The CB radio is a form of radio that allows members of the general public to communicate using radio frequencies. At first, this was a cutting edge technological means of communication between regular members of society, introducing new sociological dynamics and co-operative possibilities to developed countries. As technology has advanced at such a rapid pace, the practical uses of CB radios have been lessened, but their usage has gained status as a hobby.
It is the intention of this guide to provide the reader with detailed information about CB radios, so that they can make the right choice when buying one. In addition, the popular online auctioning website eBay will be examined and how to use them will be explained.
What Are CB Radios?
CB stands for ‘citizen’s band’. Radios operate by emitting signals. These signals occupy certain frequencies or bandwidths. When radio technology was first developed only authority figures would have been allocated bandwidth, because of the expense and availability of the equipment. However, soon enough civilians began to use radios, and as such, were allocated their own ‘band’ on which to broadcast.
This was known as the ‘citizen’s band’, and it is into this bandwidth that CB radios are able to tune. They allow people within a short range of each other to communicate anonymously and quickly, making them popular with truckers, and other workers who operate in open, sparsely populated spaces.
In Australia, CB radio was illegal up until 1977. Before its legalisation, the only short-range radio transmissions that were allowed used small walkie-talkies. However, people soon became interested in short-range radio technologies, and began experimenting with CB radios. Several ‘clubs’ formed organisations that were dedicated to the operation of these radios.
Naturally, as the onrush of modern technology gains ever-increasing momentum, and sophisticated means of communication, such as the Internet and mobile phones become widely available to the general public, the use of short-range citizen’s band radios for practical purposes has diminished somewhat. In modern society, CB radios are owned by collectors and members of clubs, and operated as hobbies, favoured for their historical value and cultural heritage.
Factors to Consider When Buying a CB Radio
There are several important factors that ought to be considered when buying a citizen’s band radio. These are as follows:
There are four main kinds of ‘band’ in which CB radios can broadcast. These are detailed below:
- FM: FM stands for frequency modulation, and is a form of broadcasting, specifically designed for clarity and sound quality. The FM band refers to the bandwidth over which FM is broadcast. It is extremely popular, and its use is widespread.
- AM: AM stands for amplitude modulation, unlike FM, which modulates the frequency of the radio wave. AM modifies the amplitude (or size), and does not have the clarity of FM, but has a much larger range. It is used less widely.
- UHF: UHF stands for ultra high frequency. UHF radios use very high-powered waves to communicate, resulting in high quality and clarity. However, they require a line of sight to operate effectively; obstacles such as hills and trees will frequently disrupt UHF signals.
- VHF: VHF stands for very high frequency. VHF radios have a very long range, and are commonly used for air traffic control, television, and other important uses of radio.
Numerous extra special features can be equipped to CB radios to improve their functionality in certain situations. Two of these are detailed below:
- GPS: GPS, which stands for ‘global positioning satellites’, are modern technological achievements that allow rapid and accurate location of a special receiver. This can be extremely useful for giving directions, identifying one’s position and situation, and preventing one from getting lost.
- Waterproofing: Some CB radios will be waterproof, making them resilient in even the most trying of conditions.
There are many popular manufacturers of CB radios, resulting in a large selection of brands available in any given market. Some buyers will set out with a specific brand in mind. It is a good idea to research the reputations of the various brands being considered before making a purchase.
Buying a new product has obvious advantages; a guarantee of functionality, for instance, as well as an assurance that no wear or tear will have been sustained to the product during previous usage. Further, there is a certain sense of satisfaction that can be achieved by owning a brand new product. However, buying new can often be unjustifiably expensive.
To this end, eBay offers a huge selection of used products in addition to the new ones. These vary in condition and age, as well as in price (depending on those factors). Any prospective buyer off a CB radio should carefully consider what level of functionality is required from their CB radio, and balance this against the budget available to them before making a purchase.
How to Buy CB Radios on eBay
The globally renowned online auctioning platform eBay has gained widespread use in modern times, and is the perfect means of shopping for CB radios, owing to its ease of use and excellent range of items. This section of the guide will detail how to use eBay to buy a CB radio.
There are two main ways of navigating through eBay. The first of these involves following the simple links between eBay’s various category pages. To use this method, one must first travel to the eBay homepage. From there, identify the links to the product category pages, located at the left of the page. From this list of links, select the Electronics category, followed by the Radio Equipment and CB Radio sub-categories. The second means of navigation is the search bar, which allows users to find the perfect product in an instant. Simply type the desired search parameters into the bar (which can be found near the top of the page) and click ‘search’.
Once the page displays only the relevant kind of items (in this case CB radios), the search can be narrowed and adjusted to suit the user’s needs. The various filtering options (located in the page’s left hand margin) allow users to impose certain restrictions upon the listed items, according to their requirements. Possible filtering options include brand, band, features, condition, price, and seller’s location. Choosing ‘auction’ allows the user to bid on the products, whilst ‘Buy It Now’ displays only items that can be bought on the spot for a fixed price.
Items are represented by small text descriptions and thumbnail images. Clicking on either of these will relocate the user to the item’s own information page, which contains detailed information that is specific to that product and the vendor. Information includes seller’s ratings, user feedback, and product specifications. The seller can be directly contacted with relevant questions on this page.
Remember to regularly check the eBay deals section of the website, where great special offers on a huge variety of products (including CB radios) can be browsed.
CB radios are both a practical means of short-range electronic communication between individuals, and a hobby rich in cultural history and aesthetic richness. This guide set out with the intention of providing the reader with detailed information about CB radios, so that they might choose the right one for them. Four important factors were identified for consideration; these are:
This guide concludes the eBay is the perfect online destination for anyone seeking to buy a new or used CB radio of any kind.