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Author Topic: Ham vs. CB  (Read 854 times)
WINGO
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Posts: 4




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« on: May 23, 2005, 08:25:32 PM »

I do not understand the difference between HAM and CB radio.  Can someone please explain to me this difference?  Does a HAM radio just have much more distance and power than a CB?  and is it worth buying a ham radio if you have a cb?
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AE7GL
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Posts: 62




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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2005, 09:57:38 PM »

> I do not understand the difference between HAM and CB radio.
> Can someone please explain to me this difference? Does a
> HAM radio just have much more distance and power than a
> CB? and is it worth buying a ham radio if you have a cb?


Well, it's like this...

CB has no licensing requirements that I'm aware of.

Amateur operators must be licensed by the FCC. That includes passing a written test and for the higher class licenses a morse code test as well.

CB has 40 specific channels(120 if you count SSB) in the 11 meter band.

Amateur radio has thousands of possible frequencies across numerous bands ranging from 160 meters up thru the gigahertz bands.

CB is limited to 5 watts of power.

Amateur stations can run up to 1500 watts.

CB radios must be "type accepted". Meaning they are set up by the manufacturer and nothing can be changed or modified(other than being repaired to specs by a qualified technician, of course).

HAM operators can and do make almost any modification you can think of including building their own radios from scratch.

CB operators are limited to AM(Amplitude Modulation) only.

Ham operators have AM, FM, SSB, CW, various digital modes and TV that they use.

CB has no repeaters that I'm aware of. Most communication is generally "line of sight".

Ham has repeaters, satellites, IRLP and Echolink on some bands. All of which can be used to extend communication to almost anywhere in the world.

I don't mean to sound elitist. Many HAMs also have CB's. It's just that there is a big difference in between the two types of services. CB is fine for chatting with your buddies across town or checking traffic with the nearby truckers. Amateur radio will do everything from across the street to around the world. And does it very well.

I'm glad to see you're interested and asking questions. That's a good way to learn. Hope to see you on the bands one of these days.

73
KD7ZKF
Charlie
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WINGO
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2005, 12:47:45 PM »

 > CB is fine for chatting with your buddies across town or checking traffic with the nearby truckers. Amateur radio will do everything from across the street to around the world. <

To me that sounds definately worth it to buy a ham radio. You can communicate across the world..even the nation..that's awesome. So basically you can talk to whoever you want basically from almost wherever you want and there would always be people to chat with. That just sounds amazing to me because it sounds like such a step from a CB.  It's like going from a tv with only an antenna..to a tv with digital cable network. (haha) I'm gonna guess the reason most people don't get into Hams is because of the license deal, but communication across the nation! cmon!
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AE7GL
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Posts: 62




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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2005, 03:47:42 PM »

You can't ALWAYS talk to where ever you want. Band conditions change with the sunspot cycle and such. And right now we're in the low end of the cycle. But there are still plenty of sporadic openings. A couple days ago 6 meters was open over a big part of the US. And you can usually find someone somewhere on one of the bands. Today you might find Canada. Tomorrow it might be the Azores or Europe. The next day you may have the South Pole. Conditions are always changing. That's what makes it interesting. And with the right equipment you can make your own conditions. Some HAMs use EME. That's Earth-Moon-Earth. It takes a good antenna and enough power, but you can bounce your signal of the moon and back. With that any two places that can both see the moon can talk to each other. Lots of possibilities. Look up the closest Ham dealer or club in your area and go talk to them.
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KF6ZLB
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Posts: 101




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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2005, 06:36:54 PM »

Advantages to CB:
1) No licensing/testing required. (HAM operation now has three levels of licensing.  Each higher level offers more privileges and requires more testing.)
2) Monitoring Ch 19 can be interesting or even informative on the road (listening to truckers)
3) CBs are cheap compared to most HAM gear (I was told "HAM" stands for "HAD A lot of Money" with the emphasis on HAD.
4) Don't need to remember to ID every 10 minutes and at your last transmission of the conversation.

