Ham radios used to be in vogue back in the day, and it was not that hard to find a person who owned one. Yet, with the recent advancements in technology, many people tend to forget the good old radio communication days.
However, ham radios are making a comeback, especially among survivalists, collectors, and radio enthusiasts. With their compact build, vintage look, and robust application, it’s no wonder they still enthrall.
If you are in trouble or a poor network area, only the best ham radio for shtf could save you, and by extension, knowing about them.
That’s why we have decided to turn back the clock and review the top 10 ham radios out there so that you are always prepared!
Our Best Ham Radio For Shtf Reviews
Time for the reviews. This section will cover the top ham radios out there, and for your convenience, we will highlight each product’s key features. So read on without further ado.
1. BaoFeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Ham Radio For Shtf
BaoFeng brings you their newly upgraded F8HP, designed for optimum performance and excellent power output.
This product can provide a power of up to 8 Watts. That is more than double the conventional type of products you will find in the market. With a hard and robust exterior, it is stronger on the outside too.
To sustain its performance, a battery that lasts up to 30% longer is embedded inside. This is very important, as the powerful circuitry can drain the battery pretty fast if left with a weak battery.
The antenna is the key aspect of the product. Its V-85 antenna has been modeled to provide twice the support and none of the disturbances.
With a powerful frequency range and band, you will never run out of channels to choose from. The VHF band provides 136-174 MHz frequency, and the UHF band provides a 400-520 MHz frequency range.
By being coupled with an easy to read user guide and manual, you can customize this product in any way you like.
The wide range of accessories provided, such as earpiece kit, wrist strap, charger, and more, will ensure you always have the essentials at hand.
Key Features :
- Can be programmed via PC
- Long battery life
- Easy to read and understand user manual/guide
- A vast number of supplementary accessories in the kit
2. BaoFeng High Power Dual Band Shtf Ham Radio
The UV-82HP features some highly desirable and attractive features that will make any collector vie for it. Encoded with the CHIRP software, this product is built for easy programming.
With three power settings to choose from, namely low, medium, and high, you can thus select from three different power ratings: 1W, 4W, and 7W, respectively. This allows you to pick a specific power level for the task or duration of use.
A robust and vast frequency range covers both VHF and UHF, making it dual-band in nature. VHF is covered from 136-174 MHz and UHF from 400-520 MHz.
One key aspect of this product is the number of features or functions it can provide to the average user.
There is the talk around mode for easy use, squelch tail elimination to filter out unwanted noise, alphanumeric channel storage to store data, and much more.
What is even better is that you can now program the device to suit your specifications or needs.
This is also ridiculously easy and requires just a PC03 FTDI cable. Because the product utilizes the CHIRP software, you can hook it up to your PC and program it to your desired levels.
A more than adequate includes all the bare necessities and more. You will get to choose from a 1800mAh battery, charger for your battery, wrist strap for easy portability, earpiece to listen in closely, and of course, a user guide.
The user guide allows you to set up the product with ease and also have something to consult if you have any queries or misunderstandings regarding key features.
Key Features :
- Employs the CHIRP software for easy programming
- Can eliminate unwanted frequencies
- Comes with a vast range of accessories
- Three power settings to choose from
3. BaoFeng Dual-Band 136-174/400-520 MHz FM Ham Two-Way Radio, Transceiver
The UV-82 dual-band, two-pack ham radio from Baofeng has been engineered to provide specific and discrete frequency steps so that you can tune into your favorite commercial FM channels.
Having a frequency range of 65-108 MHz, this product covers the commercial radio range quite neatly.
With its dual-band settings, you can choose from VHF that works in the 136-174 MHz range, and UHF, which works in the 400-520 MHz range.
Furthermore, you will have the option of selecting from not one but two different power settings, with one rating at 5W, classified as high, and the other at 1W classified as low.
This product provides six frequency steps for better tuning, starting from 2.5 kHz and ending at 25 kHz.
One of its key features is that it comes fully equipped with voice operated transmission and frequency offset for repeater access
The first feature allows you to transmit signals and information via your voice, and the other receiver will receive this signal at another end. Transmission is secure and, at the right distance, very clear.
And the second feature will allow you to transmit signals on a stronger level. This is especially useful when you are receiving a signal of a certain frequency but want to transmit a different frequency altogether.
With other useful aspects like a menu display and a brightly lit LED screen, this product is definitely a contender for the best handheld ham radio for shtf.
Key Features :
- Two-pack set featuring two-way receiver
- The frequency range covers the commercial radio range
- Equipped with a bright screen
- Allows for direct voice transmission
4. Dual-Band FM Ham Two-Way Radio, Transceiver, Earpiece, Antenna, Charger
A radio that has been certified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the UV-82C is a product that ticks all the right boxes in all the right areas.
First off, you have the option of choosing between a high and low power setting. The high rating is at 5W, and the low rating is at 1W.
A dual-frequency range covers UHF and VHF simultaneously, with the former ranging from 400-520 MHz and the latter from 136-174 MHz.
Being certified and endorsed by the FCC means this product meets all jurisdiction requirements and is perfectly legal to use. Furthermore, it can also be programmed using a PC03 FTDI cable.
All that is needed is a computer and nothing more, as this product is already embedded with CHIRP software for easy programming.
With a plethora of features to choose from, you will never run out of options. For instance, the talk around mode allows you to walk and talk with other users.
The squelch tail elimination gets rid of unwanted signals and frequencies.
To say that this product comes with an adequately sized kit is an understatement. You will get practically everything you need to make the most of your time,
including an earpiece kit, wrist strap, dual-band antenna, and a 1800mAh battery, to name a select few.
