CB radio

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A home station for CB radio from the 1980s ( Stabo xf4000)
The counterpart of the popular 4012, which was also available as a mobile device under the xm4012.
CB handheld radio Midland Alan 42 (2011)

The CB radio ( citizens band radio ) is a radio application for everyone , a speech and data radio that can be used free of charge and is assigned a frequency band of around 27  MHz (11 meter band). The frequency range allocated to the CB radio is at the upper end of the shortwave and ranges in Germany from 26.565 MHz to 27.405 MHz (80 channels), in Europe from 26.965 MHz to 27.405 MHz (40 channels).


West Germany

Up until 1975, the frequency range around 27 MHz in West Germany was mainly used for commercial radio purposes. The devices provided for this purpose - also called "K devices" after the approval number - could only be operated with a proof of requirements.

The channels / frequencies were allocated to the following consumers:

  • Group I: K 1: 26.965 - K 2: 26.975 - K 3: 26.985 - K 4: 26.995 - K 5: 27.005 (BOS, DLRG, THW)
  • Group II: K10: 27.055 - K11: 27.065 - K12: 27.075 - K13: 27.085 (public tasks, forest, utilities (gas, el.))
  • Group III: K14: 27.155 - K15: 27.165 - K16: 27.175 - K17: 27.185 (industrial radio)
  • Group IV: K21: 27.225 - K22: 27.235 - K23: 27.245 - K24: 27.255 - K25: 27.265 - K26: 27.275 (sport, trade and other users)
  • Group V: K20: 27.215 (for other beneficiaries)

On July 1, 1975, the then Federal Ministry of Post and Telecommunications released CB radio in the Federal Republic of Germany for the general public with Official Gazette Order 393/1975, initially on channels 4 to 15 and in AM with a max. Transmission power of 0.5 watts for base stations and mobile devices and 0.1 watts for portable devices. A monthly fee of DM 15 was charged for fixed stations.

In 1977/78 the first devices came onto the market which, in addition to AM, also had FM modulation .

In 1981 the ministry expanded the CB radio to channels 1 to 22 with a maximum of 0.5 watts, but limited to the FM modulation type (Official Gazette 62/1981, Order 434/1981). The authority justified the restriction to FM with the higher interference immunity of this type of modulation. In the past, CB radio transmissions in AM would have led to interference with radio and television reception.

In discussions with manufacturers and the German Working Group for CB and Emergency Radio , the authorities' concerns about the type of AM modulation were allayed. So finally on April 12, 1983 with Official Gazette Order 55/1983, channels 1 to 40 with a maximum of 4 watts transmission power in FM and channels 4 to 15 with a maximum of 1 watt transmission power in AM were released.

In 1996, the frequency range was expanded to include channels 41 to 80, so that CB radio in Germany now has 80 channels, some of which have also been approved for digital modes and the SSB modulation type on the 12 AM channels with 4 watt PEP .

Since December 2011, channels 1 to 40 can be used with 4 watt ERP in AM and FM and with 12 watt PEP in SSB, as well as channels 41 to 80 with 4 watt ERP in FM.

GDR and New Federal States

In the GDR there was no CB radio released for the general public. Frequently the frequencies were monitored by the GDR's Deutsche Post and the Ministry for State Security . Visitors from West Germany had to hand in devices they had brought with them at a border crossing point. Truck drivers who transported the goods for the GDR upon arrival had to carry an extra permit and were not allowed to use the built-in radio device, otherwise the device would have been confiscated immediately and a penalty would be imposed. The operation of the devices was illegal in the GDR. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, CB radio temporarily took on the role of an inexpensive communication medium that could be used anywhere in the new federal states , but was soon superseded by mobile phones .


CB radio is used for all types of private, non-commercial radio communication . It is intended as a radio for everyone for the personal exchange of information and opinions. As in internet chatrooms, everyone can communicate with anyone without ever having met them. So you never know exactly who is listening and you can often meet new people.

The operation of self-made radio devices is not permitted in CB radio. CB radio antennas may be built and used by yourself if the regulations are observed.

The range that can be achieved with CB radios depends on various factors such as: B. transmission power, antenna type, antenna location and surrounding buildings.

