Things have moved on since the days of handheld CB’s like the Harvard 410T, now we have smaller, intelligent and more reliable sets to play with. With an eye firmly on value for money we took a look at 3 of the best handheld CB radio sets available right now and give them a How to CB rating.

Midland 75-822 40 Channel CB-Way Radio



Going up to the middle price range offers a lot more features on a handheld CB radio and although the model from midland is compact it has some good features while still giving a full 4 Watt output.

All the operating information is viewed on the digital display with signal strength meter, channel number, battery strength indicator and status of the memory functions. A good feature is the ability to store 5 of your most used channels in memory for recall allowing you to swap quickly between calling and working channels.

See Customer Reviews, Full Specs and Pricing for the Midland 75-822 Here

One of the many advantages this type of digital handheld CB radio has over other the analog models is being able to quickly scan through all 40 channels at the touch of a button and automatically halting on those channels with activity, you can filter out the weaker signals by increasing the squelch setting so that the scan only stops on nearby transmissions.

For weather and hazard information the 75-822 has a NOAA Weather Radio function giving you access to 10 channels. Also included is a dual watch feature that lets you keep track of channel 9 and any other channel at the same time.

Some thought has gone into this radios design making it easy to access the most important buttons when holding the set in one hand. All in all a good feature rich handheld made nice and compact because the power source is only 6 AA’s cutting down on the case size and overall weight.

How to CB rating : 8 out of 10

Midland 75-785 40-Channel CB Radio


A fairly basic model, this set from midland is a good value CB radio if your not looking for anything too fancy but want a CB handheld that’s going to get the job done.

The low price has stripped away some of the more advanced features of more expensive models, an old style 2 digit channel display instead of a LCD giving frequency and signal strength information. Powered by 9 AA batteries instead of a one purpose built rechargeable does give you the ability to swap out the batteries anywhere but will get expensive if using off the shelf disposable batteries so a good idea to stock up on a few sets of rechargeable AA’s as this will save you so much money in the long term.

See Customer Reviews, Full Specs and Pricing for the Midland 75-785 Here

For easy charging the Midland 75-785 comes with the option to charge the batteries while they are still in the CB (almost a standard option for handheld CB’s these days) saving you the cost of having to buy a separate charger. For mobile use this handheld can be powered from the cigarette lighter socket in your vehicle with the right lead included in the package.

The other feature that is missing from this set that is included in some of the more pricy models is access the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) weather channels and the 24/7 warning information they provide.

Giving the full 4 watt output and fitted with the usual high/low power setting the Midland 75-785 is a good choice if your looking for a basic functional handy or maybe just a emergency backup to your main station.

The helical antenna that comes as standard with the set does seem a little long and could easily be replaced with something shorter without compromising performance.

A durable handheld CB radio for a good price.

How to CB rating: 7 out of 10

Cobra HH 38 WX ST 40-Channel CB Radio


Changing to over to the Cobra brand we have the HH38WXST handheld CB radio which has the same features as the Midland 75-822 but will usually cost just a few dollars more.

Once again digital technology gives us the full 40 channel scan function, dual watch and full operating information on the display along with a function Cobra have called SoundTracker which improves the quality of signals in and out of this handheld.

Styling is good with thought put into being able to access all main functions when using the set single handed and the standard 10 NOAA weather warning channels are built in as standard.

See Customer Reviews, Full Specs and Pricing for the Cobra HH 38 WX ST Here

Another feature packed radio from a great legacy CB manufacturer and well worth investigating.

How to CB rating: 7 out of 10


So there you have it, 3 handheld CB’s ranging from the basic to the full featured with a price range that means one of these products should be affordable even if your shopping on a budget.

The Joys of 27 MHz and a Touch of Altitude

Even though some serious long distance communication can be achieved at 27 MHz depending on the time of year and where we are in the sunspot cycle there is nothing like taking a CB handy and hitting the high ground during the summer (or the winter if the cold doesn’t bother you).

Getting yourself on top of a good sized hill or mountain with some good views can really give great results even with these sets legal 4 watt power output.

Experiencing how operating at a good altitude can improve the line of sight transmission range at 27 MHz is something we would recommend to every CB user, and if you’ve enough strength to drag a bigger antenna along from the trip then all the better.

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20 Responses to Best Handheld CB Radio

  1. Kmac says:

    I tried a Midland 75-785 radioing a GE 3-5979a and only had a range of around 1/25 mile. However, it might be related to the GE’s antenna. I am going to clean it up after reading the How to get Better Range article. I am thinking that there may be some corrosion that I’m just not seeing. Great site and thanks for all the advice!!

  2. Jim says:

    I just have a question. Going to Wyoming with a other couple. What would the average range be with
    The Midland 75-785 in each car with stock antennas? I might put a mag mount on my truck. Thank You

    • rizzer says:

      Hey Jim

      Over flat ground you’ll most likely get 3 to 4 miles but this will increase dramatically if one of the CB radios is being used from high ground.

