Yaesu 2 Meter Dual Band FM Handheld Transceiver
Commercial Grade VHF / UHF
This radio is built to commercial grade standards, including the IP54 Rating for Dust and Water protection, and the MILC,D and E standards making this radio suitable for operation in the harshest of environments.
With 5 Watts of reliable RF output power this radio is sure to be heard. Never miss a call with One watt of Crisp, Clear Audio output from the oversized front panel speaker.
High Capacity Li-Ion battery
Packaged with a powerful mAh Li-Ion battery pack, giving the radio over 9 hours of operating time, or upgrade to the optional High-Capacity mAh Li-Ion battery pack for over hours of extended operating time. To ensure minimal down time the radio also comes packaged with a Hour Rapid charger.
QRK (Quick Recall Key)
Four Dedicated User programmable Keys serve as short cut keys to preferred menu options, or use the four dedicated recall keys to quickly and easily store and recall desired frequencies.
Versatile Scanning Capabilities
Programmable VFO Scan scans all channels in the desired frequency range, Memory scan allows scanning of user selectable frequencies, Priority Channel Scan can be used to scan memory channels while making one channel a priority. Weather Alert scan alerts the user when severe weather is approaching.
This radio is capable of being programmed directly from a PC making all of the advanced setup features a breeze using the optional software and SCU programming cable.
More Advanced features
Tons of advanced features are loaded into this compact radio including: Transceiver to Transceiver cloning with the optional SCU clone cable, FM Band receiver equipped, ARTS (Automatic Range Transponder System), DTMF operation, CTCSS/DCS operation, TOT (time out timer) and more.
Often, the first radio a new Ham buys is a handheld transceiver (HT). They’re relatively inexpensive and very flexible because handhelds can be used at home, in the car, and in the field. Mostly, they’re used for chatting with nearby Hams, communications for local special events, and emergencies.
So, what makes a good first handheld radio? It depends a lot on two things–how you plan to use the radio and your budget.
How many bands do you really need? Local communications often take place on 2 meters, the VHF band with the most Ham activity nationwide. Generally, you can’t go wrong getting a 2 meter handheld. Dual band HTs (2M/70cm) have become popular in the last few years and many don’t cost much more than a single band unit. Also, there are more expensive multiband units that add meters and 6 meters to the mix.
The best strategy is to find out which frequencies are mainly used in your local area and buy a radio that covers them. Check the ARRL Repeater Directory, the online Repeater Book or consult a local Ham. If you’re interested in emergency communications, check with your local ARES or RACES groups to find out what local repeaters and simplex frequencies are used.
Most handhelds have more features and menu functions than most of us will ever use. Here are some ones you should look for:
Is it rechargeable? There’s nothing worse than having to scrounge for batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are the preferred choice for rechargeable packs.
Does the HT have a large memory bank to store your favorite frequencies? It’s convenient to have your favorite frequencies in memory so you can access them with the touch of a button or twist of a knob. You can fill memory channels very quickly.
Does it include a programming cable and software, or is one available from the dealer? Programming memory frequencies can be done from the HT keypad, but it’s usually a pain. Using your computer is way easier—if you can type, you can program.
Is there an external mic/headset/push-to-talk connection? If you operate portable or mobile, this feature is very handy. Grabbing a microphone is a lot easier than picking up the whole radio. Headsets and earphones can help with privacy and are indispensible in noisy areas.
Will it receive other bands, such as aircraft, FM broadcast and weather? You can listen to NWS weather reports or your favorite FM stations.
What kind of antenna connection does it have? Is it SMA or BNC?Handhelds come with antennas of varying quality and sizes, and you may want to upgrade to get better range. Also, you may decide to get a vehicle antenna for mobile operation. SMA is currently the most commonly used, but BNC is quicker to disconnect.
Does it have a channel selector knob/button and a keypad? These features will help you quickly change frequency and access some of the more commonly used functions such as power level, frequency scanning, and programming frequencies manually.
How much power do I need? Most handheld radios have a maximum power of 5 watts—some have as much as 8 watts. Be sure you choose one that has at least a high and low setting. Lower power settings can save batteries, especially when communicating with a repeater or over short distance.
Handhelds are pretty simple to operate—buy it, turn it on and use it. Just about all of them come with the basics: flexible (rubber duck) antenna, charger, rechargeable battery, and belt clip. Depending on your needs, there are several accessories you may want to consider, including spare battery packs, speaker/microphones, and programming kits.
DX Engineering has several brands of handhelds, as well as complete Getting Started HT Radio Packages that include everything you’ll need to get you on the air and improve your signal. If you’re thinking about going mobile, consider an antenna for your vehicle. A magnetic mount antenna will help give your handheld additional range.
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This Dual Band Amateur radio is packed with convenient features and the advantage of a digital transceiver with D-STAR, APRS support. Featuring colour transflective TFT display that offers excellent visibility in day or night. Plus, built-in GPS and Bluetooth support, as well as Micro USB and microSD/SDHC this radio is ready to harness the exciting developments in radio communications.
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The Top 10 Best Ham Radios on the Market
The Internet may be the mainstay of long-distance communication these days, but that old standby of radio still has its uses. With a thriving community especially in the US, there’s much to draw the prospective user to the amateur, or “ham” as it’s colloquially known, radio scene.There are a dozen reasons to get your ham license, all of them equally valid. It could be simply social; hams tend to congregate in clubs, after all, or you could enjoy “ragchewing,” or the radio equivalent of chatting. Or you might like the technical challenges, learning about how the radio spectrum works.Perhaps you’re a public-spirited volunteer; the Amateur Radio Emergency Service steps in when disaster strikes and cell towers are down. Of course, none of this is worth anything when you don’t have the very foundation of what you need: that is, a radio unit. And while RadioShack may be dying, other places have picked up the slack most prominently, that titan of titans, our old online friend Amazon. Just leave it to Talkiespy to bring you the latest in Ham Radios.
