4x4

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:

  1. 5 and 35 – emergency ONLY.
  2. 11 – initial contact only. Switch to another channel when contact is made.
  3. 1-8, 31-38, 41-48 and 71-78 are for repeaters only. Do not use unless you are using a repeater.
  4. 22-23 data only, not voice. Data may not be transmitted on any channel other than 22 or 23.
  5. 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.


Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper