4 Types of CB Radios Explained

CB Radios have come a long way from their origins as truckers' necessities to versatile consumer electronics. Modern CB Radios use the latest technologies to transmit messages in excess of 10 miles, and most feature some form of new technology that improves sound quality or reception.

What are the 4 types of CB Radios?

The are 4 types of CB Radios are: Standard 2-way CB radios, classic handheld units with large antennas designed for mobile use, handheld walkie-talkies, and base CB stations built into your vehicle's dashboard so you can talk while driving. 

Let's take a more in-depth look at the 4 types of CB Radios:

There are 4 types of CB Radio styles: Standard 2-way CB radios, classic handheld units with large antennas designed for mobile use, handheld walkie-talkies, and base CB stations built into your vehicle's dashboard so you can talk while driving.

1. Standard 2-Way Mobile CB Radio:

The standard 2-Way CB radio is the common name used by manufacturers to describe a basic two-way CB radio, designed for use in mobile applications. They feature an internal antenna and are typically powered by 12 volts of DC current.

These units usually come with one or more external antennas that provide better transmitting and receiving capabilities when used on the road.

You'll also get batteries, a microphone, and mounting hardware when you buy your CB radio.

Typical features of the Standard 2-Way Mobile CB Radio include frequency display, adjustable squelch control, and output power control that allows for fine-tuning to achieve optimum performance under different conditions.

Additionally, the standard mobile unit will often give you access to weather information through the NOAA radio station, which makes it a handy tool to keep in your vehicle.

Standard Handheld CB Radio -

If you want portability and have no desire to install anything permanently into your vehicle's dashboard or interior, then a standard handheld unit offers the perfect solution. These units feature an external antenna that is designed for mobile use; however, if you want to use it at home, there is a mounting bracket that will allow you to attach it to your desk. The case for these units comes in many different varieties.

Typical features of the Standard Handheld cb radio unit include frequency display, adjustable squelch control, and output power control, which allows for fine-tuning to achieve optimum performance under different conditions.

Cobra HHRT50 Road Trip Cb Radio - Emergency Radio, Travel Essentials, 2-Way Handheld Black Radio with Rooftop Magnet Mount Antenna, NOAA Channels, Dual Watch & 40 Channel Access

Additionally, the Standard Handheld cb radio unit will often give you access to weather information through the NOAA radio station, which makes it a handy tool to keep in your car; however, if you want access to more than one channel at a time, then you'll need a multi-channel Handheld CB Radio.

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Standard Home or Recreational CB Radio -

The Standard Home or Recreational unit type of CB radio offers the same features as its mobile cousin, but with more power and extended range.

These units feature an external antenna designed for home use; however, there are also mounting brackets available if you want to install them on your desk. There is a large selection of cases for this type of unit, and they're often called "Superstar" units because of the large variety available.

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President MCKINLEY USA SSB 12/24V CB Radio

Standard Deluxe CB Radio -

The Standard Deluxe unit type of CB radio offers the same features as its mobile cousin, but with more power and extended range. These units feature an external antenna designed for home use; however, there are also mounting brackets available if you want to install them on your desk. There is a large selection of cases for this type of unit, and they're often called "Superstar" units because of the large variety available.

The CB Radio Deluxe features are usually added by upgrading to 6 or 7 watts of power output from 5 watts. The advantage is some additional transmitting range, but it will also put your radio outside of the FCC's current legal maximum power limit for CB radios in the United States.

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Multi-Channel Handheld CB Radio -

When you want access to more than one channel at a time, then you'll need a multi-channel unit. This type of Handheld unit usually has 5 or more channels available and features memory storage for the channels, so you can access them even if your radio is turned off.

If you travel to other countries where the channels are different from what we have in the United States, then this is an ideal way to get more out of your radio, assuming it's designed for use outside of the United States (many of them are not).

