The lower frequencies tend to be affected by solar and weather patterns, however, they do have the ability to reach considerable distances with that lower power. CB runs on 27 MHz frequencies. While all of this makes sense as far as ease-of-use, it’s not without limitations. So using something like the APRS Website, you can view Ham radio operators, as well as the locations of ships and yachts. Ham VHF and UHF runs on 147 MHz and 440 MHz respectively. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop them in the section below. CB radio is limited exclusively to Line-Of-Sight communication. We aren’t getting into all of that here. See more on the pros/cons of CB vs. HAM below, but it is safe to say that a CB Radio is a must. New user registration has been turned off. Since they are so versatile, it seems like almost every antenna comes with a different type of connector. There is a reason why pretty much every SAR team uses ham. Now I know right off the bat I’m going to get some ruffled radio feathers and some “matter-of-fact” comments down below. This is mostly due, in part to the prevalence of CB in the 60s and 70s. Cellphone, internet and telephone services were affected, along with ATMs, banks, and other entities. I spent 8 years in the Navy as an electronics technician and did the last 3 1/2 of them teaching communications repair at a Navy "C" school. It’s a sad truth that CB radios are frequently abused by a considerable number of users and this does interfere with other approved radio communications. A lot of us experienced this at some point in our lives; you probably called them Sergeant [4-year-specialist-who-just-got-promoted]. CB is capped at 4 watts of power by the FCC. Because, really, most off roaders don’t want or need to learn morse code for anything. The History of CB Radio vs Ham Radio . Anything shorter and they require an swr meter and tuning to get to work properly on the range of 10-20 channels you want it to work well on. Uniden BEARCAT 980SSB 40- Channel SSB CB Radio . There are quite a few handheld ham radios that are bumping up the power to 8 watts and even 10 watts of power. Selecting a CB radio can be as easy as running to your local big box store and purchasing one right off the shelf. FRS and Marine are both limited to Line-Of-Sight communication just like the CB. Better off to get a decent ($100ish) CB for that use, and a good mobile HF rig if you want to play on the HF bands. Essentially any situation that needs a base camp and the ability to delegate heavy radio traffic is a good candidate for GMRS. For those unaware, Amateur Radio Operators (Hams) are ferociously passionate about their hobby and will defend it against all threats, real or perceived. Once you feel the freedom of communicating with a two-way radio, you may gravitate toward wanting to talk to people at a much further distance than CBs and GMRS radios … The best way I have found, is to get a couple of the Baofeng BF-8HP or GT-3TPs. While anyone can access your channel and sub-channel on their GMRS radio, it’s more like ships passing in the night as far as channel-use goes. Which is what your hard wired CB operates at. The most popular compact CB radios are the Uniden 510 PRO XL and the Cobra 75 WX ST. The biggest thing I feel I need to stress after all of this is to seek proper training and get a license. Most handheld ham radios are operating at 4-5 watts of power. Ham radio is relatively new in the off roading scene. For trail communications with your buddies, using a repeater is overkill and you would want to just talk straight to them rather than use the repeater. There were multiple methods of comms going on that day and at least having a handheld ham radio, I could at least listen to the other half of the groups comms. This is a skill-set and it needs to be nurtured into a seedling and then maintained to ensure strength and resilience. Just make sure they run on an open frequency like a MURS or FRS frequency , The other way that I have had work well, is get a ham license, get a hard wired radio in your buggy and run a 37″ antenna. And since cell phones weren’t invented yet, and VHF and UHF radios were too expensive, CB communications quickly became the status quo for off roaders. Ham VHF and UHF antennas just require a minimum length of 19.5 inches. There’s no situation in which your unlicensed transmission is acceptable for any recreational purposes. One of my favorite ones to answer is the Ham Radio vs CB debate. Thus you get better performance, in a less invasive space. For off road CB is king, if you guys go off road in a 4×4 a CB radio … I only hold Technician class in the USA, because it’s the only thing I’ve needed. Not only is it more difficult to setup a properly functioning CB system on your vehicle, but it is becoming a more expensive option than simple ham radio setups. Firestick actually wraps the antenna wire up around a fiberglass center. Ham Radio . Then sit your mobile radio on a popular repeater (for NorCal (Rubicon, Barrett, Fordyce areas), use the N6ICW Sacramento repeater). These skills are perishable. That is still 