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CB Radios - Worth to have one?


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A small flashback [ As I recall, it was the summer of 2014, a group of 6 friends, 3 cars (Alto Lxi, Accent & Octavia) were on the way to get Lehd.

It was a dream come true for us, after a long planning of about a year and overcoming several problems including begging the manager for 3 weeks leave.


The trip initiated, Bangalore to Ladakh, a mighty trip for the little alto (a story to share). Everything was cool until we reached Manali and took a day halt to explore the region. Enjoyed the place and did what most of the grand torturers does on the way to Ladakh, get the car washed properly before leaving Manali.


We left manali a little late that day maybe at around 12 PM, the Accent started having issues and we felt maybe its because of lack of oxygen in the air, we were just 80 kms away from Manali and not even my Alto was feeling that stress. We continued the trip after the group's (self proclaimed) mechanic (Octavia's owner) inspected the car and gave his verdict as 'No Issue'.


Just after 40 more kilometres, the Accent stopped, and refused to start. The mechanic tried his best with his tool box but problem was nowhere to be found. We were stuck in middle of nowhere and it was dawn already. We decided that one car would go ahead and find some mechanic shop and arrange the tow, as we lacked the tow cable in our prep box. T


he Octavia left and we waited, been waiting from an hour now, and saw a local car passing by. Signaled them to stop and told them the situation, the friendly couple had a CB Radio in their car and they tried finding someone with a tow cable and found one Force Traveler nearby with the cable. We were saved, as the driver of the Van not only towed the car but also helped used finding the mechanic. Meanwhile the group's mechanic was roaming somewhere else trying to find something, definitely not HELP. ] End flashback



What is a CB Radio?

A CB or Citizen Band radio is for the purpose of general population use. This is a short distance radio communication system between individuals.



How important is CB (Citizen Band) Radio for a trip like Ladakh?

Somewhat important, it is useful when there is no mobile network available and a communication is required. But it is worth when more people have the CB radio in their vehicle and are actually tuned to the correct frequency. It is certainly useful for a group of cars travelling and wants to communicate (Clarkson - May - Hammond) while on the move. Yes a Walkie Talkie may fulfill the need but you would need a multi channel walkie talkie which again require a licence. Also, walkie talkie would require the charging and that means another dock on the dashboard, whereas CB radios can be connected to be battery directly and do not require any additional charging arrangements.


Are CB radios LEGAL in India and does it require any Licence? 

Absolutely Legal and No licence required. As the name suggests, Citizen Band radio is meant for the general population use.  There is a set  frequency band that extends from 26.957 MHz to 27.283 MHz. As per the  Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933, by Notification No G.S.R. 533(E) dated 12 August 2005( Click here to read the Notification), the establishment of, maintenance of, working with, possession of or dealing with in wireless equipment operating in Citizen Band (CB) was exempted from licensing.


Why is CB Radio not very popular in India?

The answer is somewhat simple to answer, Indian market has seen the uprising of personal car market in only last two decades, where as before that the sale what somewhat limited and the buying power of consumer was low. In countries where like USA where CB radios are pretty popular and are general accessory of any long hauler. Even in India, many transport companies in order to make their truck, cargo and people safe are opting to get CB radios fitted in their fleet.


Albeit the concept is very old, in India the idea of having a two way radio in cars as an accessory is seldom.


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Excellent article @SSSS
We are planning to purchase CB radios from the past two years.
Some how I felt them too complicated/expensive.


Permission issues, bands, area of usage..list is endless.

Now I have decided to buy it.

I am looking at some thing that can communicate up to 500 meters, which is  good enough for my requirement.

Any suggestions?

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3 hours ago, Ranger said:

I am looking at some thing that can communicate up to 500 meters, which is  good enough for my requirement


Most people consider US brands as the best, though most of them are now made in China. When I bought for myself, I went for Cobra. Cobra is considered one of the best. 500 meters is pretty low, a CB radio can easily exceed the range of 20Kms on plain terrain and at least 5 to 8 kms in forest or on hilly terrain. If 500 to 1 km is your requirement, i'd suggest a walkie talkie with 3 to 5 kms max range. These on one charge can easily work for 12 hours and keeping a spare battery would have enough juice to keep the talkie working for 24 hours straight. I brought one for myself while in UK in 2012 where it was legal but in India multi frequency scanners were illegal. But later when researched myself, found only those were illegal that can scan police frequencies. http://www.wpc.dot.gov.in/Docfiles/National Frequency Allocation Plan-2011.pdf . So mine were legal, but electronics brought on ebay don't last long, so does the talkie. 


3 hours ago, Ranger said:

Some how I felt them too complicated/expensive.


It is one of the easiest DIY you can perform on your car,

What is needed:



2. Antenna [ MIDLAND , COBRA ]


Power connectors comes with the CB Radio, but sometimes depend on the brand. Cobra and Midland do deliver the power cables and connection blue prints for easy install. Do look for which model comes with the bracket if you want to install it somewhere on dashboard. Otherwise would need to buy separately.

Antenna is very important, this allow the radio to transmit and receive signal more precisely. Two type of antennas are available, internal antenna which are fixed on top of front or back windshield and external antenna which are detachable and require a long wire when fixed on top of the car. The external antenna nowadays have suction cups for easy use. My experience say external antenna are much better than internal one as they have long thick copper wires and that wire also act as an antenna when power is on. 


Lastly, setting up and tuning the radio is also important, they come with a manual, but again they are just another gadget and I believe anybody can easily understand that part.




~ Sam


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  • 11 months later...

I think CB  radio is legal in India.

I have ordered a set yesterday after seeing this post.

Model Baofeng BF-888s Walkie Talkie  (Black)


On 10/16/2017 at 2:15 PM, SSSS said:

Are CB radios LEGAL in India and does it require any Licence? 


The model that I bough it legal?
Can you please confirm.

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2 minutes ago, karthik said:

I have ordered a set yesterday after seeing this post.


Great, Once you receive it let know.
We are planning to use them during meetups.

It can be very helpful during convoy drives.


Price looks very reasonable. 

What is the range? 

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  • 1 year later...

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