Are you a radio lover, but do not you understand anything about it yet?
It is true: one of the decrees of the heart and the love of radio is not enough to understand this.
It is important to understand the difference between radios because you can easily get lost in the variety of radio communications.
Most radio amateurs are wondering “Ham or CB radio?” Despite the fact that both types of different, this question is logical. Radio for amateur radio as a wedding dress for the bride – it must be the best and meet all the requirements.
So, let’s find the answer to it in this CB vs Ham radio article.
What is CB Radio?
If you are not familiar with the essence of the matter, the CB radio information will be not only new but also useful for you.
CB radio became popular in the 70s of the last century. And since then, people around the world have used CB radio as an excellent means of communication. This radio is probably the most common radio that most amateurs use.
CB radio is a special radio for several reasons.
If you have CB radio, most likely the radio has no memory of the last channel. It means that the radio will return to the emergency channel immediately after you turn off the ignition in the car. On the one hand, you will have to look for the right radio channel every time you start the car.
On the other hand, CB radio “cares” about your safety and there is nothing to worry about having to listen to the emergency channel several times. Better to say thanks to all the CB radio developers!
We need to note that this feature is not an axiom and may not occur in some models. CB radio supports only one radio line. You never know what happens on other waves.
CB radio is ergonomic! You do not need to hold the microphone constantly in your hands, you can place it on the panel within reach, and use the mount when you want to listen to the radio. All CB radio is small, so if you install it on a mount, the radio will not take up much space.
Moreover, CB radio can have a convenient backlight, large buttons, and so on.
Many CB radio has a Side-band SSB feature. This feature is useful because it gives the radio the ability to use more power (up to 14 W) to give a large range. If other radio stations have such a function, you will enjoy using the radio even more.
There is an expensive CB radio that has the function of a police radio scanner. But this is not necessary for everyone. Plus, you can use CB radio as a PA speaker.
CB radio is a very useful thing with a lot of useful (and not useful) functions that are sure to be useful to you on the road.
How About Ham Radio?
Like CB, Ham radio did not appear yesterday, but at the end of the 19th century. It turned out to be particularly popular during the First World War.
Until 2005, there was a problem – without knowing Morse code (and successfully passing the test) you could not get a license to use Ham radio, which means you could not use it. Since 2005, knowledge of Morse code has become optional, and a license has become available without it.
A huge number of people adore Ham radio because this is the only way to connect with civilization on the roads, in bad weather, when there is no connection and you cannot reach 911. In this case, Ham radio will be your lifeline in a sea of failures.
Ham radio is mobile and portable. Regardless of the form, all the characteristics of this radio are similar.
To begin with, Ham radio is cheaper than you think, and possibly cheaper than CB radio (especially when it comes to portable Ham radio).
Ham radio has a small built-in speaker and therefore there are some difficulties with the signal transmission (CB radio also has this feature), so you need to use a microphone or something like that to use the radio.
Ham radio also has useful features. One of these functions is the automatic positioning system APRS. This feature is useful because it makes the Ham radio GPS navigator. Not all (but many) radio models can save a GPS tracking on an SD card (yes, you can use an SD card in radio too).
This function is useful because having such a radio in your car, and having lost it, you can find a car on the site aprs.fi.
Ham radio has digital support. Such a function makes the transmission and reception of the signal better.
In addition, the Ham radio case has 2 radio modules (this is built in). What does it mean?
Imagine the situation: you communicate in one chat/ channel and so on, and in theory, you cannot find out what is happening on other channels; the second radio module gives you this opportunity. That is, you can be on one channel and simultaneously scan information from other channels.
Two radio modules can be useful not only for those who like to eavesdrop. You can use one radio station to connect to the repeater, and at this time the second module can be used for local chat (this can also be connected to the repeater).
Finally, Ham radio has a longer spectrum, more power and requires a license!
CB vs Ham Radio
If you have read this far, then some idea of the difference between the two legendary radios has already been formed for you.
Actually, both radios are completely different.
The difference is significant: on the one hand, you have only one band, but you do not need a license, and on the other hand, you can experience the pleasure of using a two-way radio, but you better stock up with a license.
Let’s try to summarize it like this:
Everything is simple here. CB Radio does not require any licensing, and Ham Radio requires a license for the time you are going to use the radio. A license is not just paper, it is the test from the FCC, (and then it is paper).
But let’s be honest: in some countries, CB radio is prohibited, and you will need permission to do so. In general, there is not unique.
CB has only one band, and Ham Radio has several bands available. But this does not mean that CB Radio is useless, you can switch 20 different bands. It is quite enough for a simple radio amateur.
Here the difference is more significant. And most likely, what type of radio you will buy will depend on this item.
CB Radio will be an excellent choice for local calls, and even if the radio is your hobby, or you want to know the weather while driving, in traffic and so on. Ham Radio is a different story because it works on long distance and is suitable for other occasions.
You will be surprised that Ham Radio has no channels. What is it? Only the frequency ranges. CB Radio definitely wins this round because it has between 20 and 40 channels depending on the particular model.
Moreover, if we add another CB SSB radio station to this, then the number of channels will sharply increase to 120.
The modulation methods of CB and Ham Radio are different. For example, CB Radio has such modulation as AM and SSB. What about Ham Radio? It has more modulations, namely AM, SSB, FM, and RTTY.
It is hard to say that power is “ace in the hole” CB or Ham Radio because in both cases we are dealing with limited power.
The FCC has limited CB Radio power to 4 W (for AM) and up to 12 W (for SSB). But you do not need a license. Although this is a small problem that the amplifier can solve.
Or if the power is not enough, then you can use amateur radio. Why? Ham Radio has a power of up to 1500 watts. Ham Radio is about 400 times more powerful than CB. Honestly, 1500 watts is the theory, most often you will meet Ham Radio with a power of 50 watts.
Yes, CB Radio consumes less energy, and Ham Radio is more powerful. However, we need to remember that CB Radio is a radio for general use, and Ham Radio is an amateur radio (sometimes called that).
Regardless of your choice, you need to take care of the license or the excuse before the police why you use CB (joke).
When choosing, determine your goal. Why will you use the radio? How much power do you need? Finding answers to such questions will help you choose the best radio for you.
And keep in mind: you cannot repair CB Radio in case of breakage, as it is prohibited by law. If you are a fan of “fixing up” something and a handyman lives inside you, then you had better make a choice in favor of Ham Radio.