1) Range....My radio has 60 watts of transmit power compared to a CB's 4 watts. Plus the fact that I can add an external amp if I need extra power but through good antenna design you don't really need extra. I can transmit about 50 miles on flat terain.
2) Repeaters....Many Ham Radio Clubs as well as private individuals have repeater sites which allow you to transmit over even greater distances by retransmitting your signal. Repeaters can also be linked so that you can talk over great distances. Some repeaters have a high frequency link that will send you signal around the world. Many also have phone patches to allow you to use your radio to make a local phone call for free....Great in the days before cell phones! Now they have IRLP which lets you talk on your radio to a site that uploads your converstaion onto the internet and then rebroadcasts your signal in some other part of the world....I was talking to a guy in Austrial a few months ago who was out walking his dog with a hand held radio.
3) Equipment.....Much higher quality gear. My new radio meets the US Military spec for shock proof etc. The new radios are also fully programable with hundreds of channels. You can also use the radio as a scanner for police, aircraft and weather etc.
4) And the best part is you get a free custom licence plate for your Jeep with your call sign on it....
Find a local Ham guy and spend an hour with him...Most are glad to somebody the ropes if they are interested. You are required to get a radio licence but I have no electrical background and I passed the test with 100% after taking a study class for a month or so. There is no longer the requirement to learn Morse code if you just want a basic licence.
RX: 134-174 MHz TX: 144-148 MHz
65 Watts Power Output, with selection of four levels
Excellent Protection from Inter modulation Distortion
Alpha Numeric Display
Direct Keypad Frequency Entry via DTMF Microphone
Smart Search TM Automatic Memory Loading
Built-In CTCSS/DCS Encode/Decode
Auto-Range Transponder System (ATRS TM)
Automatic Repeater Shift (ARS)
Extensive Menu System
Battery Voltage Meter
Priority Channel Revert
TX Time-Out Timer (TOT)
Built in weather channels
I think that this radio is about $160 in the US....
That's a good radio, I know a couple of people running them. Personally I run a Icom v-8000.
I wish more people would run 2 meter radios. It is nice to be able to spread the group out so no one has to eat anyones dust and still have clear communications with everyone in the group (hard to do on a dusty trail with 15 or 20 rigs with just a CB).
Best place to take the test is to find a local club in your area...Most clubs offer lessons and will monitor your exam. As for the radios there are lots of places to buy online because if you are not in a large city there will not be anybody who sells them locally. I don't have any US dealers handy but a google search will pull up a bunch. Be sure to stick with a name brand radio....I personally would only ever look at a Yaesu, Icom or a Kenwood.
1)Small size makes it easy to mount
2)Cool blue light display
1)Some reviewers have complained of intermod interference (radio does not block out other transmission on nearby frequencies)
2)Overheating problems when tranmitting for extended problems on high power.
It is a good choice if you are looking for something that is reliable, small and doesn't cost a ton.
Here is a link to EHam and some owner's comments...