General Differences Between a 2M and a CB?

Boston Mangler

Expedition Leader
#1
ok guys, take it easy on my ignorance on this

what are the differences between the 2m radios and the CB's?

i "thought" 2m's were essentially CB's just much more powerful and required a HAM license.

but now i see people installing CB's AND 2M radios in their rigs. why is that? are the 2m's programmable so you can enter the CB stations?

are 2m radios hams?

thanks
 
#2
Boston Mangler said:
ok guys, take it easy on my ignorance on this

what are the differences between the 2m radios and the CB's?

i "thought" 2m's were essentially CB's just much more powerful and required a HAM license.

but now i see people installing CB's AND 2M radios in their rigs. why is that? are the 2m's programmable so you can enter the CB stations?

are 2m radios hams?

thanks
Good question Mangler, here it goes;

CBs do not require a license, Ham radions(2m, otherwise known as VHF, do). Although it is a fairly straightforward 35 question multiple guess.

CBs operate around the 11m wavelength,Ham radios operate on others(HF 160-6m,vhf 2m,uhf 70cn)

CBs are limited to 4 watts, Ham radio have much higher limits. The one in my truck has 50 Watts.

CBs operate point-to-point, VHF/UHF can operate through a repeater which will take your signal, boost it and retransmit.

Most 4 wheelers tend to have cb, so I have a cb in my rig to talk to them while wheeling. Also have a handheld(cb and 2m) to use while spotting or checking out a trail on foot

I prefer to use the VHF/UHF bands if others in my group have that capability.
VHF/UHF generally has much longer range with a ham rig.

I alos have my 2m radio setup to broadcast my position and receive other position reports while on the trail.

It is also possible to hook a vhf/uhf rig up to a computer and send network packets to a repeater that has a internet link.

Overall, the vhf/uhf radio is much more versatile, BUT I keep a cb around because more of the people that I wheel with have them,
 

pskhaat

2005 Expedition Trophy Champion
#3
One more note in that it violates FCC reg's to have a radio that operates in CB freq's that also transmit in other freq's; that's why you don't see any CB/FRS combination radios (which would be a useful thing).

If you want to look at UHF communication without testing requirements (just pay a fee), you can examine GMRS http://www.provide.net/~prsg/wi-gmrs.htm . I'm actually very suprise most non-Ham off-road enthusiasts don't use this.
 
#5
Steve Curren said:
If I may also ask a question I would like to. Does the 2 meter radio use any more power than a CB and what special installation is there if any?
Thanks
CBs are limited to 4 Watts. VHF/UHF have a much higher limit.

My Kenwood D700A puts out 50W on VHF.

Kenwood recommends a install wired direct to the battery, although Adam has his connected through a distribution unit.

Since it is drawing more current, you just need thicker wiring.
 
#7
Correct. Most of your basic 2M/440MHz ham transceivers will draw 10-12 amps when using maximum output power. They'll use considerably less when transmitting on the lower, 5-15 watt, settings. However, you want a little headroom to be safe, so I suggest 12 gauge wire as the optimal choice to hook up any radio. It is flexible enough to route through the cab, but heavy enough to not introduce excessive voltage drop between battery and radio. It should also support any new radios you may switch to in the forseeable future (say, from a CB to a dual-band ham rig, or from a dual-band to an all-band HF model.)

A distribution block is fine, too, if you have other things to power from the battery, and saves you future work routing more wires. It also makes for a very clean positive battery terminal. In that case, run 8, 10 or 12 gauge wire from the positive battery terminal to the block and 12 gauge wire from the block to the radio. Wire the block's ground to a local chassis ground near the block.

I use my distribution block to power my Kenwood TM-D700 and Garmin GPS. Each device has its own fuse on the block, and I have four fused terminals left for future needs. The entire circuit is protected by a heavier fuse on the main line near the battery. What you really do *not* want to do is attempt to power your ham or CB radio from another circuit already in the truck. Either radio will draw enough current to damage most of the smaller gauge wiring in the truck. Similarly, a cigarette plug will introduce lots of noise and possibly damage the wiring. Go direct to the battery, or wire up a dedicated line to a dist block and take power from the block.
 
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#8
Thanks, with all this knowledge the next thing is to get licensed to own and operate a 2 meter radio. I currently use the family radio with the people I go out with but I would like to get a better radio just in case I get to go out with the big boys.
Thanks again,
Steve
 
#9
The ARRL book "Now You're Talking!" is a great study aid. Spend a few hours with it and you should have no trouble passing the Technician Class exam. Then get yourself an HT or a real mobile rig and you're set.
 

Jonathan Hanson

Supporting Sponsor
#12
I've just been immersed in this question, since I recently bought a two-meter radio and installed it on a shelf across the top of my front roll cage. I'm mostly through the "Now You're Talking" book and will be taking the test soon. The book is excellent.

I bought an Icom IC 2200H for a bit less than $200 locally. I could have saved $20 or so by ordering over the web but I wanted to give the great little local ham shop my business. The Icom is a mil-spec unit, which among other things in this case means it doesn't need a cooling fan; the entire body is a heat-radiating unit. The Yaesu FT 28800M is very similar in specs and price. Each is extremely rugged.

The Icom came with a high-quality 10-gauge wiring harness which I ran into my engine compartment to the auxiliary fuse block there. The harness has two inline fuses as well. Hookup was simple. I'm still deciding where to mount the antenna. I have a dedicated bracket on my rear rack that would be perfect, but only about ten inches of the antenna would extend above the roof, and I'm not sure how much that would limit my range when transmitting to the front. Any advice from you users?
 
#13
blaze one said:
What is the cost of a 2m radio anyways? , are there certain options that we should look out for when choosing a 2m suitable for off road use ?
You really don't need anything special. Yaesu and Icom have some dedicated 2M radios, any of which is a fine choice. I would choose mainly based on how much you like the UI and button size and arrangement of each particular unit. Some folks just sorta like one over the other. Whatever floats your boat. Kenwood makes excellent dual-banders.

If you want a little more versatility, get a dual-band radio so you have access to repeaters on the 440MHz (70cm) band. They cost a bit more but if you know you have some good 440 repeaters in the areas you visit, it's worth considering. Again, no special features really set one radio apart from the others for most beginners, so your choice is largely a matter of preference. The exception is the Kenwood TM-D700A, which is good for APRS if you think you want to explore that. If you're not sure, don't bother with that model.
 
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#14
Jonathan Hanson said:
I've just been immersed in this question, since I recently bought a two-meter radio and installed it on a shelf across the top of my front roll cage. I'm mostly through the "Now You're Talking" book and will be taking the test soon. The book is excellent.

I bought an Icom IC 2200H for a bit less than $200 locally. I could have saved $20 or so by ordering over the web but I wanted to give the great little local ham shop my business. The Icom is a mil-spec unit, which among other things in this case means it doesn't need a cooling fan; the entire body is a heat-radiating unit. The Yaesu FT 28800M is very similar in specs and price. Each is extremely rugged.

The Icom came with a high-quality 10-gauge wiring harness which I ran into my engine compartment to the auxiliary fuse block there. The harness has two inline fuses as well. Hookup was simple. I'm still deciding where to mount the antenna. I have a dedicated bracket on my rear rack that would be perfect, but only about ten inches of the antenna would extend above the roof, and I'm not sure how much that would limit my range when transmitting to the front. Any advice from you users?
I wouldn't worry too much about that mounting point. It's always a good idea to borrow an SWR meter to be sure you're not getting too much reflection back into the radio.
 
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