Beginners Guide to Ham Radios

Beginners Guide to Ham Radios

If we look at the history of the Radios and wireless world, we can see that radios laid the groundwork for communication. From everyday communication to great warfare, radios have been used everywhere, and many people and corporations still rely on them today.

This article will assist you in understanding ham Radios, also known as Amateur Radios. The term ” ham ” is a nickname for amateur radio operators. So Let’s get started!

Amateur radio, often known as ham radio, is a popular device-based service that allows people to communicate over great distances when wire contact is impractical.

But why, in this day and age of smartphones, do people require radios to communicate with one another?

Consider a scenario in which your internet or GSM services are disrupted. There’s no internet and no phone. What kind of communication would occur?

Similarly, we know that every smartphone communication is traceable, even if it is encrypted on both ends.

It is still possible to listen to it. But that won’t be easy if we have these radios. Keeping ham radios requires ham Licensing if you want to broadcast (which will be explained later), and anything illegal will undoubtedly cost you.

Beginners Guide to Ham Radios

Ham Radios Buying Guide

Let us introduce you to that guide, which may provide you with all of the information you need to know about ham radios before purchasing one. Just as you must understand the specs of smartphones before purchasing one, you must also understand a few things about this to choose the best ham radio for yourself.

Where Are Ham Radios Used?

Ham radios have plenty of uses, except you cannot use them for commercial purposes. Ham radios are used by Security Officers in their cars and on their uniforms and by other security and lifesaving officers in times like tsunamis, earthquakes, and fires where internet and phone calls are not suitable. It can cover so much distance that you can talk to people on International Space Stations (ISS).

Ham Radio Frequencies – Learn Before Reaching A Choice!

To begin, you need to be familiar with ham radio communication. They work on various wave frequencies, and each frequency on which it is set is referred to as a channel. So ham radios communicate via that refers to a specific frequency. Here are some types of frequencies through which they differ:

Low Frequency (LF)

The lowest frequency type operates from 135.7 to 137.8 kHz (Kilohertz). It is usually not used in ham radios as this range is for commercial usage.

Medium Frequency (MF)

Medium frequency ranges from 472KHz to 2 MHz (Megahertz) and is also reserved for commercial AM broadcasting. It tends to be noisy and less propagative. 

High Frequency (HF)

The high frequency goes from 3.5 MHz to 29.7 MHz, which is used in most ham radios. 

Very High Frequency (VHF)

Another set of the range is from 50 MHz to 300MHz, a standard signal range for decent communication without much power.

Ultra-High Frequency (UHF)

As soon as we increase the frequency, you also need greater power. This range of frequency supplies exceptional audio and coverage quality in a very high frequency, over 300 to 3000 MHz 

You can read more about VHF vs. UHF Radio Frequencies here.

What Specification To Look For In A Ham Radio?

When finalizing your usage, you need to keep the following factors in mind to buy the best suitable ham radio. 

Battery Power & Life

Power implies how much electric power the radio will use to effectively transmit the radio signal and for how much time it can be active. As a result, always read ham radio battery life reviews. Usually, the suitable power measure for handhelds is between 5W to 10W, and the battery is more than 1500 mAh. And for console-based radio, power of about 30W and battery of about 3000mAh is sufficient.

Ease Of Use

Dials, volume controls, MIC gain, RF gain, VOX, VFO, scan buttons, and a menu mode make the devices useful. These give a little extra control over your device to mold it according to you. So always look for more features, displays, and controls.

Memory Channel Support & Coverage Range

The optimum experience would be with ham radios that have the memory to hold at least 500 channels. Similarly, antennas with a high gain and range are essential for providing optimal coverage.

Frequency Band Range

If you want a radio that can work with several frequencies, seek radios that can connect to HF, VHF, or UHF signals. In this manner, your device will be globalized.

Durability & Quality of Output

Last but not least is the gadget’s build quality because the person using it may not be in a regular environment and may come into contact with rain, dampness, wind, sand storms, or whatever; therefore, the device must be strong as well. Second, the quality of the microphone and speaker adds a lot to the device’s overall quality.

Ham Licensing & Types

There are three levels of ham licenses. For Technicians, General and Extra. Each has its own set of capabilities, which were determined by the American Radio Relay League (ARPL). For everything, there are a few rules that ham operators need to abide by and will certainly keep you out of trouble.

Top Ham Radios Beginners to Buy

Here’s the list of our top ham radio picks that are worth buying.

ICOM 2300H 05 144 MHz Amateur Radio

This device would be the most convenient and useful for beginners, as it has many features. The tremendous level of power it possesses makes communication easy. Moreover, the price of this kind of quality product is very fair.

It contains the 144MHz frequency band, which means it is compatible with VHF band models and as it’s an entry-level device and contains memory for channels to store. The dials and buttons present on the device are for setting the values and storing the channels. Also, if you want to see the information, the central console has 3 inches of LCD on it. Volume, set, lock, scan, and fine-tune buttons are on it too.


  • Output Power of 65W
  • 3-Inch LCD
  • Easy to use with dials
  • 144 MHz VHF band capacity
  • 207 Alphanumeric Channels with memory options
  • Multiple Scan Functions

President Lincoln II Plus Meter Ham Radio

Its name depicts a superior quality and has a standard in the ham radio market. Volume adjustable, rotatory switch for channel selection and LCD, key locking system, key locking system, and Power reading are some of the knobs and buttons useful for beginners. Its price is also quite suitable concerning its working operations.


  • RF and MIC gain dials
  • Illuminated Buttons
  • LCD Display
  • 12 Meter radio with VHF and UHF Band Capacity
  • Vox, ANL, NB, HI-CUT Filters

Tenway UV-5R Pro 8 Two Way Radio

This device is for two-way communication and is a handheld design from Tenway. Its working range is 136 to 174 MHz in VHF and 400 to 500 MHz in UHF. Highly practical for all types of users as it is also compatible with the FM spectrum. The button on the device is for setting options, and the power options are a handy feature from which one can change the clarity of sound to change the power consumption of the device. This also means that it has high-quality speakers and a microphone.


  • Handheld Design 
  • Battery Power of 1800 to 3800 mAh
  • Efficiency Changing Options for Power Options
  • High-Quality Antenna for Extra range

Yaesu FTA550L Handheld VHF Transceiver

A simple and user-friendly device with a mobile phone-style interface. A menu button on the left side allows you to access all of the functions it offers, such as remembered channels, setup mode, and weather mode, which will automatically improve the settings. This entry-level ham radio can be used by people with fewer implementations.


  • 200 Channels
  • VHF Band
  • Light Weight with Lithium-ion Batteries
  • Aviation Airband Transceiver


An actual device for newbies that is not that complex and contains dual-band in a very compact size and supports up to 128 channels. Offering rechargeable battery packs and gives almost 12 hours of usage and its operational frequencies show that it can be used inside cities, and the signals can penetrate buildings and objects easily


  • Built-in VOX function
  • 4W output power
  • Dual-band display
  • UHF 400-450 & VHF 136-174
  • The battery of 1800 mAh