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CB Radio History – Explosion in the United Kingdom (Part 4)

While Citizens Band CB Radio was available in the U.S. since 1948, the transceivers didn’t grow in popularity toward the late 1960s. This is when their solid-state electronics were modernized to reduce the price. The true craze in CB radios began during the six-month Arab Oil Embargo at the end of 1973 and start of 1974. Pop culture took over during this time and incorporated the industry into movies like Smokey and the Bandit and top 10 songs like C.W. McCall’s “Convoy.”

It was this song, as well as the 1978 movie of the same name, that encouraged CB users in the United Kingdom to unite and legalize the use of their own radios.

Citizens Band in the UK

CB radios were introduced into the UK market in 1972 for commercial purposes only. For example, many airports used them to communicate between the main offices and ground crews. This is not to say that personal radios didn’t exist. Though many people brought them back home from trips to the U.S., they were considered an illegal, non-licensed entity.

Nevertheless, by 1978 most retail outlets sold American CB radios for homes and vehicles. Thanks to this and the movie Convoy, the craze began in the UK as it started to ebb in the U.S. However, there was a problem.

No Access to 27 MHz

At that time, the 27 MHz band the radios were designed for was already licensed to remote control plane owners. So, a solution was needed. The government proposed freeing up FM frequencies to placate CB radio groups. However, those supporters wanted to be on par with American users. This so frustrated UK operators that they protested the proposed change.

The Upper Range

Eventually, a solution was reached. Instead of using the lower frequencies allotted to U.S. CB channels, UK operators would be given 40 channels at the upper range. Thus, they were between 27.60125 MHz and 27.99125 MHz However, the British government still required these radios to be licensed for use.

CB Radios in the UK Today

CB radios aren’t used as much in the UK today as they are in the U.S., even though a license is no longer required to operate them. In many situations, they are used in rural areas for communication purposes.

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