Best Ham Radio for Beginners In 2021

The concept of ham radios isn’t that prevalent. What we mean is not many people know about it or realize what it means. So, if you have heard about them and it sounds interesting to you, there are chances that you’d want to get into having one. With so many available options in the market, choosing just one becomes too tiring and confusing.

For a beginner who isn’t aware of what ham radios are, these are the wireless communication devices primarily used as a last resort when every other form of communication has slipped through. These are some of the foolproof modes of communication when you feel like nothing else will workaround.

The ham radios are also considered the core part of the survival strategies and preparations, which means that you wouldn’t have to regret or worry about things that you likely have no control over. Ham radios are nothing but a seamless communication mode that enables the users to send messages across long distances that are then transcribed by the HAM operators using radio frequency to transmit information around.

While the federal communications department often uses it, it is not uncommon for people to want to have a ham radio to themselves. It is a pretty standard affair, and if you have been looking into options, we’d suggest that you keep an eye out on the possibilities that we are going to mention down below.

Here, we have done all the hard work for you and sorted out some of the absolute best ham radio that is compatible for beginners.

Best Ham Radios – Reviews

With so many different types of ham radios available in the market, choosing just one becomes a hassle and a confusing affair. Don’t worry though, mainly because these ham radios are all functioned with the best features and the latest features for seamless and uninterrupted functions unlike anything else around.

#1. BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio

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  • Tuner Technology: UHF, VHF
  • Noise Level: 1 Watt
  • Temperature Range: -20F to 120F Degrees Fahrenheit
  • Item Weight: 16 Ounces

When discussing the bestselling ham radio for beginners, the BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio is likely the best option. It comes in a handheld design, which stands out in terms of reliability and ease of use.

It is equipped with 128 channels, 50 ctcss, and a dual-band display with dual-frequency functions for a seamless user experience. The product also comes with a unique design featuring a tri-color background with light, selectable features that make this an ideal option for you to look into.

The radio does come with manual program functions, which means that you’d have to operate things according to your needs on your own. It features a stunning keypad lock and emergency alert, which again is why you need to have this.

The easy-to-use interface makes it an ideal option for beginners. But, if you do want to program it via a desktop, that is possible as well. Aside from that, the users can also access the chirp quick programming, which further benefits.

Pros & Cons of Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio

Pros

  • Easy to use interface
  • Keypad lock
  • Programmable via PC

Cons

  • Manual power

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#2. Uniden Bearcat BC125AT Handheld Scanner

  • Number of channels: 500
  • Dimensions: 4.33 x 2.17 x 7.28 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Battery life: 10 hours

Next on the list, we have Uniden Bearcat BC125AT Handheld Scanner, another popular ham radio that has gained quite a lot of popularity over time. It is a very sophisticated scanner that hosts over 500 channels that you can gather signals from.

The device enables users to listen to over 40,000 frequency, which is pretty starking. It does cover both civilian and military bands, which again is why it is such a popular option. The sorted-out channels help you find the ideal ones that you would want to connect with.

The model of the radio comes with separate functions that enable the users to sort out the channels based on the priorities and overall requirements, which is impressive. The process of Alpha tagging makes it a lot easier for you to assign the names to the individual channels for easy finding.

The product comes with a very lightweight and portable design, which is reason enough behind its popularity. The orange backlit display is a big win and enables you to keep a check on the radio even during nighttime.

The product is also packed with a range of pre-sets, which means you can listen to the desired channels right off the bat without any hassle. It is also a very budget-friendly option, so you wouldn’t have to worry about emptying your bank account.

Pros & Cons of Uniden Bearcat BC125AT Handheld Scanner

Pros

  • Enables listening up to 40,000 frequency
  • Hosts over 500 channels
  • Comes with pre-sets

Cons

  • A little complicated UI

#3. Radioddity GD-73A DMR/Analog Two Way Radio

  • Tuner Technology: UHF
  • Weight: 5.28 Ounces
  • Battery Life: 48 Hours
  • Frequency Range: 420-450 MHz

The Radioddity GD-73A DMR/Analog Two Way Radio is hands down the best option for users looking for a compact design for ham radio. It comes in a mini size DMR design and features a lightweight and portable design that you can carry around.

The HAM radio comes with a clear LCD screen with a compact keypad that enables seamless one-hand operation that is perfect not just for business but also for hams. The 3600 mAh battery life of this battery is another win that provides up to 48 hours of battery life.

The product can work for 12 hours consistently without stopping and causing risks of overheating or such, which is very common in these kinds of radios. It also does support four different customizable functions with customized keys that further suit your needs accordingly.

The radio further comes with seamless micro USB connectivity and hotspot enabled functions, which again are pretty good. So, not only do they help with charging the radio, but they work seamlessly for the programming part as well.

In case this is your first time using a ham radio, there is a detailed user guide inside the package that should explain everything in detail to you. It is backed with a 60-day money-back guarantee and 18 months of warranty.

Pros & Cons of Radioddity GD-73A DMR/Analog Two Way Radio

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Easy programming
  • Backed with a 1.5-year warranty

Cons

  • The audio output could be better

#4. Luiton Tri-Band Radio

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  • Weight: 7.2 Ounces
  • Frequency Range: 136 – 174 MHz

For the less complicated and reasonably priced options, we have the Tri-Band Radio from Luiton. Not only is it an underrated brand, but it is also one of the best radios on the market featuring all the latest functions and features.