      This is based on a good quality 1/4 wave mag mount on the truck, using handhelds (on their built in antenna) inside the metal cage of a vehicle never really pans out and the range can be terrible.

      Hope this helps

      • Jim says:

        It does. Thankyouany idea what range car to car with jussi is.Hey fizzes. Thanks. What would the approx range be just ducks?

        • rizzer says:

          Outside a vehicle with just the ducks (over flat ground) 2 to 3 miles, provided you don,t have a lot of buildings in the way.

          CB radio doesn’t suffer from its signals being blocked by structures/trees that higher frequency handhelds do but there’s still some attenuation from solid objects.

          Even for its low frequency (27 MHz), CB signals are still mainly line of sight and anything you can do use them from a high spot makes ranges of 30 – 40 miles possible on the max power setting even when using handhelds.

          • Jim says:

            I ment wi
            Hole driving. Ty for your help

            • rizzer says:

              Sorry just re-read your message 🙂

              If your going car to car with the handheld (without an external antenna) your looking at a mile (two at a push).

              Using this to talk to another car your traveling with isn’t going to be an issue provided their close by.

  3. G Money says:

    I’ve been in to CB since I was little. 1971. My buddy is a CB tech. Go with Midland 75 822 with the car kit that slides on where batt pack slides off that connects you to power& external antenna ..use as mobile or base station ..other than that you will only get approx 1 mile on short rubber duck ..get longer 2 to 3 ft rubber or telescopic ant & you can get 2to 6 miles. If you know how to work electronics there are instructions on line for modifications for FREEBAND frequency s on these talkies. (Freeband is space below ch 1 & above 40..not tech legal channels)but cbrs have used them for years. Its like having your own private channel..Can also be converted to U.K. FM frequencys. These are the talkies to Get

    • rizzer says:

      Hey G Money
      Good to see you’ve had some good experiences with the Midland 75-822.

      I try and get on a bit of high ground with my handhelds, really makes a difference to the CB’s range.

      • G Money says:

        Yeah I live on a pretty high area hear in CT. & have talked in my driveway. About 6 to 7 miles on A 6ft telescopic antenna. (That was few years back when the skip noise was none. Now days hard to talk across town. With all this skip noise bombing in. Few. Years it should Quito down some

    • Jim says:

      Is the 822 a radio by itself?

      • rizzer says:

        If you mean a CB that doesn’t need anything else, then yes

        if your going to use it with the built in antenna then all you have to do is load it with batteries and turn it on.

      • Jim says:

        Never mind. I scrolled up. Where can a guy find the 822 or 785? RadioShack and a truckstop have no H/H. Is online my only option?

        • rizzer says:

          I’m sorry I really don’t know Jim, I’ve not seen handhelds in a real world store for a while now.

          They do seem to concentrate on the more expensive all mode stuff (less space, more profit).

          I take it your in the US?

          • Jim says:

            Yes I am. Minnesota. The 822 looks nifty so I can hang it up. Probably use the 12 volt more but nice to have the other option. I realize that the audio won,t be as good as a mobile.

            • rizzer says:

              Yeah with such little space on the front cover. handhelds have always been lacking in the audio department but things are much better now than when I started playing around with CB radio 🙂

              I wonder how the 822 would behave on one of those retractable mic holders?

              • Jim says:

                I had one from about 78-83. Then someone else got it. Remember most of my call. Wish I could look it up for the heck of it.

    • Jim says:

      Hey GMoney. Would you recommend the 822 over the 75 wxsT?

  4. Jenny says:

    I would like to know if there is a system of portable radios where at least 20 people could use on one system. eg using one channel for 20 CB radios , they would have to be portable but use one base system, on batteries but also so be chargeable on a docking station

    • rizzer says:

      Hey Jenny

      From the description of the system your looking for I imagine the radios are to use at some event?

      CB radios are a poor choice to be used this way because they’re an expensive option, don,t give the base unit control as standard and there,s huge potential for interference from other users.

      Every country has its own low power private mobile systems (PMR) frequency allocation and these can be bought cheaply enough with radios usually coming in packs of 4 (or more). There are some selective calling options but this can still be a sizable outlay and the base station option isn’t there.

      If the radios aren’t going to be used that often your best bet would be to rent a set of radios that will give you all the features your looking for. Going this route does take away the learning curve as the company renting the radios will show you how they work and you’ve no maintenance costs to cover.

      The range is also better as the handheld radios will normally be routed through the renters established wide area repeater network.

      I,m not sure where your located because your email leads to an international company but a quick online search for “hire two way radios + your location” will yield more than a few results.

      Hope this helps and if you have any more questions please get back to me


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