CB vs. 2 Way

Discussion in 'Communications' started by Canadian, Oct 11, 2009.

  1. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

    I want to get some communication devices. I was wondering what would be the best way to go. I don't want to worry about licensing or complicated equipment.

    I thought a CB would be good. I could have a CB in the car and then have hand held units in case people need to leave the car. We could also use these to communicate close to the house. I like the idea of being able to call for help if we're on the road. Some handhelds use regular batteries - an idea that I like since I don't have to worry about recharging.

    It seems the 2 ways are smaller, use less power, have more channels. However, they're only good for communicating with your personal group. They also claim to have a better range. They also generally use lithium batteries.

    I live in the city. I don't know what that means in terms of how many people will be using the CB's in the area.

    I'm leaning towards the CB as it seems more useful. What do you guys think?
  2. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

    I have a 29LTD Classic CB that is peaked and supertuned. It's alot of fun and sounds like a big radio, but it's been years since I used it regularly. I sometimes take it with me on road trips. We also have a VHF on the sailboat. It is quite handy for travelling and getting into port or listening for the weather. The VHF can only be used legally sea to sea or land to sea, land to land is illeagel. I am also thinking of getting 2 way radios to round out the system. Radio Shack has some that will reach up to 15 miles (Motorolla) for around $50.00. I also like the idea of rechargable batteries. 2 ways are nice as they will help prevent everyone from listening to your conversation.

  3. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    I have both 2-way (FRS) and CB-radio. If the 2-way is on the right channel, I can talk to 2-way users with my CB-radio and vice-versa...

    I have Cobra 2-way radios that have an internal charger that recharges 4 AAA batteries. If the power runs too low on those batteries, then I can pull them out (quick and easy) and put in some non-rechargeable batteries instead and use those for a while.

    When I am in the mountains, my 2-way's have a range of approx. 4km even though they have a decal that states they have a 10 mile range (16km range). In Calgary, I have used them in malls for "cheap" communications (no cell use), used them at work when re-adjusting the security-cams - etc - and they work well enough in those situations. I can use them when pack traveling with friends to converse while driving down the highway (and we can still see each other) or when trail-riding (off-roading) to describe problems or issues we are having.

    For CB use - the range is very limited by your setup. If you just "throw it in", you might get a 20' range. You need to make sure that you have the right ground-plane, the right antenna (and tuned to your radio), the right length of antenna wire, the right noise-canceler hooked to your power-leads - etc. When setup and tuned in properly (no illegal signal booster) you should be good for 20 - 30 miles. A good truck-stop with radio-shop will be able to set that all up for you easily - or - look in the local yellow-pages under radios and communications for someone close by.
  4. kc5fm

    kc5fm Emergency Manager

    Ham Radio

    In the USA, with the statement that you don't want licensing gives you two choices. CB or Family Radio Service are the two.

    Citizen Band on 27 mHz has greater range because of higher power, five watts versus less than one watt and the frequency allows for "skip". However, during sunspot maximum periods, such as what we are entering now, the CB radio, especially during the day, will be almost useless because of "skip".

    FRS, on the other hand, has a range up to a mile maybe. You have fewer channels on FRS but because it is less used, the channels are not crowded as they are on CB.

    Of course, amateur radio offers you flexibility with lots of channels, modes, and support from local clubs. It's going to take a license though, something you don't want.

    Hope that helps.
  5. kyfarmer

    kyfarmer Well-Known Member

    I have noticed the price of cb's have gone up here. And related item's. At the outdoor market's camping, hunting and fishing stuff has went up in this worseing ecomny. I,am still looking for a used decent base station. Priced right of corse.
  6. Canadian

    Canadian Well-Known Member

    It sounds like the best setup will be a CB radio in the car and some 2 ways for the home. I was on the Cobra website and they seem to have some good models. I'll have to find a truck stop that will install the right antenna etc. The Cobra 2 ways look good too.

    Thanks guys!
  7. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

    Hi Canadian, Going to a truck stop is a very good idea. I should probably go and have my CB tuned up at one also. You might also get an education on antennas while there. A good antenna is just as important as the radio. While there check out all of the items they have that run on 12 Volt from a cigarette lighter. I am working at going more and more AC DC both on the boat and in an off grid cabin. ;)
  8. fs1911

    fs1911 New Member


    I believe that MURS (Multi Use Radio Service) is allowed for use in Canada now, as well as the US. It provides 5 VHF channels at 2 watts output. No license is required. Truly legal new radios are a little hard to find owing to some of the requirements, but older commercial radios are grandfathered.
  9. bunkerbob

    bunkerbob Supporting Member

    Canadian, sounds like you are a pretty savvy guy with a lot of computer knowledge, my wife and I went to a police dept inexpensive sponsored HAM radio licence class, a couple of weekends and weekdays and they almost guaranty you to pass. Then the sky is the limit, opens up all sorts of possibilities including talking at extreme distances. Some gear even has APRS, like a GPS system, capabilities to track others and send your location to others along with communication. Also there are numerous ways to connect your computer up to the net using HAM gear.
  10. mmszbi

