Know your 80 UHF CB channels
UHF CB is free to use inter-vehicle communication, but there’s still rules to follow.
You can’t randomly pick a UHF channel and use it for offroad touring or any other purposes you like. Here are the channels you CANNOT use except for their designated purposes:
- 5 and 35 – emergency ONLY.
- 11 – initial contact only. Switch to another channel when contact is made.
- 1-8, 31-38, 41-48 and 71-78 are for repeaters only. Do not use unless you are using a repeater.
- 22-23 data only, not voice. Data may not be transmitted on any channel other than 22 or 23.
- 61-63 are reserved for a future use.
There are some commonly used channels:
- 10 and 15 – 4WD convoys
- 18 – caravanners
- 29 – road safety (Pacific Highway)
- 40 – general road users
Aside from that, choose your own channel!
Other UHF CB tips
- You don’t need lingo such as “roger ok”. However, some codewords are useful such as: Breaker relevant – when you need to interrupt a conversation or Radio check – answer with strength and readability out of 5, eg strength 3, readability 5.
- It’s not a bad idea to know the phonetic alphabet.
- Turn the microphone 90 degrees to your face and speak past it for best effect.
- If people can’t hear you, it’s usually clarity not volume. Try slower and more distinct, but not so slow you sound odd.
- UHF CBs are not private. Anything you say can and will be heard by anyone else listening.
- UHF is line-of-sight, so it doesn’t work well in hilly conditions unless you’re at the top of a hill.
- The taller UHF antennas are not necessarily better. It’s all to do with the gain and how the signal is broadcast. Think of a wide, flat donut for a tall antenna and a narrower, fatter donut for short.
- The UHF operating band is 476.4125 to 477.4125 MHz (inclusive).
ACMA, the government body which controls the UHF regulations, did have a plan to make use of 40-channel UHF CBs illegal from June 2017. However, this plan has been shelved indefinitely. Regardless, it is best to buy 80-channel UHF CBs, even if you can still find a 40-channel unit.