Amateur radios and CB radios always give tough competition to each other. Both have their pros and cons that make them special in their unique capacity.
Amateur radio or more commonly known as a 10-meter radio is the more powerful of the two because, with this device, you can communicate over longer ranges across a variety of frequency bands quite quickly as compared to the CB radio.
They also help the users send their messages to the other end with the maximum clarity ensured. But CB radios have their own charm and are easy to install and use as compared to the Amateur Radios.
Both these means of communication serve as your best companion on-road and off-road, especially when you are off for hiking, camping or some other adventure. Both these radio types give you excellent connectivity at points where the latest cellphones and other devices fail to perform at all.
Amateur Radio Vs CB Radio
In comparison, we find out that the CB radio users are more significant in number as compared to those using an Amateur radio. The biggest reason behind this fact is that CB radios can be operated by anyone without any license at all, but the Amateur radios are more strictly monitored
under the FCC laws and can’t be operated without a license.
Due to this factor, you will find the CB network still crowded with so many users during specific hours of the day. This characteristic makes the users opt for CB radios more frequently because they perceive it as a secure option that will assist them in finding some help in emergencies quicker than amateur radio.
There was an illegal but usual trend initiated according to which the CB radios were once modified for operating on the bands allowed to the Amateur radios. Now the users are looking for the other way around, and they want an amateur radio that can access the CB as well.
They are facing confusion about the power output conflict between the two and the legality of the entire situation.
Insights about using an Amateur radio for CB transmission
As an honest answer, you cannot use amateur radio for CB transmission as there is a big difference between their power outputs that cannot be eliminated without making some modifications in your radio. Haven’t you seen any modified CB radios yet?
Once you modify your amateur radio internally, you are acting against the FCC laws and are likely to get penalized soon. If you transmit on the CB with this modified amateur radio, you would be caught and charged with serious penalties by the FCC.
But the good news is that there are alternative ways through which you can make this venture possible, and they are discussed below:
- Look for the amateur radios that help you do the CB on the “receive only” mode. They can help you enjoy the connectivity on the frequencies or channels specified for CB only.
- You can also have two separate radios installed in your car. One receiver should be an HF/6M radio while the other one should be a 2M/70cm radio. They can help you achieve your goal with satisfaction.
- If you are bound by the small size of mobile amateur radio, then you can now get such CB radios from the market that are smaller than the amateur radios. So, you don’t have to get into the hassle of using a Ham radio for CB transmission. Just buy one of these small CB radios and get going!
- Once you have your small CB radio installed, do remember to mount a long antenna high on your vehicle and this will help you monitor the CB frequencies better than ever.
With this, we come down to the idea that for monitoring the CB frequencies effectively, there can be nothing more worthwhile than an efficient CB radio.
Even the most powerful Amateur radio won’t be able to deliver the same output as that given by the CB radio on its specific frequencies and channels.
Some Cautions for the users while using a CB radio
Generally, all the 40 channels on the CB band can be used for communication at any time of the day. They are not restricted to any particular person or purpose. But the users need to be careful about the following points while operating their CB radios:
- The users need to surf only through the 40 channels allowed by the FCC for CB operations. You cannot communicate through frequencies and channels above or below this band.
- All the channels can be used for emergency communications and for helping out travelers on the road. Whenever there is an emergency, try to sort out that call on your CB first. For ease of the user, Channel 9 is there to facilitate your communication during emergencies.
- All the CB radios can only transmit at a power of 4 watts in the AM mode while 12 watts PEP in the SSB mode. This power output cannot be increased anyway, especially by connecting any power amplifier or making any internal modification to your CB unit. If someone is caught violating these laws, he would be penalized severely by the FCC. Get your CB equipment from a trusted brand like Stryker and look for the FCC-certified label to be sure you are buying a legally-approved product.
- With a CB radio, you can communicate locally up to a short range only. Some CB’ers try to increase the range of their CB radio by shooting skip method, i.e. they make the signals bounce off the ionosphere purposefully. Due to this effect, they can communicate across thousands of miles very easily. FCC only allows you to communicate with the CB stations that are 155.3 miles (250km) away. So being within this limit is essential.
- While talking to other CB’ers on the network, it is important to be careful about how you communicate the message across your CB radio. Any kind of indecent language is prohibited.
- Users should communicate through the CB radio using the unique CB slang and the 10-code terminology for a unified mode of interaction. Each of the users should have his/her CB handle for identification. Keep the conversations short, i.e. only 5 minutes for each conversation with a 1-minute break before starting a new one.
Some of these guidelines call for the users to be considerate while operating their CB radios while a few of these cautions warn us about the consequences we can face by violating the laws of FCC.
As a concluding note, it is evident so far that the amateur radios are not only unable to monitor CB properly but trying to make this happen can also get you in trouble as running an amateur radio on the CB frequencies is illegal by all means.
Although you intend to operate on the legal frequencies allowed by the FCC and would hardly be noticed doing that, it is better to avoid this practice as that would be of little benefit for your cause.
Some extremely enthusiastic users idealize a radio that would contain a separate circuitry for both the types, i.e. amateur radio and CB radio. They would be able to switch from one circuit to another with one click of the switch and would be able to enjoy both the bands with their unique features intact.
With this switching effect, the users would find a decrease in the output power in the CB mode and the opposite in the Amateur mode. The radios would start being sold with both these circuits as their core features but with the same price.
Moreover, the speaker output for both the radios would be independent of each other, and the users would be able to enjoy a unique form of communication each time they would turn their radios on.
This idealization is, undoubtedly, the most innovative merger of the two different technologies, i.e. amateur radio and CB radio circuitry. But this venture is far from being realized now. It is a possibility that the future radios might have something of this sort in store for us all.