    mmszbi Junior Member

    The key to ANY radio is the antenna, your set is only as good as the antenna.
    If you are in Canada or Alaska, VHF is the way to go, most all the truckers, timber or longhaul run VHF. You can always get ahold of someone. When I was running between Anchorage and Seattle every week, not many folks on CB, anyone I needed to get information to or from was on VHF. I run a Kenwood TM-271 at 65 watts and have talked to others at over 150 miles LOS without repeaters. IF you have the tones and frequencies for local repeaters distance is greatly increased.
    These guys have great equipment... http://www.theantennafarm.com/catalog/
    Here in US lower 48, the system is not as forgiving and you will need to get the license or nobody will chat with you. So, CB with sideband is the norm, but again, your antenna will dictate how good your radio will perform. Once you get licensed, check out mobile systems in 10, 40, 80 meter.
  11. almac

    almac Active Member

    i would do it all...
    CB radios are cheap... antennas are cheap, and easy to build.
    FRS radios are also cheap and easy to get.

    next step is Ham(im lisenced in canada). course wasn't too hard.
    Basic 2m radios are as cheap as a few hundred bucks. they have really dropped in price over the years... start with a cheap handheld.
    there are some REALLY nice radios now, like the yaesu 7xr
    Ham gives really good range, and autopatch as a bonus. repeater service in my area is great, and free. in canada, once you get lisenced, its' for life with no renewal fees. :D

    if you think you can't afford Ham, save up... its' worth it.:2thumb:
  12. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    What to expect from your CB-radio and properly tuned antenna / coaxial cable and mounting position.

    Operational Distance at CB Frequencies -- ©1997 FIRESTIK® ANTENNA

    Short version of that quote, your milage may vary (YMMV)
  13. mdprepper

    mdprepper I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...

    Ummm....I think I may be confused:scratch

    I know what a CB is, my cell phone has that push to talk feature, I have walkie-talkie type radios that we use camping.

    The walkie-talkies have a distance of about 2 miles. Are they the same thing as FRS radios??? Or is the cell phone push to talk thing an FRS system???
  14. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    The "walkie-talkies" that you have are probably FRS radios that work on CB-radio channels, but, are highly portable and can work upto 25miles (line of sight) meaning that if you have a farm and can see a combine working on the other side of the property, you can probably still talk with the person that has the other radio.

    If you find a picture of the radio, I can probably confirm that for you.

    Your cell-phone "push-to-talk" uses the cell-system to act like a radio-repeater, so, you would need to be in a cell-coverage zone for those to work.
  15. mdprepper

    mdprepper I sold my soul to The_Blob. He had candy...

    These links show the radios that I have.

    Audiovox GMRS 602 PK 6 Mile GMRS 2-Way Radio: A Perfect Father's Day gift - Audiovox GMRS-602PK 2-Way Radio Walkie Talkie Twin pack with 6 Mile Range - Epinions.com

    BellSouth 1010PR (14 Channels) Two Way Radio - Product details and features - DealTime

    They have always worked well for us. We use them to communicate in the cars (usually 3 or 4 in a row) as we drive the 6+ hours to West Virginia for vacation. We also give them to the kids when the go exploring. Cell service is very spotty where we are. I originally bought them so I could talk to my daughter when she walked to school (1 mile), I was a little "overprotective" I am told. :)

    Edit: In searching for the photos, it kind of answered the question. I have FRS, GMRS, and did not even realise it. I kind of always thought of them as "toys", not serious communications options.

    I love this site, I learn something new almost everyday!!
    Last edited: May 7, 2010
  16. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    :congrat: I am glad that you learned that you have some good communications and not just simple little toys. :congrat:
  17. bassman

    bassman Active Member

    I'm with bunkerbob on this one, Ham is the way to go, the possibilites are endless! I just got my license and I am still learning the ropes. I gave up on CB's years ago because I got tired of listening to all the A--holes and all the crap out there! I have a couple of multi-channel walkie-talkies for close range and a hand held ham radio for the more serious stuff! I work with the local CERT.
    There are exceptions, once while traveling down south, my wife and I hooked up with some truckers on the CB and they were real nice with helping us find directions. not all Cber's are a==holes! So Don't take this personal if you're a CBer. I still have mine but don't use it much anymore.
  18. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    IMO&E most a-holes on the CB are (pre)teens just being kids (pushing boundaries?)... after all:

    anonymity+audience=a$$hole :lolsmash:
  19. GeoMonkey

    GeoMonkey Member

    The FRS claims on the boxes are all WAY overboard. Unless you're on top of a mountain and talking to someone in a clearing outdoors, you're not going to get more than ONE MILE in most situations.

    One thing I haven't heard anyone talk about is CB's with single-sideband. The Midland SSB-CB I have in my truck, with standard power, has talked to Australia when the conditions are right. You get 12 watts output on lower or upper SSB, legally. Not as many folks have them, but if you have two of them, it's an advantage talking clearly to your "other-half" and is almost like scrambled to non-SSB radios. Better security.

    I will stick with my regular HAM radios though for clear communications.
  20. bassman

    bassman Active Member

    Thanks for that piece of info GeoMonkey, maybe I'll look into a couple of SSB radios for the wife and I to communicate back and forth.