The difference between CB and Ham radio can be easily determined by three main points: power, range and typical use.
Ham radio and CB radio are both forms of wireless communication. In this article, we will explore the key differences between Ham and CB radio and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Overview of Differences Between CB and Ham Radios
|Modulation||AM, SSB||AM, SSB, FM|
|Power||4 Watts (12W SSB)||1500 Watts|
CB radio, or Citizens Band radio, is a type of radio that is available to the general public for personal or business use.
Unlike Ham radio, CB radios do not require a license to operate.
CB radios are primarily used for short-distance communication, and are often used by truck drivers, commercial operators (e.g. construction and security, hikers, off-roaders, and adventures to communicate reliably and instantly over short-distances .
CB radios can also be used for personal communication, such as for keeping in touch with friends and family while on a road trip.
In contrast, Ham radios (also known as amateur radios) allow you to communicate much farther than CB radios. They require a license to operate owing to how powerful they are.
Ham radio operators (popularly referred to as Hams) need to get up to three licenses. They use voice, text, digital and image communications to talk to other ‘hams’ over long distances.
Ham radios can be used for emergency communications, public service, and personal communication.
Difference Between CB and Ham Radio Range
The range of a radio is determined by the power of the transmitter, the height of the antenna, and the terrain of the area. Because Ham radios can transmit at higher power levels, they have a greater range than CB radios. Ham radios can reach distances of several hundred miles, while CB radios have a range of around 5 to 35 miles. However, the range can be affected by many factors such as atmospheric conditions, interference, and terrain.
The range of a Ham radio is better than a CB radio, and this is primarily because CB radios have a maximum power output of 4W. CB radios also run on frequencies around 27MHz while ham radios use VHF and UHF frequencies which relate to the 147Mhz and 440MHz frequencies respectively.
Difference Between CB and Ham Radio Power
Ham radio operators generally have access to more power than CB radio operators. Ham radios can transmit at up to 1,500 watts, while the maximum power for CB radios is limited to 4 watts.
This means that Ham radios have a much greater range and can transmit over much longer distances than CB radios. However, it’s important to note that many countries have different rules and regulations for how much power is allowed for Ham and CB radios.
While you can technically boost your CB radio to go over the 12W limit, however depending on where you live, you might run into trouble with the local authorities.
Difference Between CB and Ham Radio Uses
Ham radio is primarily used for personal and emergency communication, while CB radio is used for both personal and commercial communication.
Ham radio operators are required to pass a test and obtain a license to operate, while CB radios do not require a license. Ham radios are also used for emergency communication during natural disasters and other emergencies, when regular communication methods may be unavailable.
CB radios, on the other hand, are often used by truck drivers and other commercial operators to communicate with each other on the road.
Is a CB Radio Better Than Ham Radio?
It would be unfair to compare CB radios with Ham radios because they serve two different functions. While CB radios are ideal for short-range communication and have up to 40 channels, ham radios are superb for long-range communication and serve a different group of people altogether.
Final Verdict: The Differerence Between Ham and CB Radio
Ham and CB radio are both forms of wireless communication, but they have distinct differences in terms of power, range, and usage.
Ham radio is primarily used for personal and emergency communication, while CB radio is used for both personal and commercial communication. Ham radio operators have access to more power than CB radio operators and have a greater range, but CB radios are available to the general public without a license.
Both have their unique advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between the two will depend on the specific needs and preferences of the user.