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CB Radio History – Who Is Al Gross? (Part 1)

Where would we be without CB Radio? Well, we wouldn’t have had Smokey and the Bandit movies. And, the 70s CB craze would have been substituted by something else. In addition, common codes like 10-4 and handles like Smokey or Hog would not have been part of our vernacular.

And that’s just pop culture. What about the practical side? Without the invention of CB Radios truckers wouldn’t have a way to communicate with each other to learn about traffic or weather conditions. When emergency situations arose, civilians and first responders couldn’t report on damage or the location of survivors. In addition, there’s a possibility smart devices wouldn’t have been invented.

Thank Al Gross

This is why we need to thank Al Gross. Without him, there wouldn’t be any CB Radios, let alone walkie-talkies. In fact, our remote communications would have been severely hampered during events like World War II without his intervention. In the end, although his name is not as well-known as Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell, Al Gross is a 20th century inventor who changed history.

When it Began

After the end of the Second World War the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) activated the Citizens’ Radio Service Frequency Band. Commonly known as Citizens Band (CB), it was the first allocation of radio frequencies for personal services. Gross took advantage of this opportunity.

He formed Gross Electronics to produce two-way communication devices to utilize these frequencies. In 1948, Gross received FCC approval to mass produce these devices. Initial orders of more than 100 thousand units were produced for the U.S. Coast Guard as well as farmers and other blue-collar workers.

The Road to Popularity

By 1960, production of CB radios was refined to the point that the cost for 23-channel units were affordable for everyone. Toward the end of the decade, the size of the radio’s solid-state electronics was greatly reduced to further lower the price. This set the stage for its boom in the early 1970s...  Stay tuned next month as we continue our History of the CB Radio series.


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