Ham radios are often used by both newbie radio hobbyists and radio enthusiasts alike, with their ability to have clear transmission and wide reception coverage. Communication through the ham radio still happens nowadays, and with the added features and advanced technology on newer models, these gadgets are even better at what they do.
Through the years, many radio manufacturers have improved the design of their ham radios, with great features packed in every device. That’s why these days, it can be quite touch to settle with one single option, knowing that there are also 4-5 amazing models on the market that still fits the budget.
To help you out, we listed the top 2 ham radios you can purchase and why.
1. BaoFeng UV-82HP High Power Dual Band Radio
Baofeng Tech is a major player in the radio industry with the USA distributor being the only one to honor the manufacturer’s warranty. If any problems arise with your handheld radio, Baofeng will take care of it without shipping any parts to China.
This particular option from Baofeng offers 3 different power settings: High, medium and low. The frequency range is between 65-108 MHz (megahertz) with both broadband and narrowband selections. The V-85 antenna will optimize signal strength and overall performance of the radio.
For first-time users, it could be hard to understand the ins and outs of this particular piece of technology, but you can find tips and guides on their website at baofengtech.com and miklor.com.
The dual-band handheld radio receiver has an LCD screen that displays all the functions so you know exactly what the settings are. You can synchronize the talk switch with the software for easy operation. Instructions on how to do this are all included in the new user manual.
What’s great about this option is you can configure and tailor it to your own needs. There are 128 memory channels you can add or remove from the list using the software.
Take your pick of five different colors to liven up the dull and neutral black that most of these devices come in.
2. Mirkit Radio Baofeng UV-5R MK5
Again, if bought in the USA or online, the seller/manufacturer provides the US warranty for all Baofeng radios. No need to wait for long periods to have the product shipped to and back from China.
You can set the Mirkit channels to your radio list. With 128 channels, programming can be done online by following the steps on their website. A link to the programming software and firmware can be provided upon your request.
The radio has dual-band display, dual-frequency display, with standby and monitor functions for two different frequencies. Be aware that whichever is the first station is the default one for incoming calls.
This handheld ham radio is versatile with multiple functions. Use if in hospitals, for security, military organizations or even as a police scanner!
Some of the built-in functions and features include an LED flashlight, LCD display, emergency alert, low-battery alert, timer, battery saver and more.
Luiton Walkie Talkies 2 Way Radio BaoFeng Radio Series UV-5RH
Here we have another amateur walkie talkie that offers 3 different adjustable power settings for your pleasure. Choose between 8, 4 or 1 watt, this programmable radio has a frequency of 65 to 108 Mhz.
The important thing about devices is to customize them for your own convenience and personal preference. You can play around the settings to customize channel names for easy recognition, and also program the boot display and others with the included programming cable and your computer.
Buying Your Next Ham Radio
Buying a ham radio can be quite complicated if you don’t know anything about it. For starters, they aren’t like your normal walkie talkies. They have much more advanced features and can be used for better transmission abilities and clearer reception.
First, you have to take note of the range of the radio. Depending on what you will need the radios for, you can choose the bands that the radio operates in and how far the coverage can go.
The programmability of the radio is your next consideration. Many can be manually programmed, but some won’t be. Certain options are easy to use and can be programmed with the keypads. These radios can sometimes be adjustable via a programming cable and your computer for advanced programming. Other options may only be programmed with your computer, which can be a hassle. Decide what it is you are looking for, in-depth programming or ease?
Certain options allow for firmware updates, which always gives your radio the latest and greatest functions the manufacturer has developed. Some cost money, but a lot of the models we presented above offer it for free. You just need to follow a link or supply them with your email.
Next is the display. Pick out ham radios that offer LCD display to ensure good visibility and ease of use of the device. Often, the LCD display is paired with a backlit keypad so it’s user-friendly even at night time.
The antennas are another factor, which can affect the range of your radio. While you can always buy an external antenna as you wish, it will be better to find a radio that comes with a good quality antenna instead of wasting time researching for a compatible exgernal antenna and spending more money in buying one.
The memory channels are important too, as it will make communication quick and easy with channels and signals stored in your device. If you need the radio for communication on a national or global level, some radios have up to 200 (128 being the commonly seen number) memory slots to accommodate you.
Price can be a big factor in picking out your ham radio, especially if you have limited budget for the model. Although high-end ham radios, like the Yaesu Original FT 450D (click for a full review) offer amazing features and benefits, you can also check out our other two suggestions above and other more affordable models.
Finding a ham radio should be based on a well-researched process, as the best one can be quite complicated to find. But with these best models and buying guides, we hope you can now start your quest in finding the right ham radio to use in your vehicle, during your adventures, and even just in your home.
Just remember that a license is very important and often mandatory before you operate this piece of technology. Also, find the right frequency for your specific needs and program them into the memory slots. They are basic but not as obsolete as you think. They can be an essential tool for your survival if you’re constantly outdoors. Quality should is a major concern, but if your budget limits you, there are budget radios that also perform decently for your communication purposes.