Mini Handheld CB Radio -

If you want to connect to your car or job site from a distance, but don't require powerful transmitting abilities, then a mini handheld CB Radio transceiver may be just what you're looking for.

These devices are also called portable, handheld, hand-held, or mobile CB radios and they feature built-in rechargeable batteries that can be charged using a standard USB cable from your computer.

These units typically include a lanyard for holding the cb radio while not in use or mounted to your vehicle's dashboard.

Mini CB Radios offer basic transmitting features like channel scanning and peak/hold tuning along with speakerphone capabilities for communicating hands-free through the unit's tiny built-in mic or pair of optional headphones.

Many of these handhelds can even send text messages directly to other drivers within range using an on-screen keyboard!

A mobile CB radio system allows you to communicate directly with others using your own handheld device via the airwaves from a wide variety of locations, whether it be on the side of the road or deep in thought as you pass through the familiar territory on your way home from work each day.

The most important part of any such setup is making sure that you have an antenna mounted high above your head for transmission and reception purposes.

If you're having trouble communicating with those around you then take some time today to make sure that both ends are clear so everyone can hear what's being said!

Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio

2. Classic handheld units with large antennas designed for mobile use

What are classic handheld CB radios?

Classic handheld CB radios are a great way to communicate on the go. These feature full-duplex communication, meaning that you can speak and listen at the same time.

This is a huge advantage over other forms of wireless communication like cell phones and walkie-talkies which are only capable of half-duplex communications (one party listens while the other party speaks). Better yet, these mobile CB radios operate over 40 channels.

Classic handheld CB radio has a few advantages over modern small walkie-talkies and cell phones for communicating on the go. First, they are more powerful than basic walkie-talkies and cell phones. This allows you to communicate over long distances with other classic handheld cb radio users.

Midland - MXT115, 15 Watt GMRS MicroMobile Two-Way Radio - 8 Repeater Channels, 142 Privacy Codes, NOAA Weather Scan + Alert & External Magnetic Mount Antenna (Single Pack) (Black)

At the same time, they don't emit a lot of signals like ham radios which means that they aren't as likely to interfere with emergency communications systems (they are also much more affordable than ham radios).

When compared to cell phones, handheld CB radios are much more durable. They will survive harsh weather conditions and rough handling that is generally expected when going mobile.

Classic handheld CB radios also offer a lot of flexibility in terms of how they are used and where you can use them.

At the same time, they don't require any contracts or expensive monthly fees as cell phones do. This means you are paying for only what you actually need when it comes to mobile communications tools.

Handheld CB radios use a special technology called frequency modulation (FM). It is the same technology that allows FM radio stations, walkie-talkies, and cell phones to transmit voice signals over various types of bandwidths while allowing them to be received by a large number of people.

Modern CB radio systems are typically used by truck drivers to maintain contact with the rest of their convoy without having to rely on cell phones or other forms of wireless communication.

They are also a great way to keep in touch with friends and family while riding your motorcycle through unfamiliar territory!

Whatever use you may have for this device, there is no denying that a CB radio will continue to serve you well as long as it's taken care of and maintained properly.

Classic handheld CB radios can help you stay in touch with fellow travelers who may be driving further down the highway than you are.

These units have been around since the 1970s and have become an important part of the mobile communications landscape.

They are a popular means for commuters to keep in touch with each other when using their car on the highway during rush hour or long-distance travelers who want to maintain contact with fellow passengers or the driver without having to wait until they reach their destination!

