Could a decline in CBer’s be a good thing for the rest of us?


Last night I got done eating dinner and went out to talk on the radio around 8:30pm. The locals around here only really talk on one channel but I figured I’d flip through the band on my way to the home channel.

As I did this I was met with something that is becoming more and more a reality lately. Dead air. I flipped through at least 30 channels before I finally heard a trucker way off in the distance.

After a couple of minutes of looking around the band I went to 38 LSB and gave a shout. I made contact with a station 50 miles away and had a nice 5 min conversation.

Later when I was shutting down my station I was thinking how it was a little sad that the radio is so quiet at night these days. I can remember back to the 80’s when CB was in full swing and every night we’d have 20 people on every channel chatting and raising hell. Of course this also meant that on at least 5-6 of the channels there would be a musical carrier being played, or someone laying a deadkey so strong that it wiped out the entire channel.

It’s easy to notice that there are less people on the radio, but what does this mean for the rest of us?

Well the first thing that came to mind was that when listening to the radio over the last couple of months I noticed that the static caused by bleedover, multiple stations, etc is much lower. On many channels I’ve found so little static that I often have to turn off my ANL/NB just to check and make sure my radio is still receiving.

I’ve also made quite a few local contacts over 50 miles away in recent days. I’ve talked to stations that weren’t even moving my meter, yet the quiet air allowed for an easy conversation.

DX hasn’t been running lately so the quiet channels have allowed for a chance to meet more of the local CB hobbyist.

So less people on the radio means less interference, bleedover and better conditions for talking to other stations which is good. But of course it also mean less people to talk to which is bad. Maybe we are in a cycle where we’ve reached a nice medium of less traffic and garbage on the radio, but still enough people involved in the hobby that we have people to talk to each week.

One can only hope it doesn’t go too much one way or the other.

The other result of less people on the radio is that more used radios will be available for sale as people pass away or just give up the hobby. More garage sale specials will be out there for those who like to collect, and ebay will be awash with people selling off their equipment.

That’s the good – the bad is that if less people are on the radio then less people are buying new radios and manufacturers will do less R & D which will result in less new technology and less innovation. Prices will go up as they try to maintain their profit margins.

Then end result is not pretty for the new radio market.

But don’t worry one way or the other, the CB population tends to fluctuate each year as people get new equipment and join the hobby again, or maybe a movie features a CB radio or something and peaks interest. Maybe 4 x 4 clubs become more popular in a certain year and CB sales go up. Who knows how outside influences will effect our hobby.

All I know is that a decrease in numbers doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Maybe the people who remain in the hobby are the ones who truly love talking on the radio and the final result will be better contacts and less troublemakers.

I plan on talking on the radio for many more years so at least you can be sure there will be one contact out there in DX land.