CB vs Ham Radio – What Are the Key Differences?

CB and Ham radio both are popular members of the radio community. Truck drivers keep Citizens Band (CB) radio for gathering information regarding locations, maps, road conditions, bridges, slopes, and travel-related issues. 

On the other hand, Ham radio is used for non-commercial purposes, emergency communication, recreational purposes, etc. However, many functions of these two types of radios are almost similar. Thus, people get confused with the basic functionalities. 

If you are a newbie or have less knowledge of the radio community, you should learn the key differences between CB and Ham radio.  Today, we will extensively show you the differences between CB and Ham radio in our article.  Let’s get started.

CB vs Ham Radio – What Are the Key Differences?

CB vs Ham Radio-Overview

A Brief About CB Radio

Citizens band radio, we call CB radio, is one of the most popular communication methods in the modern World. The history of CB radios started in the United States of America back in 1945. However, the radio then didn’t ramify with its functions what we are enjoying now.

Initially, these radios were used for the USA coast guard. And, the radio reached its peak of popularity in the 1970s. But, with the invention of telephones, mobile phones, and smartphones in the 21st century, CB radios have lost their real appeal.

However, these radios still have some quality features that retain their values among the users like truck drivers and car owners.

Read Also: Top 6 Affordable/cheap CB Radio For Off-Roading

A brief About Ham Radio

Many people call it amateur radio, but the name “Ham Radio” has gained much popularity. In the 19th century, the ham radio was born. But, it started gaining public attention in the early 20th century.

Many people use this radio for teaching English, Geography, math, and science in the classroom. Now, ham radios are used for non-commercial messages, emergency communication, and entertainment.

CB Radio Vs Ham Radio- A Great Battle

Both radios are excellent sources of communication, but there are some basic differences between these two. Let’s see the differences…

Difference in power: 

The key player that creates the major difference is the watt at which the radios transmit a signal to other stations.  The area coverage depends on the wattage consumption of the radio. Ham radio comes with the power of 1500 watts, while a CB radio has the power range of 4 watts for AM but 12 watts for SSB. 

So, it is very clear that the frequency signal of a Ham radio can travel around the World while a CB radiofrequency is limited to some miles around. 

Difference in users:

Who are the users of these radios? You need to know that. As a ham radio can reach faraway land, it is used for emergency communication from one place to another long-distant station. 

On the battlefield, military personnel frequently use this radio for transmitting emergency messages. Plus, ambulance workers, hikers, adventurers, and firefighters are the frequent users of it. 

On the other hand, truck drivers keep CB radio with them to get updates of roads, weather conditions, traffic, maps and hazardous routes. The radio works well to gather all these pieces of information due to the limited frequency coverage. 

Difference in licensing:

The use of a Ham radio requires licensing. Without a license, using a ham radio is a crime. The radio waves circulate beyond the boundary line. Ham radio signals are an international concern.  Many people get involved in crime internationally and deal with people from different parts of the World with a Ham radio. 

That’s why a country Government asks the users of this radio to get a license. Usually, if you want to get a license, you have to face an examination. If passed, you will be given the license to operate ham radios frequently. 

In contrast, CB radio doesn’t require any type of license. I mean, licensing isn’t mandatory for CB radio users. 

You ask why?  Because this radio has limited frequency capacity and can’t be used for crime. So, no concern is there with CB radio.

Difference in Antennas:

The antenna for CB radio must be large in size. According to the experts, the antennas should be at least 100 inches long for better performance. 

While antennas for ham radios can be shorter and it works well. The minimum length of the antenna should be 19 inches. 

Difference in Frequency Range:

CB radios run on 27 MHz while Ham radios in VHF and UHF mode run on 147 MHz and 440 MHz frequently. 

Difference in Bands:

CB radio bands are AM and SBB, while Ham radio bands are HF, VHF, and UHF. 

Difference in Number of Channels:

CB radio has around 40 channels, while Ham radio channels are user-specific

Final Thought:

Literally, there will be no winner between two types of radios if the battle goes on. These radios are the king in their respective field. 

However, knowing the difference between CB and Ham radio will be worth the investment when you buy a two-way radio. 

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