Ham Versus CB Radio

Ham Versus CB Radio: 7 Reasons They Are Different

Ham radios and Citizens’ Band radios each have their benefits. They’re designed to operate in different places on the electromagnetic spectrum, so they use different frequencies and have different bandwidth needs for optimal performance.

7 Reasons They Are Different:


Unlike CB radio, Ham radios are more structured. There are a series of classes that users acquired through a series of tests and certifications. Each level has its own set of privileges, and each level opens up new types of frequencies to use on specific brands.


Ham radios and CB radios have different ranges. Depending on how far you plan to talk on your CB radio, this may be an important factor for you. If you want the maximum range for your CB radio, get the best CB antenna you can afford. For a ham radio, the range may not matter as much as the other factors to consider.

Quantification – Hams Want To Know How Much Is In The Circuit

To transmit on the amateur radio frequencies, you not only need to be licensed, but you also need to use a device that is capable of transmitting in that range. You can’t just take a crystal radio and plug it into those frequencies. It’s going to work as a receiver without a license, but not as a transmitter. This is one of the differences between ham radio and CB radio. It’s okay for CB radios to be crystal radios (though still illegal) because they are only supposed to be used for receiving communications anyway.

Used For Recreation

CB radio is built for recreational use. Its name comes from the Citizens Band frequency that it uses, which is exclusive to citizens. Radio enthusiasts use these frequencies to make voice or data communication over short distances, usually within a specific city area. However, this communication can be made in just about any country with the technology to do so. So, if you are looking for CB radios for sale, the internet is the first place to start.

 Modes of Communication.

The most common way to communicate on CB radio is SSB (single sideband) and AM (amplitude modulation). The most common way to communicate on amateur or ham radio is voice communication via FM (frequency modulation) and CW (continuous wave). In addition, hams can use packet radio and digital modes such as PSK, RTTY, and various computer programs like JT65 and WSJT (weak signal communication).

The Ham Radio license is much more difficult to obtain than the CB Radio license.

Obtaining a ham radio license requires proof of passing a written exam called the General Class License Exam. It also requires an application fee which can cost almost $200, depending on your location and age. This license allows one to operate on several frequency bands in the HF spectrum and above that is exclusive only to licensed operators.

Each country has its own laws regarding band permissions and modes of transmission.

Both ham radio and CB are used internationally, but they each follow different regulations in each country. Sometimes the difference is something as small as one additional frequency or an extra channel, but other times, it can mean the difference between using your device legally or getting into serious trouble with local police. To know the frequencies you can legally use in each country you visit, check out World Radio Spectrum Maps.

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