If you are looking for the best handheld ham radio, then you’ve come to the right place. This blog post is jam-packed with all of the information that you need so that you can find the best one for your needs and budget. We will cover features, specifications, pros, and cons as well as a comprehensive buying guide at the end!
Here’s The Shortlist To Save Your Time:
9 Best Handheld Ham Radios Available In The Market
5 Things You Must Know While Choosing The Best Handheld Ham Radios
1. Receive/Transmit Capabilities
The first thing on this list is probably one of the most debated topics among HAMs: which brand should you get? If you want to use your device for everyday purposes like hiking or camping, you can go with either VHF (very high frequency) or UHF (ultra-high frequency). VHF handsets typically operate at frequencies between 136-174 MHz (megahertz) while UHF operates between 400-520 MHz.
VHF is preferred for its wider communication abilities. Because of the larger bandwidth, it can communicate in longer distances compared to UHF where signal degradation may occur in long-distance transmissions. When you are buying a HAM radio, make sure your device covers at least all the frequencies listed. Otherwise, you will not be able to properly transmit or receive data on certain bands when required.
The power output of a HAM radio is measured in Watts (W). A low power output capability means your handset won’t go as far and you’ll have to be closer to the receiving unit to send and receive data. Typically handheld ham radios run 3 watts which can cover about 5 miles in very open terrain. High power output can give you an advantage if you want to go beyond 5 miles or cover a larger area. The advertised power output of your radio is usually the maximum transmitted power value under ideal circumstances. This does not mean it will use this much energy when transmitting data. The actual range depends on many conditions. If there are obstructions between the transmitter and receiver, signal degradation occurs which reduces your actual range even with higher wattage transmitters. Also, if you have several hills or mountains between you and another radio user, odds are that range decreases because of line-of-sight obstruction principles. However, if one person is located in an elevated position while the other is close to ground level, then the elevated user will have an advantage in range.
3. Size & Weight
Portability is a big factor to consider when buying handheld ham radios. How much you are willing to carry affects the power output capabilities, frequency bands, features, options, etc. of your device. If you are looking for one for hiking or other outdoor activities, look for smaller models with lower wattage requirements that can be easily attached to a belt or bag. However, if you just want one at home as an emergency backup that doesn’t move around too much then larger devices can do well too. For professional purposes, think about the size and weight pros and cons compared to how much power output is required; there might not be such a thing as ‘too big’ when it comes to these devices.
4. Digital vs Analog
Most handheld ham radios are either analog or digital, with very few models that have both options available. If you are new to the HAM radio scene then you might be out of luck since most newer models are one of the two listed above. To keep things simple, analog refers to older technology where information is transmitted by varying frequencies while digital technologies use various methods for modulation/demodulation (conversion between binary data and transmissions). A digital device works like a computer in some ways; it captures certain frequencies through its antenna and digitizes them into pulses of binary code which are transferred over a specific protocol(for example PSK31 ) for decoding at the receiving end. Digital devices are preferred because of their simple operation, improved security features, and relatively low resource utilization compared to analog counterparts which require more code storage space for correct reception. However, they do need a small amount of time (a few milliseconds) for encoding/decoding data at both ends; this is not preferable during emergency situations where every second counts.
5. Other Factors & Considerations
All handheld ham radios come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages like weight, size, power capabilities, etc. These changes affect the price of your device so compare different models based on how much you are willing to spend before buying one online or offline. Also, keep in mind that some units may offer only communication pathways (point-to-point) while others might be capable of broadcasting (point-to-multi-point or point-to-many) which can be useful for emergency or public access communications.
Why Do You Need Handheld Ham Radios
1. One of the greatest benefits of hand-held ham radios is their portability. They are designed for ease of use and durability, so there’s rarely an excuse not to have one close by at all times. Cell phones are less likely to be with you when faced with a crisis because they require electricity, an operating cell phone tower, and service coverage. Hand-held ham radios can run on battery power, rechargeable batteries, or even solar cells if necessary!
2. Another great benefit of these devices is that they are always ready to go because they never need a lengthy setup or installation. They are often complete kits that are ready for action as soon as you want them to be. You can put one together yourself if you so choose, but most of the ones on the market today require zero installation, and all you need to do is turn them on and start using them.
3. A third major benefit is that they can be used by everyone in your family, not just those who have received training or licenses from a government agency or other institution. In an emergency situation, having as many people as possible able to communicate with one another helps tremendously because it allows for increased organization and effectiveness. Additionally, if you receive an alert about some sort of natural disaster, terrorist attack, etc., you’ll have a better chance of reaching your friends and family members first so that they can flee to safety sooner rather than later!
To Wrap Up
There are a few things to consider when deciding which ham radios you want for your next outdoor adventure. We hope this Ultimate Guide has given you some helpful information about these small yet powerful devices that will help you decide on the perfect one! Which type of Handheld Ham Radios do YOU like most?