Not all Channels on CB radio are for everyday use, some have very specific roles, and using them may interfere with other legitimate users of the band. Following is a list of UHF CB Channels and their uses


UHF Emergency Channels
The UHF CB band has TWO channels reserved for emergencies only. These apply to both 80 and the older 40 channel sets. They are:

Channel 5
Used as the primary channel and the output for all 5/35 emergency repeaters. Generally, this is the channel you would choose and, if a repeater is within range, you would also select DUPLEX or REPEATER mode (sometimes referred to as “range extender” on some hand-held sets.) If no repeater services in the area leave these off

Channel 35
Primarily reserved as the emergency repeater input channel, it is sometimes used as a secondary emergency channel in regions where no repeater is operational. However, this use is discouraged due to the risk of interference with any 5/35 emergency repeaters/Channels nearby. General use of channel 35 can simply block any emergency repeater within range and, under the right atmospheric conditions, any repeater within 100 kilometres

27MHz Emergency Channel

Channel 9
On the HF or 27MHz band channel 9 is reserved for emergencies only. This applies to both the 40-channel and the older 23-channel CB sets. If using an old 18-channel CB the emergency channel is 5 (it’s the same frequency – 27.065 MHz – just using a different channel number for 18-channel units.)
The 27MHz emergency channel can be used in AM, USB or LSB mode, however, it is most common to find AM for local use and USB for longer distances

Misuse & Penalties Enforced by the Australian Communications Media Authority

The misuse of emergency channels breaches federal law. Specifically, it is contrary to the provisions of section 6(a) of the Radiocommunications (Citizen Band Radio Stations) Class Licence 2015 (Cth), which breaches section 132 paragraph (3) of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (Cth) and as a result, sections 46 and 47 of the Act. On 1 July 2020 the cost of a Commonwealth ‘penalty unit’ increased to $222, so the maximum penalty for a breach of sections 46 or 47 is:

  • $444 on-the-spot fine (for minor cases) [2 penalty units]; or

  • up to 2 years imprisonment (for an individual); or

  • up to $333,000 fine (for all others) [1500 penalty units]

If the misuse interferes with an emergency call these penalties increase under section 194 of the Act to:

  • up to 5 years imprisonment (for an individual); or

  • up to a $1,110,000 fine (for all others) [5000 penalty units]

These penalties are set to increase every 3 years from 1 July 2020