Ham Radios

10 Best Ham Radios Reviews-Buyer Guide (Updated 2021)

Radio transceivers such as HAM radios provide not only a hobby for yourself, but a vital part of communications that often go overlooked. 

HAM radios are able to function even when all other forms of communication are dead.

When Wifi, phone networks, and landlines don’t work, these radios can easily be tuned in and you’re set for anything.

The Basics of Ham Radio Speak: A Guide to the Most Commonly Used Phrases and Abbreviations

Most of the time when amateur radio operators are on the air, the conversations are no different from those that we have on our telephones. However, at the same time, there is a lexicon which hams use that may sound quite foreign to the new or non-ham.

In this article, the most commonly used terms and phrases will be discussed, which should be sufficient to make sense of “ham speak.”

The Basics of “Ham Speak”

Ham Speak

CQ: This term is used to let other hams know the person is looking for a contact. When used in voice, it is often repeated and then given with the ham’s call sign, such as “CQ, CQ, CQ. This is K3AAA calling CQ and standing by.”

DX: This is shorthand for “long distance,” and has been used by hams to indicate international communication. Some times it is combined with CQ to alert hams that the person is looking for a long-range contact (“CQ DX”), but its also found its way in to day-to-day communications.

The term is also combined with the word expedition (DXpedition) to refer to a group of hams which travel to a rare location to “activate” it.

“73”: The term originated in morse code, and was sent as a shorthand way of saying “best wishes” or “best regards.” It commonly is found at the end of conversations before the two amateurs end the conversation. Another variation is “88,” short for “hugs and kisses.”

Rig: A common term to describe the amateur radio transceiver.

YL: “Young lady.” Again from morse code, often used to refer to women, regardless of age. XYL is used to refer to ones wife.

“Q” Signals

“Q” Signals

Q Signals are three letter shorthand that got its start in morse code to shorten the sending of common questions and responses used in transmissions.

While the purest of hams frown on the use of the abbreviations in voice communications, they still have found their way into ham’s everyday speak.

Generally, it is suggested by most that the use of Q signals outside of text-based transmissions and morse code be kept to a minimum, but here’s a list of the most commonly used ones, and their meaning in voice transmissions.

Actual meanings as intended for morse code use can be found on AC6V’s website.

QRM: Interference (man-made, such as another close by station, or malicious interference)

QRN: Interference (natural, such as times where the existing noise level is high)

QRP: low-power operating, i.e “He’s running QRP.”

QRT: Signing off. Not used often in voice but is heard from time to time.

QRZ: Who is calling me? Heard most often in contesting or by DX stations in place of “CQ.”

QSB: In voice, often use to describe times where signals are fading into the background noise

QSL: As a question, means “Do you confirm reciept?” As an answer, it is equilvalent to “roger.”

QSO: A conversation.

QSY: Changing frequency

QTH: A station’s location.

Commonly Heard Phrases

Commonly Heard Phrases ham radio

Running barefoot: The amateur is running without the assistance of an amplifier to boost his signal power.

Full quieting: Heard almost exclusively on VHF and UHF. Means the signal being receiving is free of static or other noise and is strong and clear.

A lid: Slang for a amateur radio operator with poor operating practices

Short skip: Propagation via the ionosphere over a distance of a few hundred miles or less.

What is the best handheld ham radio?

Best Value

BTECH UV-5X3 5 Watt Tri-Band Radio VHF, 1.25M, UHF, Amateur (Ham)

BTECH UV-5X3 5 Watt Tri-Band Radio VHF

  • Output: 5 Watt
  • Memory channels: 128
  • Battery : 1500mAh
  • VHF, 1.25M, UHF Tri-Band
  • Frequency: 2.5K/5.0K/6.25K/ 10.0K/12.5K/20.0K/25.0K/50.0K

Best of the best

BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen)

BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen)

  • Output: 8-Watt
  • Memory channels: 127
  • Battery : 2100mAh
  • Push-to-Talk: Dual Band
  • Frequency: (136-174Mhz VHF & 400-520Mhz UHF)

Also Consider

Quansheng ham radios (UV-R50) Dual Band Two Way radios Long Range

Quansheng ham radios Two Way Long Range

  • Output: 5 watt
  • Memory channels: 128
  • Battery : 2800mAh
  • Push-to-Talk: Dual Band
  • Frequency: 2.5/6.25/10/ 12.5/20/25KHZ

What is the best vehicle ham radio?

Best Value

TYT TH-9000D Mobile Car 60W

TYT TH-9000D Mobile Car Ham Radio Transceiver

  • CTCSS/DCS setting & scanning
  • Frequency Range: VHF: 220-260MHz
  • Output Power: VHF: 10W/25W/60W
  • 8 group’s of scrambler
  • 200 Channel Capacity
  • High/Mid/Low power selectable

Best of the best

Kenwood TM-281A

Kenwood TM-281A 144MHz FM Transceiver

  • CTCSS/DTCS Enconder/Decoder, Weather Alert/RX
  • 65 Wts
  • 200 Memory Channel
  • Meets MIL-STD 810 C, D, E, F and G environmental

Also Consider

Icom IC-718 HF All Band Amateur Base Transceiver

Icom IC-718 HF All Band Amateur Base Transceiver

  • USB, LSB, CW, RTTY(FSK) and AM modes
  • 100 Watts
  • Guaranteed range: 0.5-29.999999 MHz
  • 101 memory channels
  • Variety of scanning function

Some people want to buy the best ham radio for supporting their own needs. There are several types of radios that are available these days.

