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Nope. Different frequencies, different mode. CB is AM (or single sideband), and FRS is FM.
CB is kinda fun on some local hangout channels - the poor man's chatroom, you might say. CB's range is better than those little hand-held FM radios, and a lot of people hang out and chat over the air in rural areas like mine. It can be fun until someone gets drunk or silly. But there's nothing like it on those li'l short-range FRS handhelds.
No, They operate on completely different frequencies and modulation types.
Technically and legally any device that communicates with FRS must operate at the same power level. GMRS shares some frequencies but you must have a license to operate.
I assume you want something that can can communicate over more distance. May I suggest looking into Amateur Radio http://www.arrl.org/
Last edited by michaelk; 02-09-2010 at 02:35 PM.
Reason: add ARRL
Amateur radio UHF transceivers may reach the frequencies used by FRS. But it would probably be unlawful to hold a conversation between them, since the ham equipment is not allowed to transmit on the FRS frequency, even if it were to stay within the 500 mW power limit.
Just for clarification yes it would illegal to use Amateur Radio equipment to communicate with FRS radios. You also need a license to operate ham equipment. Amateur Radio is a great hobby for those interested in communications and it provides a much broader experience that Children's Band radio.
I mean, when I bought my first FRS/GMRS radio, I read the rules and regulations on the manual regarding the use of FRS and GMRS. And, thus far, I abided by the rules from the manual.
I know I can listen to HAM radio without a license, but not talk. Do you know if HAM radio has reserved channels for non-license use?
Yes, you only need a license to talk and no there are not any non-license use frequencies. Its rules, regulations, basic electronic knowledge and you have to take a test. You get a real license issued by the FCC.
Yes, the license is a set of rules and regulations governing what you may and may not do.
The amateur radio license is notably unrestrictive when it comes to technology - probably the least restrictive license a civilian can obtain. (It does, however, restrict the purpose - no using ham radio for business). Hams can build and use their own equipment, without having to get it approved. But in order to be allowed such a license, hams are expected to pass examinations, proving their competence and ability to stay within the rules.
Once I went to a "Field Day" event where a bunch of HAM radio operators had to set up communications out of a simulated disaster area. Meaning no commercial electricity. Something that could be set up to communicate with the outside world in the event of a big natural disaster with no ordinary means to reach the outside world.
It was awesome!! I saw Amateur satellite radio (I learned that Amateurs have their own satellites up there!), something called "packet" which is like text-only internet chat, something wonderful called E.M.E. (Earth-Moon-Earth) where they bounce radio waves off of the moon, Amateur television, radio teletype, telephone patches, and this wicked-kewl message relay system where they could send a message from me to my parents.
Remember it was HAMS who saved the world in the movie Independence Day when all that high-tech stuff wouldn't work. They bounce signals off the atmosphere and can reach hyooooge distances with amazing clarity and speed. LOTS of Morse Code going on at that event, and someone explained that Morse Code ("CW" - continuous wave) is super-efficient and can travel farther and maintain message clarity better than any other mode of transmission (Maybe that's why they tell us here in Florida that if you need to use the cellphone in the aftermath of a hurricane, that texting has a lot better chance of getting through - low bandwidth). I even got to chat with a HAM aboard the international space station!
Beats the heck out of CB! The HAMs called it "chicken band," lol. It's just for us rural kids to chat on locally, or helping truckers find their way (sometimes I can Mapquest directions for them and relay the info - but Mapquest doesn't know bridge clearances so you have to be careful).
But Amateur Radio is waaaaaay beyond that! Ohmygosh. They even sent messages from the site straight to the Internet using "packet radio!" Those guys were awesome. And y'know what else? Alot of HAMs use Linux! That's more proof of how smart they are.
Thanks michaelk and cantab for the additional info.
I was hoping that reading the rules and regulations from the manual would suffice if I bought a hand-held HAM radio.
The manual for a ham radio won't have them. The rules are in the license document. You'll be expected to know
If I do pursue this HAM radio hobby, I probably start with the Technician Class License which is for beginners.
That should be good. Although on the HF bands - which are the ones for long range communication - you can only operate Morse on some of the bands. Thus, if you want to be able to make contacts with far-flung places, and don't want to learn Morse, you may prefer the General Class.
Of course, there's plenty of good stuff you can do on the VHF and UHF bands. There are a myriad areas and specialisms in amateur radio. My own focus has been SOTA - Summits On The Air, taking portable radios up hill- and mountaintops and making contacts. Because you tend to use low power, and VHF can work very well if it's a high peak fairly close to towns and cities as well as being easier to put the antenna up, it might be a good choice for the lower license levels, and/or you want to do something active instead of sitting in a shed all night! Of course, if you live in East Anglia, Kansas, or Holland, it's not so good.