Those dreadful CB operators

When I read ham-related newsgroups, it always surprises me how many hams hate CB and the people who ‘live’ there. Oh yeah, I agree, some CB operators are rude, they don’t care about others, have more interest in the number of Watts they can squeeze out of their linear amplifier than any other aspect of this hobby. Unfortunately, many hams I hear daily show the same behavior. The only difference is the frequency they operate on.

When I got interested in radio (I think I was eight years old at the time), there weren’t many options. Either you were happy just listening to all those mystical signals, or you became a pirate. After discovering that my portable radio also generated a carrier, transmissions on the medium wave band were the first step. Years later, CB (still illegal at the time) was the way to go. Lots of equipment was home-built.

When CB finally became legal in Holland, hundreds of thousands of young and old people bought a CB transceiver. Were they interested in radio? Hardly. Most of them only wanted to communicate. They hated things like finding and installing a suitable power supply, coax cable and antenna. They hated the 500 mW maximum output power; they hated the overcrowded 22 FM channels they were allowed to use. CB became a big, big mess. CB was just one big garbage bag full of interference, full of people cursing and yelling at each other, while trying to kill the remaining fun by switching on a 1 kW linear.

Fortunately, the Internet was born. Along with it came messenger software such as ICQ and MSN. No need for an antenna anymore, no interference, just communication. Most CB operators abandoned their radio immediately and switched to the Internet. Is CB dead now? No. Quiet maybe. Things changed. CB matured. Instead of 22 FM channels, anyone may use 4 Watts in any mode (CW/SSB/AM/FM) within 40 channels. The operators who stayed, stayed because they love radio. Newcomers come to CB because they love radio. They experiment with antennas, they behave well, they use (kinda) official call signs, they organize contests.

The VRZA radio amateur club in Flevoland decided to allow anyone to attend our meetings, including CB operators. One of our official home frequencies is a CB channel. Many CB operators paid us a visit, amazed that we treated them as they were “real” hams. Most of them are regulars now, studying hard for their official license. Within a year, two of them passed their test. Many will follow. How many of us are complaining about the lack of fresh ham-blood? Most of us, I guess. CB operators? Don’t repel them, but try to attract them.


Hans / PD0AC


3 comments on “Those dreadful CB operators

  1. When I started in Ham Radio (1960) there was a lot of dislike for the CB people because the 11 meter band was originally a Ham band. It was almost unused as I understand and that is why that band was used. Even 10 meters hardly had anyone on it in those days. I don’t hear as many complaints today and I think the reason is a very large precentage of the hams now were origanally CBers.
    73 Bill WA6OHP

  2. I kind of started my radiohobby as CB operator. Always made my QSOs with respect for others. I’ve been on CB for more then 20 years before I got my license. And still have a 40 channel CB radio and portable CB radio in my shack. I still occasionally make contact to my good old CB buddies from that time. And many of them are licensed operators as well.
    I also had the luck I could visit a VERON meeting in my area, it changed the way I thought about HAM radio. I positively think that we should do more to get some serious CB operators to the HAM bands. 73 Bas PE4BAS

  3. I look back & almost would have rathered giving up 10 meters instead of 11. 11 Seams to have better longer lasting openings needing little power to make for good dx when you can find a quiet channel that is, lol. I got my Novice when I was 12, tech plus at 13, and waited a million years to go up to gen, then extra. Most guys/gals on cb that are not truckers seem to enjoy hearing them self talk through the talk back, and most of the truckers that decide to key up the mic is usually griping about another trucker & playing cb Rambo or lusting at the seat covers in the passing cars. I am a trucker and have 20 years experience in it. You hear some truck drivers trying to hold descent conversations, but inevitably they get ramrodded time and again with some one that has not heard the whole conversation and zooms in on a single word or phrase and then it kicks off their self esteem issues which gets regurgitated through the microphone full of vial sputum & commands for the unintentionally offender to pull off the road so they can whip their dumm*&*. It is a pass time. I don’t get a lot of it, but it seems that is what some guys need to get through their long days and nights. The crazy part is that the same two could meet at a truck stop & never know it, and would be as kind to each other as though the radiosode had never occurred. Most of them would make excellent amateur operators realizing that there is a higher expectation of decency on the licensed bands. Many do make the jump but not as many as should. We as truckers endure more prejudice out here than one can shake a stick at. From the non understanding four wheel drivers to the greater than though shipper & recievers. I have heard the back and forth on the ham bands about the truckers on 10 meters. In my 20 years of trucking I have heard less than a handful of truckers on any part of the 10 meter band. It does happen, but I guarantee there are a lot of hams that do not strictly obey the rules so it is like anything else. You have a basket full of plush apples, and inevitably a couple will be rotten after you dig down deep enough. I have noticed over the years how 2 meter fm is being used less and less. I pull up a repeater at times and someone will key up and say my it sure is great to hear somebody using the machine again. That is on repeaters I have used for years scattered across the nation. A lot of that has to do with the pl tone encoding, but newer radios make it easier than ever to scan and find a pl tone. My smart phone follows my location and pulls up repeaters with pl tone listing for a 25 mile radius. It could go to 50 but why. It is as easy as 123 to use 2 meter repeaters. Oh well. I get off my pedistool. It would be nice to be riding on an interstate and being able to communicate with another driver close by that we could give each other road reports ect. But I do not see that happening in my lifetime. I talk to mobile stations sure, but rarely do I find a trucker to qso with.

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