If you love adventure, then camping in the wild can prove the right activity for you. However, Camping can bring communication challenges, especially when you venture out on a rugged terrain that lacks cell reception. What better device to have in such situations than the best handheld ham radio for camping purposes? Handheld ham radios provide an effective avenue of communication in the absence of cell or satellite signals using robust transceivers capable of tapping into a diverse frequency range.
Best Handheld Ham Radios for Camping
The radio proves perhaps the most successful among the BaoFeng products. UV-5RA radio comes significantly affordable. The radio’s output strength translates into 1 or 4 watts, with a battery capacity that can last a day. Similarly, like others that surpass the transmission threshold, the radio requires a license to operate legally. You can pick any other Baofeng radio from the top picks.
- Tri-color LCD
- VOX and CTCSS/CDCSS feature
- One hundred and twenty-eight channels
- The frequency range of 136-174 MHz and 400-520 MHz
- 4/1 output power
- The radio proves compatible with amateur radio and GMRS frequencies
- Efficient considering the price
- It is weather-proof and can therefore last in harsh weather conditions
- The ham radio lacks the complete weather-proof ability and can also get damaged when dropped.
- The frequency range the radio covers proves short.
The UV-5RA can prove a reliable handheld two-way set in instances where you live on a budget and don’t have much money to spend on such items.
Also referred to as digital mobile radio, the TYT MD-UV380 proves a relatively fresh entrant into the community of ham radios. The radio has features that make it easy to comprehend, besides being affordable. Amateurs can enjoy learning the use of handheld radios through this product.
- 5 watts when it comes to output power
- 400-480 MHz frequency range band
- 1000 channels with an ability to broadcast in analog
- 2000 mAh Li-Ion batteries
- Two antennas
- ABS shell material to prove it from weather
- Programming cable
- It comes with a programming cable that allows you to program the radio using windows.
- The radio also comes with two antennas, which increase its receptivity.
- The handheld ham radio proves compatible with Motorola TRBO Tier II and me compliant radios.
- The wattage makes the radio powerful when it comes to frequency signal strengths and reception.
- The radio lacks water-proofing
- It only has one band when it comes to frequencies.
The TYT MD-380 digital mobile radio proves simple when it comes to usage, though it requires care because of its limitation in handling the outdoor daily rigors.
BaoFeng Pofung GT-3TP
The GT-3TP proves a massive upgrade on ordinary ham radios. The radio has a dual-band that can broadcast 136-174 MHz and 400-520 MHz that proves broader than most ham radios. The radio comes programmable with an option of encoding using the CHIRP or the free available software.
- Dual-band frequency range of 136-174 MHz and 400-520 MHz
- 8/4/1 output power
- 128 channels
- Standby time of 3 days
- LED flashlight and emergency alert survival features
- IP67 weather-proofing
- 3800 mAh batteries
- Backlit keys
- Rigid construction that proves it from weather
- The presence of a high-gain antenna increases receptivity
- Long battery life
- Substandard programming app
- Substandard manual
The GT-3TP ham radio proves a reliable and tough two-way radio that cannot get affected by water, dust, dropping, etc.
The ham radio comes as a digital dual-band radio capable of broadcasting 7 watts. With a display containing multiple modes, you can easily set the ham radio into a nighttime or daytime mode by contrasting black or vibrant blue settings. The display also allows a text function where you can respond to a text. BTECH DMR-6X2 comes with a programming cable and two batteries.
- Dual-band range of 136-174 MHz and 400-480 MHz
- 7/5/2.5/1 watts of output power
- 4000 channels
- Battery life lasting 35 hours
- Two batteries of 3100 mAh and 2100mAh capacities
- GPS and a night and daytime mode
- Programming cable
- The ham radio comes GPS enabled, and you can comfortably track your movement.
- The radio comes with two batteries that improve power options while camping.
- An excellent display screen that you can also use to answer text messages.
