Radios: CB, Ham and Shortwave (In Today's Settings)

Radio, CB, ham and shortwave have been a part of our lives one way or the other. They have caused a stir at some point in time. With the influx of modern-day technology some of the functionality as well as the interest of users have waned.

Radio as we are all aware of debuted in the late 1800s with the first developments during the early 20th century. Radio is an electronic device that we listen to. It comes from the discovery of radio waves that transmit music, speech, and other data invisibly through air.

Radio first came into focus in the late 1800s, with the growing technology, a frequency-modulated radio or FM radio was invented and in 1947, the transistor, a device that has become the primary component of digital circuits was invented by Bell Lab scientists.

CB, Ham and Shortwave radios are just some type of radios that use radio waves to operate.

1. How radios work

Radios operate with the concept of sine waves with transistors amplifying the waves into signals. The frequency of the sine waves creates an up and down movement per second. Modulated sine waves and a transmitter will transmit information.

The kinds of modulation are:

  • pulse modulation is where the sine waves are turned on and off. This is used in radio-controlled clocks
  • amplified modulation is used to encode information and used by AM radio stations as well as the picture part of TV signals
  • frequency modulation is used by FM stations and various wireless technologies

2. Other types of radios

Shortwave radio or HF (high frequency radio), also known as world band radio, has been used world wide for its unique aural qualities. Shortwave radios are used for personal enjoyment and keeping up with local emergency channels. All you need to do is have a radio and different frequencies to keep up on local and non-local issues which affect broadcast.

Accessories you may need are: antenna, headphones, internal speakers, and listening guides and information books. Shortwave radios differ from each other by tuning method, size, and frequency range.

CB (citizens band) radio is an unlicensed service used for business or personal communications. It is a system of short-distanced radio communications between individuals on a selection of 40 channels within the 27 Megahertz band.

A CB is designed to be used without the need for technical knowledge and, without intentionally planning to cause interference to other radio users. As such, only radios meeting specified requirements are allowed to function.

It is commonly used by truckers to communicate traffic, and directions, by radio hobbyists, and by those who use short range communications for specific tasks. CB service has been proven useful in disaster situations such as flooding, typhoons, hurricanes, and for motorists who get stranded.

CB users who operate on “Bootleg” frequencies above or below the established bands are referred to as freebanders or outbanders. What users attempt to do is use their equipment to communicate over long distances.

Ham or amateur radio is both a hobby and a service using various radio communications equipment, for other services, recreational and self training. The participants in this service are not amateurs but are so called because amateur radio communications are not supposed to be done for commercial purposes.

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