How To Pick The Best Portable Ham Radio Buyer’s Guide (2018 Update)

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Best Portable Ham Radio
Hundreds of new portable ham radio appear on the market every year. There are too many brands, which makes choosing the best model very hard. We wanted to help you and picked the best portable ham radio that money can buy.

We wanted to make our buying guide as useful as it is possible, so we compared hundreds of portable ham radio from various brands. That is why the top list of portable ham radio available below features the best models available on the market.

Our Pick: Top 10 Portable Ham Radio of 2018

Name and Features Image Rating Details
1. BaoFeng BF-F8HP
High / med / low power settings (8w, 4w, 1w).
BaoFeng BF-F8HP
4.8
Read reviews
2. Baofeng Uv-5r Dual Band Two Way Radio (Best to Use Right Away)
High / low power settings (4w/1w) programmable amateur radio.
Baofeng Uv-5r Dual Band Two Way Radio
4.5
Read reviews
3. Baofeng Walkie Talkie Uv-82 8w High Power Dual Band Radio
All the necessary accessary already include, not need to pay other money to buy other accessary.
Baofeng Walkie Talkie Uv-82 8w High Power Dual Band Radio
4.3
Read reviews
4. Two Way Radio (Highest Performance)
Excellent dual frequency display with high quality antenna.
Two Way Radio
4.3
Read reviews
5. Retevis Rt5 Walkie Talkies Rechargeable 7w Dual Band Radio
1800 mah car charger support battery allow you carry it outside when you need to work or trip for a long time.
Retevis Rt5 Walkie Talkies Rechargeable 7w Dual Band Radio
4.0
Read reviews
6. Baofeng Uv5ra Ham Two Way Radio
Incorporates 105 codes “dcs” and 50 privacy codes “ctcss” programmable.
Baofeng Uv5ra Ham Two Way Radio
3.8
Read reviews
7. Baofeng 2-Pack UV-5R V2+
136-174 / 400-479.995 mhz.
Baofeng 2-Pack UV-5R V2+
3.5
Read reviews
8. Baofeng Uv-82hp High Power Dual Band Radio
High / med / low power settings (7w/4w/1w).
Baofeng Uv-82hp High Power Dual Band Radio
3.5
Read reviews
9. Btech Uv-5×3 5 Watt Tri-band Radio (Best Transitional Design)
Tri-band frequency range display sync dtmf decode incoming ani display remote stun, kill, revive, inspect, and monitor selectable frequency range scanning remove/add channels from scanning right in menu.
Btech Uv-5x3 5 Watt Tri-band Radio
3.5
Read reviews
10. Dual Band 25w Back Pack Mobile Transceiver Radio
Multifunction button and a dc power charing hole on the side of the radio.
Dual Band 25w Back Pack Mobile Transceiver Radio
2.8
Read reviews

 

 
№ 1. BaoFeng BF-F8HP (uv-5r 3rd Gen) 8-watt Dual Band Two-way Radio (136-174mhz Vhf and 400-520mhz Uhf) Includes Full Kit with Large Battery

High / med / low power settings (8w.4w.1w); frequency range: 65-108 mhz(only commercial fm radio reception) vhf: 136-174 mhz(rx/tx). Uhf: 400-520 mhz(rx/tx); broad (wide) / narrowband (narrow) selectable. A pc03 ftdi programming cable is recommended for easier pc programming. Baofeng tech is the only authorized USA baofeng distributor to honor the manufacturer warranty. Only baofeng tech offers warranty claims without shipping anything to china. You must insure that baofeng tech is your selected buying option when buying to be able to have the full USA warranty. That starts with the new in-depth manual that guides you through the capabilities and customization of the bf-f8hp. On top of that the bf-f8hp also includes exclusive concierge customer help and warranty support. This concierge service is only available on select baofeng models such as the bf-f8hp, uv-82hp, and uv-5×3.

