Picking up a CB radio microphone for the first time can be a nerve wracking experience as two way radio is a unique situation when talking to new people. Not looking at the person your having a conversation with does have its advantages but this visual separation can also be a drawback.
Bundled in with the spoken word are facial expressions and body language that add depth to any conversation and only go to bring more clarity to what the other person is saying. CB has none of this, meaning apart from any emotions you can pick up from a voice, your missing a whole host of signals you’d usually be able to access.
You use your phone in the very much the same manner, apart from the fact that most of us don’t have long (random) conversations over the phone with people we don’t really know.
That Social Thing
Even with all the things CB radio has been used for over the years, it is (and was created) as a community radio system. The rules of conduct may be slightly different than “real life” interaction but there still crucial to getting along with other CB’ers.
Keep initial conversation light and try to steer clear of emotive subjects like race, religion and politics. It doesn’t mean these subjects are totally off limits, just go easy until you’re sure you can safely throw them into the mix without winding anybody up 🙂
Listening to a conversation for a while before jumping gives you an idea of what to expect from the people on channel.
The world is full of all different kinds of people because it would be a downright boring place if we were all the same. Most people just want to live life and do their best to get along with fellow humans, but of course there are exceptions.
Some people on our fair planet will use any medium that can to wind up, harass and generally try to get a rise out of people. This is less of a problem these days on CB radio as it was during the “crazy years”, when just attempting to use the CB meant running a never ending gauntlet of idiots and morons.
Ignoring these types of users is the best thing you can do, anything else is just giving them what they want and make them target you more.
You still get the odd one but most of those left on 27Mhz have been there for years and are decent users.
Don’t Know, Don’t B.S
CB has been around for a long time now and along the way has produced some very knowledgeable radio enthusiasts, many of which still make use of CB even after taking their ham license.
If your unsure about something don’t just make it up, most CB’ers will be happy to help you out and give their knowledge freely. Making outlandish claims about radio performance, design, operation etc will get you found out very, very quickly.
Walking up to someone, introducing yourself briefly before asking what they think of your shoes/hair/face is a little bizarre and not likely to go down too well, and its no different on the CB
Before butting into a conversation take some time to listen and get the jest of the subject, in fact doing a fair bit of listening does amazing things for your understanding not only of how to conduct yourself but you’ll also pick up a whole lot of tech know how along the way.
Remember that CB is in no way secure and although you may feel comfortable passing personal information to the people your having a conversation with, always keep in mind the number of other people who are listening.
The signal from a CB transmitter can reach much further than you’d realize and there’s always more “lurkers” (users who only listen) than CB’ers transmitting.
The Bottom Line…
CB radio strips away almost all preconceptions about looks, status and race. You can give up as little or as much about yourself as you see fit.
If your serious about taking up CB and the radio hobby in general, you’ll find plenty of like minded, helpful people to speed you along.
Once you take the first steps of talking to other users and start making regular contacts, the fear soon slips away.