Emergency Communications

Best Ham Radio | Top Choices To Amateur Radios You Can Use



Hand holding Ham radio speaker for conversation | Best Ham Radio | Top Choices To Amateur Radios You Can Use | Featured

Having the best ham radio is useful in case of an emergency when phones and the internet aren't available. Here's a guide to help you select the best amateur radio depending on your budget or experience level.

RELATED: Ham Radio Training: The Serious Survivalist's Most Critical “Life-Line”

Top 11 Ham Radios on the Market

1. Wouxon KG-UV9D

You can enter the ham radio world with this affordable device from China. One of its noteworthy capacities is that its ultra-high-frequency or UHF is reprogrammable.

Depending on your preference, you can arrange its settings to accept and transfer a communication on 220 MHz or 440 MHz. It includes a full range of voice announcements to cater to visually-impaired users.

Additionally, it holds up seven bands reception and has an integrated flashlight.

2. AnyTone AT-D878UV

Apart from being a ham radio, this unit also serves as a handheld GPS. Whether you're biking, hiking, or doing other sorts of activities, this device will provide positioning and navigation.

Add a personal touch to this model as the font colors are customizable. You can also monitor two timeslot zones, and its database is complete worldwide. It offers an incredible capacity of 4,000 channels, 10,000 talk groups, and 200,000 digital contacts.


BTECH focuses on the development of its radio products. This allows you to have the best ham radio with accessories, features, and warranty. It even took two years for this model to evolve.

If you're looking for a versatile amateur radio, this is the best device that's available on the market. You can change its background to blue for nighttime use, or black during the daytime. Its battery is also long-lasting and can run up to 35 hours.

It can keep up to 4,000 channels and 200,000 contacts as well, allowing you to have a huge virtual audience. The best thing is that you can customize this ham radio with their free programming software.

4. Whistler WS1040 Handheld Digital Scanner Radio

Be always in the know and the first to hear storm announcements with this ham radio. Its technology allows you to learn about upcoming weather reports before they're televised. With this, you'll be able to prepare as soon as possible.

Don't get overwhelmed with its programs. Every item in this amateur radio's menu comes with a few descriptive lines to assist you. It also has a function that lets you sort objects depending on your preference.

This handheld ham radio has modern audio hardware for clear reception and communication. It allows you to look for frequency transmissions in your local area and transfer to them.

5. BaoFeng BF-F8HP

Maximize your ham radio with the built-in features that come with this model. It has a frequency modulation or FM and a flashlight as well. Its 24-hour battery life lets you communicate without recharging it for a day.

It provides eight watts of output power and has a high-quality radio shell to resist wear and tear. You'll also make the most out of this device as it comes with an earpiece, belt clip, and hand strap.

Even beginners in the ham radio world can use this model. It comes with a detailed manual for an easy user experience. You can also enjoy its after-sales services such as warranty and customer support.

6. BaoFeng UV-82HP

Program your ham radio the way you want it. With this unit's 128 memory channels, you can add, remove, or assign alphanumeric names to them. Its three power levels let you select how far you can send messages.

It's also referred to as a tri-power radio. This is because it has a frequency range of 136-174MHZ on UHF, 400-520 on VHF, and 65-108 on FM. It also has a dual push to talk or PTT button which means that you can communicate on two frequencies.

RELATED: An Easy Way to Set Up Your HAM Radio

7. Radioddity GD-77

Be amazed at how crystal clear and noise-free the audio is from this ham radio. Even if you turn up its volume, the sound won't even get distorted.

You'll also get a mobile phone-like feature with its short message service or SMS function. Once you set it to DMR mode, you can already send messages to other radios.

8. TYT TH-9800 Quad Band Mobile Two Way Radio

With this model, you'll have not just one but a total of four bands! Enjoy the power of this transceiver with sophisticated features at a low price.

Each variable frequency oscillator or VFO has knobs for squelch, channel, and volume. It has a full twin display and accepts additional frequencies.

9. TYT MD-UV380

The best ham radio is reliable no matter the situation. It relays information regardless of the circumstances. This device holds up to these ideas and doesn't fail on communicating as its screen is easy to read day and night.

It supports two kinds of antennas – the stubby and the white band whip. Additionally, it comes with a belt clip so you don't have to worry about this model slipping from your hand.

