Walkie-talkies and CB radios are two common forms of communication among certain professions and survivalists. Whether or not they can talk to each other is a common question since they seem to work in similar ways. Even though both forms of communication are somewhat familiar to me since my dad was quite active as a CB’er when I was young, and you can usually find a pair of Midland walkie-talkies sitting on their charger in his den, I have often wondered this myself, so I decided to do some extensive research to find out a definitive answer. These are my findings.
Walkie-talkies cannot talk to CB radios. This is due to many reasons involving frequency that keep them from communicating with each other. They are similar but also very different.
Keep reading to learn more about the communication barriers between walkie-talkies and CB radios. They can be very similar but are also quite different in many critical ways that impede their ability to communicate.
Can Walkie-Talkies Talk to CB Radios?
Though there are instances where someone on a walkie-talkie can hear chatter from a CB radio, it is not possible to communicate. You cannot use a walkie-talkie to speak to someone on a CB radio because they do not operate on the same channels.
Some other items that get in the way of communication include:
- Range of the walkie-talkie in use
- Frequency of the operation
- Privacy settings of channels used by the walkie talkie
All of these prevent walkie-talkies from being able to communicate with CB radios.
The most that you can do with a walkie-talkie is listen to chatter that happens on the CB radio. You can gain interesting insight, but there is no way to talk to those who are speaking on the other end of the line. All you can do is find a way to listen in on the communication that is taking place.
What is the Difference Between CB Radio and Walkie-Talkies?
Although they both serve similar purposes, walkie-talkies and CB radios are not the same things by any means. They both operate on frequencies, and they both make use of channels for communication. Sometimes, they might even look alike. However, they are not the same at all, thanks to a few key differences.
Some of the main items that set CB radios and walkie-talkies apart include:
- The range at which they can operate
- The different frequencies they utilize
- Walkie-talkies often use code that only allows transmission with a paired device
These items distinguish the CB radio from the walkie-talkie.
If you want something private, the walkie-talkie is likely your best bet. If you want something that can transmit over a long distance, a CB radio will work for you. They are both beneficial for differing purposes.
Both of these items are great for those who want to communicate over the radio. These are both excellent options, but they are different from each other. You must understand the things that set these two apart so that you can use each of them as they were intended to be utilized.
Are Walkie-Talkie Channels the Same as CB Radios?
There are many channels used by a CB radio. Forty main channels make up the system that is the CB radio system. Different channels are utilized by different people for different purposes. The CB Radio System utilizes these 40 channels in the frequency range from 26.96500 MHz to 27.40500.
Some examples of these channels include:
- Channel 4, which is often used by off-roaders
- Channel 9, which is used for emergency communication
- Channels 17 and 19, which are used by truckers
All of these channels serve different purposes for those who use them. Those that are often on the road have channels that are designated for what they do.
Walkie-talkies are hand-held 2-way radios that are available in many different frequencies. However, most walkie-talkies operate on a radio application known as Family Radio Service or FRS that doesn’t require a license to transmit over. This radio application provides 22 channels that range in frequency from 462.5625 MHz to 462.7250 MHz and allow transmission power of up to .5 watts on Channels 8 to 14, and up to 2 watts on Channels 1 to 7 and 15 to 22.
However, walkie-talkies can also operate on the radio application known as General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), which also operates across frequencies from 462.5625 MHz to 462.7250 MHz, but they utilize 30 channels at 50 watts of transmission power. The use of the General Mobile Radio Service channels requires a license from the FCC.
There are other radio services on different frequencies that are available for use by walkie-talkies in different countries. But in the United States, the FRS and the GMRS are the primary radio applications available for use by walkie-talkies.
Can Walkie-Talkies Pick Up CB Radios?
Walkie-talkies can pick up CB radio transmissions. However, they cannot communicate with anyone speaking on those transmissions. Chatter can be heard if the walkie-talkie is on a precise frequency, but it needs to be exact for communication to be possible.
Most walkie-talkies simply cannot get to the frequency that most CB radios utilize. It is not uncommon for this connection to be impossible. If you cannot hear CB chatter with your walkie-talkie, do not get discouraged. It is a tricky task to pair the two without a perfect match.
How to Pick Up CB Signals with a Walkie-Talkie
If you use a walkie-talkie, you might wonder how to pick up a CB signal by using this device. Unfortunately, this is an occurrence that happens only when conditions are just right and would be very difficult to plan.
If there is a powerful CB system being operated in your area, you may be able to pick up some of those transmissions. However, with a walkie-talkie, you will only be able to receive the transmission. You will not be able to communicate. You can only communicate with your walkie-talkie if you are operating on the same channel and frequency as the CB radio.
Walkie-talkies and CB radios are both excellent forms of communication that have been around for many years. It would be convenient for them to communicate, but these two items exist on different frequencies and are made for different purposes.
If a walkie-talkie happens to fall on the same frequency as the CB radio, you could achieve limited communication between the two. However, this is rare. More often, it is impossible to connect these devices to each other. Maybe I shouldn’t say impossible. Even though CB radios have a range of about 20 miles between two CB base stations and approximately 10 miles between two mobile units, I’ve heard my dad talking on his CB radio late at night when the “skip” was rolling to another CB’er located somewhere in Eastern Europe.
I hope this article has been helpful. Thanks for reading!
For more, check out 7 Best Ways for a Man To Carry a Cell Phone.
Hey, I’m Jim, and I’m the author of this website. I have been teaching people a wide variety of survivalism topics for over five years and have a lifetime of experience fishing, camping, general survivalism, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up, I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!