10x more powerful than your CB. I always turn up the volume on my mobile ham radio whenever I leave the rig… Whether I have it sending the signal to my handheld or not… Just to see if anyone notices it and starts up any conversations. The level of profanity and vulgarity I witness regularly on the CB is so extreme that I often forget I’m in an educated country. Over open water, or flat lands like deserts, a properly tuned CB running the legal limit power will get you 5-20 miles. I’ll cover the operation of repeaters in the next section, but the important thing to remember is that they can dramatically increase usable range of your radios within a given service area. Thanks to the generosity of our supporting members and occasionally earning money from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate, (when you click our Amazon links) we’ve eliminated annoying ads and content. I got into ham radio as a result of off-roading. Given the Internet presence of Australian explorers and the common design and functionality of the radios between our countries, it makes the most sense as far as my assumptions go. This made most people who wanted “wireless communication” get into CB. Cobra 29 LX 40-Channel CB Radio. This is mostly due, in part to the prevalence of CB in the 60s and 70s. The amount of power you will be able to use with a ham radio depends on your licensing tier, but you can quickly surmise that a ham radio will have the greatest range. I also want to point out that for this piece, my experience is exclusively rooted in the laws of the United States of America. Plus using one for vehicle to vehicle and the other to … You just plain can’t do that with a 4 watt CB. This means that you have to spend some more time, money, and effort to tune your CB antenna with an SWR meter. Essentially, the user sets their radio to the output frequency of the repeater (the frequency a repeater broadcasts on). Ham has repeaters EVERYWHERE. The AM has a lot of white noise and static compared to FM signals. This means that the radio can only be used to broadcast within the device’s range and only to other radios like the one you’re using. December 16, 2020 December 6, ... To talk about Ham Radio, we have to be very explicit on the subject because it is a group of people, in the style of the Radio Amateurs Club. In the height of CB, there were 40 frequencies allocated to the cause. The only difference right off the bat is that we use frequencies instead of channels. Packet radio gives users with properly equipped radios the ability to send images, emails and other types of digital information. So, check out our ham radio antenna installation article to make sure you have the correct connectors for the antenna options below! And the handheld ham radios are only 25$. The Uniden 980 CB Radio traits progressed in a contemporary design. There are also some advanced systems we have access to that make navigation, communication and emergency response considerably more viable. Shop the ITS Store for exclusive merchandise, equipment and hard to find tactical gear. This means that I can communicate with my Russian Ham radio buddies using my 2-meter radio (a radio with an effective range of maybe 60 miles on an analog repeater). There are no viable loopholes to make this worth using and they also have some of the same performance limiting drawbacks as FRS. The only drawback is that everyone needs to be on the same page and equipment can become quite costly. Most hard wired mobile ham radios operate at 50 watts. You could set the display in up to four colors. However, using them on land is illegal, barring very specific circumstances. Best Ham Radio For Off Road 2020 posted on November 16, 2020 In this article, we will present the top 10 best ham radio for off road available on the market, along with our expert reviews. In this video we quickly go over a few of the differences between HAM radio and CB radios to help you decide which might be better for you. Equipment you need for wherever your adventures in life take you. CB uses AM, Ham VHF and UHF uses FM. If you tune it to channel 1, you will get a great signal on 1, but then have no signal on channel 40. Along with this inherent drawback, it’s also very easy to obtain. With ham radio becoming more prevalent, there are tons of people out there wondering why they should consider it for their trail communications over CB. To answer the question about Ham Radio, or Amateur Radio; with a Ham Radio license you can use the same frequency ranges, and more in the VHF/UHF bands, and more bands for better distance. So how do I get everyone else to switch? Ham Radio Antenna 37″ Option 1: Browning Dual Band 37″ NMO Ham Radio Antenna, Ham Radio Antenna Option 2: Comet Dual Band 40″ Fold Over NMO Ham Radio Antenna, Ham Radio Handheld Antenna Option: Dual Band Rubber Duck SMA Male Connector (Most Yaesu, Kenwood, Icom, Alinco HandHelds), Ham Radio Handheld Antenna Option 2: Nagoya 15.6″ Rubber Duck Dual Band SMA Female for Baofeng Radios, CB Firestick Antenna Option: 5 ft CB Antenna Stud Mount. Helping you get home safe with ham