 

 
Top Pros
The bf-f8hp was designed in
High / med / low power settings
A pc03 ftdi programming cable is recommended
Baofeng tech is
Top Cons
I tried but did not find any flaws.
 

Are there any reasons to buy portable ham radiowith a lifetime warranty?

The recommended warranty period depends on how often you use your portable ham radio, how expensive is it, what company made it, and many other factors. Manufacturers sell their most expensive products with a lifetime warranty, while the least expensive portable ham radiomight be not guaranteed at all. We think that the best warranty period for a good portable ham radio is five years.

 

 

1500mah battery; broadband (wide) 25khz / narrowband (narrow) 12.5khz selectable. High / low power settings (4w/1w) programmable amateur radio; frequency range: 65-108 mhz (only commercial fm radio reception) vhf: 136-174 mhz(rx/tx). Customize channel names, the boot display and more by using the optional (not included) pc03 computer programming cable (b00hub0onk). Auto keypad lock, dual band, dual display and dual standby. Extend your uv-5r range with the recommended high gain antenna (not included): b00kc4pwqq (nagoya na-771).

 

 
Top Pros
Customize channel names
1500mah battery
Auto keypad lock
High / low power settings
Extend your uv-5r range
Top Cons
It is inconvenient.
 

 

 
№ 3. Baofeng Walkie Talkie Uv-82 8w High Power Dual Band Radio : 136-174mhz (vhf) 400-520mhz (uhf) Amateur (ham Radio) Portable Two-way Radio

All the necessary accessary already include, not need to pay other money to buy other accessary. One more stand by battery not need to worry not power, one battery in use the other battery is charging. Max 8w output with tidradio na-771 long antenna help you increase the traking range. Vhf and uhf dual-band handheld have more talking frequency. With display function menu user can setting the radio by keypad quickly, also can use program software setting by compputer. Reasonable price is the ham radio user and businesser user top choice.

 

 
Top Pros
Reasonable price is
Max 8w output
One more st
Top Cons
You will have to spend a lot of money on this.
Beginners will not be able to assemble it by themselves.
 

 

 
№ 4. Two Way Radio, Baofeng Walkie Talkie Uv-5r5 5w Dual-band Two-way Ham Radio Transceiver Uhf Vhf 136-174 400-520mhz, 65-108mhz Fm with Upgraded Earpiece, Built-in Vox Function, Battery, Charger

Newest styles, small size, good frequency range(up to 3 miles/5 km), easy to use, durable and extremely strong. Contrary to other radios, the new uv-5r5 is perfectly capable of handling strong out-of-band signals. Use for: floorwalker, adventure sports, outdoor activities, retail and manufacturing industries others. Excellent dual frequency display with high quality antenna. It has multi-functions, such as dual band, dual display, dual watch.128 channels 50 ctcss and 104 dcs. Its performances are excellent, the shape is fashionable and 1-year warranty included. Good ergonomics overall, decent desktop charger and 12-hour rechargeable battery life.

 

 
Top Pros
Good ergonomics overall
Newest styles
Excellent dual frequency display
It has multi-functions
Top Cons
May be uncomfortable for people with excessive weight.
It is too expensive for what you get.
 

 

 
№ 5. Retevis Rt5 Walkie Talkies Rechargeable 7w Dual Band Radio 136-174 400-520mhz Fm Scan Vox Car Charging Function Ham Radio(back, 2 Pack)with Programming Cable

1800 mah car charger support battery allow you carry it outside when you need to work or trip for a long time. High/medium/low power output(7w/5w/1w) walkie talkies; 50ctcss/ 105dcs for private calls. Simple and convenient return process; 1 year warranty and 30 days return; no matter any reason and within 30 days you can apply for a return including the radio accessory. Keypad programmable allow you can program your radio to same with your group when outside and it is convenient. Built-in flashlight and 4 color lcd display provide additional visibility in dark or strong light environments; highly recommend retevis rhd-771 whip antenna if you need longer range.

