Walkie-talkies and CB radios are two basic forms of communication. Survivalists, along with specific types of organizations and businesses rely on them. They’re a straightforward, no-fuss, user-friendly kind of radio system.
Yet, the question remains: do walkie-talkies work with CB radios? That’s what we’re here to find out today.
So, let’s get started.
Many people assume that because these two two-way radios are similar, they must work in the same way. Yet, that’s not completely true.
The truth is walkie-talkies aren’t capable of communicating back and forth with CB radios. The only possibility is that anyone with a walkie-talkie can hear background noise. They may even hear a bit of broken-up chatter from CB end-users.
However, sending an actual communique isn’t possible. In other words, even if you hear any of the signals coming from a CB, the end-user won’t be able to hear you.
There are several reasons why these two radios can’t work together. Let’s read about each one in more detail.
The main reason these two types of radios can’t work together is due to frequency differences. Walkie-talkies and CB radios each work on separate frequencies.
In other words, the frequency of operation is different. Thus, there’s minimal chance of meeting or intercepting the other’s signals.
CB radios typically operate on frequencies between 26.965 to 27.405 MHz, where as walkie talkies typically operate on frequencies between 136 MHz to 900 MHz. You can read more in detail about what frequency walkie talkies use here.
As for operating channels, generally speaking, FRS walkie-talkies can operate on channels 1 to 15, where as GMRS walkie talkies can operate on channels 15 to 22.
CB, short for Citizens Band, radio services are a land mobile radio system. They allow for two-way communications for either business or personal activities. They’re easy and convenient to use. This makes them highly functional for all sorts of activities and professions.
Plus, their best advantage is that they allow for up to 40 channels of radio communications. Each channel is set up for a specific purpose. Whether you’re using it for personal or professional reasons, CB radios can really come in handy.
Here are a few of the most common CB radio channels:
- Channel 4: frequently used by off-road drivers
- Channel 9: regularly used for emergency communication
- Channel 13: often used by marine boaters and RVers
- Channels 17, 19, and 21: often used by truckers
Walkie-talkies are known as an efficient, basic form of communication. They’re also the go-to unit if you want to talk to someone else using a private frequency.
Secure channels are now available thanks to the advent of digital radio systems. Their high-tech mechanisms provide users with independent channels
They operate via a special code that allows transmission with the paired device only. Hence, their conversations can’t be heard by anyone else except the other user at the receiving end.
There are two basic privacy codes for walkie-talkies. The first is the Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System (CTCSS). The second is called the Continuous Digital Coded Squelch System (CDCSS).
Both codes allow you to set up your radio so that other people can’t get into your selected channel. No one can listen in or interrupt your communications in any way.
Everyone knows that CB radios offer a much wider range of frequencies. All of their authorized channels are found on a frequency range between 26.9965 and 27.405 MegaHertz (MHz).
In addition, they’re capable of transmitting over longer distances than their hand-held counterparts. They have a working distance of nearly 20 miles!
On the flip side, walkie-talkies have a shorter range of up to two miles at most, which limits their ability to pick up CB frequencies. As a result, walkie-talkies can only pick up each other’s signals, which is what they’re designed to do.
There’s only one way that could provide you with a brief glimpse into what CB users are saying. This narrow window of opportunity may be possible only if your walkie-talkie is within a few miles of a CB.
Another thing to keep in mind is obstructions. Are there nearby buildings, trees, or bridges for example? They can obstruct sound waves and make it harder to pick up any CB signals.
Both these types of two-way communication devices are reliable and easy-to-use. Yet, do walkie-talkies work with CB radios? Not so much. Each type uses different frequencies. In other words, it means you won’t be able to send voice signals back and forth with one another.
The only thing you might be able to do is to pick up some bit of chatter from a CB. That might even happen unless several factors are in play.
For one, you have to be close enough to the CB radio. Also, you have to find and pick up the same channel on your walkie-talkie.