CB Chatter

CB Chatter – Comments

All of these below listed guidelines are meant to make your ride more pleasant and safer. Any time we put more than one motorcycle in close proximity to another, we have just increased the risk factor. We live in a very structured society. Rules should not be anything new to any of us. They make moving the herd just a little easier. If it takes your co-rider, or your rider a little longer to get his/her stuff together all in one bag, edge him or her on with a gentle nudge “get your helmet on and let’s get ready to go”. There are other phrases that can be more explicit, but do so at your own risk. After all of this, it does not mean that you cannot participate in Chapter rides if you do not like group riding. Leave ahead of the group and do your own thing, start after the group has left and sight see to your hearts content. You know the destination, you know the speed your co-rider likes best. Do it the way you will enjoy it the most.


  1. Don’t interfere with information being passed on between the Group Leader and Back Door.


  1. If you wish to converse with a fellow rider, call them by name, “Hey Harry, this is Jack” or whatever      the handle might be.


  1. Limiting the use of the CB for idle chatter is particularly critical during departures and arrivals.      There is a tendency for riders to be tense during the takeoffs and somewhat lax during arrivals. Ex-              perience has shown that these are the times that unfortunate incidents tend to occur. Be Alert!


  1. CB Etiquette:

Motorcycle CBs are notoriously under powered. If you can “reach out” for a mile you are really            lucky. The CB has become an inter-bike method of communication; they work well for short dis-              tance talking. However anyone with a decent mobile radio will “walk all over you” if they are close               by. A base station will “blow your windows out”, even if you don’t have any windows. Around town               they can become a real nuisance what with big base stations blasting away.


For good to excellent communication while driving down the highway, CBs can’t be beat; they’re better than hand signals. The dealer installed models, fit right in that little nook or cranny, and integrate right along with the radio, tape player and intercom.


Setup: On the Gold Wing, most installations are handled at the dealership. But no one checks the SWR (that’s one of those neat little CB terms that means Standing-Wave-Ratio). On most auto or home installations, a ratio of 1:1 is ideal. However, on a motorcycle most of your communications are completed within 200-300 hundred yards of each other and a ratio that flat causes the radio to over-modulate (garble your speech). So, we adjust the antenna to about 1:1.5 to 1:2 SWR, and try it out. In most cases, it actually makes everything sound a lot better.

Now we have the thing all set up. It worked in your garage, between some “good buddy” in your neighborhood who gave you a radio check and certified that you were “hitting him with 10 pounds”, or something like that. So, just how do we communicate? No, riding down the road, we don’t ask for a break on the channel when riding motorcycles. First of all, you’ll be lucky if anyone other than the group you are riding with even hears you. Go up on channel 19 sometime and listen to the intellectual conversations between some of the “good buddies”. One theory is when you give some one a CB radio their IQ drops at least 50 points, effective with them plugging it in. Not so with a motorcycle CB When no one in your group is talking, just call out a name, “Hey Joe, you by the channel?”. If Joe has his turned on, he’ll reply back with something.


To Transmit: First key the mike. But wait just a second or two for the radio to come up to power. It’s not like a telephone with a two way conversation. They call the CB a two way radio, but it only works one way at a time. So, key the mike, pause, now in a normal tone, or better yet, lower (deepen) your voice just a hair, and talk plainly. Enunciation is the key to good clear radio speech – just like the man on the five o’clock news. Speak slowly and plainly, use simple terms that are easily understood. Remember there’s wind noise to contend with, especially with open face helmets. Your passenger, just may be talking at the same time, and you know your priority. Hold the key for just a second when you are finished, then release it. Don’t try to “quick key”, or key just as soon as someone else lets off their key. Allow a little time in between transmissions. When two people are conversing, don’t try to jump in with some smart comment, most of the time you will “double” with them and nobody understands anybody.


Try listening to other people, using the helmet speakers and then with the fairing mounted speakers. I find that the fairing speakers are far superior, when I am wearing my open face helmet. After all, these speakers are about 5 times larger than those little bitty ones in your helmet.


The microphone in a full face helmet is usually the best, after all, you don’t have the wind noise quite as much as with an open face helmet.


Try talking to the bike right ahead of you, and then the farthest bike away. You may be surprised to find out that the guy who is the farthest away hears you the best.


Don’t try to talk over a real powerful station that is talking at the same time. It just does not work. Physics and all that stuff. One problem is called skip, or DX in radio lingo, these are really powerful stations transmitting hundreds of miles. To cut them out, just turn up your squelch, that’s the other knob on your radio. Some times you hear DX, some times you don’t. It has to do with sun spots and weather conditions. The squelch control cuts out all of the low powered noise.


Normally, in a group ride there are times like first starting out and coming to rest at a gas or food break, we give up the CB to the Group Leader and his Tail End Charlie. It’s just a matter of safety. After all, we are coming to a stop and we can take the helmet off and talk like real people.


  1. Embarrassing Moments: Remember, if your co-rider is talking to you on the intercom and either of      you press the transmit buttons, everyone in the group will hear what is being said. That could be a              big oops!





Remember folks, be careful out there. If you can’t ride it safely, park it and walk! As usual, drive safe, be safe, watch out for those cagers, politicians, and as always, avoid those nasty Illinois potholes….



Ron Walldren & Missy

Chapter Educator


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