The Main Difference Between CB and Ham Radio Explained

amateur radio, ham radio communication, CB radio, ham radio users, amateur radio users

CB radio is capped at 4 watts of power by the FCC, whereas ham radio is capped at 1500 watts of power. Ham radio can potentially supply 375 x more capability as opposed to CB. If you run so much power, you are going to necessitate an excellent dual battery setup with a high output alternator.

CB Radio Versus Ham Radio

Ham is a generally used term that is referring to amateur radio and the users. This is limited to individuals who actually have a great deal of knowledge about the subject of radio operations. To differentiate between those who are able or not, the government issues a call sin and a license to individuals who pass the examination they provide them. In comparison, CB or citizens band radio can be used by the general public as a fast and easy method of communication. CB is slackened regulated by the government, and it’s not a requirement to apply for a license unless you wish to operate a station.


When it comes to hardware, there are many substantial differences. CB equipment is, according to the law, restricted to transmit at 5 watts, whereas ham radio devices can legally transmit at a power level of up to 1.5kw. As you know, with radio, power levels are directly translated to the range. While ham has the capability for worldwide transmission compared to CB that can only transmit for a few miles. Ham radio users also have a much broader choice for frequency bands compared to CB radio, which is restricted to the 27 MHz band. The limit in frequency also lowers the applications for which CB can be utilized, to mostly voice transmission. With ham, on the other hand, it can be used for basically anything, including microwaves, TV, satellite communication as well as high-speed data access. Ham radio users are also permitted to build and repair their handheld and other equipment since they have the appropriate knowledge on how a system works. CB radio operation isn’t allowed to do so since there are stricter limits applicable to them due to their lack of knowledge, which can lead to the equipment going beyond what is permitted, therefore breaking the law.

In Summary

Ham radio is intended for amateur radio communications, whereas CB radio is designed for general public use.

You would necessitate passing a licensing exam for ham while it has not required for CB.

Ham radio can transmit at a much more substantial power level than compared to CB.

You can utilize more frequency bands with ham, while the frequency with CB is restricted to using the 27 MHz band.

You can utilize ham radio for various purposes while there is limited usage for CB.

Ham radio operators are permitted to build and repair their equipment, whereas CB radio operators are not allowed to do so.


As you can see, there are distinguished differences between ham radio and CB radio. It is up to you which one you would like to pursue since both have benefits associated with their use.

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