Many offroad vehicles will have a CB (Citizen Band) Radio installed for use on and off the trail. The CB radio can be used for communication between vehicles in a convoy to and from the trails or while on the trail. Clubs and groups may opt to utilize the smaller FRS/GMRS radios for inter-vehicle communication due to the low cost and lack of a requirement to install them in each vehicle.
FRS/GMRS radios work off line of sight. Their effective distance for communication varies depending on the surrounding environment and landscape. If you are in a flat and open area, the distance will be greater than travelling through an area that is dense with trees with lots of hills.
Communication is key to helping to ensure that safety of everyone on the trail and when used properly, it can be used to alert of obstacles, vehicle mechanical issues, oncoming vehicles and more.
When using any form of communication, a primary and alternate frequency or channel should be identified prior to leaving for the trails. If you run into issues communicating via the primary, all vehicles should know to check the secondary. An announcement should be made to let everyone know that you will be using the other frequency if deemed necessary.
At full legal-power, CB’s have a maximum range of up to 4 miles. However, due to interference and/or obstacles, it is not possible to determine exact range for a certain area; range will vary regardless of the type, model or manufacturer of radio used.
CB channel 9 has been designated by the FCC as an emergency contact channel. However, this designation is only valid in the United States and other countries do not have this “official” designation for the channel, so it would not be uncommon to hear stations conducting non-emergency radio traffic on this channel when skip is in. There are stations across the country, including many police and rescue agencies that actively monitor this channel for those who have a problem ranging from medical emergencies, accidents, vehicle breakdowns, to being lost.