Copy that, time to stop swearing over UHF

Follow the rules when using UHF CB for communications


Follow the rules when using UHF CB for communications


A CONVOY of road warriors with high fidelity aerials, just went by our farm. 

I assumed they were warriors due to the state of our roads. 

I knew they had high fidelity aerials because they didn’t shut up for two hours. 

It may be the digital age, however the ultra high frequency (UHF) band, is often the only reliable means of communication on Australian farms, rural roads and highways.

You can listen in the shed, you can listen in bed, you can even listen pulling a cow. 

Matter of fact, I’m listening now. 

While the Citizen Band (CB) UHF service is for public access, by following a few rules and showing some courtesy we can all stay safe and in contact. 

Reserved channels

For starters, stay off the reserved channels. 

The operation of a CB radio is subject to the provisions of the Radio Communications Act 1992 and substantial fines apply for misuse.

The Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) website states by law Channel 5 and 35 are strictly for emergency use. 

Organisations voluntarily monitor the emergency channels and can assist  in contacting the appropriate service in an emergency.

Channel 11 is a call channel, once you have established contact with another traveller, switch to another channel to continue talking. 

Channel 22 and 23 are reserved for telemetry and telecommand and cannot be used for voice.

Channel 61, 62 and 63 are reserved for future allocation and transmission on these channels is not allowed.

While not legally enforceable, by convention some channels are also reserved for specific use when travelling.

Channel 10 is typically used by four wheel drive and motoring clubs when in a convoy and in national parks. 

Channel 18 is the campers and caravan convoy channel.

Channel 29 is the road safety channel on the M1 Pacific Motorway and Highway between Tweed Heads and Newcastle in NSW. 

Channel 40 is the primary road safety channel Australia-wide, most commonly used by trucks including pilot or escort vehicles for oversized loads.

You should also avoid channels 31 to 38 and 71 to 78 as they are the input channels for repeaters.

Potty mouth

Children learn new words at an alarming rate. 

They also choose the most inappropriate time to repeat them.

When it comes to talking, keep it clean.

While gaining an adult education via the UHF is a time honoured childhood tradition, it is a public channel and penalties apply for improper conduct. 

According to the ACMA website, a person must not operate a CB station in a way that would be likely to cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed or seriously affronted. 

As enforcement difficulties makes swear jar is fairly impractical, the best remedy may be to let the offender know you are listening.

It is also against the law to use the CB radio for the purpose of harassment. 

Shift channels

If travelling in rural areas, be considerate of those on farm who rely on UHF in many instances as the sole reliable tool for communication. 

While nobody has the right to exclusivity on a public channel, it’s not that hard an ask to switch channels when travelling if the frequency is in use, or to use a convoy channel. 

Though if travelling in my neck of the bush, do feel free to lodge a complaint about the state of the roads. 

The author, Fairfax Media’s machinery and technology writer, Sharon O’Keeffe, is based on a grain farm near Coonamble in Central West NSW. 

  • Does this article interest you? Scroll down to the comments section and start the conversation. You only need to sign up once and create a profile in the Disqus comment management system for permanent access to all discussions. 

From the front page

Sponsored by