There are lots of beginner ham radio base stations or ham radio transceivers available in the market now. But as a newbie, you should select one which is very much user friendly and easy to operate.
Ham radio base stations offer more features than handheld radio or mobile ham radio. But it is also very complex. Hence, there are many ham radio base stations which are offering different types of features.
You will need to know about complexity, power, frequency range, and many other features before start your journey with an entry level ham radio base station.
You will use a ham radio transceiver for specific works. But does it match the features you need? Before picking one, you should consider this fact. Let us help you to find the perfect beginner ham radio base station.
Comparison table of the 5 best ham radio base station for beginners:
|SL.||Brand & Model||Weight||Max Output||Rating||Price|
President Lincoln II +
|3.09 Pounds||50 Watts||4.6/5|
|4.2 Pounds||80 Watts||4.7/5|
|3.3 Pounds||50 Watts||4.7/5|
|4.19 Pounds||50 Watts||4.4/5|
|2.67 Pounds||25 Watts||4.5/5|
Top 10 Beginner Ham Radio Base Stations in 2023:
In this article, we are going to highlight the features of the top 10 ham radio base stations for beginners. We hope you’ll be able to pick the right one for you!
01. President Lincoln II Plus – Overall Best Beginner Ham Radio Base Station
President Electronics launched President Lincoln II Plus 10 and 12-meter ham radio base station as same as Lincoln II with the 12-meter band added. It also replaced CH19/9 with “Emergency Channel 1 and 2” which is programmable.
Moreover, this model has HF output power of 35W PEP SSB, 35W FM and 50W AM (PEP)
This entry level ham radio transceiver comes in black color in 9.84*6.69*2.05 inches dimensions. And, the weight is 3.09 pounds only. Power cord fuse, 1 mounting bracket with fixing screws, and 1 microphone and its hanger come with the package.
As a beginner, you may want to control your radio as easily as possible. President Lincoln II Plus offers a rotary switch and up/down channel selector. You can adjust your volume with ease.
In addition, it has many great features such as manual squelch and ASC, dim, MENU function key, mode switch, and RF power.
Also, it offers VFO mode with continuous scanning, multi-function LCD, six memories, frequencies display, CTCSS, DCS, etc.
President Lincoln II Plus model has a frequency allowance of +/-300 Hz. Hence, the frequency range is 24.890 MHz to 24.990 MHz and 28.000 MHz to 29.700 MHz.
The audio response for this radio is 300 Hz to 3 kHz. The microphone sensitivity is 3 mV and modulated signal distortion is 1.8%
You also should know that you can modify this radio using the software.
- Easy to use the rotary switch & channel selector.
- This ham radio base station has a public address.
- It has a beep function.
- The system is customizable by software.
- For a beginner, it’s a bit costly.
02. Yaesu FT-2980R – Ham Radio Base Station
Yaesu FT-2980R is a two-way mobile ham radio as well as base station which came to market for the first time in 2017. It has 221 channels. The dimensions of this radio base are 7.3*6.3*2 inches and the weight is 4.2 pounds.
This model has four selectable power output levels which are 80, 30, 10, and 5 watts. However, without any cooling fan, 80 watts of RF power is guaranteed by the massive heat-sink.
If the environment is noisy, it has loud 3 watts of audio output. And large 6 digits backlit LCD makes sure that you get excellent visibility even in the dark.
The receiver performance is excellent for this model of ham radio base station. With an alpha-numeric channel display, for serious users, it also has 200 memory channels.
It also offers an interactive programming menu, supply voltage display, dual watch FT, and 4-level display dimmer.
Moreover, this model has also features like versatile scanning capability, built-in CTCSS and DCS encode/decode, WX channels with severe weather alert, smart search operation, wide/narrow deviation selection, etc. which are really helpful for beginners to start with ham radio base station.
- The design is quite durable.
- It has a powerful transmission system.
- There is no fan in the design
- The onboard audio is great.
- The display is clear and large.
- Not a CHIRP-supported system.
03. Kenwood TM-V71A – Top Quality Ham Base Station for Starter
TM-V71A doesn’t have a colorful touchscreen. GPS or G-STAR is also unavailable in this model from Kenwood. But It provides reliable dual-band VHF and UHF performance.
This analog radio comes at a very affordable price. For a beginner, it will be hard to choose any other option at this price. It usually lasts for years.