With station antennas mounted on the house roof , mostly vertical radiators with a mechanical length of 5.50 m and 6.50 m (corresponding to 1/2 to 5/8 of the wavelength λ), ranges of approx. 20 km to 80 km are possible. The range can be increased considerably by using directional antennas .

When using mobile antennas (mostly shortened 1/4-λ radiators) the range is usually around 10–30 km. With long mobile antennas (approx. 1.50 m to 2.65 m) - depending on the location and installation height - sometimes almost as large a range as with station antennas can be achieved.

Handheld radios usually have shortened antennas. Because of the very poor efficiency of such antennas, the ranges of 0.5 to 5 km that can be achieved with them are significantly smaller. Longer antennas with better efficiency can be connected to handheld radios that have an external antenna connection, which increases the range.

Influences of the radio weather , mostly through Sporadic-E , are occasionally expressed in range increases of up to more than 2000 km, whereby the character of a pure short-range radio is lost and local communication is made more difficult. Some CB radio operators conduct international radio communications during such times.

Above two modern CB mobile radios, below a CB export radio with SSB and increased transmission power.
Above two modern CB mobile radios, below a CB export radio with SSB and increased transmission power from the 1980s.

The meteorological weather has hardly any influence on the range.

CB radio in the truck

With the advent of cell phones and the Internet , CB radio has lost a lot of its popularity after its peak in the early 1990s. In the past, CB radios were also often found in private vehicles, so many users expected quick help in the event of breakdowns or emergencies. Today it is less common to find cars equipped with CB radio, because cell phones have often played this role. However, CB radio is still often used by truck drivers to e.g. B. to issue traffic jam reports. When securing events, e.g. B. Motor or cycling events , CB radio has been playing an ever smaller role for years. Today, PMR radios or Freenet devices are increasingly being used here because these devices are much more compact and easy to handle.

Language in CB radio

The use of language in CB radio is heavily based on that in the amateur radio service or is copied from it. The frequent, albeit often incorrect, use of Q-groups can be found.

CB channels

CEPT compliant CB channels

The frequencies of the CEPT -compliant (Europe-wide harmonized) channels that may be used in CB radio are listed below:

channel Frequency (MHz) Specialty channel Frequency (MHz) Specialty
01 26.965 Recommended call channel (FM) 02 26.975 unofficial mountain DX channel (FM)
03 26.985 unofficial prepper / emergency radio channel 04 27.005 Recommended call channel (AM)
05 27.015 Canal is used by Italian truck drivers in Germany and Italy. Canal is used by heavy traffic escorts in Vorarlberg / Western Austria. (FM) 06 27.025 Data channel ( D )
07 27.035 Data channel ( D ) 08 27.055
09 27.065 Remote Driver Channel (AM) / Worldwide Emergency Call Channel 10 27.075
11 27.085 released for the interconnection of several CB radios via an internet connection in Germany 12 27.105
13 27.115 14th 27.125 often used for toy remote controls (using selective tone)
15th 27.135 Call channel for Germany in SSB (27,135 USB) 16 27.155 Radio communication with and between watercraft
17th 27.165 Canal is used by Danish heavy haulage drivers in Germany and Denmark. 18th 27.175
19th 27.185 Recommended truckers channel (FM) / times of walkie-talkies used / partly given as emergency channel / well of baby monitors used 20th 27.205 used for antenna tuning center with 40-channel devices, is very often used in Austria for heavy transport journeys
21st 27.215 Turkish call channel in Germany and Europe (FM) 22nd 27.225 often used by walkie-talkies, also used by baby monitors, is also used as a call channel for Romanian truckers
23 27.255 The channels 23, 24, 25 are so-called rotators, they do not follow the ascending 10 kHz grid 24 27.235 Data channel (D)
25th 27.245 Data channel (D), international
In USB : JS8call , PSK31 and others
26th 27.265
27 27.275 28 27.285 Channel is used by Polish truck drivers in Germany: Call channel in Poland, whereby in general the CB channel frequency in Poland is 5 kHz lower.
29 27.295 Approved for the interconnection of several CB radios via an internet connection in Germany 30th 27.305 unofficial DX channel (FM), call channel for radio operators from the former Yugoslavia
31 27.315 unofficial DX channel (FM) 32 27.325
33 27,335 unofficial prepper / emergency radio channel (SSB) (27,335 USB) 34 27,345 released for the interconnection of several CB radios via an internet connection in Germany
35 27.355 36 27.365 Data channel USB ROS international & WSPR internal.
37 27.375 Gateway channel Austria, FM 38 27,385 unofficial international DX channel (LSB)
39 27.395 Approved for the interconnection of several CB radios via an internet connection in Germany 40 27.405 Approved from March 2016 for the interconnection of several CB radios via an internet connection in Germany (FM / AM / SSB in D)

Call channel Switzerland ( CH ) (FM), call channel for Hungarian truckers (USB)

Intermediate channels

A closer look at the above table reveals a few places where adjacent channels differ not by 10 kHz but by 20 kHz. The channels hidden in between are usually referred to as follows:

channel Frequency (MHz) Specialty channel Frequency (MHz) Specialty
3A 26,995 Bosch garage door control 7A 27.045
11A 27.095 Eurobalise energy supply 15A 27.145
19A 27.195

These channels are not approved for CB radio in most countries. However, in some countries, including Germany, they are used for other purposes such as B. radio remote controls , baby monitors , wireless keyboards and mice u. used.

The CB radio in Germany

Modulation types FM , AM and SSB are allowed on CEPT-compliant channels 1 to 40 . Data transmission is also permitted on some channels. In addition, further channels for CB radio are available nationally.

National additional channels

Only the FM modulation type is permitted on the additional national channels 41 to 80. The frequencies of the national additional channels that may be used in CB radio are listed below:

channel Frequency (MHz) Specialty channel Frequency (MHz) Specialty
41 26,565 Approved from March 2016 for the interconnection of several CB radios via an internet connection in Germany (FM),

unofficial DX channel (FM)

42 26,575 unofficial DX channel (FM)
43 26,585 44 26,595
45 26.605 46 26.615
47 26.625 48 26.635
49 26.645 50 26.655
51 26.665 52 26.675 Data channel (D) (FM)
53 26,685 Data channel (D) (FM) 54 26.695
55 26,705 56 26.715
57 26.725 58 26.735
59 26.745 60 26.755
61 26.765 Approved for "interconnection of several CB radios via an internet connection" in Germany 62 26.775
63 26.785 64 26.795
65 26.805 66 26.815
67 26.825 68 26,835
69 26.845 70 26.855
71 26.865 Approved for "interconnection of several CB radios via an internet connection" in Germany 72 26.875
73 26,885 74 26,895
75 26,905 76 26.915 Data channel (D) (FM)
77 26,925 Data channel (D) (FM) 78 26,935
79 26.945 80 26.955 Approved for "interconnection of several CB radios via an internet connection" in Germany

Because the frequencies of channels 41 to 80 are not harmonized across Europe, there are so-called protection zones along the borders with foreign countries (exception: the border with the Czech Republic , which also has 80 channels). Within these protection zones, the additional national channels with fixed CB radio stations may not be used or only with a single frequency allocation by the BNetzA. Portable and mobile stations are also allowed to use the national additional channels in the protection zones as long as no interference occurs. A list of the counties, cities and regions that are located within the protection zones is contained in the general frequency assignment for CB radio.

Regulation of the CB radio

The CB radio is a radio application in the land mobile service . The devices used for CB radio must meet the requirements of the "Law on radio systems and telecommunications terminal equipment" (FTEG). The devices must be intended by the manufacturer for operation in Germany and bear the CE mark. Operating instructions and a certificate of conformity must be enclosed with the devices .

The permissible technical parameters and conditions of use are set out in the "General assignment of frequencies for CB radio", which the BNetzA published in its official gazette as Vfg. 132/2019.

Voice transmission in the modulation type FM (F3E) / PM (G3E) with an effective radiated power of 4  W (ERP) is permitted on all 80 channels approved in Germany . Modulation types AM (A3E) with 4 W (ERP) and SSB (J3E) with 12 W peak envelope power (PEP) are also permitted on channels 1 to 40 .

CB radio systems can also be subject to the Ordinance on the Verification Procedure for Limiting Electromagnetic Fields (BEMFV). This is usually the case when the system is operated stationary in the modulation type SSB and the radiated power exceeds 10 W EIRP . In such cases, a fee-based location certificate from the BNetzA is required, which specifies the safety distances around the antenna to protect people from electromagnetic fields.

The CB radio is not protected against interference from other frequency users (e.g. baby monitors , remote controls for models) that may a. work in the so-called ISM range (26.957–27.283 MHz).


Frequency modulation is mainly used for voice transmission in Germany . Amplitude modulation is mainly used by truck drivers who, for historical reasons, often use channel 9. However, channel 9 is also an emergency channel. The use of single sideband modulation (SSB) on channels 1 to 40 is the area of ​​interest of technically interested radio enthusiasts and is still rarely found in practice, but has been experiencing an upswing for some time.

In addition, eight channels are also released for data transmission . Channels 6, 7, 24 and 25 may be used in all of the usual operating modes for data transmission, on channels 52, 53, 76 and 77 only those based on frequency or phase modulation. In practice, the packet radio operating mode, borrowed from amateur radio, was initially used. However, other modes of operation, also originating from the amateur radio sector, such as B. RTTY , PSK31 , MT63 , MFSK 16 , SSTV and FAX use.

The connection of CB radios via the Internet to a voice radio network is approved on nine channels. Unmanned, automatically operated CB radio stations that are interconnected for voice transmission with the Internet may only be operated on channels 11, 29, 34, 39, 40, 41, 61, 71 and 80. During the operation of an unmanned, automatically working CB radio system, the telephone or other availability of the person responsible for this radio system must be guaranteed.

Radio in the car

The installation of radio devices that were placed on the market after January 11, 2005, in vehicles (cars / trucks) with initial registration from June 17, 2003 is only permitted if the radio device is marked with an E or CE mark . The CE mark alone is sufficient if the device is accompanied by a certificate stating that the operation of the device does not impair the safety-relevant functions of the vehicle. When installing radio systems, the vehicle manufacturer's regulations may have to be observed, otherwise the vehicle's operating license (BE) may expire.

The question of whether the use of a radio device by the driver is permitted while driving varies from country to country.


In Germany, the so-called mobile phone ban at the wheel also applies to the use of radio devices in motor vehicles. A general exception for two-way radios was still in effect from this ban on use for vehicle drivers until June 30, 2020.


In Switzerland, the use of a radio device at the wheel is not permitted: Article 31 of the Swiss Road Traffic Act and Article 3 of the Traffic Regulations stipulate that the driver of the vehicle must turn his attention to the road and traffic and that he is not allowed to do anything while driving makes it difficult or impossible to operate the vehicle. Since this also applies to the operation of a radio device, sparking at the wheel is not permitted in Switzerland.


In Austria, the use of a radio device at the wheel is currently permitted.


For years, private radio operations outside the frequencies between 26 and 28 MHz allocated to CB radio have been observed around the world . Active use of such unallocated frequencies is an administrative offense in Germany that can be punished with a fine . The same applies to the use of transmission power amplifiers (colloquially burner or grandma ). In addition, modified 10-meter band ham radio devices are often used, the technical parameters of which do not correspond to the conditions of use of the general CB allocation.

The Federal Network Agency is responsible for investigations and the punishment of violations . Experts classify the legal situation as complex; Proceedings due to violations of the relevant radio regulations can be time-consuming and lengthy and are difficult to win without expert legal help.

The CB radio outside of Germany

Since a CEPT recommendation from 1974, efforts have been made in Europe to harmonize CB radio.

A decision of the “Electronic Communications Committee” (ECC) at CEPT on June 24, 2011 provides for the CB radio to be uniform across Europe. a. a transmission power of 4 watts in the modulation types AM and FM and 12 watts in the modulation type SSB on 40 channels.

