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Before CB Radio was authorized in Australia, hand-held 27 MHz were available, which used several frequencies between the present CB channels, such as 27.240 MHz. By the mid-1970s, hobbyists were experimenting with handheld radios and unauthorized 23-channel American CB radios. At that time in Australia, licensed ham operators and Emergency Services still used the 11 meter band which was not yet available for CB use. Multiple CB clubs had formed by this time, which assigned call signs to members, exchanged QSL cards, and lobbied for the legalisation of CB. In late 1977, having legalised Australian CB and allowed the import/sale of American and Japanese 23-channel sets, the Federal Government drafted new interim regulations for Australian 18-channel transceivers. The new RB249 regulations came into effect on January 1, 1978 and the last official registration date for 23-channel sets was January 31, 1978. After this date, use of unregistered 23-channel CB sets was deemed illegal and unlicensed sets were no longer eligible to be licensed. The 18-channel band plan used 16 channels of the 23 channel CB radios plus 2 extra channels, namely 27.095 and 27.195, to make up the 18 channels. The original channels 1,2,3,4,10,21 and 23 were deleted from the 18-channel band plan. So channel 1 on an 18 channel was actually channel 5 on a 23-channel radio. These roughly corresponded to the present channels 5–22, except for the two unique frequencies that are known as 11A (Channel 7 on an 18 channel Australian CB) and 19A (Channel 16 on an 18-channel Australian CB) or remote control frequencies but are no longer part of the Australian 27 MHz CB band since 40 Channels was introduced. On January 1, 1982, the American 40-channel band plan was adopted.
From the outset, the government attempted to regulate CB radio with license fees and call signs, but eventually they abandoned this approach. Enthusiasts rushed for licences when the doors opened at post offices around Australia in mid-1977 and by the end of the first quarter of 1978 an estimated 200,000 licences were issued (Australia's Population in 1978 was 14.36 Million). The regulations called for one licence per CB radio. The price for a licence in 1977 was AU$25 Per Year (In mid 1977 the Australian Dollar exchange rate was AU 90 cents to US $1), a not insubstantial amount for the average Australian wage-earner. Australian CB radio uses AM, USB, and LSB modes (No FM) on 27 MHz, allowed output power being 4 Watts AM and 12 Watts SSB. When UHF CB was first legalised the 27 MHz CB Band was intended to be closed to Australian CBers in 1982 and only the 477 MHz UHF band was to continue, but this did not eventuate. The first 477 MHz CB radio in 1977 was designed and made in Australia,
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All frequencies in the HF spectrum (3–30 MHz) can be refracted by charged ions in the ionosphere. Refracting signals off the ionosphere is called skywave propagation, and the operator is said to be "shooting skip". CB operators have communicated across thousands of miles and sometimes around the world. Even low-power 27 MHz signals can sometimes propagate over long distances.
The ability of the ionosphere to bounce signals back to earth is caused by solar radiation, and the amount of ionization possible is related to the 11-year sunspot cycle. In times of high sunspot activity, the band can remain open to much of the world for long periods of time. During low sunspot activity it may be impossible to use skywave at all, except during periods of Sporadic-E propagation (from late spring through mid-summer). Skip contributes to noise on CB frequencies. In the United States, it is illegal to engage in (or attempt to engage in) CB communications with any station more than 250 km (160 mi) from an operator's location.This restriction exists to keep CB as a local (line-of-sight) radio service; however, in the United States the restriction is widely ignored. The legality of shooting skip is not an issue in most other countries . A recent decision now allows the shooting of skip in the United States,
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During the 1970s and 1980s heyday of CB radio, many citizens band-themed magazines appeared on newsstands. Two magazines that dominated the time period were S9 CB Radio and CB Radio Magazine. S9's successor was Popular Communications, which had the same editor under a different publisher beginning in 1982. It covered hobby radio as well as CB. The same publisher produced a magazine called RADIO! for RadioShack stores in the mid-1990s. In Australia, CB Action Magazine was produced monthly from mid-1977 and continuing publication through until the early 1990s. CB Action spawned several other popular publications, including a communications and scanning magazine and the hugely popular Amateur Radio Action magazine, produced over several decades and running to some 18 volumes.In the early 2000s, National Communications Magazine added CB radio coverage to its coverage of scanner radios and to this day remains in only cover of the magazine of CB radio,