwave full...haha. I learned how to build CBs from scratch and learned the best way to transmit a signal with peak performance.

Yep, with that bad boy radio, which cost as much as a used BMW, I could talk to the other side of the world if the skip was right. If the skip wasn't running right I could at least give the Communist Operators in Cuba the devil...with a bit of a kicker driving a foot warmer.

"What Are you talking about Pappy?", you may ask... well? Go ahead ask... ha ha... I'm glad you did.

Back before cell phones and Satellites truckers gathered info from other truckers and base operators through a CB. Channel 19 was where you went to get weather reports, traffic reports, bBar reports, City kitty reports, Lot Lizzard reports along with prices, load reports, and sales reports.

You could meet up with friends, and chat, tell jokes, and basically gain insight on happenings outside the realm of your truck cab.


Late at night, when most folks were settling in for a long nights rest, you could talk to a base station in another state or across the country. That's known as "Talkin' Skip". A "Base Station" is a 'CB' radio Operator that has a 'CB' set up permanent at his or her residence. Hooked to an antenna that is at or near the legal height imposed before having to get a licences from the FCC. Now here I would like to point out that a lot of "Base Stations" were legal by FCC standards and did a good service to Truckers who needed info and someone to keep them awake during long hours driving at night. Most, however, were useless bitter people who spread their brand of misery around by trying to 'Talk Over' needed help or just 'Dead Keyed' because they thought that no one should have a bigger radio than them.

Talking Skip: Radiowaves bounce and can ride atmospheric weather patterns.

Base Station: Stationary Citizens Band Radio.

Talk Over: Attempting to interrupt a weaker signal by talking nonsense.

Dead Keyed: Attempting to interrupt any signal by holding in CB Radio Microphone button and not talking.

I once pulled down a "Radio Rambo" antenna. It took 2 years to find that silly useless waste of human DNA but it was well worth the effort and trouble I caused myself!

Radio Rambo: A person whom noone likes because said person does not help. Only yacks and yacks and uses profane language just to get someone mad. Radio Rambo's have huge egos and are upset because of the life they have chosen. Usually they are full of threats so they are chicken shit and let their alligator mouth overload their canary ass.

I have a 25 watt "Kicker" 'driving' my 4000 watt "Sweet 16" "Footwarmer". I can "Swing" 4100Watts and "Deadkey" 200 watts. So when I ask for a "Break" on a channel, I get it.

Kicker: A low wattage output amplifier or preamp used in exciting or "Driving" a larger, higher-wattage output Amplifier...extremely technical

Driving: Slang term for pre-amping a high powered amplifier...extremely technical

Sweet16: Slang term for a certain type High output amplifier...extremely technical

Foot Warmer: funny term for the temperature output of a Amplifier

Swing: The highest amount of wattage produced when a noise is transmitted

Deadkey: the highest amount of wattage produced when no noise is transmitted Here I would like to state that when you are able to "Deadkey" a little and "Swing" alot, it is very, very technical...but OMG does your CB blast through when you speak.

Break: When you wish to converse upon the wireless...asking for a break in transmitting on the frequency on which you wish to transmit is polite and most welcomed. Asked in such a way as "BREAKER!! BREAKER!! 19 FOR SOME INFO" ... It will be givin to you by someone and is usually indicated by the answer "GO'A HEAD BREAKER"


OK... all that said above... should be taken as 1970 through 1999 tech stuff. At that time, my CB could talk with aliens If I wanted it to...and if I consumed enough Tequila...LOL!! I could go into even more tech stuff about SWRs and Antenna length and cable thickness and "Ground Plane"...lets just suffice it to say I know what I'm talkin 'bout. I can put "FIRE ON THE WIRE" if needed.

FIRE ON THE WIRE: Illegal amount of transmitted wattage

Most of my knowledge on CBs has been learned by "The School of Hard Knocks". Back then it was all analog.

Nowadays, a CB is just a low wattage analog transmitter, about 7 watts. A quick way to find out info from people without using your cellphone. CBs are still very useful and an inexpensive radio may cost around 20bucks. Also talking on a CB is absolutely talk as long as you like...just be polite.

I wonder if CBs will go digital? I think it could be done. After all, processing a signal into binary code then decoding said signal would clean up the airwaves and would almost cut out "Ground Noise".

Ground Noise: Natural and unnatural Magnetic interference with broadcast waves. It is the hiss you hear when there is noone talking.

I guess I should write down all the CB lingo I can remember...don't know what for....nostalgia I guess.

Anyway ... A CB is a good investment. Most truckstops are chock full of CB paraphaneilia. Just remember, CB can also be short for CONSTANT BUYING.....


Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
by Brett Aquila

Related Articles:

Keep Entertained While You're Out There On The Road

by Pappy

There are a lot of fun things to do on the road during your down time. Here's a few ideas.

To Fuel Or Not To Fuel? It Is To Question.

by Pappy

There are a number of factors to consider regarding when to fuel up your rig, and how much to put in. Here we cover many of them.

Preparing Myself For A Truck Driving Career

by TruckerMike

I'm getting ready to begin truck driver training and here's what I've done leading up to the start of school.

Women In Trucking: Tips For Safety And Comfort

by Rhonda

Women truck drivers can do a number of things to stay safe and comfortable on the road and I cover a lot of them here.

Truck Driving Jobs Increase From Dec '08 To Jan '09

by Brett Aquila

Truck driving jobs have shown a noticeable increase from Dec '08 to Jan '09 on our website. We list thousands of trucking jobs here!

Trailers: Some Common Problems, Fixes, And Items To Carry With You

by Rhonda

There are some common problems that truck drivers run into with their trailers. Here are a few, along with fixes and tools to carry.

The Magical, Mystical “Hot Load”

by Pappy

We all learn lessons the hard way sometimes. This blog will help new truck drivers avoid learning one themselves.

After My Graduation - Final Thoughts And Advice For Those Considering Truck Driving School

by TruckerMike

After recently graduating from truck driving school and getting my CDL, here is my best advice for those considering becoming a truck driver.

Medical Disqualification For Unfit Drivers

by Rhonda

This article discusses some of the medical disqualifications for truck drivers.

Truck Drivers Must Be Flexible, Committed, And Adaptable

by Brett Aquila

Truck driving is more of a lifestyle than a career. You have to dedicate yourself to it and live it.

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More