Before we go into the radios, though, we have to ask: What should I get?
Choosing A Radio
When it comes to the choice of what to get, the question here is, what do you want to do with it? A radio’s ability is largely shaped by power and transmission capability, which require some size to support the first two. There are other considerations, and we’ll think about that in this section.
Types of Radio Sets
You can generally divide radio sets into three distinct types: handheld radios, mobile units, and base stations.Dinky handhelds are of course the easiest to carry around. Most manufacturers will generally ship them with a belt clip or something to keep them on your person. However, they also give up power and transmission capability; the best you can hope out of a handheld is 5 watts of power, maybe 8 watts for some models. You’re restricted to local use, and if you want some distance, you’ll have to rely on repeaters.Mobile units are for when you need a bit more range. Transmission capability is comparable to handhelds; they still work on VHF and UHF, though some models can access more than one band. What they have over handheld radios is power; where high power for a handheld tops out at 8 watts, a mobile will be capable of going up to 25 or 50 watts. With power comes range; connect a good mobile unit to a decent antenna, and you can achieve about 50km of range (conditions permitting, of course).
If you want to explore long-distance communication, then you need access to the high-frequency bands, and for that, you need a base station. Now, these aren’t actually all that large; they’re larger than mobile units, but you can still carry them around as long as you can supply power and an antenna. The real barrier to entry is cost; a new one will cost you somewhere above $ if you’re lucky. Most generally cost more than that.But oh, what that cost buys. For the investment you put into your equipment, you can work high frequency, instead of being limited to VHF and UHF the way you are with smaller radios. The downside of VHF and UHF is that they’re limited by range. HF, on the other hand, can reach much further; conditions permitting, it’s eminently possible to be on the West Coast and talk to someone on the far side of the country. Or even in another country entirely.
Ask Yourself, What Do You Want To Do With This Radio?
The answer to this question basically determines what you should get. Of course, you’ll need your license to operate; we assume for purposes of this article that you already have it or you’re planning to get it soon.If you’re just curious and looking to dip your toes into the water (which is a perfectly valid motivation), then the gateway drug for you is something cheap. We’ve listed two Chinese handheld radios below that won’t break your budget but will let you on the airwaves. If you’d like a bit more power, there’s even a BaoFeng mobile unit for just around $If you’re into the technical side of things and looking to improve, the right answer is ‘what works for you’. Exploring the mysteries of VHF and UHF is already a challenge in itself, and there are also new digital protocols to consider. HF’s long-distance capability is worth its own exploration.If you’re looking to DX, that is, making contact with distant stations to see how far you can get, the most important consideration is range. You can DX on any frequency you like, but DXing on VHF and UHF is going to be shorter-ranged than on HF. So it depends on how far you’re willing to go; if you really want to call Hanoi from San Diego, best save up for a base station.If you’re looking to assist in disaster response, range and power become most important, to make sure you can be heard and that you can hear people. Features to improve reception and clarity, like digital signal processing, also become nice to have.Overall, the answer will eventually depend on you. Ham radio is what you make of it, and there is no ‘right’ way to do it. You can see for yourself what radio below works for you.
BaoFeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio
This Chinese production is first on our list of portable units, as it’s specifically designed for the beginner, from the manual all the way up to the customer service and warranty. Those familiar with BaoFeng’s offerings will remember the old UV-5R; this BF-F8HP is a much better product with more output and battery life. If you want to upgrade from the old model, rest easy: It’s backwards compatible with all the accessories for the older model.If you’re looking to get started, then this is the model for you. You can find your feet on something inexpensive like this, then move on to other models once you’ve got more radio time under your belt.
- Pros: 20 hours of battery life on max output, assuming average use. It can receive commercial FM radio at MHz. A flashlight comes included. And it’s geared for beginners.
- Cons: Build quality is hit-or-miss; some units may have a defective charging cable or power supply.
Wouxun KG-UV9D Plus Multi-Band Multi-functional DTMF Two-way Radio 7 Bands Included Air Band
China has been breaking in on the handheld-and-cheap scene, and that’s a good thing because more affordable beginner sets mean more people can get into ham radio. Besides, just because it’s from China doesn’t automatically make it bad.
Particularly notable about the Wouxun KG-UV9D is that its UHF capability is reprogrammable. Using the software, you can set it to receive and transmit on either MHz or MHz, depending on which one you’d prefer.
A change of antenna may be needed to properly transmit, though. It also includes a comprehensive array of voice announcements for just about anything happening on the radio, which helps visually-impaired users.
- Pros: Voice announcements. UHF transmission capability can be reprogrammed for either MHz or MHz. Integrated flashlight, cheap accessories.
- Cons: Battery and signal strength indicators are pretty much ‘yes/no’ indicators as to their respective element. Manual is poorly translated
Kenwood Original TH-D74A Triband Handheld Transceiver
The previous two Chinese models are cheap, and that’s their value: they’re a gateway drug. They give you enough capability at a low price that you can explore. When you want to take your handheld game to the next level, that’s what this Kenwood model is for.
The price tag is pretty heavy, but it buys IF DSP for reception and clarity, compatibility with D-STAR and APRS digital protocols, plus Bluetooth capability, a micro-SD card slot, and a micro-USB port for interfacing with your computer. Overall, this is for when you’re serious about your handheld capability.
- Pros: Three bands to work with. Excellent reception and audio quality with the included features, plus easily programmable and connectible to your computer. Specifically designed for digital protocols.
- Cons: More expensive than most handhelds. Running on high power with GPS and APRS will drain the battery quickly; best to grab a few extra batteries to switch out. Extra features need some time to get used to.