radio classes online and in person, trail maps and reviews, MORRFlate 4 Tire Off Road Inflation Deflation Kits, and "MORR"! Period. Techniques to help you prepare your transportation and enhance your travels. Products. If you’ve just spit out your coffee reading that, grab a napkin and I’ll explain. I recommend off roaders to tune their antennas for channel 10. CTCSS will be important later when we discuss GMRS and Ham. New to the off road world and not sure if you should get a CB radio or a HAM radio for your Jeep or 4×4 vehicle? There’s much more to their function, but this is how they work at a rudimentary level. It operates in the HF (High Frequency) portion of the radio wave spectrum(3 to 30 MHz). Filter Products. And, of course, don’t forget to check out our MORRFlate 4 Tire Off Road Inflation Deflation Kit! There’s a way to increase your power legally on this band, but it’s well beyond the scope of this article. This is considered by some to be the Holy Grail of radio services, but for many, it continues to be shrouded in a fog of mystery and wonder. In order to get all 5 bands working off the same radio, I have to have 2 duplexors, and a switch setup to run the 4 antennas on 1 radio. You don’t need a license for CB radio either, which is another reason why ham enthusiasts resent being called CB radio users. If you want to keep in touch with us when we add new content, join our newsletter! If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. This band isn’t regulated as heavily and there are a ton of users. Derek is a veteran of the US Navy and a former Navy Corpsman who worked alongside the US Marine Corps. So, if sunspot and atmospheric conditions are right, CB signals can bounce in our atmosphere and become international communications devices. We often say ham radio communication will be the last standing form in the event of a disaster. So these systems function by basically plugging repeaters up to the Internet and then broadcasting those signals over VoIP and into repeaters around the world. There are definitely still local analog repeaters in use today and they’re just as wonderful as they were before the days of D-Star and C4FM networks. Uniden Off-Road CB Kit. However, they are generally around 48 to 60 inches long. Ca. Welcome to 4x4 Ham. While you may struggle to find emergency frequencies on GMRS in your area, a single license will cover the entire family. The FCC actually calls this the “Personal Radio Service.” CB frequencies are nestled between two common high-frequency Ham radio bands that are used quite often. This is a lot of information to process so I’m going to head for a conclusion. Please get licensed and if you know anyone operating without a license, feel free to report that to the FCC. Because using a ham radio requires you to have a license, many 4 wheelers do not wish to devote the time required to obtain a license. These radios are commonly used at events or offroad competitions. CB History. There’s no standard for who’s using which radio platform, but GMRS makes a great option for families that tend to travel remotely together. Up until 2005, there was a restriction on getting your ham license. 3) You are correct! It can be complex, so I’ll be brief. So, we did the legwork for you and reviewed the best CB antennas below. Knowledge and tips to give you the mental edge and prevail in any situation. Because off-road vehicles lend to have small cabs, a compact CB radio is often a good fit. It will RX AM very nicely though, I listen to truckers with it regularly. FRS does share some frequencies with GMRS, but it gets a bit complicated. There are definitely periods of radio silence, but I can recall 4×4 events where CB wasn’t even an option because all 40 channels were in constant use. Tips on staying active, fueled and ready to overcome all obstacles. Equipment mentioned: The CB radio … Let’s get past the ramblings and talk about the pros and cons. If you look at a Firestick antenna, you can see the wire wrapped up all the way to the top of the antenna. General and Extra class used to require proficiency in Morse Code (CW), however, those guidelines have been abolished. As for ham radio over the road the only frequencies I can think of are the calling frequencies.. Each city and town will have their own frequencies and repeaters they congregate up on and this is why you need to know whats what in ham radio. While all of this makes sense as far as ease-of-use, it’s not without limitations. CB radios have historically been very cheap and easy to use, and they don’t require a license. The problem is that there are so many options, we either default to the bad ones or we take the advice of someone that doesn’t actually know what they’re talking about. CB used to be a great communication tool. Usually, these repeaters are situated very high in the air like on a building or mountaintop. ?” You then talk about the range and how you are able to talk to a repeater in Vacaville from on top of Cadillac Hill and challenge them to get their CB to do the same thing haha. 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