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I'm thinking about buying a CB to put in my car so I can use it for a long road trip. I'm debating it though because I'm not sure if the benefits will outweigh the trouble of installing the unit as well as the antenna. Basically I think it would be useful if truckers actually share road and weather information while they drive.

My questions are:

  1. Does anybody have any experience getting useful information using a CB or is usually just useless chatter?

  2. Is channel 19 the channel truckers generally use nationwide or is that just a regional thing?

  • 1
    You might want to say what "a CB" is somewhere in there: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_band_radio – jpatokal Mar 5 '15 at 4:42
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    In what country? Hard to answer without this. – Danubian Sailor Mar 5 '15 at 8:07
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    You'll want to specify a country. This is an international website for travel, it's kinda useful :/ – Mark Mayo Mar 5 '15 at 9:07
  • You're correct, I should have put in the country and said what a CB is. Thanks for editing it and adding the usa tag for me. – Andy Mar 6 '15 at 1:23
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I would recommend getting a CB. Quite often I got good information from truckers about traffic conditions. You don't need to actually install one though. I use a mobile CB that looks like a Walkee talkee. I use one like the one here: http://travelhintsandtips.com/road_trip.php and would recommend one like it if you aren't going to be using it on a daily basis.

So my answers are: 1) Yes, I got good info from truckers before and the above website shares some times he found it useful as well.

2) In my limited experience wherever I am, truckers seem to hang out on 19 a lot but don't necessarily limit themselves to that channel.

I know you didn't mention this but another use of the CB is it is potentially useful if you have an emergency. Channel 9 is reserved for that.

  • 3
    YMMV, but these days apps like Waze are a lot better at tracking traffic, accidents, etc. waze.com Won't be much use in an emergency though. – jpatokal Mar 5 '15 at 4:44
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    @jpatokal Listening to a radio while driving is safer than twiddling with your cellphone/tablet. – Federico Poloni Mar 5 '15 at 9:38
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    @FedericoPoloni No need to twiddle, just mount it on the dashboard and the rest is automatic. – jpatokal Mar 5 '15 at 10:37
  • I'm really glad I posted this question before I bought a CB and antenna. I like the mobile one that's on the website you mention. It looks like it won't have as good of a range as a regular CB but it should be good for what I want to use it for. I really like that I won't need to have to somehow mount it under my dashboard. That's a good tip about waze, I also use it sometimes but that requires GPS and it's such a power hog and I don't like leaving the phone plugged in. It also requires phone service and some rural areas don't have it. – Andy Mar 6 '15 at 1:35
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I used to have a portable CB that plugged into the cigarette lighter and had a magnetic antenna to put on the roof of the car. It was my grandmother's, for use in case of emergency, and when she gave me her car, I got the CB, too. During the time that I had this CB, I was driving around 30,000 miles a year.

It was definitely useful for long trips, for

  • information about traffic road conditions
  • warnings about speed enforcement, accidents, and other police activity
  • entertainment
  • emergencies

I only spoke on the radio once, when my car was stuck in the snow during a blizzard. But listening to the truckers definitely helped pass the time during long drives. It was very entertaining -- there are lots of interesting characters. In fact, it was not unlike the internet in that regard.

I particularly remember one young-sounding trucker who was gleefully warning everyone about a speed trap that he had passed 200 miles back. Everyone else was pointing out to him that by the time anyone hearing his announcement got to that point, it would be 6 hours after he had been there, and the cops would likely have moved on.

  • Thanks for your reply. That is funny about the guy talking about a speed trap 200 miles away. You mention having talked on it after getting stuck in a blizzard. It's interesting you mention that because the recent snow storms is one of the reasons I started thinking about getting one. – Andy Mar 6 '15 at 1:41

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