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Best handheld cb radio 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated February 1, 2020
Best handheld cb radio of 2018
The rating is based on multiple factors: The 3 metrics ‐ Design, Materials, Performance, and other indicators such as: Popularity, Opinions, Brand, Reputation and more. Customers need to be careful on how they spend their money on these products.
Here are the customer reviews of some of the best handheld cb radio of 2018. The table below summarizes features, and below you’ll find more detailed reviews of each good.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this handheld cb radio win the first place?
The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day.
Why did this handheld cb radio come in second place?
This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery.
Why did this handheld cb radio take third place?
It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great!
handheld cb radio Buyer’s Guide
How CB Radios work
CB radios operate using radio waves, just like VHF radios, cell phones, televisions, and AM/FM radios. Each CB radio is equipped with a long antenna, generally around feet. If you use your CB radio in your vehicle, the antenna will probably be mounted on the back of the vehicle. The antenna captures the signals and transforms them into audio which you hear through the speakers.
A CB radio is a transceiver, which means that it is both a transmitter and a receiver. If you want to send out a communication, simply key into the microphone and talk. The words are converted into electrical signals and then are transmitted by the antenna. They travel through the air on radio waves which are picked up by other CB radios.
History of CB Radios
As mentioned previously, the FCC invented CB Radio in 194with the goal of giving individuals and small businesses a reliable two-way means of communication that wasn’t too hard to learn. CB radio reached a height of popularity during the 60s and 70s. The advent of solid-state technology allowed costs to drop precipitously.
When the 197oil crisis caused the US government to impose a nationwide speed limit of 5mph, CB radio really took off. It allowed drivers to warn one another about police cars and gas stations which were out of fuel. Over time, CB radio clubs formed and invented special jargon for on-the-road communications.
In a way, CB radio was a precursor to the anonymous chat rooms of the internet. Of course, with the growth of the internet and FRS radio, CB radio usage has declined.
Mobile vs. Handheld CB Radios
While there is such a thing as a base CB radio which you install at home, most users want CB radio for the road. There are two main types: mobile and handheld.
Mobile CB radios are relatively compact, though not as small as handheld models (see below). You can mount one directly under the dashboard of your vehicle or install it on the transmission hump. Want to reduce static from the spark plugs? Wire the radio to the battery directly.
This is the most compact option for a CB radio. As the name indicates, you can hold the model in your hand and talk, or you can set it on your dash. Handheld models are not as powerful as mobile or base units, but they do offer the best portability.
Power and Range
The FCC sets power limitations for all types of radio communication. The maximum power allowed for CB radios is four watts. There is an exception—SSB radios, which transmit on 1watts (we will delve into this in the features below). Most CB radios are limited to a maximum transmission range of around miles. Note that this is the range you get with a clear, unobstructed path between two radios. Anything that interferes with line of sight can interfere with transmission and reception.
Built-in SWR Meter
SWR stands for “standing wave ratio.” If your CB radio is equipped with a built-in SWR meter, you can measure how effectively the power signal your device is emanating is moving through the antenna. You can use the SWR meter to properly adjust your radio or maximum effectiveness.
PRO505XL is a good choice for beginner CB radio users. It doesn’t have the full range of features found in professional CB devices. However, it is cheap compared to most CB radios. Plus, it’s very easy to install.
Simple installation. No need to take your car to a mechanic to install this radio. The whole installation process takes about 1minutes.
Mic sends out strong, clear signals. Even though it’s not as powerful as some CB radios, if you’re in range your transmissions will be strong and loud.
Minimalist design. The PRO505XL has less knobs and buttons compared to other CB radios. But if you’re looking for a beginner CB radio, simplicity is a good thing.
Very reasonable price tag. This radio is significantly cheaper than most CB radios on the market.
Good quality built-in speakers. The speakers are clear and loud enough to hear with your driver’s side window open.
Small, compact body. This CB is slimmer and more compact than most pro CB radios.
Inline fuse prevents electrical problems. If your radio short circuits, the fuse prevents your car’s electrical system from taking damage.
All Cobra products sport a distinctive look. The
Cobra 2LX is no exception. If you’re looking for a stylish CB radio that’s especially designed for CB radio users who like to keep track of weather alerts the Cobra 2is worth a hard look.
Switches to alert mode when there’s a storm coming. If stormclouds are gathering on the horizon, you’ll be the first to know.
Sleek design. The Cobra 2LX is the most attractive CB radio we’ve seen so far.