- The radio contains APRS packets.
- The radio can perform digital repeats and fail when it comes to analog cross-band duplications.
- The handheld ham radio also proves susceptible to water because of the absence of water-proof material.
The portable BTECH DMR-6X2 proves a reliable analog/digital option for camping purposes. However, it would help protect it from contact with water, and putting it in a waterproof bag can prove decisive.
Ailunce HD1 ham radio proves one of the most efficient radios to have in a camping situation. The radio can transmit broadcasts of up to a wattage of 10 for longer distances. The HD1 comes with a high-capacity battery besides having a GPS to track and plot your movements.
- The dual-frequency band ranges of 136-174 MHz and 400-480 MHz, besides the FM radio
- 10/5/1 watts of output power
- 3000 channels
- 15 hours of battery life
- 3600 mAh batteries
- 160 hours of standby time
- IP67 weather-proofing
- 10-watt power transmission
- Simultaneous reception of transmissions and FM receptions
- GPS sharing and tracking
- IP67 water and dust-proofing
- Excellent customer support
- Compatibility with Motorola TRBO tier II and I radios
- The busy screen, which proves difficult to read sometimes
- Unaccomplished firmware
The Ailunce HD1 demonstrates a useful and dependable dual-band radio that can sustain your camping needs in the wild.
You can read more about Ham Radio reviews here.
The perfect way of picking the best handheld ham radio for camping
If peace of mind matters to you the most while on a camping trail, then you have to ensure you possess the best handheld ham radio. However, the process of choosing always proves difficult, and it becomes common to see individuals with inappropriate handheld ham radios that don’t suit their needs. Below, we describe brilliant ways of selecting the best handheld ham radio for camping purposes.
- Size and color of the handheld ham radio. Buy a ham radio that will appeal to your color choices and one that can become easy to tuck in and move when camping.
- Recommendations from friends and family with a penchant for camping trips. Getting such credible information can become more comfortable than doing research online.
- The ham radio’s ratings. Most items bought online have customer reviews based on their individual experiences with the product. Leaning on such information can prove vital in securing the best handheld ham radio for your camping needs.
- Past experiences with handheld ham radios can also prove useful in informing your radio choices in the future.
Particulars of an excellent handheld ham radio
What defines an excellent ham radio?
- Power and frequency. The intention of having a handheld ham radio always proves critical in determining the appropriate ham radio product. However, the best ham radio should have as much wattage as possible based on the FRS, VHF, and MURS type it uses. The best handheld ham radios operate on a capacity of 5 wattages. More power always translates to more range in terms of frequencies. Further, VHF and MURS frequencies have better connectivity than FRS, which constitutes the best handheld ham radios. Please note that the advanced frequencies require additional licensing from the relevant FCC authority.
- Dual-band. Top-quality handheld ham radios have dual bands where you can monitor two separate frequencies simultaneously. The bars can entail VHF/VHF, UHF/UHF, or VHF/UHF frequencies. Such a provision will allow you to keep your communication a little private from other individuals with the same gadgets. Further, ensure that your device’s antenna can support a dual-band.
- Capacity for manual programming. The best ham radios should have a digital display, and a keypad proved capable when setting up menu options.
- Memory capacity. Top-rated ham radios should have some memory bank that can allow storage of your preferred frequencies.
- Battery type. The handheld ham radio should have a recharge battery.
- FM radio option. The option proves more of an accessory but valuable to keep up with current information and trends.
- Antenna connection type. The right antenna connection type can influence your frequency reception.
- Manual adjustment knob. The best handheld ham radios should have a manual knob that can allow you to change frequencies in specific situations.
Camping can throw you all manner of curveballs when it comes to location bearing and lousy weather. Therefore, you have the responsibility of limiting the impacts of such misfortunes by having the best handheld ham radios. If you want to go shopping for such a radio, consider the handheld ham radios reviewed in this article.