When lines of communication go down, anyone outside of walking distance will be someone you used to know. Have your COMM up with HAM Radio.
I used to think HAM radio was out of my reach. It was the domain of the smart and the rich. Waves and electrons. Base stations and antennas. Cool, but not for me. How wrong I was!
There’s a plethora of HAM radios on the market. If you’re a beginner, choosing the right one is sure to get overwhelming for you. This is especially because many HAM radios can give beginners a really hard time, both with their operation and programming.
But you’re in luck if you’re reading this article, as we have done all the hard work for you and found the 3 best HAM radios for beginners on the market.
Let us walk you through them below.
As Retevis’ first flagship dual-band DMR ham radio, Ailunce HD1 is built to impress seasoned ham radio operators.
Like a true dual-band DMR radio, it acts like an FM analog transceiver and Tier II DMR digital radio at the same time.
The VHF frequency range overlaps public service frequencies so you can check in on emergency announcements at any time.
You can even pause your FM radio transmission when you get important calls.
It offers up to 10 watts of power output in three power levels.
The stock antenna does the job well, but you can also choose from Retevis’ wide range of compatible accessories should you wish to extend the range even further.
However, the receiver tends to be easily desensitized when competing with nearby devices on high power. Front panel programming enables you to set up your DMR features without a programming cable. It also has an intuitive button layout and two customizable buttons below the PTT to give you quick access to all your most-used features.
Moreover, HD1 has many interesting features not found in other handheld DMR radios, like a promiscuous mode that allows you to listen to other talk groups freely.
It can also display the names and callsigns of the people talking if you have them saved in the 10,000 DMR ID storage. Powered by a large 3,200mAh battery, it can last you up to a week without charging.
10-watt power output
Huge battery capacity
Front panel programming
Sensitive stock antenna
As a beginner in ham radio, start by choosing a low-cost ham radio. We would highly recommend the RT85 Multi-Channel Ham Radio for you. This pattern is very popular with hams. We've had a lot of feedback on this radio. Let's see what customers are saying about the RT85.
1.”This radio is a nice inexpensive alternative to the baofeng UV5R” — From retevis.com
2.”I’ve had one for awhile now. I liked it so much that I bought a second one as a spare. The 200 memories was a big selling point for me” — From YouTube
3.”Great, powerful HT. With a good antenna, nobody complains about my signal. Easy to program manually and by CHIRP. I highly recommend it for the new ham.” — From Amazon
4.”Purchased these for backups on my other handheld radios. They work good. Nice and clear.” —— From Amazon
If you are looking for a multichannel ham radio, RT85 will be a good choice. It has 200 channels for storage and scanning.
With full numeric keypad, the settings of RT85 is easy to be adjusted. If you want to talk to other types of radios, you can set the same frenquency and CTCSS DCS through the keyboard.
The high power of RT85 is up to 5W, and it’s equipped with high gain antenna. All these factors ensure its long communication range. In addition, its antenna is detachable. So, if you require further communication range, you can replace it with higher gain antenna by yourself.
Compared with Baofeng radios, RT85 has a great price advantage. Only $24..99-$25.99, you can own a great ham radio with full functions.
Want to learn more features reviews and power test about RT85? You can check here:
The Retevis RT3S DMR dual band handheld radio is an update to their popular and long running RT3S DMR handheld. The RT3S has some new features, most notably, the RT3S is now a dual band handheld. The RT3 was just a single band model.
The RT3S is a tier I and tier II DMR radio, so it will work with DMR repeaters in the US. In addition to DMR digital modulation, it also has analog support with CTCSS/DCS tone encode and decode, and DTMF encoding and decoding.
The Retevis RT82. In fact, in comparing it with the RT82, the RT3S has many of the same internal features, but lacks the IP67 waterproof designation and the roller ball interface. But with that being said, the ergonomics are very good and I do like the front panel buttons, channel selector, and volume control knob. The radio has a familiar 2 pin Kenwood style mic connector, so if you have a collection of 2 pin accessories, they should all work. Battery is a 2000 mah 7.4 volt lithium ion battery. Battery life is good, giving me all day use on a single charge.
RT3S is now a dual band radio, so it has built-in coverage for the 136-174 Mhz VHF and 400-480 Mhz UHF bands. Of course you can only transmit where your license allows. As for new features, the RT3S has a function called lone worker. You can set the radio to signal an alarm at the push of a button if the operator is in distress. I guess this would be good in a commercial setting, but it really doesn’t have an application for amateur radio operation. The new model also supports more contacts and channels: 3000 channels and 10,000 contacts, in fact.