The Citizen Band (CB) has been around since the 1960′s. I remember my father talking on his Hammerland CB radio and putting up a vertical antenna and then a set of beam antennas on the roof. CB has gone through a lot of changes since then. In the mid 70′s CB became really popular and a lot of people like my father quit talking on it and sold all their equipment. CB started out with 23 channels and when it began to get really popular more channels were added to a total of 40 channels. The power output is limited to 4 watts, thats about as much power as a standard business band or emergency band walkie. The CB uses the 26-27 mhz frequency band and the AM mode.
Some CB radios have the ability to talk single-side band with increased power up to 12 watts. With side band, the signal is concentrated into a smaller area of the band which will give you much greater range. Some of the newer radios also have the ability to monitor NOAA weather channels. I personally have a couple of CB radios but really don’t use them that much. At my location, I overlook about 10 miles of interstate so if I hear an accident on the scanner I will tune in, and have helped a lot of truckers save time getting around road blockages.
A lot of preppers discount the CB as a viable communications tool or look down on it, but I think there is a place for most every type radio system. One way to increase the range in a base setup is a large antenna. If you live near an interstate, I would highly recommend purchasing one to at least monitor the interstate. If you live way out in the country with no large highway around you will probably not hear much activity. I would not rely on the CB as my main prep radio system as it is very limited as to versatility and power. Some modify these radios or use amplifiers with them which is illegal and most of the modified radios have just had the modulation increased and not the transmitter power. With the low cost of a CB radio there should not be any reason not to include them in your prepping, but would suggest they not be your primary communications system.