A ham radio or a amateur radio is in the sense that an authorized person using radio communication without any commercial interest. He may be interested in personal recreation, self training or emergency communication. If however he is a beginner he should go through the detail study of this review for choosing the best ham radio for beginners.
So whatever may be the purpose to choose a quality ham radio for beginners is quite difficult among hundreds models available in present market. When you are trying to get the best ham radio you should look some of the most important factors like frequency, power output, programming facility etc. In this article we have carefully discussed 7 different ham radios for beginner with their pros and cons from different renowned manufacturers.
If you are a beginner you must go through our reviews and buying guide carefully. Then you will be able to choose a best ham radio for yourself. With the help of a good quality ham radio you can communicate with your friends and family members surrounding your neighborhood and around the whole world. We all must keep in mind that it is ham radio that can serve you in emergency when there is no internet connection or cell connection is dead.
Quick View of The Top 5 Ham Radio for Beginners:
|#1||BaoFeng UV-82HP||1.25 lb.||7W|
|#2||Wouxun KG-UV8D||1.6 lb.||5/4W|
|#3||Radioddity GD-77||1.45 lb.||5/1W|
|#4||Baofeng BF-F9 V2+||1.0 lb.||8W|
|#5||Baofeng UV-5R5||12.8 oz.||5W|
7 Best Ham Radio for Beginners – Reviews in 2019
#1 BaoFeng UV-82HP High Power Dual Band Radio
Baofeng UV-82HP model releases as tri power ham radio with 3 output power levels of 1w, 4w, 7w as low, medium, and high power respectively. The initial frequency range is 65-108 MHZ which is applicable for only FM commercial radio transmission and reception.The next 2 frequency ranges are VHF 136-174 MHZ for both transmission and reception.
Also UHF 400-520 MHZ for both transmission and reception. You can easily select broad band and narrow band with selectable switch. This device is a dual band handheld transceiver with LCD display screen and you can clearly observe the display menu function on the display screen.VFO variable frequency oscillator allows controlling the frequency of this device by the super heterodyne principle.
The dual PTT push to talk switch is synchronized with the help of software in order to achieve simple operation. It has a special feature of high gain antenna V-85 which provides quality performance. The accessories of the previous version are fully compatible with it.
In this product there are 4 selectable tone burst option are valuable. These are 1000, 1450, 1750 and 2100 Hz along with new user manual having detail option for multiple burst tones. The programming of this ham radio is very easy as you can do whatever you exactly want.
This Baofeng UV model has 128 programmable memory channels while you can easily add or remove a channel from the scanning list with the help of free software. Here the features have come that you can set limit to VFO with the help of CHIRP software and you can program the radio from keypad even.
The whole package for this product contains one radio body, one 1800mah battery, one high gain antenna, one adopter and one charger. We have reviewed 7 products with their pros and cons and we recommend this model as the best ham radio for beginners.
- Single or dual PTT selectable.
- An unique chipset for high power.
- Emergency alarm available.
- Three power setting in this device.
- BCLO busy channel lock out.
- Output power is not matching when tested
#2 Wouxun KG-UV8D: Best Entry Level Ham Radio
This Wouxun KG model offers an excellent FM commercial radio communication according to FCC Federal communication commission rules and regulation. There are 2 output power selection ranges, one is 5watts on VHF and the other is 4watts on UHF band in this device.
Here you can easily program 999 memory channels even. Also with DTMF, dual tone multi frequency signaling feature for encoding /decoding function can be achieved setting both low and high power output.
This ham radio has VHF frequency range of 136-174 MHZ and UHF frequency range of 420-480 MHZ for both transmission and reception. The FM commercial radio communication is from 76-108 MHZ, the channel steps are 2.5, 5, 6.25, 10, 12.5, 25, 50, 100KHZ, and work mode in this device is F2D and F3E. The operating Dc voltage is 7.4 volts.
The operating temperature is -20-+40 degree centigrade and the antenna impedance is 50 ohms. The weight of the item is 490g and dimension of the product is 124.4*61.49*33.88mm. The channel selectivity > or =70db and intermediation < or =65db.
In this tool the longer rubber duck is very impressive and engineered for TX/RX. Actually it is very easy to program manually this device. The battery in this ham radio remains active standby for 12 hours which means it is receiving signal and playing the audio.
As a result the backlit of color LCD is on. The LCD is always on even if the backlit is not on. The Waupun KG model is compact and solidly built radio. The PTT, push to talk and other buttons are also solidly built.
It is built in with cross band repeater which is also a special feature for this product. WE have reviewed this radio in detail and we like to that this the best entry level ham radio in the present market.