Icom H 05 MHz Amateur Radio
Most radios will have transmission capability for multiple bands, to make sure you have options; if one band doesn’t work, you can always try again on another. This offering from Icom goes the other way: it gives up flexibility to instead specialize. It does only VHF and does it very well.
It offers other virtues to make up for being VHF-only. Firstly, it’s built to comply with MIL-STDG specifications; that is, excellent toughness. It’s also very easy to program; at least one user has stated he’s made contact five minutes after unboxing. If you don’t mind being restricted to VHF, the H will serve you well.
- Pros: Built to mil spec toughness, can survive most forms of casual abuse. Very easy to program and use.
- Cons: Restricted to one band only. Included microphone tends to be clumsy to handle and tinny in sound; may be better to put in a different mic you like more.
TYT TH 50W Dual Band Radio
What’s better than one radio? Sticking two radios together in one package. This offering from TYT is true dual VFO, which lets you monitor two frequencies at once. Each VFO has separate knobs for channel, volume, and squelch, allowing you to listen on one side, speak on the other, and adjust as needed. It can also act as a cross-band repeater, should you need to provide assistance to your handheld-bearing.
A notable feature is the six ‘Hyper Memory’ keys on the front, labeled A-F. These let you save the present configuration on both sides of your radio, so you can return to that exact setting later on with a button press. These can come in handy if you’d rather not play around with knobs.
- Pros: Dual VFO. Can act as a cross-band repeater. Programmable ‘Hyper Memory’ keys in front let you save a radio configuration and later return with one press.
- Cons: Clunky programming software. If you’re scanning on one side, then call on the other, the scan stops, and you have to manually key for scan again.
BTECH Mini UVX4 25 Watt Tri-Band Mobile Radio
In full, that BTECH reads as “BaoFengTech.” As you can see from this list, China has been largely breaking into the mobile and handheld markets. All the better for the consumer, as competition makes sure you get the best products. The UVX4 is rather dinky for a mobile unit, but it has its charms.
The third band there is the m band, which is open for amateur use in the Americas. Technically, the UVX4 can transmit on a fourth band: MHz. However, this is not an amateur band in Europe, Africa, or the Americas. It’s available for amateur use in some parts of Asia, but unless you’re there, stay off it.
That wrinkle aside the UVX4 takes ‘dinky’ to the mobile scene while chugging along quite cheerfully. If you’d rather not be hassled by a large bulky radio going anywhere, it’s the one for you.
- Pros: Very cheap mobile unit, and thus a good entry into higher-power VHF and UHF. Very small size, easy to carry around.
- Cons: Potential legal pitfall in the MHz access, use with care. External speakers require a TRRS jack to function properly. There’s a bandpass filter for MHz that switches on and off when switching to and from that band, which produces a relay click sound that may be annoying. Underpowered compared to other mobile radios.
Radioddity x TYT MD Dual Band DMR Mobile Car Truck Transceiver
Reheating leftovers is always chancy; at worst they’re inedible, at best you remember they’re not really all that fresh..
The good news is that the Radioddity x TYT MD does everything that the FT does, and improves on it while being a good deal cheaper. Like its labelmate the TYT MD above, it’s also pretty much two radios stuck together, being true double VFO. Notably, it can also transmit on the 10m band, thus giving a user some HF capability at a reasonable price.
In all, the provides unremarkable but reliable service. And what more does anyone need?
- Pros: It’s a knockoff that’s better than the original. Can transmit on the 10m band. Dual VFO.
- Cons: Earlier models come with a Busy Lock that has to be disabled via programming. The right side of the radio is only capable of 2m and 70cm transmission.
Icom IC HF All Band Amateur Base Transceiver
Base stations are where a lot of ham takes place. VHF and UHF are perfectly functional and will serve, but HF offers opportunities that they don’t. The problem is that the equipment needed to access HF gets to be pretty expensive. This offering from Icom is already on the cheap side, and it’s $
The IC can be thought of as a beginner’s model. Its low cost lets a ham break into HF without too much pain, and while it does have some features to play with, there aren’t so many of them that they’d overwhelm a new user. They’re also immensely reliable; some users have been sticking with their ICs for years without ever taking them back to the shop.
Here’s the best testimony for the IC, though: Despite it being marketed as a beginner’s model, there are a lot of ham operators who, after using this as their first rig, haven’t changed to another model, even after having seen how other radios perform. When you’ve got something as good as this for below a thousand dollars, who needs anything more?
- Pros: A cheap but excellent base unit. Easy to learn and understand.
- Cons:Noisy without DSP. Relatively few features; experienced hams may want more things to play with. The front speaker may be tinny; getting an external speaker is advisable.
Yaesu Original FTD HF/50 MHz Compact Amateur Base Transceiver
The downside of getting into high-frequency is the cost of most base stations. If you’re buying new, most HF-capable transceivers go for north of $ This offering from Yaesu, however, offers magnificent capability for lower than the thousand-dollar mark.
It’s quite surprising how much it incorporates for the price. The various features of its IF DSP let the Yaesu FTD isolate signals and improve clarity, and slice out interference. The manual is excellent and comprehensive, which is a great help, as the menu system is a particular weakness. If you have to get exactly one radio, then the FTD won’t let you down.
- Pros: DSP features ensure excellent signal capture and reception. Reasonable price for a base station.
- Cons: Only goes up to 25 watts on AM. Menu system needs some learning time.
Kenwood TSHX HF/50 MHz Amateur Base Transceiver
Have you ever wanted to reach out and touch someone via radio? This rig from Kenwood is exactly what you need for that. Most base stations transmit at W; the TSHX considers this to be underachieving and prefers to send at W. Couple that with the AF DSP, and you can be dead sure that people will hear you.
It is a bit expensive, but frankly, for most hams working HF, it reigns supreme. With reviews on eham.net dating from , the majority of them 5/5, it won’t let you down if you go for it.
- Pros: watts of transmission power! Two fans to keep the unit cool, plus AF digital signal processing.
- Cons: Serious power hog, needs two standard or one large power supply to feed the beast. Can only install two filters at a time. The price tag is heavy, and the whole thing may well be overkill for the average user.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where should I start?
There’s no need to go big the first time. It can be daunting to look at the entire spectrum of HF and what you need to work high-frequency, but this is amateur radio. Your reasons are entirely your own, and whatever you use to make the contact is what works for you. The radio that you can buy outweighs the radio that you can’t.
You can already do a fair bit on VHF; just puttering about on 2m and chatting to other people in the same city via a repeater on your handheld is perfectly fine. You can put off getting the big stuff after you’ve earned your General license and have a bit of cash stored away.
Do I need a car for a mobile unit? Can I put a base station in my car?
No, and yes. The names are just there for convenience, but you can easily set up a mobile unit as your home station or drive around with a base, as long as you can keep it powered and bring an antenna with you. There are some hams who wander around looking for good spots to make contact from.
How much range can I expect?
Earlier it was all about range, but honestly, there’s no easy way to estimate how far you can contact someone, as a lot of factors are in play. Sure, UHF has a shorter range than VHF, which has a shorter range than HF, but you also have to consider transmission power, the weather, how high your antenna is, whether it’s nighttime or daytime, what kind of obstructions are present there’s no real way to make a solid statement. The ranges given back in the “Choosing A Radio” section are ballpark figures.
Under the right conditions, you can be in Colorado and make contact with an operator in Japan, while also completely incapable of reaching your usual ragchew partner the next county over. Repeaters can extend a VHF signal a fair way. Better to test your signal in the field, really.
Do I still need to learn Morse Code to get my license?
In the past, this was a requirement, but the FCC has discontinued requiring Morse proficiency tests to earn your license since February of You can still learn Morse (or Continuous Wave, CW, as the ham community calls it) if you like, as it has charms of its own, but you can go mucking around on the airwaves without needing to figure out dots and dashes.
What else will I need?
Handhelds incorporate all they need in the package. For mobile units and base stations, you’ll also want an antenna to connect them to. You can buy some off the shelf, or if you’re confident in your electric skills, DIY some. Making your own antennas is also another part of amateur radio if you’re into that kind of thing. You’ll also need a power supply if you decide to get a base station; W of transmission power doesn’t come easy.
Everything else beyond that is improvements to your quality of life, not outright necessities. Microphones and external speakers, for instance, though they may be a greater need if your existing unit has poor qualities in those areas.
Ham Radios: Concluding thoughts
Whether it’s handheld or mobile or base, there’s a lot of ways to enter the ham radio scene. Depending on need and price point, you can find something to fit you, and with it, make your way into the world of amateur radio.
New to the scene and unsure where to start? The BaoFeng BF-F8HP will serve you well. Need a tough cookie for the road? Grab the Icom H. Got money burning in your pocket and a yen to chat with your old friend in Denmark while you’re in New Jersey? Shell out for the Kenwood TSHX.
Whatever you need, there’s a radio to fit you.
Related: Best Long Range Walkie Talkies
Band transceiver dual handheld
Best Handheld Ham Radios (Updated )
Updated Oct 5,
Singling out the best handheld ham radios can be quite challenging, especially if you are a first-time buyer.
The market is flooded with high-quality radios that boast of advanced features and the latest technology.
If you are looking to buy a ham radio for an emergency or adventure, we are here to help you answer the question what is the best handheld ham radio? We have compiled a comprehensive list of what we believe are the best ham radios in the market to help you make an informed decision.
The idea of owning a ham radio in this digital era may sound far fetched. In fact, many people believe that ham radios are no longer in use, but that isnt the case at all.
These simple communication gadgets are still essential and can come in handy at the least expected time.
Comparison Table With Our Ratings
Comparison Table With Specifications -Best Handheld Ham Radios
Types of Ham Radios
There are 3 types of Ham radios i.e. handheld ham radio, mobile ham radio, and base-station ham radio
- Handheld Ham Radio: They are small and lightweight. The handheld transceivers allow ham operators to communicate on the go; due to their low power output, handheld ham radios typically have a range of only 5 miles at the most; their range can be increased by a nearby ham radio repeater
- Mobile Ham radio: Designed to be used from an operators vehicle or a ham shack; their mile range is mostly due to the increased power available through either a home wall connection or by a connection through a vehicles battery via a volt outlet or power adapter
- Base station: The largest of ham radio setups, generally have a range of several thousand miles; typically powered by household current, through an outlet, or a special volt battery connection; these ham radio types cover the whole spectrum of radio frequencies, though some are set up only to operate in the high-frequency ranges.
Top 9 Best Handheld Ham Radios
1. Yaesu FT 65R Dual Band Transceiver(Best Overall Handheld Ham Radio)
- Sturdy and comfortable to handle with commercial grade build including an IP54 rating
- mAh battery life of around 9 hrs upgradeable to 11 hrs operating time with the mAh option and comes with hr rapid charger
- Clear microphone and good audio quality 1 watt speaker
- Programmable VFO as well as channel and weather scans
- 3 power settings of 5 W, W and W allow
- Intuitive menu with 4 programmable keys to enable quick recall of most used settings
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The Yaesu FT 65R is a less expensive version of the highly rated FT, and the features are more basic too on this more compact model. However, this dual band radio, which comes with weather alert and FM radio, is still a solid, comfortable handset of reasonably quality with an IP54 rating meaning it is relatively robust outdoors. It is one of the best handheld ham radios around.
The PTT button sticks out at a slight angle which may feel awkward to some but great to others, so this design feature comes down to personal preference. It has a 1-watt speaker with good audit quality and a clear, audible microphone.
You can extend the operating time by a few hours by upgrading the rechargeable mAh lithium ion battery to a mAh battery.
The transceiver is computer and keypad programmable, but the programming cable isn’t included and has to be bought separately, however, once obtained, the handset can be programmed with a range of software. It comes with a basic but user-friendly manual though you have to download the more comprehensive programming instructions.
Menu navigation using the keypad is relatively straightforward and intuitive, and the keypad includes four programmable keys to quickly access to your most used settings, which is fairly unique among the ham radio handsets reviewed.
The back lit LED screen seems basic with a default display setting showing a single VFO and battery status, but it can be configured to a dual band display.
It has the standard VFO/programmable memories as well as weather scans and you can set it to auto turn-off after a set period of time to preserve the battery. It comes with a stout antenna which is interchangeable.
If you’re tired of belt clips that snap or detach the battery from the handset, the transceiver comes with a sturdier belt clip design than many other models and the clip attaches to the body of the handset rather than a more standard attachment to the battery.
Overall, the functionality, reliability and quality compared to other models make it highly suited as a first ham radio for a ham radio operator starting out, as well as intuitive, easy-to-handle handset for the more experienced.
This dual band ham radio comes with VFO mode or you can scan by pre-programmed memory. Menu navigation and keypad programming is relatively intuitive, and the keypad includes 4 programmable keys for quick recall. Sturdy and compact, it is well suited to outdoors, especially with power saving features and the option to upgrade the battery.
- It is inexpensive/affordable
- It is commercial grade built and splashproof making it suited for outdoor use with less common PTT and belt clip design features
- Good quality speaker
- Manual keypad programming straightforward and intuitive
- The programming cable doesn’t come as standard so make sure you buy this if you want to use the programming software
- The user manual is good but basic, meaning the programming manual has to be downloaded
2. Baofeng BF-F8HP Dual Band Two Way Radio (Runner Up)
- Most Powerful Ham Radio
- Great price with many features
- Great sound quality
- Great Battery life
- Squelch settings work
- Transmit and monitor on all GMRS, FRS, Marine and Business bands
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The Baofeng BF-F8HP is the editors pick for the best handheld ham radio. It is also the best handheld ham radio for beginners due to its affordability, ease of use and popularity among beginners as well as experienced hams.
It is a powerful handheld radio as it boasts of three power levels i.e low- 1 watt, medium-4/5 watts, and high-7/8 watts.
With this radio, it is possible to monitor two channels simultaneously, thanks to its Dual watch receiver, also known as semi-duplex. You do not have to worry about not having enough power when you have the Mah power battery as your back up.
Why get bored when you can listen to the radio while monitoring radio channels?
Thanks to its FM broadcast capability. The best thing about it is, it can accommodate a total of one hundred and twenty-eight channels that are programmable and can be put to memory. There is the option of adding or removing channels, hence you get to choose what you want to listen to.
In addition, incoming calls will always be given priority over the FM broadcast radio. This ensures that you do not miss any radio calls while on the radio.
This is a ham radio that even a beginner can comfortably use.
This Baofeng radio is frequently bought together with:-
- Affordable, best ham radio for under $
- It has good sound quality, transmission power and reception is decent
- Battery life is great
- It is easy to use
- Upgraded chipset
- It comes with a better antenna
- You may need a USB cable and computer to configure
- Increased power output does not make a significant difference
Baofeng BF-F8HP User Manual
*Check our review of theBest Mobile Ham Radios
3. Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio-Baofeng Ham Radio (Best Budget Ham Radio)
- Versatile radio for amateur use
- Easy to use
- Small size, just the size of an iPod
- Good frequency range
- Durable and extremely strong
- High two colors LED definition display
- Dual Watch Receiver
- Group Tones supported
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If you are looking to save some money this is the best budget ham radio. It is another Baofeng ham radio that can watch two channels at the same time.
It has a frequency range of mhz. Features high/low power settings of 4W/1W and contains a programmable radio. The FM broadcast radio can be used on amateur frequencies and can transmit on both the Narrowband ( kHz) and wideband of about 25 kHz.
It has programmable memory channels with the option of adding and removing at will. This gives you the option of customizing the channel names on the device. Not forgetting, its superior rechargeable battery.
The battery is mAh Lithium-Ion with a power capacity of about 12 hours. When you are not in need of the power from the battery, it contains a save feature that saves power to be used when needed. It is one of the best cheap ham radio on the market.
- A handy all-round radio that is durable and extremely strong
- It has good frequency range 5 to 15 miles depending on obstacles
- High two colors LED definition display
- It has Dual Watch Receiver
- Group Tones supported
- Rechargeable battery
- Has an FM radio
- Power saver feature
- Programming not intuitive, manual programming could be a lot better
- VFO function has no copy memory channel
- Selecting channels is slow
- Scanning is a little slow
- No copy to the memory channel
- No voice prompts
Baofeng UV-5R User Manual
Read our review on the Best Long Range Two Way Radios
4. Yaesu FT-3DR C4FM/FM /MHz Dual Band 5W Digital Transceiver with Touch Screen Display (Best Premium Handheld Ham Radio)
- Wide receiver coverage along and APRS capability
- Simultaneous C4FM digital dual band (A and B) monitoring
- High resolution, full colour touch screen display allows for easy menu option selection
- 5-watt high power output as well as medium ( watt) and low (1 watt or watt) power options
- Bluetooth enabled
- Option to add an SD card that will allow recording of conversations and carry a back up of saved channel settings
- Small and compact
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If you’re a ham radio enthusiast who’d like a transceiver that utilises more of current technology, the Yaesu FT-3DR is a premium, and yes, more expensive, version of the Yaesu FT-2DR.
Its distinguishing upgrades compared to the Yaesu FT-2DR include a bright multi-colour screen, rather than monochrome, with touch screen capability meaning it is much easier to work your way around menu functions and switch between bands. The colour screen is slightly smaller than the FT-2DR which requires some deftness when using the touch screen. You’d think the more advanced screen would drain the battery faster, but the FT-3DR has proven to have excellent battery life (when not using Bluetooth).
This model is one of very few to come with Bluetooth capability meaning it can synchronise with the car and most headphones.
It has the option to be fitted with an SD card on which you can record inbound and outbound voice transmissions, and you can also use the SD card to save a back up of your preferred channel settings.
The compact size and built-in GPS leaves little space on the top of the handset, so it isn’t as easy to interchange wider based antennas. One solution is to add a BNC connector to attach other antennas.
The handset is compact and comfortable to carry by hand, belt-clip or pocket if you’re hiking and the GPS provides and gives access to real-time navigation. It is IPX5 water resistant so is suitable for outdoor activities. Combined with the navigation tools and decent battery life, you can make your way back to your start point if you get lost.
APRS capability seems a bit hit and miss, and the low sound capability may make it harder to receive some broadcasts and transmissions. Otherwise, this is a feature-rich premium ham radio and as this is an incremental upgrade you won’t need to replace all the accessories if you have an earlier model.
This dual band ham radio comes with touchscreen capability, Bluetooth and GPS while becoming even more compact and tactile than earlier models. Sturdy and water resistant, it is well suited to outdoors, with the ability to track, record, receive and transmit voice, data and location information.
- Touch screen functionality
- High, medium and low power modes and long-lasting battery
- Bluetooth capable so ideal for hands free and car use
- Accessories of the FT 2DR are compatible with this model so no need to replace everything
- Built in GPS and real-time navigation capability
- Compact and tactile for comfortable handling
- Recommend getting a BNC connector to allow antennas with a fatter base to be attached
- Audio and sound quality and output is not much better than far less expensive models
- Touch screen functionality can be tricky for those with thicker fingers/larger hands
5. Yaesu Original FT-2DR Dual Band Handheld Transceiver
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Powered with an output of 5 watts, this Yaesu ham radio is one of the best handheld radio for beginners. Its battery boasts of a capacity of about mAh which means that the user gets to enjoy more time working with it and less time charging it.
It has an in-built antenna with a magnificent GPS receiver. In case you get lost and you happen to have this radio, no need to worry. The GPS can, not only provide your location in real-time but also provides APRS information.
The FT-2DR comes with a navigation feature, which is considered smart due to its capability of performing in real-time. This makes it possible to constantly know exactly where you are at all times, hence you get to enjoy your hike in the woods with no worries at all.
Last but not least is, there is the little camera located near the microphone. It is a small, handy piece of tool that can take a snapshot and the image is saved in a micro SD card for future reference.
- Smart navigation
- Built-in GPS
- Compatible with system fusion
- Wideband receiver
- The audio can be a bit distorted
Yaesu Original FT-2DR Dual Band Handheld Transceiver User Manual
6. TYT MD DMR/Moto TRBO Ham Radio
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It has a single band coupled with a dual mode capability. The receiver in this radio is one of the most sensitive receivers we have on the market today. The quality of the audio is quite high compared to other similar gadgets with superb frequency response. The thing about the TYT MD that makes it unique is its multi-color display with remarkable resolution.
The speaker is not only loud, but is clear enough too, and is powered by a 5-watt transmitter which is more than sufficient. Its programmable keys are located on the side. Their main purpose is to scan all available channels
- The audio is of high quality
- It is easy to use
- It sometimes drains the battery
- A bit difficult to program
7. Tri-band Yaesu VX-6R Submersible Amateur Ham Radio
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First and foremost, it is easy to use. With an output of 5 watts and a total of alphanumeric memory channels, it is no doubt one of the most sought after ham radios. It features a triple band and possesses wide receiver capabilities.
Other additional cool features include a severe weather alert system. This comes in handy when you come across harsh weather conditions. Features an Emergency Automatic ID. This proves to be very useful. In case of an emergency and for one reason or another, you are unable to press the switch. This feature will identify you as the authorized user and you will be able to make your call.
- The audio is of high quality
- The battery performance is not so bad
- It is easy to program
- The speaker is not loud enough
- The keypad is a bit too small
Yaesu VX-6R User Manual
8. Baofeng-UV82C Dual Band Baofeng Ham Radio
- Light and compact.
- The white LED is handy.
- CHIRP programming
- Can be used on FRMS and GMRS and monitor weather.
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This is one of the best baofeng radio models. With a v antenna for optimum performance, this is one of the best ham radios on the market today. It has a switch known as a PTT switch. This comes in handy when you opt to transmit on two frequencies.
It also comes with a dual push to talk button. In addition to this, it has the capability of receiving two frequencies at the same time, at different bands. This is made possible by a feature known as a dual watch receiver.
So why else do we consider it as one of the best portable radio? To start, it boasts of FM broadcasting capability with the incoming call given first priority. This comes with a total of programmable channels that can be programmed via software or manually.
The software considered best for this is CHIRP. It may take a while to learn how it works. But once you get the hang of it, it is a piece of cake. You will need a USB programming cable to make this happen. This enables you to program alphanumerically if that is what you prefer through the use of this software.
Lastly, its power settings can either below (1W), medium (4W), and high (7W).
- Great battery life
- Much better antenna
- CHIRP programming
- Enough power output
- Alphanumeric programming only possible via the software
- No clock
Baofeng-UV82C Dual Band Baofeng Ham Radio User Manual
9. Retevis Ailunce HD1 DMR Radio
- Capacity to store 1, priority contacts for convenient access and up to , contacts overall
- Up to 10 watt high power output as well as medium (5 or 4 watt) and low (1 watt) power options
- Accurate GPS locator and tracker makes it ideal for position and tracking during outdoor activities
- mAh battery with a long standby time
- Dust and waterproof to IP67 standards
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The Ailunce HD1 DMR is a digital mobile radio built with radio ham operators in mind and is the first ham radio from Retevis. It has some features that set it apart from other ham radios including a larger mAh battery, higher wattage output and GPS functionality, but has some downsides that seem to be improving with firmware updates and hopefully future design improvements.
The watt power outage gives it some extra range, and the large battery apparently lasts for days on standby, though the LCD display is effectively blank in this mode. However, with speaker output of watts, the sound has a tendency to distort as the volume is turned up. In addition, the receiver sensitivity seems much lower to comparable handsets earning it a reputation as “deaf”.
This largish handset is designed with a GPS locator and tracking capability, and has a waterproof rating, so you’d think it is suited to those ham radio operators who are outdoor enthusiasts as well. However, functionality issues such as poor receiver sensitivity, lags in responsiveness of the selector knobs, and distortion, pull down the reliability rating of this model. You may be better off with something like the Tri-band Yausu VX6R if you want something you can rely on in survival or emergency situations.
You can program using the keypad or via computer, however the programming cable does not have a standard connector and does not automatically come with purchase.
The software is similar to that of other radios but different enough to require a bit of a learning curve to get the hang of it. It is not compatible with that of other radios, so you have to set up from scratch if you want to replicate settings you have in other models. It has the capacity to store , contacts, which you can filter and select according to your requirements from the DMR database directory.
This is a nice-to-have addition to your ham radios if you are a DMR enthusiast. Be aware though, of the functionality issues if relying on this handset alone for ham radio communications or in an emergency situation, especially as it is pricier and more complex to program than many other models.
This DMR ham radio comes with VFO mode enabling you to program and save by frequency, which is handy if you’re using it in analogue mode. It comes with a promiscuous mode, enabling you to listen and talk to multiple talk groups. Combined with GPS functionality and extended battery life, this waterproof handset is designed for outdoor use.
- High, medium and low power modes
- Ability to download and store DMR database contacts according to your preferences
- Digital and analogue functionality, including messaging
- Long battery life when using standby mode
- Screen remains functional (doesn’t freeze) during transmissions
- Dust and Waterproof to a rating of IP67
- Non-standard software for programming requires overcoming a learning curve and you must check you get the cable as it doesn’t always come as standard
- mW speaker may distort when turned up more than halfway
- Receiver sensitivity and audio quality does not seem as good as other models
Buyers Guide Best Portable Ham Radio
This feature will give you the ability to monitor two different frequencies simultaneously. The dual-band function makes it easy for you to select the frequency you would like to transmit on. You should also be careful with the antenna that comes with the radio. A genuine antenna should have no problem, but the ones not bought with the radios are sometimes not compatible with the dual-band feature.
There are two questions you should ask yourself, can the radio be programmed manually as well as via the software. If it can be programmed via software, it is prudent to confirm that the programming cable is available and functioning. For a portable radio to be programmed manually, there needs to be a functional keyboard.
After using the portable ham radio for a few hours, it should be recharged. It is paramount to confirm before making a purchase that it has an external DC connection. This will make the work of recharging easier and ensure that the radio has enough power for it to operate at all times.
A well-arranged user manual
In other words, find a handheld ham radio with a manual that is easy to understand. This comes in handy when you try to operate your device, but does not work in the manner you expected it to operate. When something like this happens, it is advisable you look for an easy manual that will help you get going in the shortest time possible.
Sometimes the audio quality of the ham radio is directly affected by the nature of the environment. If you are trying to listen to your radio in the city or on a busy market, it might be difficult to understand whatever is said via the radio. This is why it is important you look for a device with a good speaker and an external earphone jack. If the outside world becomes too noisy, you just plug in the earphones and receive the information on the radio loud and clear.
Types of Licenses for Ham Radio Operators
There are three main types of licenses for ham radio operators.
a) The Technician License
This license is normally issued to beginners. It is considered an entry-level license and you only need to pass one exam to attain this license. Once you get this license, you gain access to a frequency above 30mHz hence can communicate locally.
b) General License
To attain, you will need to pass an exam with a total of 35 questions. Needless to say, you need to have attained a technician license or passed the Technician written examination. With this license, you will have access to all amateur radio bands and operating modes.
c) The Amateur Extra License
This is a higher-level license, therefore, it requires passing a more difficult exam with a total of 50 questions. Before sitting for this exam, one of the requirements is you must have passed previous license class written examinations. With this license, you get to enjoy all operating privileges on all bands and modes.
With those few points on what you should look for and need when getting the best ham radio, it is time to take a closer look at our handheld ham radio reviews. These are the best picks.
How Does a Ham Radio Work?
Typically, ham radios use a wide range of frequencies for communications. Non-hams can “listen in” to hams via radio scanners or their own receivers. Ham radio utilizes a variety of frequency bands across the entire radio spectrum. The frequencies are usually allocated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and are only meant for amateur use. Many ham radios operate well in the frequency range just above the AM broadcast band.
Many ham bands are found in the radio frequency that ranges between MHz to 27MHz. During the day, 15MHz to 27MHz provides a good band for all long-distance communications. However, during the night, the band ranges between MHz and 15MHz offers a good band for long-distance ham radio communications. These bands are commonly referred to as short-wave radio bands.
Unlike the frequencies used by television stations and FM radio stations which are line-of-sight and limited to up to 50 miles, the short-waves usually bounce off the ionosphere from the transmitter antenna to the receiver antenna. Thus, the higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength.