Key Features :
- Certified by the FCC
- Can be programmed via PC
- Dual power settings
- Can get rid of unwanted frequencies
5. BaoFeng UV-5R+/UV5R Plus Dual-Band Handheld Ham Radio For Shtf
The two-pieces, two-way radio set from BaoFeng, features a wide frequency band and a more upgraded and stylish look.
With dual ranges from 136-174 MHz and 400-479.995 MHz, this product does not fall short in the bandwidth zone. Indeed, it provides more than adequate radio signal reception than many of its contemporaries.
This product also comes with a more durable and long-lasting build. The frame material is metallic and has a stylish look to it. This indicates that it is not only strong but also appealing.
One problem many ham radio users face is that the screen or display is often not clear enough. However, this problem has been fully eliminated,
with the screen on this product lighting up with LEDs of two colors. This presents a greater deal of visual clarity and makes it easier to use at night as well.
While most products come with a user manual, few come with multi-lingual instructions. This product ticks that box, too, as the instructions are provided in German, French, and English for a wide array of users.
Key Features :
- Features a manual in three languages
- Bright LED display
- Strong and durable build
- Comes with two batteries
6. Rechargeable with Gamtaai Telescopic Antenna 2800mAh Large Battery
It is easy to see why this product in the list of best ham radio for shtf . A high power device, this product is every collector’s dream, as it combines all the best settings to give one fantastic output.
First off, with a rating of 8W, this product comes with a significant power boost. Furthermore, you will have a total of three power settings to choose from,
such as high (8W), medium (5W), and low (1W). The frequency range is robust, with a range of 65-108 MHz, which covers the commercial FM reception.
Its dual-band wavelength ranges are just as vast and cover both UHF and VHF. The NA 771 antenna is retractable and extends to capture signals neatly.
Moreover, the antenna also acts as a booster, powering up weaker signals.
An acoustic earpiece is one accessory that is complementary to this product, out of many others.
This specially designed earpiece provides more amplified sound to enable better listening. The earplugs also fit snugly inside the ears and do not impede hearing in any way.
Equipped with an amazing battery, this product will not die out easily. In fact, the battery has been designed to have 30% more capacity and work at 2800mAh.
Finally, you are provided with a wide range of useful accessories to better use the product. This includes an adapter, belt clip, earpiece, user manual, and more.
Key Features :
- 30% larger battery capacity
- Very high maximum power rating
- Three power ratings to work with
- Signal boosting antenna provided
Top 6 Shtf Ham Radio Comparison Chart
Multiple Power Settings
Can Be Programmed
2 Piece Device
Things to Consider Before Buying Ham Radio For Shtf
With the reviews done and dusted, it is time to dive deeper into some specs and pointers. Here, we will highlight the top things you should keep in mind when buying a ham radio in order to get the best out of your investment.
One key aspect you should keep in mind when shopping for the best shtf ham radio is whether the radio works on a single bandwidth or a double/dual bandwidth.
A dual-band setting will give you the option of choosing from AM and FM. This automatically frees up more channels and stations and allows you to utilize the ham radio to its full extent.
Hence, given the option, always go for a dual-band ham radio, as this is a worthier investment in the long run.
It can be pretty gutting to buy a ham radio and then learn it cannot operate at your desired frequency. This is an issue many people face, and it can be avoided if you act in advance.
When making the purchase, find out the total band or range of frequencies the radio can cover. This will usually be indicated by Hertz or mega Hertz.
If the frequency falls within the limit of a local broadcasting center, then the ham radio can operate at that frequency and give you information from that station.
The signal from a hand radio can get pretty choppy, and it might be hard to decipher it when without a good earpiece.
If you feel that you need to decode the signal to the best possible extent, or if you are using the ham radio in a low signal area, it is worth getting a radio with an earpiece.
An earpiece will make all the easier to listen in, and it will not take much effort on your part.
An ideal battery should last for 35 hours on average. This may depend on certain factors, like how often you use it, the duration of use, and so on.
However, newer ham radios are made with powerful batteries that can last longer. So, if you are on a trip, away from the nearest grid line, it is worth getting a product with decent battery life.
Since ham radios are useful for emergencies, be ready to use them at night if required. In that case, a bright display will make things much easier and provide better control in critical situations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Time for the penultimate section of this guide, and that is the FAQ section. Read through our answers to clarify any doubts you might have.
1. How can I listen to a channel that is beyond the range of my ham radio?
This is only possible with a license. A license would enable you to tap into other frequencies beyond the limited ones. Without a license, you can only tune into preset channels, unfortunately.
2. What kind of range can I expect using ham radio?
It is important to know that people tend to have unrealistic expectations regarding ranges, thinking they can magically transmit information from hundreds of miles away.
In reality, ham radios work best at a range between 2-3 miles at most. This is just how the device is built.
3. Are ham radios safe to use?
Ham radios work in the radio frequency range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Excess exposure to any type of wave can cause some damage.
However, ham radios operate at the lower end, so they do not pose any threat, at least not realistically.
4. What type of frequencies do ham radios use?
Ham radios use two main types of frequencies: very high frequency (VFH) and ultra-high frequency (UHF).
5. Can I communicate on the ham radio without being tracked?
That depends on your country’s laws regarding radio usage. Some countries keep tabs on radio signals to monitor public movement, while others don’t.
Generally, you should assume that the signal can be tracked.
You should always be prepared for the worst situations, and buying the best shtf ham radio is undoubtedly one way of being ready.
Hopefully, you now realize that old is indeed gold, and no matter how fast technology advances, there are always some things that are irreplaceable.
So, until next time, and till then, keep using that ham radio.