10. Xiegu G90 HF Amateur Radio

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If you're big on aesthetics, this is the ideal ham radio for you. With its colorful display, your communication will get more exciting. Even the keypad of its microphone has a backlight.

You can also place your radio's head wherever you want. It has a detachable design wherein you can separate the display head from the main body.

11. BaoFeng UV-5R

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If you're looking for a handheld radio that doesn't break the bank, then this is the ideal model for you. Its low price doesn't sacrifice its reliability. It's one of the most inexpensive on the market yet offers the needed functions in a portable radio.

Carrying this device around won't be a problem if you're always on the go. You can switch its power settings from high to low so you can conserve its battery life. It also has an impressive speaker output so you won't have trouble hearing in any situation.

Learn about the features of amateur radios so you can get the best ham radio that's suitable for your needs. Watch this video by TinHatRanch to know the answers to your other questions on amateur radio:

Despite the advances in technology, radio still plays a role in long-distance communication. It's one of the most economical means to send messages across the globe. Invest in the best ham radio so you can enjoy its full potential.

What do you think is the best ham radio for beginners? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

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Last update on 2024-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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  1. Ray Boorstin

    March 9, 2021 at 11:26 AM

    Remember, one needs a FCC license to operate a transmitter on HAM frequencies. One needs to practice before the SHTF not after.

  2. Martin

    March 9, 2021 at 11:47 AM

    No license required when SHTF

  3. Earl

    March 9, 2021 at 12:07 PM

    What the hell, was this a another example of Chinese invasion? You drop these POS and that’s it it’s broke. By good American products that will survive to be able to serve you. I buy new and used Motorola radios because they are well designed and built to last….unlike a $39 throw away radio. Just like the rest of your SHTF survival equipment, don’t be cheap.

  4. Walt

    March 9, 2021 at 12:13 PM

    It haven’t hit yet, need license until then!

  5. John

    March 9, 2021 at 12:14 PM

    True, Martin…..however, when it comes to radio etiquette, proper procedure and the like…that takes education. Having to pass an exam requires being educated on the subject. As a licensed HAM myself……I’m not going to respond to someone who is broadcasting on a HAM frequency acting like they are on channel 19 citizen’s band frequency. Neither are NCS’s and their respective nets (which there are many already coordinated just in case of emergency situations).
    They can broadcast on FRS and the like freqs……they can listen to HAM freqs….but I would suggest they do not transmit on allocated HAM freqs.

  6. Richard

    March 9, 2021 at 5:01 PM

    I would like to know what sort of evaluation process they used to come up with this list. Been a ham for 30 years and there is not one on this list I would spend my money on. For reliable communications stick with established manufacturers. Some of these mentioned are very hard to program without a computer. You want something you can update on the fly if you are forced to leave your normal area of operation. We have people here that got those cheap BoaFeng radios but have to have someone else problem them because they don’t know how to do it. We’ve been evacuated here several times in the last couple of years. Those guys get stuck when they leave the area because they can’t program in the changes they need. If you get an established brand you can almost always find a ham that can talk you through any problems you might have. Figure out what functions you will use the most often, then get a radio that fits you. Get advice from hams in your area. Local clubs are easy to find on line

  7. Ray

    March 10, 2021 at 12:49 PM

    You’re kidding, right? You’ve presented all of the cheap Chinese transceivers and none of the actual quality-built equipment that just costs a little more. While the Chinese stuff will usually work (some better than others), many suffer problems of varying degrees, such as poor receiver performance, spurious transmissions, and other unwanted side effects. Many of these radios would never pass FCC type acceptance if it weren’t for the rather loose standards in place for amateur equipment.

    How about reviewing some radios from the Japanese companies, such as Icom, Yaesu, or Kenwood? Yes, their radios may be made in China (now), but they were at least properly designed by Japanese engineers that made sure that the proper circuitry a components are in place for high performance and durability.

    Again, this is not to say that these Chinese radios are definite ‘No’ as they do indeed have their applications (great disposable radio, IMO). Yet, there should be a better understanding of the quality tiers of what is out there, instead of representing the absolute bottom rung as the best value.

  8. Charles

    March 27, 2021 at 5:39 AM

    I would appreciate articles like this more if the gave the country of manufacture. I may have a Chinese President but I’ll be hanged if I will buy Chinese products except as a last dire resort. I’ll spend the extra money to buy something because it’s not Chinese.

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