In the 1960s, CB Radio was popular with small trade businesses (e.g., electricians, plumbers, carpenters), as well as truck drivers and radio hobbyists. With the advancement of solid-state electronics, the weight, size, and cost of the radios decreased, giving the general public access to a communications medium that had previously been only available to specialists. Many CB clubs were formed, and a special CB slang language evolved, used alongside 10-codes similar to those used in the emergency services.
Following the 1973 oil crisis, the U.S. government imposed a nationwide 55 mph speed limit, and fuel shortages and rationing were widespread. CB radio was often used to locate service stations with a supply of gasoline, to notify other drivers of speed traps, and to organize blockades and convoys in a 1974 strike protesting the new speed limit and other trucking regulations. Old CB Radio
The prominent use of CB radios in 1970s-era films such as Smokey and the Bandit (1977), Convoy (1978), and television shows like Movin' On (debuted 1974) and The Dukes of Hazzard (debuted 1979) bolstered the appeal of CB radio. Moreover, popular novelty songs such as C.W. McCall's Convoy (1976) helped establish CB radio as a nationwide craze in the USA in the mid- to late-1970s.
Originally, CB required a license and the use of a call sign, but when the CB craze was at its peak, many people ignored this requirement and used made-up nicknames or "handles". The many restrictions on the authorized use of CB radio led to widespread disregard of the regulations, most notably in antenna height, distance restriction for communications, licensing and the use of call signs, and allowable transmitter power. Eventually, the license requirement was dropped entirely.
Originally, there were only 23 CB channels in the U.S.; the present 40-channel bandplan did not come along until 1977. Channel 9 was reserved for emergency use. Channel 19 became the preferred highway channel in most areas for the trucking community as it did not have adjacent-channel interference problems with channel 9.
Until the late 1970s when synthesized radios appeared, CB radios were controlled by plug-in quartz crystals. Almost all were AM only, though there were a few single sideband sets in the early days.
Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, a phenomenon was developing over the CB radio. Similar to the Internet chat rooms a quarter century later, the CB allowed people to get to know one another in a quasi-anonymous manner. Many movies and stories about CBers and the culture on-the-air developed.
In more recent years, CB has lost much of its original appeal due to the advancement of technologies and changing values. Some of this rapid development includes: mobile phones, the Internet, and Family Radio Service. The changing radio wave propagation for long-distance communications, due to the 11 year sunspot cycle, is always a factor for these frequencies. In addition, CB in some respects became a victim of its own intense popularity. Because of the millions of users jamming onto frequencies during the mid-to-late 1970s and early 1980s, channels often were intolerably noisy and communication became difficult. Many CBers started to use their radios less frequently or not at all after this period.