PA capability. A built-in PA jack allows you to make announcements as you drive if you buy a loudspeaker.
Diagnostic mode. This CB radio constantly monitors your antenna connection and alerts you of any pressing voltage issues.
Four display options. You can switch between four different colors.
Versatile. It performs well anywhere you take it.
Batteries last a long time. You can get to hours of use out of a single charge.
You can hook it up to an external antenna. Hooking up your car’s CB radio extends the 75-822’s range.
Low price. This radio costs much less than most CB radios that are built to be used in an automobile.
Accesses NOAA weather alert channels. If foul weather approaches, the 75-82fires off a short emergency tone.
This radio will not survive an encounter with pavement. The shell is made out of cheap plastic.
The ham radio frequencies you are permitted to use depend on which of the licenses above you have under your belt. Not all radios work with all frequencies, so make sure that you buy one which will offer you the frequencies you want to access.
Most handheld radios are limited to around five watts of power; you may find higher-powered options if you choose a base model. If you purchase a handheld, make sure it has high- and low-power settings you can manually adjust as per your needs.
For emergency communications, you will generally be using the two-meter ham band. The 440 MHz band is another that you will likely make plenty of use of. There are a couple of band-related features you may want to consider. One is dual band, which allows you to monitor two frequencies at the same time. Another is general coverage. This feature allows you not only to use ham radio bands, but also pick up AM, FM, and TV frequencies. Advanced features for bands include SSB and CW (Morse code).
If you will be using your ham radio at nighttime or in dim environments, you may want to purchase a model that includes a backlit display. Remember, emergencies sometimes happen in the dead of night. If the power goes out, you may be stuck operating in the dark. You should have the option to toggle the display light on and off so that you can conserve power when you do not need it.
This is the ability to manually program the CB radio. Most models allow you to do this using a keypad and the CB radio display. Some newer high-tech models include a cable you can hook up to a computer. This gives you access to programming software which makes it a lot easier to input what you want.
Usually when you purchase a new product, the quality of the user’s manual isn’t the top thing on your mind. But with ham radio, it is actually very important. Ham radio does have a learning curve, and if you are a beginner, you will need as much guidance as you can get.
Even if you are a ham radio veteran, you may still sometimes hit a button by mistake and find yourself in a mode you do not want to be in. Rather than having to experiment to get the radio back into the mode you want, it is helpful to be able to flip to a user manual which will tell you quickly and easily how to get back to regular operation.
Extra tough. With its rugged polycarbonate resin shell, the Yaesu VX-8DR is built to survive major disasters.
Survives water submersion. This ham radio can last for up to 30 minutes when submerged in meter of water.
Optional GPS. If you get the optional GPS antenna addon, you can broadcast your exact location, altitiude and speed.
Environmental sensors. This ham radio’s built-in sensors can monitor barometric pressure and temperature.
Wide frequency range. In addition to standard short-wave frequencies, this ham radio also picks up FM/AM broadcasts, analog TV stations, audio aircraft and public service channels.
Compass display. The integrated compass shows you what direction you’re headed on the LED display.
TYT MD-380: Excellent Quality Speakers by TYT shines when it comes to audio performance. Voices come in extra clear through its high quality speakers. Its microphones perform well too, and its built-in wind reduction system kicks in when you use this device outside. For even greater clarity, switch you can switch to digital mode.
Awesome audio quality. The audio quality that you get with the TYT MD-380 is quite impressive.
Color display. Most handheld ham radios have a monochrome screen, but this one boasts a full color LCD display.
Choose digital or analog mode. The TYT MD-380 makes it easy to switch between digital and analog operation.
Good menu system. This portable radio’s menus are easy to navigate and use.
Water resistant. Because it can survive rain, you can take the TYT MD-380 with you when you go camping.
Sends text messages. When in digital mode, you can communicate via text.
Comes with accessories. In addition to the TYT MD-380 itself, you also get a battery, a belt clip, a desktop charger, a programming cable and two different antennas.
The color backlight allows for setting one of options. AUX outputs enhance the connection capabilities. The radio is connectable to a wireless mic.
Each button when pushed is accompanied by a sound signal.
The moderate price makes this device extremely affordable. A pretty wide operating range boosts transmitting abilities. A solid sound quality.
The radio is pretty bulky due to a large battery compartment.