- Easy to read from large display screen.
- Cross band repeater available.
- 999 programmable memory channels.
- 8 channels steps available.
- Rubber duck well engineered for TX and RX.
- Battery charger problem.
- Squelch feature is problem.
#3 Radioddity GD-77 Dual Band Two Way Radio
This Radioddity GD model of ham radio releases with the special feature of dual band and dual time slot. This ham radio has 2 frequency range of VHF 136-174 MHZ and UHF 400-470 MHZ. Also GD-77 model walki talki has both the tiers 1 and 2 which is compatible with Mortola and other digital mobile radio DMR. We have analyzed 7 branded radios from different manufacturers and foun this model as one of the top quality ham radio for beginners.
This Radioddity GD model has both the certification from FCC(Federal Communication Commission) and EC(European commission), FCC is needed for device related to frequency and EC is needed for electronic products. It possess a high capacity battery wityh 18 hrs working and 48 hrs standby time the duration being 30% more than other digital mobile radios.
Here the traditional charger has been replaced by usb port charger 12v which can conveniently use with the help of car charger adopter. In this device functions like channel name editing, number editing, Tx/Rx of channel changing can be modified by the keypad of GD-77.
This ham radio has a battery of high power 2200mah with solid construction in hardware and easy programming software. This GD-77 is most cost effective and keeps always in touch when cell phones are out of option.
This device is so useful that you can use it in outside activities like school, construction works, property management, in hotel, hospital and other industries. It provides you crystal clear sound at any situation with timely and constant communication.
You will find a programming software tab on the left side which allows to be added with a talk group. Software available with beginner’s mode and expert mode. You can also choose either frequency or ID to be displayed on the display screen. In case of group call you can also use separate slot.
- Dual band and dual time slot arrangement.
- FCC and EI certification.
- Convenient usb port charger.
- Key pad can provide more functions.
- Editing memory channels.
- The receiver sensitivity is poor.
#4 Baofeng BF-F9 V2+ Tri-Power FM Ham Radio
This Baofeng Red model released with tri power selectivity low, medium and high power output of 1w/4w/8w in order to facilitate low loss of power while the device is in operation. There in this product there are three frequency ranges and the 1st one is for FM commercial radio communication 65-108 MHZ. The other 2 frequency range for VHZ is 136-174 MHZ and for UHF is 400-520 MHZ, in all cases we are talking about both transmission and reception.
Also switchable wide band 25khz and narrow band 12.5khz. VOX voice operated switch activate by sound and offset functions are incorporated in is tool. The other features that are included in this ham radio are dual standby, watch, and A/B band which are independent in operation.
It is provided with transmitter time out timer TOT circuit that operates only when the PTT switch on the microphone is pushed. Here BCLO busy channel lockout is also a special feature that prevents the user to transmit signal when the channel s are busy.
This is a high quality ham radio with tri color bright display screen. It is compact in construction and durable having an external casing. The Baofeng Red BF model has the capability to reduce the noises cause by signal intensity extensively When transmission reception between 50-55 HZ.
It is fully compatible with accessories of UV-5r model ham radio. It has the capacity 128 programmable memory channels. The tool kit is provided with helpful programming guides. This Red BF radio can be easily programmed with or without a PC with the help of private repeater.
The other technical specifications are simple and semi-duplex operation mode, modulation modes are 16k F3E, 11k F3E, CTCSS/DCS encoding/decoding, stability +-2.5 ppm. Though most of the people think that ham radio is meant for fun and recreation it is a crying need in emergency and this ham radio may be considered as the best ham radio for preppers.
- Tri power output settings
- VOX voice operated switch or circuit.
- TOT transmitter time out timer.
- Easy to read in bright display screen.
- Durable exterior casing.
- Quickly deleting a memory channel is tough.
- The battery changing is difficult.
#5 Baofeng UV-5R5 Dual-Band Two-Way Ham Radio
This two-way Radio is a compact ham radio transceiver with frequency range of VHF-136-174 MHZ and UHF-400-480 MHZ. It is compact in construction and includes VHF band of 65-108 MHZ for FM commercial radio communication.
The device is small with new style and good frequency range. It is easy to use, sturdy and most durable. This product provides excellent display with dual frequency along with good quality antenna. The tool possesses good ergonomic design, having 12 hr rechargeable battery and a nice desktop charger.
The two way radios are fully capable of handling out band signals. T can be well used in outdoor activities like adventure sports, manufacturing industries, property management, hotels, hospital and so many. It equipped with multi functions like dual band, display, watch having 128 programming memory channels. Also this device has 50 CTCSS and 104 DCS encoding and decoding feature.
