CB Radio Lingo and Codes
Citizens band radio has a longer history than many people realize. It was introduced in 1947 and became popular among motorists in the 1970's. However, with the release of modern cellphones, many truckers have discontinued use of the CB. Despite this, some truckers still continue to use CB radio as a source of free information and entertainment. They often discuss road conditions, traffic and police activity.
CB Radio Lingo
It can be difficult to understand CB radio conversations if you don't know the lingo. At times, truckers and other CB users seem to have a language of their own. For example, you might hear a trucker say, "Bears up ahead; I'm going double nickel." This is not a warning about wild animals crossing the highway. A "bear" is a police officer and "double nickel" means 55 mph. Some truckers use the term "motion lotion" when they talk about fuel, and the "front door" is the first vehicle in a convoy. The driver of this truck is usually the first to spot police cars and report them to other motorists. Some CB lingo can be rather amusing. "Gator guts" are fragments of rubber from a shredded tire, and a "salt shaker" refers to a snow plow. Additionally, many cities and states have earned nicknames. Drivers often refer to Houston Texas as "The Dome” and Charlotte North Carolina as “Queen City.”
Sometimes it becomes difficult to understand fellow CB users, especially if a nearby thunderstorm creates radio interference. Truckers frequently use 10-codes to shorten messages and improve clarity. The most popular code is 10-4; it means that a message has been received. To request a driver's current location, use 10-20.
At one time, federal law required CB radio operators to identify themselves with call signs that were issued by the authorities. The U.S. government eliminated this requirement over 30 years ago. Currently, many truckers use handles rather than their real names. Some people mistakenly confuse these nicknames with CB lingo. Beginners can test their knowledge of CB codes and lingo by listening to the song "Convoy" or watching old trucking movies like "Smokey and the Bandit." To begin communicating with fellow truckers, tune to CB radio channel 19. In most areas, it remains the most popular channel for truck drivers.
Do you still use a CB radio? If so, what are some terms that you hear? Comment and let us know!