What is a Cb Radio
CB radios are currently used in many spheres including taxi services, long-haul traffic, sailing, construction, warehousing, fishing, and hunting. Such a wide application of CB radios is explained by a simple way of connection without cell towers, satellites, and other communication facilities. The CB radio stations provide a free communication for or more people, yet their radius of action is limited by the power of receivers or transmitters. We will consider different CB radios and tell you how to choose a device suitable for your needs.
If you need a more portable appliance for a free group communication, we advise you to consider our walkie talkies, as well as parking sensors and car backup cameras for confident and safe driving.
Capabilities are the next important factor in choosing a CB radio. Capabilities include the number of channels, number of memory cells, receiving of NOAA channels, and quick setting for emergency signals. Every frequency range is divided into frequency channels for radio broadcasting. The more channels are available, the simpler it is to find a free frequency. And the coding system allows several users to occupy the same channel. The great number of channels is peculiar to high-power and wide-range CB radios. As for the low-power models, they generally feature a small number of available channels. The memory cells contain combinations of channels and subcodes that are frequently used. Subcodes are used in coding systems to divide users into groups within the frequency channel. The subcodes embedded into memory cells facilitate the use of CB radio. Choosing a proper channel or/and switching between channels is easy and creates no nuisance. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maintains the broadcasting of weather satellite system. The NOAA weather channels provide users with weather forecasts for local areas. The CB radios receiving NOAA channels usually have memorized channels that are switched by pressing a relevant button. The safety channel of a radio is needed for receiving messages from emergency services. The CB radios are commonly equipped with individual buttons for switching to emergency channels.
Always In Touch
If you are often at the wheel and wish to stay in touch with other drivers, pay your attention to Galaxy Radios DX-959B. The range was the first thing that attracted our attention. Of course, we can’t specify an accurate value since it depends on multiple conditions including terrain and weather. Simply stated, this CB radio will provide a communication in the range from 1to 20 miles. This is achievable thanks to the regular antenna. If you attach a more powerful accessory antenna, the radio’s transmitting and receiving abilities will considerably expand. This became possible due to a high-power receiver of Watts. The radio is mounted into the dashboard and is powered from the in-vehicle network. What is more, this CB radio is designed in a way to provide a minimum distraction from driving and allow an easy setting. It’s remarkable that the radio’s backlight has a neutral color which won’t be dazzling even in the dark.
It’s worth discovering the technical aspects. On buying any radio, it is important to find out how good its performance is and what transceiving range to expect. BEARCAT 880 is designed for broadcasting across 1-miles. The radio supports amplitude modulation and hence, suits best over-the-road truckers who need AM frequency range to be able to communicate on the road. Among the channels the radio includes are emergency channels and weather forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Uniden CB radio is also known for clear sound perception and high sensitivity (µV at dB (S+N)/N) that strengthens even weakest signals to enable better communication quality and clarity of the speech under harsh weather conditions and rumbling background noises.
Desktop Charger: I sound picky, but having a well designed charger is quite essential. The very very cheap ones charge at low power continuously 24/The better ones know when to shut off the charging circuitry. The more advanced models allow your units to be on while charging.
Motorcycle CB Radio
As we said in Part I, CBs’ history in the market, installed base, and simplicity are the reasons they continue to sell as the preferred BTB communication option from manufacturers. If you have a touring model or a bagger from one of the major manufacturers, chances are it has been designed to accept a CB. You can either order it pre-installed on your new bike from the factory (in the case of BMW, Harley, Honda and Kawasaki) or have it added later as an accessory. Since this type of installation is unique for each bike and is of a proprietary design, you’ll pay more, but the existing bike controls and/or integrated AM/FM radio will likely work in an well-behaved manner with the CB. Since the CB unit is usually mounted deep in the bowels of the bike, and often requires the addition of electrical filters, headphone jacks and other such electrical system refinements, installation is usually best left to the pros at your local dealer.
If your ride was never designed to accept an OEM CB unit (as is the case with many cruisers) you’ll have to go with an aftermarket supplier. But don’t despair; these solutions perform just as well. J&M; Audio makes a nice CB unit that mounts on the left handlebar, allowing use of a push-to-talk trigger and other controls while riding—just like the OEM setups. All the electronics are housed in the handlebar-mounted control unit so there’s nothing to squirrel away in the caverns of your bike. Model JMCB-2003B-DU provides a 40-channel CB radio, NOAA weather band radio, rider/passenger intercom and stereo music amplification from any portable music device, all integrated into a compact unit.
The industrious Swedes, who have given us dynamite, the adjustable spanner wrench and the PC mouse, have most recently given us Bluetooth. As we pointed out in Part I, Bluetooth was originally meant for short distance wire and cable replacement. Several vendors, such as J&M; Audio and Chatterbox, also build Bluetooth devices primarily for short range cable replacement. Bluetooth is also often integrated with other BTB communication technology to facilitate communication to devices like GPS units, digital audio players and phones. However, in this dedicated Bluetooth section, we’re talking about products that use Bluetooth technology primarily for longer range two-way radio communication in place of a GMRS/FRS or CB radio. Sena Technologies and Cardo Systems are just two of the manufacturers that have augmented the basic Bluetooth capabilities to allow for longer range BTB communications, and they also offer high quality products in this class. Both are helmet-mounted units, and both can link up with a multitude of other devices, such as your GPS for voice navigation, audio players for music, or a passenger’s unit for intercom capability. Both units claim 12–1hours of usage between charges and take 2–hours to fully recharge.
Changes from 12.5kHz vs. 25kHz band spacing
In 201the channel bandwidth or frequency spacing was split in two from 25kHz to 12.5kHz. This effectively doubled the number of available channels from 40 to the current 80. While most older radio units are not compatible, it is still possible to use them until the end of the 5-year transition period (2016).
It is important to remember that channels and 35are strictly for emergency communications, as emergency services monitor channel for requests for help. People found to be misusing these or any other designated channels can face hefty fines.
Once communication is established, it’s accepted that both parties continue on another channel to free the channel up. If they’re taking place over a short distance, these ‘one on one’ conversations can continue on any of the general-use channels.
It’s important to understand that all communications on every channel are public. Anyone within range of you or a repeater that you’re using can hear you and join in. For the most part, users are well behaved and respect the rules, but you may encounter trolls who want to cause trouble or new users who are unaware of the etiquette.
UHF radio is a great way of staying in touch with your convoy or just to see who’s about. Most importantly, it is a vital link to the outside world when things go wrong.
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Midland 75-82CB Radio
Portable, 6AAA batteries, 40 channel coverage, NOAA weather alerts.
Handheld, 1000 channel memory, battery powered, Dual bandwidth, Weather/information alters, Alphanumeric display.
This handheld has a dual bandwidth. With an impressive 1000 channel memory, there are constant weather, information, and hazard alerts. The handheld can quickly transmit 144-14MHz and 430-470 MHz and receive 108-520 MHz and 700-999.9Mhz. Portable and easy to use: The radio is handheld and can be carried and used to scan channels easily. There is no need to it to be attached to a direct power source when using. Can be used when hiking or on the move because of the size and electricity supply.
Have a look in your local newsagent for “Amateur Radio” Magazine. You will find the local ham radio and other communications shops advertising and you will be able to take them there.
I’m having a bit of a laugh, because you can also get a “power mike”… not at all a usual suggestion for UHF. It’s a quick solution and if you set the gain on the microphone correctly the results will be good.
If you have the circuit diagram for the radio, you should be able to find the microphone gain easily. Even if you have a copy it can be sent to somebody who can tell you which pot to adjust.
In the case of looking for cheaper mobiles, try keeping an eye out for the older UHF CB’s like the “Super Tiger” or “Sundowner”. The very old units may not have duplex (for repeaters). You will pick them up exceptionally cheap.
I hear that UHF repeaters have died out due to abuse
You only need to listen to channels to to hear a repeater.My personal favourite where I can hear the finest examples of humanity battling it out to find out who has the most chromosomes.Channel in Sydney, Chin Newcastle and Chin Sydney. There are plenty of others in other capital cities which have the same kinds of repeater trolls.
In the country areas however there are less fools and the repeaters get used in much the way they were intended. You’ll find plenty of helpful people on those repeaters.
If you flick through channels – and don’t hear anything, then you can try and “kerchunk” a repeater to wake it up. Transmitting for about one or two seconds will be enough to activate it. Some repeaters you will just hear the tail or the beep. Some if they haven’t been active for a while will come back with a morse or voice ID of their callsign.
If you don’t hear anything, then there may not be a repeater on that channel in your area. If you’re on top of a high mountain even with a hand held you should be able to hear or activate a lot of repeaters on most of the channels.
That file can be used in Chirp and and edited and uploaded to the UV-5R. posted 2012-Aug-21, 9:50 pm AEST yep got it. easy to configure for UHF CB.
plug in the USB programming cable into the radio and plug the usb into the computer, note down the com port that shows up.