In addition, there are traditionally individual regulations in many European countries. In Germany channels 41 to 80 have also been released; the Czech Republic and partly the Slovak Republic have joined this. In Great Britain the frequency range 27601 to 27991 kHz (expiring) and in Poland a frequency grid shifted by 5 kHz has been approved.

Outside of Europe there is no uniform regulation of CB radio. Although channels 1 to 40 have established themselves as a quasi-standard in many countries, there are considerable differences with regard to the transmission power, the types of modulation and the other conditions of use that must be observed.

country Channels / transmit power comment
EU basic directive: 40 FM (4 W), 40 AM (4 W), 40 SSB (12 W) These countries have no further regulations:

Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Latvia, Croatia, Luxembourg, Norway, Austria (3/2014), Portugal, Sweden, Slovenia, Hungary, Cyprus:
Special directives in other EU countries:
Germany, Czech Republic 80 FM (4 W), 40 AM (4 W), 40 SSB (12 W PEP ) Observe EMVU 10 watt ERP regulation
Slovak Republic 40 FM (4 W), 40 AM (4 W), 40 SSB (12 W) German channels 70–80 are also allowed
Switzerland, Liechtenstein 40 FM (4 W), 40 AM (4 W), 40 SSB (12 W) • Free of charge from 2013
• Devices from Germany allowed on 40 channels when traveling for less than 1 month
Poland 40 FM (4 W), 40 AM (4 W), 40 SSB (12 W) British frequencies are also allowed in Poland
Spain 40 FM (4 W), 40 AM (4 W), 40 SSB (12 W) • Free for travelers from other countries
• Also for devices from Germany
• Use limited to 40 channels
Italy (+ RSM): 40 FM (4 W), 40 AM (4 W), 40 SSB (12 W). • For people living in Italy, all CB radios must be declared to the responsible ministry.
• Base station antennas limited to 1 W ERP .
• CB radio is free for holidaymakers.
Bulgaria, Lithuania 40 FM (4 W), 40 AM (1W) AM and SSB with the new performance values ​​in preparation
Great Britain 40 FM (4 W), 40 FM-UK (4 W) AM and SSB in preparation
France, Monaco 40 FM (4 W), 40 AM (1W), 40 SSB (4 W) AM (4 W), SSB (12 W) in preparation
Netherlands 40 FM (4 W), 40 AM (1W), 40 SSB (4 W) No release of the new performance values ​​planned yet
Romania 40 FM (4 W), 40 AM (1W), 40 SSB (4 W) the release of the new power values ​​for AM (4 W) and SSB (12 W) is planned.
Malta 40 FM (4 W) AM (4 W) and SSB (12 W) planned

CEPT table

The CEPT table

  • starts at 26960 kHz,
  • is offset by 5 kHz so that an FM signal with a 2.5 kHz deviation still has 5 kHz distance to the adjacent channel,
  • Skips the 4 and 9 on the 10 kHz digit in the first 20 channels
  • and has a channel rotator at channel 23 - the 23 is "behind" 24 and 25
  • after channel 25 you can "read" the channel on the frequency display
channel 1 2 3 * 4 * 5 6th 7 * 8th* 9 10
frequency 26965 26975 26985 27005 27015 27025 27035 27055 27065 27075
channel 11 * 12 * 13 14th 15 * 16 * 17th 18th 19 * 20 *
frequency 27085 27105 27115 27125 27135 * 27155 27165 27175 27185 27205
channel 21st 22nd 23 * 24 * 25 * 26th 27 28 29 30th
frequency 27215 27225 27255 27235 27245 27265 27275 27285 27295 27305
channel 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
frequency 27315 27325 27335 27345 27355 27365 27375 27385 27395 27405

* Intermediate channels / frequency hopping

Poland table

The Poland table

  • starts at 26960 kHz,
  • is not offset - and is therefore exactly between the CEPT channels,
  • and otherwise behaves like the CEPT table
    • Skips the 4 and 9 on the 10 kHz digit in the first 20 channels
    • and has a channel rotator at channel 23 - the 23 is "behind" 24 and 25
    • after channel 25 you can "read" the channel on the frequency display
channel 1 2 3 * 4 * 5 6th 7 * 8th* 9 10
frequency 26960 26970 26980 * 27000 * 27010 27020 27030 * 27050 * 27060 27070
channel 11 * 12 * 13 14th 15 * 16 * 17th 18th 19 * 20 *
frequency 27080 27100 27110 27120 27130 27150 27160 27170 27180 27200
channel 21st 22nd 23 * 24 * 25 * 26th 27 28 29 30th
frequency 27210 27220 27250 27230 27240 27260 27270 27280 27290 27300
channel 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
frequency 27310 27320 27330 27340 27350 27360 27370 27380 27390 27400