 

 
Top Pros
Built-in flashlight
High/medium/low power output
Top Cons
It is difficult to carry around.
 

 

 
№ 6. Baofeng Uv5ra Ham Two Way Radio 136-174 400-480 Mhz Dual-band Transceiver (black)

Incorporates 105 codes “dcs” and 50 privacy codes “ctcss” programmable. Other features include: selectable wide/narrow, battery save function, vox, dcs/ctcss encode, key lock and built in flashlight. Ctcss & dcs scanning/ ctcss & dcs direct input. Emergency alarm; led flashlight; built-in key lock. Tri-color background light selectable; 0~9 grades vox selectable. Dual ptt keys; a/b band independent operation.

 

 
Top Pros
Tri-color background light selectable
Incorporates 105 codes “dcs”
Dual ptt keys
Emergency alarm
Ctcss & dcs scanning/ ctcss & dcs direct input
Top Cons
Does not offer enough length.
Looks awful.
 

 

 
№ 7. Baofeng 2-Pack UV-5R V2+, Uv-5r V2+ Plus, Dual-band 136-174 400-480 Mhz Fm Ham Two-way Radio, Improved Stronger Case, Enhanced Features, Black 2 Pack

Amcrest direct (amcrest industries) is the authorized USA baofeng exclusive distributor of the 6p-wrv2-j71d. You must ensure that amcrest direct (firstvision) is your selected buying option to claim the USA warranty. More enhanced construction and features than previous uv-5r and uv-5ra. Warning: operating a radio on one of the following restricted frequencies without a license or authorization by the fcc can result in a variety of enforcement actions, including seizure of equipment, fines and other criminal penalties: 136 mhz 137 mhz (aviation services, part 87); 137 mhz 138 mhz (satellite communications, part 25); 138 mhz 144 mhz (not available to any fcc licensee federal use only); 156.7625 mhz 157.0375 mhz (maritime services, part 80 and aviation services, part 87.

Frequency range: 136-174 / 400-479.995 mhz. Metallic upgraded, durable housing. Upgraded 2014 bright & easy to read two-color led display. Compatible with uv-5r 3800mah and 3600mah extended batteries.

 

 
Top Pros
Upgraded 2014 bright & easy
Frequency range
More enhanced construction
Amcrest direct
Top Cons
It works well, but the price matches the quality — it is very high.
 

 

 
№ 8. Baofeng Uv-82hp High Power Dual Band Radio : 136-174mhz (vhf) 400-520mhz (uhf) Amateur (ham) Portable Two-way

High / med / low power settings (7w/4w/1w); frequency range: 65-108 mhz(only commercial fm radio reception) vhf: 136-174 mhz(rx/tx). Uhf: 400-520 mhz(rx/tx); broad (wide) / narrowband (narrow) selectable. Dual-band handheld transceiver with display function menu on the display “lcd”. Function busy channel lock “bclo”. Helpful baofeng guides and programming tips at baofengtech. Baofeng tech is the only authorized USA baofeng distributor to honor the manufacturer warranty. Only baofeng tech offers warranty claims without shipping anything to china. You must insure that baofeng tech is your selected buying option when buying to be able to have the full USA warranty.

 

 
Top Pros
High / med / low power settings
Baofeng tech is
Helpful baofeng guides
Top Cons
The built quality is terrible.
 

 

 
№ 9. Btech Uv-5×3 5 Watt Tri-band Radio : 130-179.99mhz (vhf), 220-225.99mhz (1.25m), 400-520.99mhz (uhf) Amateur (ham)

Baofeng tech is the only authorized baofeng & btech distributor to honor the manufacturer warranty. Only baofeng tech offers warranty claims without shipping anything to china. You must insure that baofeng tech is your selected buying option when buying to be able to have the full USA warranty. Recommended accessories: pair uv-5×3 with the nagoya na-320a antenna for all-in-one antenna option. The pc03 ftdi cable is recommended for easy computer programming – uses chirp software. Features: vox talk around mode busy channel lock-out (bclo) transmission time out channel receive only (tx off) frequency reverse squelch tail elimination (ste) work mode (selectable vfo/ menu lockout) alpha numeric channel storage pc programmable.