Launch the BF5R software, it launches in chinese language, In the menu bar on top, click on 2nd option from left, select English.
I notice they come with different uhf bands
What Alan has said is true, that these radios are ham radios and are not type approved for UHF CB. So they are officially not legal to use for that purpose.But, if they are programmed and operated correctly you will never get caught.ACMA inspections are meaningless to anybody who uses CB. There are thousands of people already using them.
You may be confused about the bands.There are a few flavours of radio, but if you intend to use UHF CB, then the radio must be capable of transmitting 477MHz.Some radios will not transmit above 470MHz and it is unusual to see radios as high as 520MHz.
I am hoping to get a couple of heldheld UFH devices one for my on my mountain bike and the other for the car. I know I need at least a watt to get the distance I want out of the trials to the car but I also need to be able to connect the handheld to a external aerial on our 4WD.
There are just too many out there and not really any info on which ones I can remove the aerial and use the 4WD aerial whist driving (and to also boost the range). reference: whrl.pl/RdvkLm posted 2013-Feb-18, 4:1pm AEST ref: whrl.pl/RdvkLm posted 2013-Feb-18, 4:1pm AEST reference: whrl.pl/RdvkMA posted 2013-Feb-18, 4:1pm AEST ref: whrl.pl/RdvkMA posted 2013-Feb-18, 4:1pm AEST and for the bush, I wouldn’t get anything less than 5w, 1w is too weak.Keeping in mind UHF technically is still line of sight. if there is a mountain in the way, its not going to hop it.the 5w does clear through the trees better than 1w though. posted 2013-Feb-18, 4:2pm AEST ref: whrl.pl/RdvkOD reference: whrl.pl/Rdvlgref: whrl.pl/RdvlWg posted 2013-Feb-18, 9:0pm AEST eurocrazy writes… hmmm this is all really interesting. so if I get a handheld that has a removable aerial I will need to make sure a coaxial cable can be inserted ref: whrl.pl/RdvpIx posted 2013-Feb-19, 8:2pm AEST eurocrazy writes… hmmm this is all really interesting. so if I get a handheld that has a removable aerial I will need to make sure a coaxial cable can be inserted.
It’s not anything difficult. The hand held will most likely have an SMA connector on it. I’m not familiar with that exact model but it’s a good chance it’s SMA.
If somebody needs a cable made or some help, then I’m on top of it.It’s easier for me to help local people because I can show them how to do things for themselves. Borrow some tools or come around and use some test gear etc. It’s a little harder to do from a distance, but there is usually somebody close by in a local area who can help. If all options are exhausted, then sometimes it is possible to help from a distance.Sometimes just posting something is all it takes.I was able to help gleff out with some BNC cables a few months ago.Hardest thing was getting my lazy local jaycar stockist to get the correct connectors in stock. posted 2013-Apr-29, 6:2pm AEST ref: whrl.pl/RdzH9D posted 2013-Apr-29, 6:2pm AEST eightotwoeleven writes…
If you are confident pulling it apart, there is a very simple modification to improve the TX audio on the radio itself. No electronics, just a sharp 1mm drill bit.
The Mic recesses into a small cup on the front panel obviously on the rear side. You need to remove the panel and locate the cup. Once you find it, look on the front of the unit and you will notice that the cup aligns with the slotted groves on the face of the panel that look like the speaker. You drill a single small mm hole in this slot that will come out directly into the mic cup just a little off center.
The hole is invisible if you do it right and improves audio response significantly.
There are a few videos on YouTube showing how to disassemble the radio. While it is a simple operation, it does take a leap of faith to initially crack the seal and remove the innards.
Mort writes… is there really any difference between them in reliability/range/other important features if both are a 5W model? ref: whrl.pl/RdzQpm posted 2013-May-1, 9:0pm AEST eightotwoeleven writes…
See how that goes and I will rummage around and see if I can duplicate it here.
Ok, to answer the first question, yes, the above procedure will indeed make the radio display the word Private on the screen. Its a simple matter to enable it or disable, but to make it work, you need two radios of the same make, type model, on the same frequency. – Sorry for stating the obvious.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your handheld cb radio wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of handheld cb radio
- №1 — Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio
- №2 — Uniden MHS75 Handheld Submersible 2-Way 5W VHF Marine Radio – Black
- №3 — Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio