Despite the advent of smartphones and other smart devices in the market today, you might find it quite surprising that handheld ham radios are still being widely used. In fact, just like long-range two-way radios, it's still one of the most renowned devices ever exist until today.
This is because there are so many reasons why you should own a ham radio. It can be used on any occasions, whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, survivalist or not. It can be a great way to communicate, no matter the nature of your activity is.
So in today’s article, I’ve listed down five of the best handheld ham radio that will make sure you will have a functional way of delivering important messages. If you want to know what made it to the list, then please keep on reading below.
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- Best Handheld Ham Radio: Top Sellers in the Market
- Best Handheld Ham Radio: Buyer’s Guide
Best Handheld Ham Radio: Top Sellers in the Market
First on the list is the BaoFeng UV-82HP High Power Dual Band Radio that features a high-gain V-85 antenna as well as 128 memory channels that are all programmable. But what I like most about this model is that it can be easily customized according to your preference. For instance, it comes with free software that enables the PTT switch to become synchronized; in this way, you'll have a simpler operation.
Moreover, this device also comes with three power settings, this includes low, medium and high or 1, 4 and 7-watt. This is another way you can customize this device, these power settings will allow you to choose how far the other party can communicate with you.
But what’s even great is that the channels are very easy to add or eliminate by using the free software that comes in the package. You can rename it by using your PC too. Another incredible feature of this device is its dual PTT button that willow you to transmit over two frequencies.
You can also use these frequencies to scan other frequencies as well as channels, CTCSS and DTS tones. But if you think one frequency is already enough for you, don’t worry as it will be possible for BaoFeng UV-82HP to re-enable the single PTT switch, making it even easier to use.
Anyway, this unit also comes with FM radio, emergency alarm, flashlight along with external accessory capability. There’s also a built-in receiver, and it can monitor both frequencies while prioritizing incoming calls. It supports various calling methods too, such as DCS, DTMF, and CTCSS.
Here’s another incredible unit from BaoFeng. Here we have BaoFeng BF-F8HP Two-Way Radio which belongs to the third generation of UV-5R radios. Anyway, this ham radio comes with several remarkable and unique features you will less likely find in other units.
To begin with, it got eight watts of power output. It's unlike other models from BaoFeng that only has about two to three watts. This is important, especially that power output is one of the factors that determine how great a ham radio will perform, especially if you will be working on high ranges. Our first product though is the closest competitor with seven watts of power output.
Another interesting thing about BaoFeng BF-F8HP, since it’s already an upgrade of the previous models, its antennas, casing, batteries and so much more has gotten certain improvements. For instance, its battery is now 30% bigger while its radio shell is now harder and even more durable. Its V-85 antenna, on the other hand, has higher gainer of frequency signals.
In addition to that, chargers, straps, belt clip, headphones and power adapter are already included in a package. I must say this is a remarkable set that is not only ideal for outdoor survival but also keeps you entertained and de-stress wherever you are as you can use this ham radio to listen to FM radio.
What makes Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band stands out is that it has the capability to receive and transmit signals within larger ranges, this means you will not be able to more likely and more quickly connect with outer users. Though it does not have as strong output power as the ones I’ve mentioned above, it’s still pretty powerful at five watts of power.
Anyway, this model offers a thousand of memory channels as well as NOAA Weather Alert function. It even has the capability to receive emergency channels through the 800-900 Mhz. Another thing I like about this device is that it is durable yet compact enough to comfortably fit into your hand and not to weigh you down on your outdoor adventures or when you’re in rescue operations. Its body is made of aluminum that is durable enough to withstand no matter how harsh the wild can be. In fact, it’s considered to be the best radio models in the business because of its heavy-duty housing.
Moreover, its programming capabilities are just amazing and its battery capacity is pretty impressive; it even beeps to alert you whenever the batteries are getting low. It also has a great antenna that will allow you to use this radio over a long distance. It's also water-resistant so you won't have to worry during light rain or when you accidentally spill your drink on it, it won't be damaged.
But the best of all is that it comes at an affordable price. It is much cheaper compared to most ham radios.
Here’s a two-way radio specially designed for beginners and has similar capabilities with other ham radios. Though Radioddity GA-5S High Power Two Way Radio does not have the same super quality compared to its high-end counterparts, it is still a decent choice you need to consider.
First of all, it comes with a power output that is configurable. Its highest setting is capable of reaching up to 7 watts, and this is already enough to make sure you will never be out of the grid. What's even great is that if you have the correct condition and frequency, you can reach the device's maximum output up to a whopping 9 watts.
You will also get pretty great reception with this device, thanks to its high-gain antenna that allows you to get unbuffered and solid signals. The transmission distance it can reach is up to 5.5 miles and this is already far greater than what other radios can do.
I also like that this model comes with an ergonomic design with its accessible keypads and a majority of its settings are programmable.
Here’s a handheld ham radio that belongs to the high-end group. Kenwood Original TH-D74A Handheld Transceiver comes with plenty of impressive features. First of all, it’s a highly durable and weatherproof transceiver; in fact, it meets the weatherproof IP54/55 standards. It is also well built to make sure it offers nothing but remarkable user experience.
But what makes this device, even more, stand out is its improved functionality, this is why users are drawn into it despite not being one of the cheapest choices in the market. I'm sure you'll be impressed to know that this original ham radio features four different power output settings that range from 0.0 5 W to an impressive 5 W.
Moreover, its battery life is also remarkable. It can last from 6 to 15 hounds depending on what power setting you’re using. But what I like most about this device is that it’s very lightweight, it will never weigh you down no matter what your activity is nor feel that it’s a burden carrying this device.
It also comes with TFT display that will make it easier for you to read clearly and conveniently whatever of the time of day or night is. It also features wide band as well as multi-mode reception that makes operating on three frequencies possible, be it 440 MHz, 220 MHz, and 144 MHz.
I must say Kenwood Original TH-D74A Handheld Transceiver definitely has a high-performance unit built into it. It has an auto-clock setting, it's even compatible with D-start radio communication network as well as APRS communication protocol.
Best Handheld Ham Radio: Buyer’s Guide
But before you grab your keys and go shopping for the best handheld ham radio, you might want to spend some time and read these important factors you need to consider first.
See also: Best Walkie Talkie On The Market Today.
1. Power Output
The power output definitely plays a crucial role when it comes to the usage of communication radio. The more power output your ham radio has, the better the performance will be. For instance, the battery life will depend on your power output; so the bigger the power output is, the better battery life you will have.
2. Speaker Power
Not all handheld ham radio comes with the same speaker power. So I highly recommend that you opt for models that feature speaker power of at least 0.7 to 1 watt, depending on how loud the environment you will be in.
3. Backlit Display
Some may probably ignore this but the backlit display is very important as it allows you to use your ham radio even when you're in dim environments and especially during the night. Take note that emergencies often happen in the middle of the night. When the power goes out, you don’t want to find yourself stuck and struggling to operate in the dark.
It would also be best if it comes with a feature that will allow you to toggle display light on and off; in this way, you will be able to conserve power when you’re not using it.
Most handheld ham radio requires a license for you to be able to use it. But if you want to avoid going to classes in order to get a license, make sure you look for models that offer FRS or Family Radio Services.
So there you have it, five of the best handheld ham radio. Handheld ham radio works by improving your capability to communicate with other people even if satellite services are not available to operate your mobile phones. You modern devices may fail, but rest assured that your ham radios will not.
Anyway, I hope you find this article helpful enough, and it will guide you to finding a ham radio that would meet your requirements and preferences. If you still have any more questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below.
You might also want to read other helpful product reviews like the best long-range walkie talkie that will make sure you’ll always be connected to the grid even if you’re in the middle of the wild.