Midland – MXT115 - 15 Watt GMRS MicroMobile Two Way Trails Radio - Off Roading Outdoor RZR Farm - 8 Repeater Channels Extended Range - External Magnetic Mount Antenna - NOAA Weather Alerts
  • 2-WAY RADIO: The 15-Watt MicroMobile is a two-way radio device that operates on GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) frequencies. Its 15 high/low power channels provide increased range, Clearer communication over a longer range. Its channel scan allows you to search for active channels in the area. The MicroMobile is used for activities, such as camping, hiking, hunting, outdoors, and business. Its compact size and easy-to-use interface make it a convenient tool for communicating on the go.
  • GMRS: The GMRS channels used by the 15-Watt MicroMobile walkie-talkie are licensed by the FCC for personal and business use. These channels have a range of up to several miles, depending on terrain, weather conditions, and obstacles in the way. While a 40-mile range may be possible under ideal conditions, it's important to consider terrain and other factors that can affect the range of the radio in use. For best communication, it's best to test the range of your radio where you plan to use it.
  • PRIVACY CODES: The 142 CTCSS/DCS privacy codes of the MicroMobile walkie talkie allow you to select a specific code to use with a particular channel, which helps to prevent unwanted transmissions from being heard on the same channel. This provides a level of privacy and security for your communications, especially in crowded areas where multiple radios may be in use. Use silent operation to turn off all tone
  • NOAA WEATHER SCAN + ALERT: NOAA Weather Scan will automatically scan through 10 available weather (WX) band channels and locks onto the strongest weather channel to alert you of severe weather updates. NOAA Weather Alert will sound an alarm indicating that there is a risk of severe weather in your area. NOAA Weather Radio will also be used to broadcast AMBER alerts for missing children.
  • MIDLAND MICROMOBILE: Take your radio range to the next level with the most powerful GMRS two-way radios on the market. These compact radios bring reliable and versatile communication to overlanders, off-roaders, farmers, RV’ers, and others. The MicroMobile is compatible with all Midland FRS/GMRS walkie talkies. Whether on a hunting trip, exploring outdoors, or working on a farm, the MicroMobile can help you stay connected with your team or family, even when you're far from civilization.

3. Walkie-Talkie Handhelds

What is a walkie-talkie handheld two-way transceiver?

Walkie-talkies are a great way to stay in touch with your kids or pets when you're away from home. They provide an easy and inexpensive alternative to cell phones or classic handheld cb radios which can be expensive and complicated for non-professionals.

Small walkie-talkies have been around since the 1940s but they have seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to their compact, modern designs and easy-to-use functionality.

The smallest walkie-talkies that are commonly used today are called palm or pocket-size units. They look something like cell phones and feature crystal clear communication in both transmitting and receiving modes. This is thanks to the high-quality functions built into them.

In terms of ease of use, small walkie-talkies are the most user-friendly CB radios on the market.

Midland - T10 X-TALKER, 22 Channel FRS Walkie Talkies - Extended Range Two Way Radios, 38 Privacy Codes & NOAA Weather Alert (Pair Pack) (Black)

They do not require any special training to operate and their small size makes them easy to carry around or stash away in a pocket until they're needed.

This is unlike larger handheld CB radios which often have buttons that you need to memorize in order to use them properly.

Small walkie-talkies come with rechargeable batteries that can last anywhere from 6 to 20 hours per charge depending on the model you have.

There is also a wide range of power options which means they can be used in almost any location and under almost any weather condition.

This makes them an excellent way to keep in touch with your family when you're on vacation, camping, or simply just enjoying a sunny day outside.

They also work well for police and military professionals who may be conducting covert operations!

If you want to stay in constant contact with your friends or family while going out on the town, small walkie-talkies are an excellent way to go!

Fixed power handheld CB radios are used by a wide variety of people including law enforcement and military professionals, taxi and truck drivers, electricians, plumbers, and construction workers.

These tools are invaluable because they allow users to communicate with their colleagues over very long distances without having to rely on cell phones or the internet.

This gives them an extraordinary level of situational awareness because they can talk to people in different locations almost instantly and without delay.

Walkie Talkies RV-7 with 22 FRS Channels, Rivins Walkie Talkies Long Range for Adults with LED Flashlight VOX Scan LCD Display, Handheld Walkie Talkie for Hiking Camping Trip (Orange 4 Pack)
  • 【Ultra-portable 2-way Radio】 Preset 22 FRS channels plus 99 set of CTCSS tones, provides an extensive frequency usage (up to 2178 combinations), License-FREE in the US.
  • 【Long Range & Easy Operation】UHF radios support up to 5 miles communication range in open fields, provide 0.6-1.2 miles communication in built-up areas or obstructed conditions. Walkie Talkies for adults in outdoor activities hiking camping road trip as well as for kids to keep in contact with parents.
  • 【Built-in Backlit LCD Screen, Speaker & Mic】 LCD display shows you the battery status, channel number as well as the sub-tones, Volume level, and signal status, etc. Built-in flashlight for night use or emergency.
  • 【More Features】Voice Operated Transmit (VOX) supports the hands-free operation, Keypad Lock prevents unintended input, Call tones enables you to ring other radios before sending voice, Roger beep and Channel Scan Feature supported.
  • 【Battery Operated】The easiest way to power the walkie-talkie, just replace the batteries when the battery is low, save your time from charging. They use both AAA Alkaline batteries and AAA rechargeable batteries, provides you with the most flexibility. [Please place the battery in correct direction following the polarity marking to avoid potential circuit damage by short circuit.]

What is a fixed power handheld CB radio?

Fixed power two-way CB radios are typically larger than small walkie-talkies but smaller than classic CB radios. Their heavier, solid construction makes them ideal for work or military use where reliability is a must-have.

These units are also known as "single-channel" CB radios because they only support one communications channel which is what gives them their fixed power nickname. This means that you can only communicate with people on your own channel and not talk to users who are on other channels. This makes these tools incompatible with walkie-talkies and cell phones which support 2-way communications between multiple users.

Fixed power handheld radios are available in a variety of different options so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Some models allow you to store up to 30 channels while others feature adjustable transmit and receive frequencies. You can also find them with or without built-in NOAA weather channels.

For those who require a long battery life, there are models that will last up to 6 hours per charge and even come with a charging case so you can easily take them on the go without worrying about running out of juice!

Some models also offer hands-free talking options so you can communicate while simultaneously performing other tasks like driving or walking a dog.

If you're looking for a powerful, long-range CB Radio device that's simple to use but not cheap, then fixed power handheld CB radios are perfect for you!

Many different people can benefit from using an amateur or ham radio including police officers, firefighters, and even U.S. Army soldiers on the front lines of battle!

In fact, ham radio is often used in emergency situations to help people communicate when cell services are down or the internet goes out!

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4. CB Base Station

What is a CB Base Station?

A base CB station is a very powerful way to communicate over long distances with

friends and family or even co-workers. In fact, this type of radio setup can maintain communication almost anywhere within the continental United States! Base stations are designed for use in stationary locations like:

Eton Elite, The Classic AM/FM/LW/VHF/Shortwave Radio with Single Side Band

Farms or Ranches - If you have a large farm that needs constant attention throughout the day, then it may be wise to invest in your own CB base station.

This will allow you to remain up-to-home in case of any problems and talk back and forth with other workers who are located miles away from your location. (This is also an excellent choice for those who want to stay connected during emergency situations.)

Base Station Kit Systems - For beginners looking to get into the world of CB Radio, a base station kit is an excellent entry point. These kits are designed to turn any home into a fully functional CB Station and can be paired with mobile antennas as well!

Cabin use - If you're looking for a way to stay in touch while relaxing by yourself or with family members out in the wilderness, then this type of setup could be ideal. They are also popular amongst people who camp on large properties (especially those that don't have cell phone signals).

Commercial Properties - For business owners who want to stay connected with each other, this type of setup is necessary. In fact, several public service companies like fire departments even use them today when they need to communicate between multiple buildings at once!

What should I look for when buying a CB base station?

There are several things you'll need to take into account when searching for the perfect CB radio base station. First and foremost, make sure that it has high power capabilities (500 watts or more is ideal) in order to get your signal out there and be heard!

