Having a ham radio can be more than just a hobby. Many of the top-rated ham radios can be used for survival situations as well. With some models featuring dual-band capabilities, they can be used as walkie-talkie type communicators in addition to HAM functionality.
However, this handheld device is more than just a simple radio. It is an essential communication tool for survival and camping, mainly if you got lost while trekking or you get stuck in an area, and you are unable to get yourself out, a portable HAM radio can be a great life saver!
Ham radios can also be an excellent means of gathering news in survival situations where traditional media outlets may be shut down or incapacitated.
With lots of brands of ham radio available in the market today, it is crucial to find the best ham radio for survival. You cannot just purchase the first product that you come across and expect it to perform with flying colors.
If you are planning to use it as a survival tool or as a communication device while camping or hiking, doing some research before you purchase is always advisable.
Here is an exclusive look at the best handheld ham radios for survival and camping:
A top choice with users is the BaoFeng UV-82HP ham radio. Unlike most ham radios, this one is a high power multipurpose radio for beginners and experienced users. The ham radio is characterized by unique features that include.
- It houses 1, 5, and 7/8 watts three-power hubs
- It comes with a one-year warranty offered through BaoFeng Tech.
- The package consists of 80-page in-depth usage instructions for ease of use.
- It has a High Gain V-85 Antenna for optimized performance.
- The ham radio is fully compatible with all UV-82 accessories.
- Has 128 memory channel and a frequency lock feature that lock on a particular channel.
- It operates with dual-band for more talk distance.
2. BTECH UV-5X3 5-Watt Tri-Band Radio VHF
- You can’t beat the value of the BTECH UV-5X3 model. This powerful handheld ham radio comes with the following unique features;
- The radio features a tri-band frequency range
- It comes with an incoming ani display
- It has a selectable frequency range scanning on the go
- It has two power levels with a 5-watt maximum.
- It features 128 programmable memory channels in which you can remove or add using computer software.
- Full backward accessory compatibility will bf-f8hp and UV-5r accessories.
3. Ham Radio Walkie Talkie (UV-5R 8-Watt) UHF VHF Dual Band 2-Way Radio
(UV-5R 8-Watt) Ham Walkie Talkie Radio is a cool and perfect accessory for car racing, off-road trip, outdoor operation, survival, and camping. The ham radio comes with the following features;
- It supports PC or keyboard programming
- It has wide compatibility with many other radios by covering most of the commonly used frequency range between 65-108.
- The package comes with a full set of accessories, and you don’t have to worry about looking for compatible accessories.
- You will be given an 18-month warranty plus tech and hardware supported provided.
- It comes with a powerful rechargeable 2100mah Li-ion battery that lasts for 12 – 20 hours and an extra battery for non-stop communication.
- It has three different switchable RF power output (8w/5w/1w)
4. BaoFeng UV-82C Dual-Band 136-174/400-520 MHz FM Ham Two-Way Radio
- This handheld radio is more powerful with a more compact case and bigger switches. It requires software and a programming cable before initial use.
- It has a louder 1-watt speaker
- The ham radio is FCC Part 90 certified by ensuring it has the VFO locked out and narrowband.
- It features a frequency range of 65-108 MHz and a switchable wide/narrow band (25KHz/ 12.5KHz)
- Comes with a LED flashlight and FM radio
- Has a high, medium and low power settings (8w/5w/1w).
- It comes with a wide frequency range (65-108 MHz).
- The included Gamtaai NA-771 high gain retractable antenna, which extends the radio in a vast range.
- The package includes an Acoustic Tube Earpiece that offers a clearer and louder sound. The soft earplug fits comfortably in the ear that keeps the conversation clear and private.
- The battery is 30% larger with an increased capacity from 1800 to 2800mAh battery for improved battery life.
- The manufacturer has a 1-year warranty plus 30 days free return and replacement.
6. BTECH Mini UV-25X4 25-Watt Tri-Band Base Mobile Radio
- The radio is easily programmable from a computer to set up the radio to function specifically as required.
- It comes with 200 programmable memory channels.
- It has a back-light that is handy even in dim situations for both the LCD and keypad display.
- Thanks to its dual watch receiver feature, you can able to monitor two channels simultaneously.
- You can toggle between high and low power settings. (25W/ 10W)
This is one of the most affordable and feature-rich ham radios available in the market today. The ham radio has been built solidly with a more enhanced metallic upgrade structure and more features than the preceding UV-5R and UV-5RA. The model is equipped with the following features;
- It has a two-color LED display that is bright and easy to read.
- The ham radio is compatible with other 5R series accessories, such as the UV-5R 3800mAh.
- One can effortlessly program the settings using the keypad or connecting with a PC. More so, it is compatible with CHIRP programming.
- It has a frequency range of 136—174/ 400-480 MHz and a lot of FM radio channels.
- It is lightweight and versatile for survival and camping.
- It comes with a built-in 12000mah battery that requires to be charged for just six hours and will continuously use for 4 hours or remain standby for more than 12 hours.
- It has a maximum power output of 25W, which allows a talking distance of 10-15 miles.
- It comes as a complete set from a programming cable antenna SO239 to PL259 adapter.
- It has a backlight LCD for dim situations.
It is crucial to get the best quality handheld ham radio, you should thus understand what you are purchasing. Which is ideal for you will depend on your needs and preferences. Any of the models listed above will be excellent for your survival and camping needs.
While a handheld HAM survival radio is a great tool for survival situations it’s important to understand that a portable model isn’t going to have the same range as a stationary unit with a large antenna. If you are wanting a high-quality survival radio for communication on the go then the portable variety is a great choice for getting in contact with people on the move.
Frequently Asked Questions About Portable HAM Survival Radios
Question: What is the range of portable HAM survival radios?
Answer: Range will depend on many factors including weather and the power output of the radio. Models with rechargeable batteries tend to have more power vs models using AA batteries which are not as robust.
Question: Can portable HAM radios also be used for short-range multiple-channel communication in survival situations?
Answer: Yes, some models feature different modes of operation allowing the user to communicate on different radio frequencies. These dual-band radios are ideal for survival situations.