While some ham radios use the Morse code, other use voice. The Morse code signals are much more reliable since they can still get through even when voice transmission can’t. It is also good to note that these amateur radios use radio modems to communicate in various networks.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do you require a license to operate a ham radio?
A license is not required to purchase ham radio or listen/monitor to the many amateur (ham) radio frequencies. You will, however, require a license from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to transmit on amateur radio frequencies in the USA. There are 3 levels of licenses for amateur and one needs to pass simple multi-choice questions, no detailed “Morse” code kind of knowledge.
How long is a ham radio license good for?
In the US, a ham radio license is renewable after 10 yrs.
How much does it cost to get a ham radio?
The cost component of using a handheld ham radio is made up of two items:-
- Fees to obtain a license which is set by and payable to the volunteer examiner coordinator. The amount is usually small. At times some VEC do not require a fee.
- Cost to purchase the ham radio depending on budget and preference from as low as $23 for a BaoFeng UV-5R
To sum it all up, it is important to get the right best amateur ham radio for you. It should fit in your budget and at the same time meet your expectations, at least most of them. Take your time before making a decision on the type of radio you are going to buy. Most importantly, understand what you are buying with regard to its features and limitations. This will avoid a lot of frustrations in the future.
*Wholly Outdoor is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
DJ-VX50HT/HE Dual Band Handheld Transceiver
Power, Features and fun!
Full of advanced features, the DJ-VX50H offers land mobile-grade operation and powerful 5W/(UHF 4W)output in a compact rugged IP67 body. CTCSS, DTMF, and DCS are standard, along with a variety of tone bursts for repeater access. Convenience features include direct frequency input, alphanumeric channel labels and memory channels that can each store operating parameters. In addition, DJ-VX50H sports VHF AM aircraft, FM broadcast and NOAA weather channel receiver for an extra listening pleasure!
An Exciting Compact, 2-Slot Dual-band DMR Transceiver!
Built-in GPS Receiver
Transmits and receives GPS coordinates automatically, and displays the distances between you and other users. (TGP,EGP models)
Clear Voice and Powerful Audio
Utilizes DVSI's AMBE+2R vocoder for Crystal clear DMR digital audio for use in noisy environments like construction sites and malls. Powerful 1W audio output to insure loud crisp sounds.
Large, Full-color Display
Features inch display with a menu-driven interface, icons and large, easy-to-use keys for comfortable operations and message reading.
Real Two-slot DMR
The DMR Tier 2 two-slot TDMA technology doubles your communica- tions capacity!
Mixed Mode Operation
The DMR Tier 2 two-slot TDMA technology doubles your communica- tions capacity!
Digital Voice Recorder
Up to 14 hours of recording communications and sounds/voice using an internal or optional microphone.
Other Versatile features
* Common to Digital and Analog modes
* Digital mode
* Analog mode
This is not an amateur radio equipment.
Please inquire to your dealer for details of this product.
ATTEMPTED USE WITH 3RD PARTY MICROPHONE VOIDS WARRANTY AND MAY RESULT IN PERMANENT DAMAGE TO THE RADIO
An Exciting New DMR Radio that's available to all!
This Alinco's DMR transceiver packs a lot of performance into a compact and rugged polycarbonate body. Designed to resist dust and splash, the DJ-MD40 features specs such as 1W audio output with a large speaker and ppm frequency stability.
Capable of operating 5W output in analog and digital with mixed mode, channels programmable in 64ch per zone in a hotel, shopping mall, theme-park, exhibition hall for business, construction, factory, warehouse, stadium where communication comes first, the DJ-MD40 is a brilliant choice for everyone!
This is not an amateur radio equipment.
Please inquire to your dealer for details of this product.
Simply Beautiful and Beautifully Simple.
This "beautifully simple" radio has fully independent keys and dials to deliver true dual-band operation. The removable front panel can be remotely mounted or inverted for optimal speaker placement. Building on Alinco's reputation for simple operating commands and straight-forward key design, the DR is a radio you can start enjoying from the moment you power up!
Dual-Band Mobile Transceiver with Full Duplex Capability
The DR dual-band transceiver from Alinco makes a sharp attractive addition to any operating environment. Starting with full duplex capability and a remotely mountable control head, the DR is a solid performer for base or mobile operation.
Best Value, Proven Reliability and Feature packed!
The DR/ is a high technology radio that delivers power and performance in a small package. User-friendly configuration and programmable features make the DR/ the radio of choice for both demanding and beginner operators.
Easy to operate, clean design, packed with features
and HIGH POWERED!
The DR-B in its compact package is loaded with high technology features: high stability PLL synthesizer, newly designed power circuit that puts out 85W max, 7-digit alphanumeric display, a wide variety of scanning features, just to name a few. Yet the operation is intuitive and simple with user-friendly configuration. Using a high-tech, high-powered radio is this simple!
DJT/E Dual Band Handheld Transceiver
Amazing high performance,
compact size, and full featured!
Full of advanced features, the DJ offers landmobile-grade operation and powerful 5W output. CTCSS, DTMF, DCS and 5-tones are standard, along with a variety of tone bursts for repeater access or selective calling.
Convenience features include direct frequency input, alphanumeric channel labels and memory channels that can each store operating parameters.
A Li-Ion battery pack and a stand charger are standard, adding power and convenience. The DJ looks simple, but remember, looks can be deceiving! The DJ places one of the world's most advanced transceivers at your command, at ALINCO's affordable price!
Notice to California resident users / Proposition 65 of the State of California
This announcement has been made in accord with requirements of the State of California. However, it is recommended for all users of our products to read it for health and safety of yourself and the environment around you.
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|FT HF+50Mhz ALL MODE MOBILE TRANSCEIVER|