Next, make sure that it comes with a number of options like RF gain controls so that you can fine-tune your signal if needed.

Eton - Elite 750, The Classic AM/FM/LW/VHF/Shortwave Radio with Single Side Band, 360° Rotating AM Antenna, 1000 Channels, Back-Up Battery Packs, Commitment to Preparedness
  • On Every Wavelength: The Eton Satellite 750 broadcasts every radio wavelength including AM,FM, LW, SW, SSB and VHF aircraft band frequencies; 360° rotating AM antenna pulls in even the weakest signals for full, bold sound.

Also, consider purchasing an external antenna so that you can add on to your device's reach while driving around town!

Some systems even come with DC power cables and solar panels in order to keep them fully charged as well! Make sure you know what these various components do before making a purchase.

Also, make sure that you keep an eye out for how much power it is drawing. Sometimes battery-powered base stations can be difficult to charge on the go so consider another option if this is a problem.

Overall though, purchasing a base station system as opposed to a mobile setup will allow you to stay in touch anywhere within the continental U.S., which is more than enough range for most people!

The best CB Base station is the Uniden BC355N 800 MHz 300-Channel Base/Mobile Scanner:

  • Offers space for over 300 base station channels
  • Offers Close Call RF Capture Technology,” - instantly tunes to signals from nearby transmitters
  • Great price
Uniden BC355N 300-Channel Base/Mobile Scanner, Close Call Capture, Pre-programmed Search “Action” Bands to Hear Non-Digital Police, Ambulance, Fire, Amateur Radio, Public Utilities, Weather & more
  • The Uniden Bearcat BC355N Mobile/Base Scanner is one of the most feature packed, user-friendly, entry level scanners available today. It can pick up analog receptions including 6 Service banks for monitoring Non-Digital Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services, Marine, Air, Weather, and CB frequencies
  • The BC355N features “Close Call RF Capture Technology,” which instantly tunes to signals from nearby transmitters. This pre-programmed search makes it easier to find active frequencies and helps you stay on top of local happenings and emergencies in your area.
  • You can save up to 300 frequencies that are scanned along with the preset frequencies. So whenever you encounter a newly activated local frequency for any service category, you can add it to the bank for that category. This gives you quick access to the frequencies you want to hear.
  • The BC355N comes complete with a backlit display, making it easier to read in low light conditions, along with AC adapter, a DC power cable and an automotive power outlet plug, giving you more options for supplying power at home or in your car. Frequency range for aircraft band is AM mode 8.33 STEP (kHz) at 108.0000, 136.9916(Lower and Upper)
  • If you’re looking for an affordable way to jump into the world of scanners, the BC355N may be the right choice for you. (Please note: model BC355N is not suitable for trunking or digital radio system monitoring. If you live in an area where trunking or digital radio systems are used, you need to upgrade to a Uniden Digital model (“D” stands for Digital), such as models BCD996P2, BCD436HP, BCD536HP, BCD325P2, or HomePatrol-2.

What is the range of a CB base station?

When it comes to range, base stations are designed for use over incredibly long distances. In fact, many models are capable of talking with people on the other side of the country while still in perfect clarity! This is because they are designed to be very powerful and have a boosted antenna system as compared to their mobile counterparts.

The exact range of a base station depends on a number of different factors, but the average is around 4-8 miles.

Conclusion: 4 types of CB Radios

There you have it, the 4 types of cb radios explained. 

Hi & Welcome!

My name is Jeremy and I have been an avid car nut for many year. My first car was an 1987 Honda CRX. I put in my first Kenwood stereo, amp, 2 10" JLs and a CB Radio in it and have been an avid user of CBs and car radios for years. I'll do my best to share my tips, information and thoughts to help you with whatever question you might have, ABOUT ME 

After I graduated from High School, I worked 5 years are Radio Shack and 3 years at Circuit City answering questions and helping customers with various electronics questions.