You need to take a look at these top 11 best ham radios in 2021 reviews, in order to check their features and benefits.

You should compare some available radios before choosing the best device for yourself.

These devices receive many good reviews from other customers because they have complete features and benefits for all customers.

Baofeng UV5RA Dual Band Transceiver

Baofeng UV5RA Dual Band Transceiver

The Baofeng UV5RA works with frequencies as well as channels. It uses FM broadcast band and has a range of one hundred thirty-six MHz. It can reach up to one hundred twenty-eight channels.

This radio allows you to get access to about 128 different channels easily. You can simply choose the best channel based on your preferences and needs today.

It has dual frequency display, dual band display, and also A/B band independent operation system, in order to improve the performance of this device.

This device is protected by its 12 months limited warranty for ensuring the quality of this ham radio.

The unique features found on this radio are the dual band and dual frequency display, dual stand by, and dual reception.

For anyone caught in the dark, this radio offers a built-in flashlight. This Ham radio is for those who are serious about having a radio

Baofeng UV5RA Ham Two Way Radio

Yaesu FT-2900 Amateur Ham Radio

Yaesu FT-2900 Amateur Ham Radio

This mobile ham radio is able to transmit any frequency from 144-148 MHz.

It can also receive any signals with frequency ranging from 136- 174 MHz.

Its scan and search function can help you operate this powerful ham radio easily.

When you purchase this ham radio now, you are able to get some additional accessories, including microphone, power cord, mounting bracket, and many other useful accessories.

Yaesu FT-2900R / FT-2980R Mini-Manual

TYT TH-9000D Two Way Radio

TYT TH-9000D Two Way Radio

It is very comfortable for you to use this ham radio. It is supported by its 65 watt two way mobile transceiver system.

This device has 200 different alphanumeric channels that can be selected easily.

There are some useful features that are added to this device, for example keypad lock, selectable power level, DTMF, and many other features. You can simply bring this radio at anytime you want easily.

Group Scrambler Car Truck Mobile Ham Radio

Icom IC-718 All Band Amateur Radio

Icom IC-718 All Band Amateur Radio

This radio is very useful to provide comfortable experience for all users.

This device supports several modes, including AM, USB, LSB, RTTY, CW, and many other different modes.

Therefore, you can select the best mode that is suitable for your own needs.

You can also enjoy clear audio quality from its level adjustable noise blanker. This system can provide clear sound for all customers.

Icom IC-718 HF All Band Amateur Base Transceiver 100 Watts

Wouxun KG-UV8D Two Way Radio

Wouxun KG-UV8D Two Way Radio

This ham radio can bring a lot of benefits for all customers. Its dual band can work in its frequency range, 146-174 MHz, and also 400-480 MHz.

This radio comes with the large screen, in order to improve the readability of this device. You can read any warnings and other important details from this screen easily.

This radio is supported by its 999 different memory channels inside this radio.

Wouxun KG-UV6D Two Way Radio

President Lincoln II Amateur Radio

President Lincoln II Amateur Radio

It is one of the best devices from President company now. It is very easy for you to operate and use this powerful ham radio today.

Its LCD display is able to display public address and any other important details easily. You can also manage all settings of this radio easily.

President Lincoln II 10 Meter Amateur Radio

Make sure that you manage all settings from all buttons that are located on the surface of this amateur radio.

Kenwood TM-281A FM Transceiver

Kenwood TM-281A FM Transceiver

There are many great features that are added to this radio receiver. This device has compact construction, so you can bring this radio at any time you want easily.

It meets environmental standards for its shock and vibration feature in this device.

Because of this reason, you are able to use this powerful radio without damaging the environment today.

It has 200 memory channels that can store any important channels inside this device securely.

Kenwood TM-281A 144MHz FM Transceiver

Leixen LX VV-898 Ham Radio

LEIXEN LX VV-898 Dual Band VHF/UHF 136-174/400-470MHz 10W Two Way Radio Mobile Transceiver Amateur Ham Radio

This is another popular ham radio on the market these days. There are some useful features that you can find in this device.

It comes with voice scrambler and companding system, in order to improve the overall performance of this device.

It has more than 199 alphanumeric memory channels that are very convenient for all users.

This ham radio is made from durable materials, so it can last for a few years without any problems.

Dual Band VHF/UHF 136-174/400-470MHz 10W Two Way Radio

SainSonic RST599 Two Way Ham Radio

SainSonic RST599 136-174/400-520MHz Two-Way Ham Radio, Dual Band Transceiver, IP66 Waterproof

This ham radio brings a lot of benefits for all customers. It can provide durable, sturdy, and also good touch feeling on the surface of this radio.

This device is very popular for its strong signal, high performance, and also clear sound, so you can enjoy all features from this radio.

SainSonic RST599 136-174/400-520MHz Two-Way Ham Radio

Its frequency is ranging from 136 – 174 MHz. There are several color options that are available today, including white, cyan, yellow, green, blue, red, and also purple.

Zastone Quad Band Amateur Radio

Zastone Quad Band Transceiver 10M/6M/2M/70cm VHF/UHF MP800 Two Way and Amateur Radio

When you want to find a simple amateur or ham radio, you can take a look at this device.

This radio can display and receive any radio signals easily. It features DCS, CTCSS, DTMF, alphanumeric, and many other useful features for all customers.

Zastone Quad Band Transceiver Two Way and Amateur Radio

You can select the right frequency that is suitable for your own needs easily. Its full direct entry keypad mic can make you feel comfortable with this device.

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