It comes with a frequency range of up to 480MHz, which is pretty ground-breaking when you come to think of it. It also works with the UHF and VHF’s traditional realms, so you can choose between the settings according to your needs.

The radio features a unique dot matrix LCD design with a friendly user interface, making it extremely easy for you to control and manage the radio’s convenience and functions. It is backed with UV-5R, which is an upgraded version that ensures enhanced performance and capabilities.

This HAM radio from Luiton is a very versatile option that more or less works with every setting that you have going around. It works with general police and even the military if that matches your requirements. The brand also offers up to 1 year of warranty, which is excellent.

Pros & Cons of Luiton Tri-Band Radio

Pros

  • Unique and functional design
  • LCD
  • User-friendly user interface

Cons

  • Programming can be a little tricky for beginners

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#5. Markit 4X Ham Radios

  • Number of channels: 128
  • Tuner technology: UHF
  • Weight: 2.7 Pounds
  • Frequency Range: UHF / VHF

When discussing the bestselling ham radios, we can’t have the Mirkit 4X Ham Radios. Not only is it the best option around, but it is also a leading product in terms of the quality and the overall reception and functions.

The radio comes with three different power modes, including high, medium, and low. You also wouldn’t have to worry about the ham radios’ overall accessory functions, primarily because it supports auto keypad lock, dual-band, FM radio, and even scanning options.

The users also get a full 100% USA warranty with the product, which brings further assurance with the brand. The best thing about buying this product is that you get a pack of four with this product, which comes a lot in handy.

Pros & Cons of Markit 4X Ham Radios

Pros

  • Easy to operate
  • Comes in a pack of four
  • Comes with multiple power modes

Cons

  • Warranty details aren’t specified

#6. Yaesu Ham Radio

  • Number of Channels: 1256
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 3 inches
  • Noise Level: 28 dB
  • Range: 0.5-800 MHz

Another popular ham radio that has gained a lot of traction in the market is the Yaesu Ham Radio. The primary reason behind this radio’s popularity is all thanks to the good quality and the overall functionalities.

The radio also supports real dual-band operations, which is why you need to have this as a beginner. It uses C4FM digital monitoring to enable easy monitoring of the A and B bands accordingly.

It is one of the few ham radios that come with a separate Bluetooth unit, which means that you will have to ensure seamless monitoring without any hassle. It enables the users to experience hands-free operation using the Bluetooth headset from the brand.

Pros & Cons of Yaesu Ham Radio

Pros

  • Ease of use
  • Real dual-band operations
  • Supports Bluetooth programming

Cons

  • Expensive

#7. Baofeng Dual Band Two-Way Radio

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  • Number of channels: 128
  • Tuner Technology: UHF, VHF
  • Frequency Range: 136 – 174 MHz

Baofeng is hands down one of the most popular options when talking about ham radios, especially when discussing the quality of transmission and signals. It is designed with a dual-band radio signal transmission design.

This radio’s power settings are programmable up to 5 miles and work seamlessly, especially with the overall audio output. The frequency is up to 108 MHz, which is not necessarily a bad thing at all. It is mainly for the commercial radiofrequency.

It supports up to 128 channels with free reign for you to customize those channels’ names without any hassle. All you have to do is use the programming cable that comes with the radio, and you are good to go.

Aside from these above features, the radio is also integrated with all the necessary functions, including auto keypad lock, dual-band, dual display functions along with dual standby. It also features a 1800mAH battery, which provides extended battery life.

Pros & Cons of Baofeng Dual Band Two Way Radio

Pros

  • Highly programmable settings
  • Supports up to 128 channels
  • Dual display functions

Cons

  • Battery life could be better

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Ham radios are an alien concept for many, and if this is your first time buying one, we hope this article helps you choose the one that works the best for you. Start by looking at the features of the products first before you end up looking at the price. These will cost you some good money, but you need to invest your coins in a good option rather than settling on a cheaper variant at the end of the day. So, make sure that you do keep a check on the product’s quality before you end up buying one.

FAQs

What are Ham radios used for?

If this is your first time using ham radios and you don’t have much information about the same, we’d suggest you read through. The ham radios are one of the most popular means of wireless communication that works when you are in survival camps and have no internet or network access.

What are the Ham radio frequencies?

The Ham radio frequencies work over two distinct frequencies, the ultra-high frequency, and the very high frequency. Sometimes, in rare cases, it uses high-frequency bands too. The ham operator uses multiple kinds of gears to transcribe the communicated signals to have a better understanding of what is being said.

Is listening to Ham radio not legal?

Since the federal agencies primarily use ham radios, it is common for people to think that using them, in general, is likely not legal. Listening to ham radio isn’t illegal. But, in case you want to transmit, you will have to have a license for that. In case you try to break the protocol and try to communicate without having a proper license, you might get into trouble.

What are the different licenses for Ham transmission?

As mentioned, to transmit, an individual needs to have a proper license for the same. There are three licensing types involved: the technician license, general license, and the extra license. Depending on your requirements, you need to read through the criteria and get the license you need.

Is it hard to achieve a Ham radio license?

If you are starting as a beginner using Ham radio, we’d suggest you first familiarize yourself with everything first and then look into the licensing procedure. The majority of the licensing examinations come with a set of questions that the candidates have to answer. If you have proper knowledge, there is no reason why you need to worry about not passing the exam and getting the license. 

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