To talk about this I brought in Tyler from My Off Road Radio (@myoffroadradio).
One of the major factors that should go into you making your choice are the functions of the different types of radios. What do you want to get out of your radios, do you want it to travel far, easy to set up, clarity when talking to your friends on the trail. All of these are factors you should take into account when deciding what radio is best for you. If you think about your truck radio it has AM/FM frequencies. This is one of the major differences between CB and Ham Radios. They run on completely different frequencies with the Ham Radio on a much higher frequency. because its a higher frequencies the signal comes through much clearer then CB Radios.
Simple channel selection – CB radios have taken the frequencies options away from you and set them up as a channel selection. This is simple and easy to use because you can just select a specific channel ’14’ and make sure all your friends are on the same channel ’14’.
Simple channel selection – The negative side of this is there are many different options for the specific channels that you don’t have access to because the CB frequencies are set specifically.
Hard to set up – Need to set up the antenna and a tuner. Also if your antenna is set up and your buddies aren’t then you still can’t talk to each other.
watts – With a limited max power of 4 watts the range is limited
Entry price – There are lots of parts to set up a proper CB Radio from, the radio, handheld (usually included), coax cable, antenna, antenna tuner, and external speaker (optional)
Clarity – Ham Radios run at higher frequencies so its easier to understand what someone said even over a vast distance.
Watts – Many entry levels start at the max watts of CB and Ham Radios don’t really have a max cap. The more watts the farther the distance the signal will travel.
Entry price – The handhelds we are showing in the video are an entry version and that’s the complete system. You can buy alternative parts such as a hand mic, external speaker and boosted antenna, but they are all optional.
Learning the radio – When you first look at the radio it can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you’re coming from a CB. There are two sets of six numbers that show the frequencies. If you’re used to a CB that has a simple ’14’ then this can be confusing at first as you will need to type many different numbers to set up the same frequencies as your friends. Learning the radio does help before you have to take the test.
License – You need a Ham License to use the frequencies and watts. It can be a hefty fine if the FCC catches you and they are not forgiving. If you plan on using a Ham Radio you should study up (MORR) and go take the test that only costs $15.
Another future topic would be Repeaters where you will get the advantages of bouncing your signal from your small simple handheld to a Repeater then out to the surrounding area. A CB can get you up to a mile or so, a Ham Handheld can get up to 4 miles but when you hit a repeater then you can get (on a powerful repeater) well over 25 miles.
If you want to learn more about Ham Radios and how to get your license I would highly suggest visiting myoffroadradio.com. Tyler keeps all the classes/coursework for the offroaders, you don’t have to go anywhere, you can do it all at your house. Then you need to go FCC exam location take the exam takes about 15-20 min for about $15. Then you will be approved to use the Ham Radios