Best Handheld Ham Radios of 2018

Did you know that there are more than 3 million amateur radio operators in the world today?

On the 18th of April every year, ham operators around the globe take to the airwaves to celebrate World Amateur Radio Day. If you aren't a ham radio enthusiast, you may be wondering why so many people still use and celebrate amateur radios in the modern age.

Ham radios open up a world full of fun, education, and socializing, not to mention that they're lifesavers during emergencies. You'd certainly want to enjoy these benefits, right?

But how do you choose a reliable ham radio with all the brands available on the market?

It's simple; take a look at our list of the best handheld ham radios of 2018.

1. BaoFeng BF-F8HP Ham Radio: It Has the Best Quality

BaoFeng Ham Radio is affordable and is a step up from the popular BaoFeng UV-5R.

It comes with a high power output that offers 6 watts on UHF and 7.4 on VHF.

The BaoFeng BF-F8HP also features a 2000 mAh battery, an in-built FM radio, and a bright, customizable three-color display.

It has an excellent audio quality, attractive flashlight, and 128 programmable channels. You can use BaoFeng's software to add or remove channels from the scanning list as you please.

It also comes with a manual that will guide you through the radio's capabilities and customization options.

The problem with this ham radio is that it does not have a water-resistant cover, and you may need to download some information and tools from a CD to the radio.

2. Yaesu FT-60R Handheld Ham Radio: One of the Best Handheld Ham Radios for Survival

The Yaesu FT-60R is the best ham radio for hiking, geocaching, and camping. In fact, this ham radio is considered by many audiophiles as the best ham radio for survival.

It's water-resistant and comes with a sturdy aluminum casing that can't crack easily under pressure or when you accidentally drop it.

The radio offers 5 watts of power and has a battery life of 4 days to a week depending on how frequently you use it.

Unlike most other ham radios, the Yaesu FT-60R comes with an audio alarm that will notify you when the battery is low. It also comes with a back-lit keypad and a password feature that will help you restrict unauthorized access.

This ham radio is very affordable and can receive about 1000 channels.

The problem with this ham radio is that the volume button is awkwardly positioned. The battery life could be a problem.

3. BaoFeng Black UV-5R V2+ Handheld Radio

This BaoFeng transceiver comes with a multi-band FM receiver that has a high-frequency coverage. It also features an advanced auto-band detection tool that eliminates the need to use the band button.

The BaoFeng Black UV-5R V 2+ can provide local area network and two-way amateur communications.

The ham radio comes with a sturdy metallic casing that ensures the radio's internal parts are well-protected. It features a 2-color LED screen that provides a high-quality display.

The problem with this ham radio is that it has only two frequency ranges, and you might need the authorization to access some stations.

4. Yaesu VX-6R Tri-Band Submersible Handheld Ham Radio

This Yaesu model comes with a triple band transceiver and transmitting ranges of 144 MHZ, 222MHZ, and 440 MHZ.

It can pick AM/FM radio broadcasts, short-wave frequencies as well as audio and analog TV stations.

The Yaesu VX-6R Tri-Band is made of water-proof materials that can withstand water exposure of up to 3 feet for thirty minutes. It also comes with in-built environmental sensors that enable it to monitor temperature and pressure.

The problem with this Yaesu model is that programming it can be hard for the inexperienced users.

5. BaoFeng-UV5RA Ham Radio

If you are looking for user-friendly ham radio, you can never go wrong with the BaoFeng-UV5RA. This 2-way ham radio supports dual reception and perception.

This ham radio has a good power that can go up to 5 watts, and it allows ham lovers to enjoy regular FM broadcasts. It also has a durable casing and a high-quality screen display.

The weakness of the BaoFeng-UV5RA is that it can be hard to program, and it's not suitable for communications over long distances.

6. BaoFeng-UV-82X Ham Radio

The BaoFeng-UV-82X comes with a dual-band transceiver, an in-built FM radio station, and an LCD screen to display the menu. It has a heavy-duty plastic exterior that can withstand rough conditions for long.

The BaoFeng handheld radio also comes with an 1800 mAH rechargeable battery that can last for about three days after charging. Besides, the receiver features an in-built voice-operated transmitter that allows hands-free operations.

The problem with this BaoFeng ham radio is that it can be a little weighty and manual programming can be hard.

7. TYT MD-380 Ham Radio

This 2-way portable radio features a unique DTMF keypad and an exceptional LCD that offers high-tech graphics and clear text messaging.

It's well-built, easy to use, and can receive about 1000 channels.

The audio quality of this radio is excellent; you can program the receiver using the keyboard.

There are a few downsides to this radio: it has no Bluetooth connectivity and takes too long to charge. The radio's software also needs a little polishing.

8. BaoFeng Yellow BF-F9 V2+ Handheld Ham Radio

As one of the most impressive and popular handheld radios available on the market today, the BF-F9 V2+ handheld radio has an 8-watts output power.

It comes with a sturdy casing and a high gain antenna of double performance.

It has three power settings: High (8w), medium (4 w), and low (-1w). Similarly, it has three range frequencies: HF, VHF and UHF frequency.

The BF-F9 V2+ also features a noise reduction tool and a 3-color LCD. Besides, it comes with an auto-scanning feature that allows you to scan and choose channels easily.