Advantages to becoming a licensed HAM:
1) More courteous operators in general (BUT still some jargon -- more Q-codes and less 10-codes, that is, more hamspeak and less CB-speak; AND still some jerks, but a smaller percentage).
2) A bit more of a chance to find a useful or interesting niche as mentioned in the previous reply: a) Low power operation   b) Homebrew equipment   c) Satellite communication   d) Sending and receiving images, including TV video.  e) Other non-voice modes including numerous digital text modes and CW (Morse Code)  f) Reliable, clear voice communication in your (extended) local area using Very High Frequency and Ultra High Frequency repeaters  g) Talking around the world with a signal that bounces off an atmospheric layer.  h) Bouncing signals off the moon (difficult) or meteor tails (very short lived)  i) Getting involved in providing volunteer radio support for events like charity walks and bike rides, or parades, races, etc.  j)  Being prepared (and preferably trained and practiced) to provide emergency communication if your area is ever hit with a natural disaster resulting in a loss of power and/or phone service.
3) Can legally communicate LONG distances and have more flexibility (many High Frequency bands) in attempting to find a frequency that has an opening to some part of the world at the particular time/season/sunspot level (requires General or Extra level license).
4) Homebrew antenna experimentation can range from the small (at VHF and UHF frequencies) and simple to large and/or complex.
5) You can still use your CB whenever you want.
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N5RO
Member

Posts: 12




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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2006, 02:51:21 PM »

Hi,
One should add that getting the license (passing the test)is not that hard anymore. Some handhelds sell for under $100 and used rigs are available at swapmeets very cheap.

While not recommended, MANY people just memorize the answers to the questions and take the short quiz to get a Technician License and with IRLP (Internet Radio Linking Project) you can even talk to foreign countries or around the U.S. with a 5 Watt handheld or 50 Watt mobile VHF or UHF radio. You can talk to the astronauts on the Space Station, all of whom are hams.

When you're ready to upgrade to General Class, the FCC will have probably dropped the Morse Code requirement, which is only 5 WPM anyway - pretty easy.

If you're an off-roader, RVer, hiker, etc., ham radio is invaluable as a survival tool when cell phone signals are not there and some handhelds can be used with a GPS for locating people.

The list is endless - join the millions throughout the world who belong to this great fraternity of communicators.

Jim
N5RO
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N5RO
Member

Posts: 12




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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2006, 03:02:35 PM »

One more thing: Most ham radio clubs offer free license classes. Check your phone book to see if there's one in your area or ask the local radio repair shops - many of them are run by hams. There are even some radio & tv broadcast stations that have hams working for them, though not as many as there used to be.

If nothing else works, check the American Radio Relay League at www.ARRL.org for a club near you, and they have a publication named "Now You're Talking" which has all the Q&A for the Tech License.  This publication used to be sold at Radio Shack, but any old copies would be out of date as the question pool changes from time to time.  The text is also sold a Ham Radio Outlet and Amateur Electronic Supply stores in various cities.

Good Luck,

Jim
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N0MUD
Member

Posts: 85


WWW

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« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2006, 11:28:41 PM »

This is to Kd7zkf and I hate to do this but you said CB'ers only us AM and I beg to differ but when you get up to Channel 36 and up to 40 you use SSB as in Single Side Band and mostly the LSB or the Lower Side band tho I have heard some HAMS er CB'ers use the USB or the Upper Side Band. So channels 1-35 normally are for AM or Amplitude Modulation.

I see you are a General so I hope you take some of what I said in jest.

For WINGO, I hope that is NOT a CB handle and if it is then when you become a HAM you will not use a HANDLE anymore and when you talk to fellow HAMS some will tell you their HANDLE is: and then will ask you for your HANDLE, well one ham here in Colorado says his handle is Revere Ware, you know pots and pans, in other words he doesnt have a HANDLE but a NAME. So please in HAM RADIO NO HANDLES just NAMES. So good luck, take the test, get your Technician license and have fun.

73's N├śmud
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AE7GL
Member

Posts: 62




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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2006, 11:45:25 AM »

N0MUD,

You are absolutely right that CB uses more than just AM. I stand corrected.

However, in my defense, I also said "CB has 40 specific channels(120 if you count SSB)"

And yes, I took it in jest. HIHI. If I make a mistake or mis-statement here I would prefer someone correct me rather than having somebody else learn something that's wrong. So thanks.

73
Charlie
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