Ham radio recommendations

For those interested in buying a ham radio, here’s some information on some recommended ham radios, from $30 to $300+.


Below are some recommendations by CPGI’s Steve Szmidt and Bruce Saliga that you might want to check out (Amazon links provided for ease of reference):


A good very inexpensive starter ham radio:


iSaddle BAOFENG Dual Band UHF/VHF Radio Transceiver W/Upgrade Version 3800mah Battery With Earpiece $36 (includes extended battery & earpiece)



(above is BaoFeng UV5R Dual-Band Two-Way Radio, Black $27



Two other mentioned good inexpensive starter ham radios:


If you like to know your battery is running low rather than it just dying on you

Baofeng UV-82 (Black) Two-Way Radio (dual band) $30 (for one)


same as

2 X Pofung UV-82 (Black) Two-Way Radio(2 pack) $63


(Pofung & Baofeng are the same company.) (More data: Most of these radios have three bars to indicate battery life. Except they are not three separate bars but a single image with three bars on it. And it simply goes from three full bars to none and your radio is dead just like that. And you may not even notice when it does if it is just sitting there and you are waiting for a message to come in. The Pofung UV-82 not only give three working bars but also audible warnings in good time to take action. That is a pretty important feature in emergency conditions.)


If you like a big display or have poor eyesight, and can spend a bit more (cross-band repeat is good):

Wouxun KG-UV8D Two Way Radio (dual band, Cross-band Repeat) $124



Recommendation for a more expensive ham radio, per Jonathan Zimmerman, instructor for the Emergency Communications for CERT members class: Any dual-band mobile (portable) ham radio by a major brand such as Kenwood or Yaesu is good. Specifically mentioned was the Yaesu FT1DR for approx. $300. Two other CPG LA members have this radio, which helps in sharing knowledge on how to use. However, less expensive dual band radios would be fine.



The next step up from a hand held would be a decent radio that can be used in a car, or as a base. Steve Szmidt feels the very best choice is the Kenwood TM-V71A typically retailing around $360. It has 50W, covers both bands and is very friendly to operate, and high quality, being a Kenwood.


Keep in mind that the above are just some recommended radios. Others may work just as well or better. On the lower-end radios, the ham radio guys say it doesn’t matter which one you get as they are cheap and you can simply just buy another if you are not happy, and they actually recommend you have more than one kind. It was suggested that a group have some radios between them and let each person see what works best for them visa vie small keys, small display etc. Some hands-on learning is involved as well as frequency coordination, and while it helps if people have the same models in terms of helping one another, it doesn’t matter a whole lot which one you get.


(For more discussion from CPGI’s Steve Szmidt and Bruce Saliga, see posting on website, which also includes online links for home study for the technician & general ham radio licenses. Please read the posting before asking questions.)


FYI, a ham radio cannot talk to an FRS (family radio service) radio. So among your neighborhood friends or family, an FRS radio is useful.


(This is the same recommendations published in the June 14, 2015 LA only Ham Radio Training, Radio recs & June 27-28 Field Day posting.)

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Categories: 1-Communications Devices.