Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Ham Radio and CB Radio


Ham Radio vs CB Radio

Ham has been the general term used to refer to amateur radio and its users. This is restricted to people who actually have a good grip on the subject of radio operations. In order to differentiate between those who are capable and not, the government issues a license and a call sign to those who are able to pass the examination that they give. In contrast, CB or citizens band radio is open to the use of the general public as a quick and easy means of communication. CB is loosely regulated by the government and you would not need to apply for a license unless you want to operate a station.

When it comes to the hardware, there are a lot of major differences. CB equipment is limited by law to transmit at 5 watts, while Ham radio equipment can legally transmit at power levels of up to 1.5kW. As we all know with radio, power levels translate directly to range and Ham has the ability for worldwide transmission while CB can only transmit for a couple of miles. Ham radio operators also have a much wider choice of frequency bands while CB radio is limited to the 27 MHz band. The restriction in frequency also reduces the applications that CB can be used to mostly voice transmission. On the other hand, you can use Ham for just about anything, including TV, microwaves, satellite communication, and even high speed data access.

Ham radio operators are also allowed to build and repair their own equipment as they have the proper knowledge on how the system works. CB radio users are not allowed to do the same as the stricter limits and the lack of knowledge of the general public can often lead to the equipment to go beyond what is allowed and break the law.

1. Ham radio is meant for amateur radio communications while CB radio is meant for general public use
2. You would need to pass a licensing exam for Ham radio but not for CB
3. Ham radio can transmit at much greater power levels compared to CB
4. You can use a lot more frequency bands with Ham radio while you are limited to using the 27mhz band with CB
5. You can use Ham radio for a lot of purposes while you can have limited use of CB
6. Ham radio users are allowed to build and repair their own equipment while CB radio users are not allowed to do so

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  1. Hello, I’m from Portugal and I’m translating a list of objects that includes:

    1. CB radio
    2. ham radio
    3. amateur radio

    as different things.

    Could you explain the difference between the three of them?
    Thank you

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