Kit includes: uv-5×3 radio.1500mah battery, v-85 dual band antenna.220mhz single band antenna, ch-5 charger, ch-5 110v adapter, earpiece kit, wrist strap, belt clip, user manual. What’s new: tri-band frequency range display sync dtmf decode incoming ani display remote stun, kill, revive, inspect, and monitor selectable frequency range scanning remove/add channels from scanning right in menu.

 

 
Top Pros
Baofeng tech is
Kit includes
Recommended accessories
Top Cons
It stopped working after three months of use.
Not designed for regular use.
 

 

 
№ 10. Dual Band 25w Back Pack Mobile Transceiver Radio Built-in 12000mah Battery Dual-ptt Mic Portable Ham Amateur Radio Station with Programming Cable Antenna So239 to Pl259 Adapter

The radio mobile transceiver built-in a mini fan and a temperature sensing system, so when the machine is continuously used in high power transmission, and the temperature inside the machine reaches the 45,, the mini fan will open automatically, to reduce the temperature, it is more humanized. Portable two way radio mobile transceiver. The newest transceiver differs from traditional one, built-in 12000mah battery, so it can work continuously for 4 hours. Fill the radio up at home, then put it into backpack, take it out and have a adventure. Max output: 25w, under normal circumstances, the communication distance is about 10-15miles (according the specific environment ). L frequency range: 400-470mhz.136-174mhz.

Measure: 6.8.1.1.8 inches package including programming cable and programming software. 1.25w radio 1, sl-16 male antenna 1, dual ppt mic. The housing is detachable and the transceiver can be used alone as a car mobile transceiver, but please consider it carefully before you take the radio apart. Multifunction button and a dc power charing hole on the side of the radio. Multifuction: put i down means radio get power from the dc power adapter directly–need to connect the charging cable. Put ii down means radio get power from the battery inside– take the radio and go.

Dual ptt function: dual push-to-talk (ptt) speaker mic communicate easily with the two easily accessible buttons. There is a speaker switch on the radio, built-in a speaker not only in the radio but also in the microhone, switch the receiving sound part from radio to mic through the speaker switch button on radi. More than these, plug a 3.5mm(single pin) earphone into headphone jack and make your communication more private and free your hand.

 

 
Top Pros
Multifunction button
Dual ptt function
Portable two way radio mobile transceiver
The radio mobile transceiver built-in a mini fan
Top Cons
It cannot be disassembled.
Does not offer enough features for such a high price.
 

How expensive should a good portable ham radio be?

The best portable ham radioare not always the most expensive. However, the bigger the price is — the better the quality of a product. This rule is also applies to portable ham radio, so if you want to get a good model we recommend you to not be too stingy.

How to get a refund for a portable ham radio?

Most of the time seller will return your money without any trouble. If you received a malfunctioning portable ham radio, you will easily get a refund or a replacement. Nonetheless, if you value your time, we highly recommend you to thoroughly check the item’s description before making a purchase.

What if a receive a wrong item instead of the portable ham radio I ordered?

Getting a refund or replacement is very simple, so you should not be scared to order things from this marketplace. Its support service is very friendly towards customers, so you will never lose your money.

What should be my main choice criteria when buying a portable ham radio?

As you might have guessed, the weight of a portable ham radio is one of the main factor to consider. Another important aspects is its material. If the portable ham radio is assembled well, it will serve you for many years.

What warranty should be offered with a decent portable ham radio?

We recommend all our readers to buy portable ham radiowith at least the two-year long warranty period. This is the optimal term for an average portable ham radio. Instead of overpaying for a lifetime warranty, save the money to buy a new portable ham radio later.

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My name is Diana Pierce and I am a Electronic Service Technician. I graduated from Southwestern Community College - Sylva, NC.

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