UK table

The UK table

  • starts at 27600 kHz, i.e. 200 kHz above the CEPT range - in the famous "black radio range",
  • is offset by 1.25 kHz,
  • goes up to the 10 m amateur radio range and
  • has no jumps.

Frequencies (kHz) of the "UK Channels", based on the UK specification MPT 1382:

channel 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 10
frequency 27601.25 27611.25 27621.25 27631.25 27641.25 27651.25 27661.25 27671.25 27681.25 27691.25
channel 11 12 13 14th 15th 16 17th 18th 19th 20th
frequency 27701.25 27711.25 27721.25 27731.25 27741.25 27751.25 27761.25 27771.25 27781.25 27791.25
channel 21st 22nd 23 24 25th 26th 27 28 29 30th
frequency 27801.25 27811.25 27821.25 27831.25 27841.25 27851.25 27861.25 27871.25 27881.25 27891.25
channel 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
frequency 27901.25 27911.25 27921.25 27931.25 27941.25 27951.25 27961.25 27971.25 27981.25 27991.25

Demarcation from the amateur radio service

The layperson often confuses the CB radio with the amateur radio service . This is certainly u. a. This is based on the fact that both CB radio and amateur radio are usually operated as a hobby (in the case of amateur radio even exclusively), that both CB radio and amateur radio regularly communicate with people whom one has never met before , and that abbreviations and codes such as the Q groups mentioned above are used in both CB and amateur radio. The self-construction of antennas is also allowed with both, and so-called “fox hunts” ( amateur radio bearings ) are occasionally also organized in CB radio, albeit much less often than in amateur radio.

The most noticeable difference is certainly that you have to take an exam before participating in the amateur radio service and you are permanently assigned a personal, unchangeable call sign. Apart from legal differences (the CB radio is, for example, a "radio application" and not an independent radio service) and the resulting technical differences (e.g. due to different frequency ranges and significantly higher permitted transmission powers in amateur radio), another clear difference is that the CB radio is operated primarily under social / communicative aspects. Do-it-yourself equipment is not permitted in CB radio; only type-approved devices may be used. The amateur radio, on the other hand, offers the possibility and permission to build and modify radio equipment and should u. a. explicitly serve the technical-scientific further education.

CB radio in the media


(Audio) books


Web links

Wiktionary: CB radio  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Fricke, Guido Liedtke: CB radio history. Retrieved June 15, 2011 .
  2. Federal Network Agency: Vfg No. 132/2019 general allocation of frequencies for CB radio. (PDF) Federal Network Agency, July 5, 2020, accessed in 2020 .
  3. CB radio history
  4. https://radiofreeq.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/3-3-3-radio-plan-for-shtf-communications/
  5. Frequency plan of the Federal Network Agency (as of October 2019)
  6. General allocation of frequencies for CB radio. (PDF) Federal Network Agency, p. 39 , accessed on May 7, 2020 .
  7. § 23 Para. 1a StVO
  8. § 52 Abs. 4 StVO
  9. https://www.blick.ch/auto/service/tcs-ratgeber/tcs-ratgeber-funken-beim-fahren-id46803.html
  10. https://oerd.or.at/wp/funkgeraet-benuetzen-beim-autofahren-erlaubt-verwaltungsgericht-wien- Judt-durch-erkenntnis-und-spruch-vom-5-12-2018-funkgeraet-benuetzen- ist -at-tax-not-prohibited /
  11. The harmonized use of frequencies for Citizens' Band (CB) radio equipment, Approved 24 June 2011 (PDF; 31 kB)
  12. bmvit publication Multinorm-CB-Funk in Austria