Best Handheld Ham Radios for Beginners

If you are a radio enthusiast or a survivalist, settling for the best handheld Ham radios for beginners enables you to share information. You can involve Ham radios to listen to satellite broadcasts speak with other Hams for informative updates.

However, the right ham radio to buy should be portable and affordable. Furthermore, it should have good connection audio and reception quality. Here is a list of the best hams radio available for purchasing:

1. BTECH UV-5X3 Tri-Band Radio

BTECH UV-5X3 Tri-Band Radio

If you decide to buy this product, you will appreciate the value you get. This handheld Ham radio is suitable for car and indoor use. More importantly, it has menu updates and firmware features. Precisely, they are display sync, DTMF remote decode, and tri-band frequency range. 

The product suits entry-level Hams with reliable receive and transmits functions. Another notable feature is the display synchronization option that supports bottom and top displays. It shows the frequency and the channel name. 

Again, this Ham radio has excellent battery life. When we listened to different channels consistently, it lasted for three days. It is noteworthy that it lacks a triband antenna. Suppose you utilize a 1.25M band, then use another antenna. 

The design of this handheld radio allowed us to scan a frequency range. You can scan by increment from 2.5 to 50 kHz as you complete the whole band. This Ham radio is affordable with pocket-friendly prices. 

Tuner technologyVHF, UHF
Item weight0.5 pounds
Number of channels128
Item Dimensions2.28 x 1.26 x 4.33 inches


  • Lightweight
  • Exceptional display sync option feature
  • Great receiver and transmit functions
  • Reliable custom scanning
  • Decent battery life.


  • One requires an additional antenna, depending on the bands.

2. Two Way Radio,Baofeng Walkie Talkie

Many users would want to have a powerful Ham radio, and therefore this product can fit in that category. This radio has a high-gain antenna and updated software. Furthermore, it uses two power levels. The low power is at 1W, while the higher power begins at 5W. 

As I put it to use, I discovered that this product is easily programmable from UHF to VHF, which gave me a refreshing experience. The device is easy to use. Locate the FM but press it to get the required channel. You can still monitor other frequencies.

This Ham radio prioritizes the incoming call, allowing me to respond to any important call as I listen to the radio. Additionally, it has a healthy battery life, which can serve you for several days before draining fully. 

Some of the exceptional features are NOAA weather alerts and LED flashlights. 

The lock function is reassuring to prevent accidental channel changes. The camouflage design makes it ideal for outdoor operations.  

Finally, the device has a long antenna, useful in short ranges. Unfortunately, it does not pick long ranges. It could be better if the model had a signal strength meter. Also, the sound quality diminishes in long fields.  

Here are some of the best NOAA Weather Radios to Buy.

Tuner technologyVHF/UHF
Number of channels128
Frequency range65.0MHz-108.0MHz


  • NOAA weather alert and LED flash included
  • Has a convenient essential lock function.
  • 128 memory channels.
  • Easy to program.
  • Battery life is stable. 


  • The long-range signal is not perfect.

3.TYT MD-UV390 Dual Band 150-174MHz/450-480MHz

The decent pricing and updated software attracted me to this device. Furthermore, this Ham radio has two antennas and a sizable LCD. It can run more than 1000 channels to keep you entertained and informed. 

One of the most striking features is the preference of the color screen. It is clear to read hence enhancing the user experience. The product comes in a decent size to fit in your palm comfortably. The used software is programmable to match your preference. 

I tested the software on DMR repeaters, which proved to be working well. The GPS function improves the location identity. Plus, the power-on protection saves your battery life before the next recharge.

This versatile radio Ham allows the user to operate in two modes. Firstly, you can decide to operate in analog mode and later the digital mode. It has various calling options like group call a private call, which can function digitally. 

One of the notable downsides that I encountered while operating this, I could not program it when I was out of the field. You can only succeed by using upfront software, which is user-friendly. 

Frequency150 – 174 MHz
Tuner TechnologyUHF, VHF
Operating voltage12.5 KHz
Item weight258 g


  • Easily programmable software.
  • It fits in your palm conveniently.
  • Good battery life 
  • Can operate in digital and analog mode
  • Offers clear voice communication when operating in digital mode


  • One must program the software when out of the field. 
  • It is challenging to manage GPs.

4. Kenwood Original TH-D74A 144/220/430 MHz

Kenwood Original is a unique Ham radio with a sophisticated piece of technology. Of course, it has a moderate learning curve. One must have adequate knowledge before deciding to operate. It has tons of features that can take several days to learn. 

This product is a rich-handheld ham radio worthy of your penny. One of the most outstanding features of Kenwood ham radio is the sharing of GPS location in real-time. Furthermore, this device is compliant with APRS quality standards. 

Most importantly, this product has a transflective color TFT display. As I put it to use, it provided transparent displays that were easy to read. The cool thing is this Kenwood Ham radio is compatible with both Bluetooth and USB. 

You enjoy a good reception courtesy of impressive IF filtering when using this device. The Kenwood radio meets the standards of D-star digital voice plus data protocol. You can select four power options, such as 0.05 watts, 0.5 watts, 2 watts, and 5 watts. 

Transflective color TFT display allows one to view it in bright sunlight without any challenge. The downside of this Ham radio is that the menus are not easy to navigate. Also, it lacks a flashlight.

Item weight7.2 ounces
Frequencies144 / 220 / 430 MHz Tri-Band
VoltageDC 6.0V – 9.6 V Battery


  • TFT displays give weather updates and compass directions
  • IF filters will reduce interference from other frequencies
  • The device has a weatherproof feature
  • High-performance equalizer


  • It lacks a rugged design and is hence prone to damages

5. Ailunce HD1 DMR Radio

Ailunce handheld Ham radio is a portable device that is easy to use. The cool thing is it allows the transmission of UHF and VHF frequencies. It has an accurate GPS tracker, speed, and latitude.

Notably, this Ham radio supports 3000 channels for gainful entertainment. The excellent news is Ailunce is compatible with digital and analog modes. Interestingly, this Ham radio has a promiscuous function that allows one to listen to different signals when operating in various groups. 

When I first bought it, I realized that it had an SMS function that enabled me to receive and send text messages. The use of squelch technology boosts it to have clear sound reception. One can still enjoy the hands-free feature because of the integrated VOX feature. 

This device is compatible with both Motorola Tier 1 and 2. There is a keypad lock and password lock to enhance security. No stranger can operate it without your knowledge. 

On the other hand, this device lacks flashbacks. Overall, it has a long battery life that saves on power. You can use it over an extended period. 

Battery capacity3200Ah
Tuner technologyUHF
Item dimension9.28 x 7.31 x 4.56 inches


  • Upgradable firmware
  • Waterproof.
  • Enhanced security via keypad lock and password lock
  • Durable body casing to endure harsh weather
  • Promotes a hands-free design


  • The device lacks a separate mic.


I.What is the comfortable distance that a handheld radio can transmit? 

It is somewhere between 1 to 2 miles. There are also Ham radio repeaters that are comparable to mobile towers. Their role is to receive the signal and rebroadcast it to a broader network over long distances. The design promotes more power and clarity. 

II. Can one trace a ham radio

Indeed yes. It is a unique technique that allows direction-finding. You can find a hidden transmitter when you sense that it is not available in your way. Using a simple handheld radio, you can employ signal strength equipment and directional antennas to triangulate the signal. 

III. What should the buyer look for in the best Ham radio? 

Consider the wattage level. Furthermore, check the legal limits of operating as per the provided frequencies. You must understand the frequency range that meets your needs. Another crucial feature is the pricing. If the item has more features, possibilities of high pricing are inevitable.