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Hey There, Good Buddy!

CB Radio Good Buddy
The sun had just left the horizon and night came quickly from the corners of the sky. Jimmy admired the scenery as he pedaled down the road. The spokes of his front wheel had become lose and a chattering sound followed his bicycle. Suddenly he was halted by the shape of a man crawling across the highway. A red Ford lay belly-up in the bushes. Jimmy rushed to the man who became unconscious as he whispered for help.

At once Jimmy looked around. He could see nothing for kilometers, nothing but empty fields and a lonely highway. Soon it would be night… He jumped back on his bike and started off when he heard a hiss and a crackle from the man’s car. A CB radio, he thought. Thank God. Jimmy squeezed through the bent door, his hands groping for the transmitter. There. He was inside now. Quickly Jimmy switched to Channel 9 and called loudly into the mike, “Breaker, breaker. We have a 10-42 on the main highway by Hall’s Junction. This is a 10-33. 10-33. We have a…”

A man’s life is saved. Jimmy is not alone or unique in his experience. One of the first and most common uses of the Citizen’s Band radio is the emergency situation. Every year, REACT, a CB volunteer unit of 70,000 answers over 35 million calls for emergency, 12 millions of them on the road. A man’s life is saved not only because he owned a CB radio, but because Jimmy was able to communicate quickly and effectively over the CB frequencies. Although the first CB operator’s license was issued in 1947, it was not until 1973 that the CB craze came to life when lower highway speed limits were imposed. It was then used by truck-drivers to evade police detection and to relieve their boredom. Through them, a new CB language and culture came into being where each operator has a HANDLE (special name), and code words or phrases replace the commonly used and accepted English term. Today, you don’t have to be a trucker to own a CB radio; you don’t even have to own a car. Yet, most of the new words in your CB vocabulary will pertain to life on the highway, though much of CB talk comes from already used American slang.

Here are a few important CB terms:

First, there’s the 10 Signal Code created by APCO (Associated Public Safety Communications Officers) as an invaluable tool for speed and clarity over the airwaves:

10-4 I acknowledge, or OK
10-5 Relay message to
19-9 Please repeat last transmission
10-10 Negative or NO
10-11 You’re talking too fast
10-13 Existing conditions or weather/road report
10-18 Urgent
10-20 Location. I am situated at
10-28 Identify yourself (Call sign)
10-33 Help me quickly; an emergency
10-36 Time check
10-42 Traffic accident at
10-70 Fire at
10-100 Time out to go to the bathroom
10-200 Police needed at

CB lingo is more entertaining than anything else!

APPLES = A CB operator transmitting illegally
BACKDOOR = The last vehicle in a line of 2 or more using CB equipment
BANG A DOUGHNUT = Make a U-Turn
BARLEY POP = Beer
BEAVER = A female
BIG DOG = A Greyhound bus
BIRD IN THE AIR = A police helicopter
BLEED OVER = A CB signal that spills over into anther channel
BLOOD BOX = An ambulance
BOOB TUBE = Television
BREAKER, BREAKER = A request to use a channel when one or more people are transmitting
BUBBLE TROUBLE = Tire trouble
BUFFALO = A man
CASA = Home
CALL SIGN =Numbers or letters officially assigned to the operator
CHANNEL 9 = The emergency channel
CHARLIE BROWN = Yes
COOKING = Driving
COPY = A message, or “Do you understand?”
CUP OF MUD = Coffee
DROP THE HAMMER DOWN = Speed up
ELECTRIC TEETH = Police radar setup
EVEL KNIEVEL SMOKEY = Motorcycle Policeman
FIRST SERGEANT = Wife
FLICK = Movie
FLIP FLOP = A return trip
GET HORIZONTAL = To go to sleep
GO-GO JUICE = Gasoline
GOOD BUDDY = A greeting
GREEN STAMPS = Money
HUMP = A mountain
KIDDIE CAR = A school bus
LAND LINE = Telephone
LOST PILOT = A drunk driver
MARKER = Mileposts
PAPA BEAR WITH EARS = A state patrolman with a CB rig in his car
PLASTIC BRAIN = Someone who is dumb
PULL A HOFFA = Disappear
PUMKIN = A flat tire
RIP OFF RENDEZVOUS = A Holiday Inn Hotel
ROAD JOCKEY = A truck driver
SALT MINES = The place where you work
SLAMMER = Jail
STEPPED ALL OVER ME = My transmission was interrupted by another operator
TENNIS SHOES = Tires
TOILET LIPS = A person who uses bad language
TRICKY DICK’S = San Clemente, California
TWIN STICKS = Dual antennas

This slang is by no means fixed or exact. Like any language, it undergoes changes and words acquire a variety of new meanings. In CB talk there are many ways to say the same thing — especially words to do with the police or driving. For example if you wanted to sign off you could say WE GO, or WE CLEAR, or WE DOWN, or WE OUT, or simply ADIOS.

— DILIP MIRCHANDANI

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