Calling it the biggest advance in Citizens Band radios since the CB spectrum was expanded from 23 to 40 channels in 1977, Cobra Electronics has launched a line of CB radios that can use FM as well as AM.
The company says the ability to use FM in the CB radio spectrum (26.965 to 27.405 MHz) assigned by the Federal Communications Commission is a boon to truckers, off-road vehicle operators and anyone else who uses this license-free two-way radio technology.
It says the FM transmission CB radio mode provides users with the ability to enjoy high-quality clear audio during radio conversations with nearby/strong CB radio transceivers. Meanwhile, in those instances where distance is a priority and/or the signal from the other party is weak, AM can be used in either full AM and Single Sideband modes, aka SSB, consisting of Upper Sideband (USB) and Lower Sideband (LSB). Of course, the audio quality won’t be as good, but that’s the tradeoff for distance.
Cobra said its ability to offer FM in its CB radios is the fruit of four years petitioning the FCC for permission to do so. To boost its case, the company sought input from its CB radio customers, sources from online CB radio forums, off-road vehicle clubs and CB radio distributors. The strategy worked: The FCC granted permission for AM/FM CB radios to be sold in the United States in 2021. (Cobra has an FAQ page about FM for CB.)
“Our team has been on the forefront of working with the FCC since 2016 to make AM/FM CB radios possible,” said Gail Babitt, CEO of Cedar Electronics, parent company of Cobra, in a news release. “The implications this will have on users like professional truck drivers, fleet managers, and local delivery services will be amazing — making communication clearer and more productive than ever while on the road.”
The new dual-mode capabilities are available on several Cobra models, including the 29 LTD Classic, 29 LTD Chrome and 19 MINI AM/FM. The 29 LTD NW AM/FM CB Radio will be available later this spring.