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Should We Put A CB Radio In Our RV?

by Ursula Malvasio
(Big Pine Key)

Using a CB Radio in Your RV

Using a CB Radio in Your RV

Using a CB Radio in Your RV
Cobra 19DXIV 40 Channel Mobile Compact CB Radio
Should We Put A CB Radio In Our RV?

We are newbees on the road with our 5th wheel. What do other RVers use to communicate? We wonder about a CB unit.

Over 1,500,000 successful roadside rescues—Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service

ANSWER Greetings Ursula thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page.

A lot of RVers use their cell phones for communication while on the road. But believe it or not the CB radio still has its place in the RVing and trucking world. By listening to channel 19 (this is the CB radio's "unofficial trucker’s channel") on a CB radio you can get updated information on road conditions by listening to a trucker 10 miles ahead of you traveling on the same road. You cannot do this with a cell phone, unless you happen to have that trucker’s cell phone number.

Pictured Above: Cobra 19DXIII 40-Channel Mobile Compact CB Radio

There are still rural areas in the US where your cell phone may not work. The CB radio can still transmit in those areas and makes a great communication backup in case of an emergency. CB radio channel 9 is designated by the FCC as an emergency only channel. Many law enforcement and emergency services agencies monitor this channel 24/7, so if you call for help on channel 9, you have a pretty good chance that someone will hear you.

CBs are also a great way to communicate when traveling with a group of other RVers. Before your group takes off just choose a channel and have all the RVers in the group use that channel to communicate with each other. Just so you know CB channel 13 is the "unofficial RVers channel"; unfortunately not many RVers know that and do not use it, but it would be an ideal channel to use when traveling with other RVers. It appears that most RVers stay tuned in to the trucker channel 19. Being that channel 19 is so popular, it would not be a channel I would want to use to stay in touch with other RVers you are traveling with as you may not be get a word in edgewise with all the traffic it has.

What Types Of CB Radios Are Available And How Much Do They Cost?

Pictured Above: Cobra 29 LTD BT 29 LTD CB Radio with Bluetooth Technology

There are all types of CB Radios available in all price ranges. For example for around $50.00 you can get a basic 40 channel CB radio such as the Cobra 19DXIII 40-Channel Mobile Compact CB Radio (see picture towards the top of this page). If you want a CB Radio with a lot of bells and whistles for about $145.00 you can get one like the Cobra 29 LTD BT 29 LTD CB Radio with Bluetooth Technology (pictured at the top of this paragraph) which has Bluetooth Technology which allows you to use your cell phone hands-free through the CB Radio. There are also CB Radios that have weather radios built into them, etc.

You will also need a CB Antenna so you can send and receive on your CB Radio and you do not need to install one of those 12 foot tall whip antennas (unless you want to) on your tow vehicle or motorhome. The type of vehicle you have will determine what type of CB antenna you actually need. If you are planning to install the antenna on a fiberglass RV you will need a No Ground Plane CB Antenna. For a non-fiberglass RV or towing vehicle there are all types of CB Antennas you can choose from.

Over 1,500,000 successful roadside rescues—Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service

Take a look at the video below for a little tutorial on how to properly use a CB Radio.

Hopefully this information has been helpful to you. If any of our visitors have suggestions or tips for you they can add them to this page by clicking on the add a comment link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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Comments for Should We Put A CB Radio In Our RV?

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All 4 watts...
by: Tom

Don't forget the FCC limits CB radios to 4 watts. a $25 radio and a $500 radio all only put out 4 watts of power. Any basic 40 channel 4 watt CB will do fine.

Having a CB is handy. . .
by: Janice

The RV Hauler we purchased came with a CB installed. Didn't really think we would use it that much, but it came in very handy during traffic slow downs. . .could very quickly find out what the hold up was.

During a hazardous waste spill on I 10 we were able to take an alternate route miles, and miles before the designated detour route. . .invaluable in my opinion.


CB Radio
by: Dick Reed

We carry a portable cb radio for information during a traffic jam on the freeways. All you have to do is turn it on, set it to channel 19, and set back and listen. We also carry a couple two-way radios. They work great if you have two vehicles traveling together and you can you them when backing into your camping spot if necessary. Both are very cheap. Make sure your batteries are good and you two-ways are charged up before you leave.

There's more than CB in the airwaves
by: Anonymous

Yes, there's "foul" language on channel 19. But so far I haven't heard any "fowl" language - who know? it may happen at times if one is driving a load of chickens with the mike open.
Cell phones are of limited value. Although the company may claim they cover 97% of the US, that means 97% of the population, not the area. Anywhere I want to go, there's not likely to be cell service. I carry a satellite phone for emergencies.

If you're traveling in a group, a set of GMRS/FRS walkie-talkies works fine. Also, some automobile GPS services have "live" traffic monitoring, which has saved me from some traffic jams in big cities. (Tom-Tom can automatically re-route you).

Just don't spend so much time on the radio that you neglect the road.

Remember, operating a cell phone (except hands-free) is illegal most places while driving. (BTW- Ham radio is exempt from this.)

I suspect this may also apply to CB in some places. So let your passenger/co-pilot work the waves.

Language on 19
by: Mike

Channel 19 is infamous for the fowl language and dirty jokes. It's too bad as if they would clean it up there is no better system of road communication. If you have your family with you get ready to quickly turn channels when some of the truckers get going.

Comments From The Everything About RVing Facebook Fan Page.
by: RVing Al

Here are some comments on this topic from the Everything About RVing Facebook Fan Page:

Skip Rinker: of course put in a CB.......

Sandara Sawyer: Really helpful when you come to gridlock on the highway. Just listen to the truckers and you will know what is going on in front and what lane is open.

Dick Reed: We bought a portable hand-held CB radio from Wal Mart a few years ago. When we get stuck in a big jam on the interstate we get it out and turn it on to see what's going on. If I lay it on the dash it seems to pick up well enough to get the info we need pretty quickly.

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