It offers high performance and having an external handsome look. Other feature that it includes is selectable wide and narrow band, battery save function. VOX voice operated switch which is activate by sound, key lock and built in flashlight.
The frequency selectable steps are 2.5 / 5/ 6.25 / 10 / 12.5 / 25 kHz. The two way radio comes with high quality antenna SMA-j, high quality battery BL-5 Li-ion, 1800mah, 7.4v with Ac adopter. You can easily set the frequency in multiple choices of 0.025 MHz, there is a provision for alarm used in case of emergency.
Some other important features are 1750hz burst tone, low battery alert, TOT transmitter time out timer and keypad lock. The whole package includes one radio set, one li-ion battery, one antenna, one microphone, one belt clip, one adopter, one desktop charger and one user manual. WE have made a total survey of ham radios with their pros and cons and we recommend this model radio as one of the best ham radio for beginners.
- New style from recent models.
- High quality antenna provided.
- Overall good ergonomics.
- Desktop charger is fantastic.
- Multi function like dual band/watch/display.
- No programming software given.
#6 Baofeng UV5RA Ham Two Way Radio Transceiver
This Baofeng UV5RA model is a compact ham radio transceiver with a output power of 4 watts. It can operate at 65-108 MHZ in case FM commercial radio communication and 2 other frequency range of VHF 136-174 MHZ, UHF 400-480 MHZ. The device is compact in construction and economical HT. It also supports dual reception and dual watch which can be seen alternately.
You can easily program 128 memory channels. Baofeng UV5RA has some other features like selecting wide/narrow band, battery saving function, VOX voice operate switch that activated by a voice or sound, CTCSS/DCS encoding / decoding, built in flashlight and key lock function.
The product has ot selectable frequency steps 2.5/5/6.25/10/12.5/25 khz. It is provided with 2 selectable power output 1w/4w. This product comes with flexible female SMA antenna, 7.4v 1500mah BL-5 Li-ion battery, AC adopter 8.4v 600ma. It is also provided with a belt clip and PC03 FTDI program cable.
This Baofeng ham radio has PTT and A/B band which is independent operation. This device incorporates 50 privacy codes CTCSS and 105 codes DCS features. It is also provided emergency alarm. The background light can be selected in tri-color and 0-9 VOX selectable.
The other important technical specification is frequency stability 2.5ppm, antenna impedance 50 ohm, standby consumption 380ma, simple or semi-duplex mode of operation. The transmitter RF power 5w/1w, FM type of modulation, spurious emission -60db. The receiver of this radio has sensitivity 0.2mv, intermediation 60 db, and audio output 1w.
The whole package includes one radio unit, one Li-ion battery 7.4v 1800mah, 18cn dual antenna, one power adopter, one speaker, one battery charger, one belt clip and one user manual. We have reviewed 7 different ham radios from different manufacturers and found this model is one of the best handheld ham radio for beginners.
- Dual push to talk PTT.
- 50 codes for CTCSS and 105 code for DCS.
- Emergency alarm available.
- LED flashlight.
- VOX voice operated switch or circuit.
- Programming not possible by CD.
- Sometime body heated.
#7 BTECH UV-5X3 5 Watt Tri-Band Ham Radio
This BTECH UV model comes with tri-band frequency range VHF 65-108 MHZ for FM commercial radio communication, VHF 136-180 MHZ for both transmission and reception, UHF 400-520 MHZ for both transmission and reception. This ham radio has the features of DTMF dual tone multi frequency decoding, ANI automatic number identification display, remote stun or kills code application.
It is a true tri-band transceiver with internal filtering feature. This model has the traditional case design allows accommodation for a LI-ion battery. The filtering scheme allows full power in all bands.
The receiver sensitivity is fantastic and audio sound is clear and loud. This device has an other important features like selectable scanning of frequency range and adding or removing memory channels from the menu.
The feature display sync applied here means that when display sync is ON the upper and lower display will be together. Since this ham radio is a tri-color display it has option of blue, orange or purple color. This BTECH 5X3 mode ham radio has 7 alpha numeric characters, supports both upper and lower case. Manual programming is quite simple.
Some other important features are VOX voice operated switch, busy channel lock- out BCLO and transmission time out timer TOT.The software support can be obtained from daily build CHIRP. In this product the new chipset RDA5802N and RDA 1846N can easily reduce any kind of switching noise. The programming cable requires extra two pins. It has been found that BTECH model is one step ahead of curve.
