What is the difference between Ham radio and CB radio? & How to Choose the best?

Some people may be under the impression that Ham and CB radios are one in the same — but this is not the case. CB radios are more accessible, as you do not need a license to operate one legally.

CB Radio

CB Radios:

> Operate in 27 Mhz bands, 5–12 Watts
> Only permitted in the US
> 40 channels

HAM Radio

Ham radio is a bit more complex:

Known as “amateur radio equipment” which the operator themselves must obtain a license for (needs to be well-versed in using Ham Radio)
>1–1000 Watts
> Permitted to use larger antennas on buildings up to 50 ft. High or more
> Send out a highly directional beam to receiver

Now, you may be wondering why these two are held to different standards.

This is because of the knowledge base that the Ham operator must possess in order to not cause issues or interference with other users. They must also know what to do in an emergency radio traffic situation.

If I may say so, it is almost like the difference between babysitting and being a CPR certified nanny. Both have the same general idea; one just knows how to handle certain situations the other does not and, therefore, is more qualified.

How to choose the best CB radio for you!

CB radios come standard, with four Watts of power. Before purchasing, you must consider the size of your vehicle, and whether a specific brand of CB will fit. They come in a variety of sizes to suit your needs and fit into multiple types: standard, compact, large, etc. This is important to consider, especially if your vehicle is compact, or large, like an RV, for example.

These mobile units will typically cost between $40 and $200, depending on your needs and what you are willing to spend. The most popular brand of CB radio is Cobra, which can be found across the entire world. Cobra, Uniden, and Galaxy brand CB radios will cost you more on the upper end of the scale.

Recommendations for these brands from buytwowayradios.com include Uniden PC68LTW, Galaxy DX 959 SSB, Cobra 148 GTL SSB. The least expensive option they recommend is Uniden PRO510XL, which they claim is a great option for new users (only $39.99).

It is important to note that, with mobile units, the antennas are not included, but an excellent guide to choosing one is linked above. They can be purchased in kits or separately from the mount.

Last to note is the cosmetic look. You will want to decide whether you want your new CB to be flashy or discrete, which may affect the price level of your CB as well. Take as much time as you need to find the perfect CB radio for you. Feel free to use any of our listed references to help guide your decision.

Final Words

I hope you found this article informative and helpful, whether you are simply curious, or are truly interested in having a CB radio of your very own. They are incredibly handy to have in any situation from the weather, to traffic barriers, to low-reception areas such as campgrounds or the great outdoors. Not only will you have a safety net for you at all times, but you will own a piece of history itself.

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