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The exponential growth in wireless services has resulted in an overly crowded spectrum. The current state of spectrum al- location indicates that most usable frequencies have already been occupied. This makes one pessimistic about the feasibility of integrating emerging wireless services such as large-scale sensor net- works into the existing communication infrastructure. Cognitive radio is an emerging dynamic spectrum access technology that can be used for flexibly and efficiently achieving open spectrum sharing. Cognitive radio is an intelligent wireless communication system that is aware of its radio environment and that is capable of adapting its operation to statistical variations of the radio frequency. In ad hoc cognitive radio networks, a common control channel (CCC) is usually used for supporting transmission coordination and spectrum-related information exchange. Determining a CCC in distributed networks is a challenging research issue be- cause the spectrum availability at each ad hoc node is quite different and dynamic due to the interference between and coexistence of primary users. In this paper, we propose a novel CCC selection protocol that is implemented in a distributed way according to the appearance patterns of primary systems and connectivity among nodes. The proposed protocol minimizes the possibility of CCC disruption by primary user activities and maximizes node connectivity when the control channel is set up. It also facilitates adaptive recovery of the control channel when the primary user is detected on that channel.