- Tri band frequency range.
- Busy channel can be locked.
- Squelch function available.
- Computer programming is easy to set.
- Dual display for name and frequency.
- Programming is difficult with CHIRP.
Buyer’s guide to choose the perfect ham radio for beginners
By this time we have understand what a ham radio is and gathered knowledge about its use and benefits. We are going to discuss some more important aspects of ham radios. There are three type’s ham radios namely portable or hand held, mobile ham radio and base station. It is needless to say that detail study and analysis are needed to find the ideal ham radio for beginners.
Both potable and base station serve all most same purpose, may be base station will cover long range than portable one. The mobile ham radio is a bit different in the sense that when you are a professional driver or a occasional driver you must need such a mobile ham radio in order to save yourself and others from an accident. Some of very important technical term you must know first.
Important technical terms about ham radio, must know for beginners
- Band: A band or a frequency band is nothing but a frequency interval in frequency domain. We always concerned with bands FM, HF, VHF and UHF only. FM or frequency modulation works with local commercial radio communication only. Both the VHF and UHF cab be used for local or short distance amateur communications. In case you need to communicate longer distance you need HF and VHF band communication.
- Output power: It is our general thinking that the more power the long distance we can cover. The idea is partially correct as because the whole unit may consume more power according to its size and component used in it. The maximum and minimum power range for all type of ham radio varies from 5watts to 65 watts even. It is to be noted that a portable or handheld ham radio need less power while the mobile and base station more power in operation.
- Compact and sturdiness: The unit should be compact in construction and sturdy. If the radio is strong enough it is safe for sudden drop from hand. A rugged radio can be used even in harsh condition and you can easily enjoy using it for long time.
- LCD display and memory channels: You cannot run a ham radio in dark or at night unless there is sufficient light. So high grade LCD display is very important and helpful at these situation. An illuminated keypad is very essential in such position. It can easily store programmable memory channels also.
- Weather alert and scan function: When a ham radio possess weather alert feature, you will be able find weather alert from both local authorities and NOAA. If you are a driver running a car you get weather alert, you can easily avoid hazardous road or you can take a quick decision to return home. With the help of a scan function you can easily find a desired frequency very quickly. There are various types of scanning like memory scanning , programming scanning, skip scanning and full scanning etc.
- CTCSS and DCS encode/ decode: CTCSS means continuous tone coded squelch system and DCS means digital code squelch. Both of the features are electronic circuits that reduces annoyance of listening also it adds your tone at a certain frequency into your transmission signal. It offers a constant conversation in the same frequency.
- Programming: Most of the ham radio comes with programming feature but the beginners are not aware of it. Programming can be done in 2 ways one is manually with the help of buttons on the unit. The other one via you PC which is moiré easier but you have learned it. PC programming needs special software supplied by the manufacturers.
Get the equipment: The most important components for ham radio are – 1. Transceiver, 2. Power supply, 3. Microphone, 4. Antenna, 5. Antenna tuner and 6. Extra cable.
A transceiver is a combination of transmitter and a receiver. It is always advisable to buy a combined unit as it facilitates in easy use, handy to tackle and cost effective. The transceiver is the main unit which costs at least 60% of total price.
If you can operate with VHF band a small handheld portable transceiver with all other necessary components will serve your purpose. When we intent to buy a ham radio equipment for beginners we must see the quality of transceiver.
Without power you cannot activate a transceiver. It is a must and while you are buying it must be compatible with the transceiver unit. A low power may under power the transceiver wile high power will over powered the transceiver and both are harmful.
So you need an exact matching power supply. A quality antenna is very important for quality reception. It should not be a metal made better go for a dipole or yagi variety. Antenna tuner helps in matching the transceiver with antenna for better performance.
A microphone is a very important unit that sends voice SSB single side band in radio communication. In order to connect all parts and components you need some extra cable in your stock. For this purpose 5/6 feet cable is sufficient. Nowadays ham radio base transceiver is becoming a necessity day by day.
If you want to choose high quality ham radio transceiver in order buy one, think what type of radio you need to buy-portable, mobile or base station. In case you are a professional or occasional driver you should go for a mobile radio for your vehicle. If not you should go for portable/handheld radio as a beginner.
To choose the best quality ham radio for beginners you should read carefully this review. We have reviewed 7 portable radios here from different manufacturers with their pros and cons. WE also discussed in detail their activity with functions, features and technical specifications.
You can buy any one from these 7 models according to your need. Keep in mind when you are novice you can buy a portable ham radio with medium price. But when you are a professional you should buy the best quality with best price.