top of page

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.

The 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

Other Important Channels and Information 

UHF CB Explained

You can use a UHF CB because the government holds a class-licensed that gives the community this tool that can be used for all sorts of community support which is intended for short-distance communications.

The UHF CB band radio service is available for public access and is authorised by the governments of Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu and Malaysia.

UHF CB radio provides 77 UHF channels, including an additional 32 channels (16 output & 16 input) that are assigned to repeater stations.

Although this service is available to everyone and not all radio channels are allowed for use by just anyone for whatever reason. In fact, the penalties can be pretty stiff for anyone caught misusing certain radio channels.

For example, people can face imprisonment or a hefty fine for the general misuse of the legally allocated UHF emergency channels.

Therefore, it helps to know about radio channels in general, as well as legally restricted channels and proper UHF CB radio etiquette.


UHF channels for general use

Below is information from the Australian UHF channel chart you can refer to so you know which channel you should leave your CB radio on by default for general use:

  • Channel 10 is allocated for use for 4WD clubs or convoys: This is the default general-use channel, except if your club chooses to use a different channel for communications. It is also commonly referred to as the national parks channel. 

  • Channel 11 In case you lose communication with a friend on a different channel, you can try finding them by using this call channel before moving to another channel for communication.

  • Channel 18 is allocated for the use for caravan & camper owners and convoys: If you own a 4×4 off-road camping truck or caravan, this is how people will find you in case something falls off the side of your camper along the way.


  • Channel 29 is the road safety channel for Pacific Highway and Pacific Motorway: You can use this road safety channel if you want information on traffic or sudden closures or detours on these main roads.

  • Channel 40 is commonly used by truck or oversized vehicle drivers: This channel is Australia's main road safety resource information. Handy for motorway and highway use and a great tool to find out road reports if heading to a particular destination where you want to know how the traffic is or any delays.​

If you have a camper convoy with your friends, you can agree to switch on most channels for general use. For the general band, you can choose from channels 9, 12 to 17, 19 to 21, 24 to 30, and 39. If your radios have extended bands, you can select from channels 50 to 60, 64 to 70, and 79 to 80.


Legally restricted UHF channels

The channels below are legislated as a part of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) UHF CB Class Licence. Any misuse or abuse of these channels is subject to penalties.

  • Channels 5 and 35 are reserved for emergency use.

  • Channel 11 is the designated ‘call channel’, and is meant only for initiating calls but not for discussions or conversations.

  • Channels 22 and 23 are allocated exclusively for telemetry and telecommand use or automated data communications.

  • Channels 61, 62 and 63 are reserved for future allocation, so voice transmissions are not allowed.

UHF CB radio etiquette

Using a UHF CB radio can be fun and exciting users must observe some etiquette, there are also rules to follow to ensure the trouble-free use of your radio.

When using a CB radio, remember:

  • Aside from keeping off legislated or legally restricted channels 22, 23, 61, 62 and 63, you can only use channels 5/35) and 11 when it is necessary.

  • If you’re using call channel 11 to locate a friend from your area, once you have established communication, you should move to a different channel. This way, the channel is freed up for other parties who need to use it. Short-distance one-on-one conversations should be continued on any available general-purpose channel.

  • Note that all communications on public channels can be heard by any user (or a repeater) within range, so they can also join in. However, UHF CB radio users are "generally" well-behaved and observe proper etiquette.

  • If you know that the channel you are using is already being used (especially by locals in the area), show your courtesy by moving to another channel.

There may be instances when you encounter trolls and new users who don’t know yet how to behave. In such cases, just avoid trolls and politely inform newbies about radio etiquette, so they know better.


Remember Safety UHF CB radio could save a life!

The UHF CB radio offers a unique way of staying connected with your friends, neighbours and other users. More importantly, it is an essential communication device you can use during things that don’t go to plan, Oh and emergencies.

So, to get the best use out of your UHF CB radio, consider the information and tips shared above next time you are out exploring or in the first stage of an emergency, be ready for anything and prepared to use that knowledge to help others.

Remember you can use any channel to attract attention in an emergency.
If you have mobile phone service you can Dial 000 or 112 for Police, Fire and Ambulance

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

bottom of page