The Illegal World of CB Radio Amplifiers

Although CB (citizen's band) radio has lost some of the popularity it enjoyed in the 1970s, CB radios are still used by truck drivers, and others interested in personal radio communications. CB radio is a great option for roadside assistance and communication in remote areas.

According the to US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), it is legal to use CB radios for private communication. The FCC, in part 95, subpart D, limits CB radios to 4 watts of power. This limitation means that CB radios have an effective range of up to 9 miles, depending on terrain.

While this is an acceptable range for most uses, some CB radio enthusiasts add amplifiers for extra distance. Unfortunately, the FCC has declared the use of CB radio amplifiers illegal.

The Trouble With Power
CB radio amplifiers work by boosting the broadcast power of the radio beyond the 4-watt limit. An increase of 100 watts of power can increase the range of a CB radio to almost 70 miles.

The use of overpowered CB radios can cause transmissions to "bleed over" into other channels and bands. In a worst-case scenario, illegal amplifiers can bleed into TV, music radio and even computer signals. The uncontrolled distortion of other signals is the primary reason for the power limitations of legal CB radios.

But That Doesn't Mean You Can't Get One
Even with a clear limit in place, it is s simple matter to get a CB radio amplifier on the Internet. Most sellers try to get around the ban by selling linear amplifiers for "export use only." The FCC has made it a habit to try to shut down providers of CB radio amplifiers on the web.

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CB radio (short for citizen's band radio) has been around for decades. Although it reached its cultural peak in the US during the 1970s, the Internet and cell phones have largely replaced CB radios.

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The following steps can help solve or diagnose problems with your base, mobile, or handheld Citizen's Band radio. Keep in mind that this troubleshooting guide is designed for all types of CB radios, as well as both experts and beginners, so some steps may not apply to you.

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