CB Lingo Explained

Updated on January 21, 2019

Citizens Band Radio

CB radio has been around since the 40s. It has had some growing pains, but now it is strong and making a comeback. Since it began, a language or slang has developed, used mostly by truckers. It uses abbreviations to reduce the amount of talking and usually rhymes.

How Truckers Talk to Each Other

Truckers, who often pass the time talking to other truckers, are probably the single group most responsible for creating CB lingo. They were responsible for its explosion in popularity in the 70s and are still its primary users. Using this slang makes the CB experience more fun.

Common CB Lingo Interpreted

Breaker-Breaker. This is used to join a conversation or ask for things like a smokey report or radio check. It is often followed by the channel number you are trying to access.

Smokey/Bear. Police that are on the roads looking for lawbreakers.

Eye in the Sky. A police helicopter that may be checking for speeders.

Pictures Takers/Taking Pictures. Police that are set up to catch speeders with radar.
Plain White Wrapper. An undercover police car with no markings.

Local Yocals. Local or city cops that do not usually stop trucks for DOT infractions.

County Mounties. County officers that may or may not stop for DOT infractions.

Handle. A "handle" is the name you call yourself on the radio. This is what you will be known by on the air.

SWR. Standing wave ratio: the reading of the radio, coax, and antenna tuned to work together. An SWR that is too high will burn out your radio.

Radio Check. A request that other operators tell you how your radio sounds.

Skip. Temporary atmospheric conditions that let you talk to operators far away. The signal will bounce off of the ionosphere and return to earth in distant places.

10-4. 10-4 means "OK, "affirmative," or "copy." There is a series of codes that range from 10-1 to 10-100 and higher, and each one has a meaning. Not many of them are used today but a few are still very common, including 10-4.

Hammer Down/ Pedal to the Metal. You are traveling as fast as you can; you have the the pedal to the floor.

Convoy. A group of trucks traveling together. It can be three or three hundred.

Front/Back Door. A way of assigning roles in a convoy. The front door, aka the first truck in line, watches for smokeys. The back door is the last truck and watches for smokeys sneaking up from the rear.

Mud Duck. Used as an insult, it refers to an operator with a weak signal or radio.

Stepped On. What happens when a closer or more powerful station talks over you when you are talking.

Uppers/Lowers. Extra channels added to a radio to have more channels to talk on. This was more common in the 70s and 80s. Today, export radios are sold with these channels already in them.

Peaked/Tuned. The work done to your radio to get more power and modulation out of it. It can also be done on receive to help the radio "hear" better.

Lot Lizard. Usually a female that works the truck stops performing sexual favors for green stamps. Sometimes, it's a man.

Green Stamps. Money.

Catch You on the Flip Flop. Talk to you next time I hear you; talk tomorrow.

73s and 88s. A farewell, a way to say good bye and wish the person well.

Beavers/Seat Covers. Women in or near your truck.

Fender Bender. An accident in a car or truck.

Rocking Chair. The driver's seat in the truck.

Jaw Jackin/Rachet Jawin. Talking for awhile to pass the time or stay awake.

Double Nickle. Two 5s; 55 miles per hour.

Base Station. A fixed station with bigger antennas and more range.

Mobile/Portable. A radio in an automobile or truck, or a handheld radio.

4 Wheel Money Maker. A four-wheel car or truck used for work or to get to work.

Kick the Tires and Light the Fires. To inspect the truck, check the tires and start the engine; to get going.

Between the Ditches. Keep the truck on the road.

Get Yourself a CB Radio

Ham Lingo vs. CB

  • Ham radio is more regulated than CB.
  • There are three classes of licenses and you have to study and test to get them, then you are assigned a call sign.
  • You get far more choices of frequencies to use.
  • You can participate in clubs and fairs, and even hook a computer to it for packet radio.
  • Ham lingo uses Q-codes instead of 10-codes.

© 2017 Vince

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