9. Wouxun KG-UV6D: Great Features at an Affordable Price

Are you looking for an affordable ham radio with high-tech features?

Go for the Wouxun KG-UV6D. It's relatively inexpensive and ranks among the best handheld radios out there.

This dual-band Wouxun model comes with 199 memory channels, a backlit keypad, and a high-quality LCD. It also features a voice prompt tool that allows hands-free operation.

It's sturdy and water-proof body makes it ideal for hiking, camping, and all sorts of outdoor activities.

This Wouxun handheld radio also comes with an FM radio, battery meter, flashlight, and a keypad lock feature that can prevent changing the device's settings unintentionally. It has a power saver feature that helps to improve its battery life.

The problem with this ham radio is that its scanning speed is a bit slow and altering an existing entry can be hard.

10. BaoFeng BF-888S Ham Radio

This BaoFeng unit has a coverage range of 6 km or more on an open ground.

The ham radio comes with a high-quality charger antenna and a manual.

The radio's body is made of dense molded plastic. Its rugged exterior gives this two-way unit a beautiful look and makes it durable.

Besides having a well-built body and an excellent design, the ham radio features a 1500mAH rechargeable battery that can last for about 24 hours. It takes only 4 hours to recharge the battery.

The audio quality is excellent, and users can enjoy a broadcasting range of about two miles. You can, however, increase the broadcasting range by investing in a higher quality antenna.

The problem with this BaoFeng ham radio is that it's not compatible with other Family Radio Service (FRS) radios. Also, it doesn't give an automatic beep or any other type of notification after transmission.

11. TYT UV800E Ham Radio

This TYT model has a maximum transmission distance of 6km.

It comes with a dual display, 128 memory channels, and cross-band repeater function,

It also comes with an emergency alarm function and a bright and customization tri-color background light. It has a 3600mAH battery that can last for two days or longer depending on your use.

The TYT UV800E includes an FM radio, hands-free scanning, VOX transmitting function, and a reverse frequency function. It's quite easy to use.

The problem with this unit is that it tends to overheat while in use and it's hard to read the user manual.

12. BaoFeng UV-82HP Ham Radio

This rugged ham radio comes with 7-watt transmission power and a high-quality antenna for good reception.

The UV-82HP has a quality battery that can last for 12 hours or longer. With this BaoFeng radio, you can enjoy your favorite FM station and still ensure you don't miss any incoming calls.

The ham radio has well-lit and simple keypad buttons that make it easy to use even in the dark. Besides, it comes with a beautiful LCD and it comfortable to hold.

The ham radio has a power saving feature that helps to boost its battery life.

The problem with this ham radio is that it doesn't have a clock and doesn't feature a USB programming cable.

13. Amcrest ATR-22 BaoFeng Ham Radio

This is a high-quality two-way BaoFeng ham radio that can give you exceptional service even in harsh weather conditions. It has a high-tech Li-ion battery can last for 12 hours to 24 hours depending on how you use the radio.

The radio comes with an inbuilt LED flashlight that can help hikers and adventurers survive in the dark.

Amcrest ATR-22 is comfortable to hold and is user-friendly. Its sturdy body can withstand bumps, scratches, and rough handling.

It also has multiple color options and a high pitch emergency alarm.

The problem with this ham radio is that it has no screen display, and you need a programming cable to make modifications.

14. Hesenate HT-UV8R Ham Radio

Are you looking for ham radio with a classic design?

The Hesenate HT-UV8R Ham Radio is your best bet.

This radio is comfortable to hold and features a hand strap and a belt clip. The unit has a nice dual display and a1800mAH rechargeable battery that can last for two days or more after charging.

Like the BaoFeng Yellow BF-F9 V2+, the HT-UV8R has three power settings, with the highest being about 8W.

This ham radio also comes with a unique and attractive keypad that easy to use. It also features a mic, high-tech speaker, and a flashlight.

The only major problem with this ham radio is that it can be difficult to program for beginners.

15. Btech GMRS-VI Handheld Ham Radio

Are you looking for ham radio with excellent features and several channels? The GMRS-VI could be the right one for you.

It has features that allow you to synchronize displays and configure them to show the channel details such as name and much more.

This top quality two-way ham radio also comes with a tri-color customizable display and a fantastic dual watch receiver. This means that it can monitor two channels simultaneously and give priority to the one that receives a call.

The problem with this Btech model is that there are no programmable NOAA channels. Also, the radio's scanning speed is relatively low.

16. BaoFeng UV-82L

The two-way BaoFeng ham radio comes with an excellent circuit-design, durable casing, and anti-inference ability.

The BaoFeng UV-82L has 128 memory channels and high-tech speaker that deliver high-quality audio. It also comes with a long booster antenna (about 18cm) that supports long distance coverage than most ham radios.

It has a 1800mAH rechargeable battery that can last for a whole day.

The only problem with this BaoFeng ham radio is that its user manual is bulky and may be too technical for most users.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a quality portable ham radio could be challenging due to the ever-increasing varieties on the market. With the help of this guide, however, you can check out the best handheld ham radios and pick the one that suits your needs.

Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions or would like to buy a ham radio or other devices.

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