The radio offers 2 backlight colors for the LCD panel: amber and green. The color of the radio is black. And the dimensions of this radio are 5.51-8.39-1.69 inches.
For mobility, TM-V71A is a great option for its lightweight. Its weight is only 3.3 pounds in total.
Power output is one of the main factors to choose a ham radio base station for beginners. This model offers high RF power output of 50 watts. And, it also has 1,000 multifunction memory channels.
Despite being low priced, it also comes with some advanced features. It has dual receive on the same band. And, its EchoLink memory is used for the automatic dialer.
Last but not the least, this radio has 104-Code digital code squelch ‘Five-IN-ONE’ programmable memory and EchoLink sysop mode for node terminal operation multiple scan invertible front panel.
Though it has lacking in terms of digitalization, these features make it one of the top quality beginner ham radio base station available in the market.
- The control head is detachable.
- It has 1,000 memory channels.
- True dual-band operation supported.
- The power output is 50 watts.
- This radio base station supports EchoLink.
- The fan is quite loud.
04. BTECH UV-50X2 – Best Dual Band Ham Transceiver for Beginners
Are you tired of the dull ham radio transceiver designs? Btech ‘X-Series’ comes with a different look than others. But they didn’t just stop with the case and screen design. It has some extra features which usually don’t come with similar radios.
Some of the unique features are dual synchronize display mode, auto power-off function, channel mode editing setting, auto scan, scanning resume, in-depth user’s guide, etc.
In the box, it comes with a microphone with a 16 button keypad, chrome metal microphone hanger, DC power cable (heavy duty), metal mounting bracket with screws.
BTECH UV-50X2 is a full-size mobile radio with dimensions of 5.7*1.85*7.5 (w,h,d). It is very easy to carry outdoors as the weight is only 2.65 pounds. The package dimensions are 12.28*7.72*2.72 inches with 4.19 pounds weight.
VHF and UHF support this radio with a high/low power output of 50 watts/10 watts. The power source can be directly 12V Leads.
Depending on the selected mode, the 50X2 features a Wide and Narrow receiver, as well as a 2W audio section.
The UV-50X2, like the rest of the X series, can now display four frequencies on its redesigned display. Any 2, 3, or 4 visible channels can be selected for ‘on screen’ scanning using the TMR option (Transceiver Multi-Receive).
It is fairly priced for its functions. Beginners should try it out for the unique functions before trying any advanced radio unit.
- Easy to understand instructions.
- It has good sound quality.
- The system is straightforward to program.
- Convenient to mount in areas with limited space.
- The display is small.
05. AnyTone AT-778UV – Perfect Beginner Ham Radio Transceiver to Use in Vehicle
AnyTone AT-778UV became available in 2019 for the first time. This radio is comparatively new from the previous items. It is a radio with cable.
The number of supported channels of this radio is 200 and it has UHF and VHF tuner technology. 1.24 kg item comes with 6*5*2 inches dimensions. The microphone, cable, user’s manual, power cable with fuse holder, and mounting brackets & screws come with the package.
The frequency range for this one is very wide (136 MHz to 174 MHz).
180 degree rotatable TFT LCD is one of the coolest features of this radio. It also has a narrow band compliant, built-in speakers, a microphone, and a built-in cooling fan.
The best part of the features is they support CHIRP. You can download the programming software from AnyTone’s official website.
AnyTone AT-778UV offers various output power which is 25W/15W/5W. It also has 5Tone signaling for data transfer, ANI, alarm, all call, remote kill, and remote waken.
In addition, there are features like keypad lock function, LCD brightness control, automatic power function, squelch level setting, and voltage level protection. Single calls, selective calls, emergency calls, and group calls are all available which are very helpful for beginners.
- This radio base station has a great range of frequencies.
- It has a rotatable color LCD.
- 5Tone signaling supported.
- Supports- both band- wide and narrow.
- Remote kill/remote waken system.
- You have to be extra careful about FCC rules.
06. TYT TH-9800D – Best Quad Band Ham Transceiver for Beginners
TYT TH-9800D is one of the latest versions from VMUKSAN. With UHF and VHF tuner technology support, this radio supports 809 channels.
The items come in a 4.49*2.24*1.3 inches dimension. And the weight is 2.65 pounds.
Not only does it have an enormous amount of channels, but it also supports a vast range of frequencies. The frequency ranges are 26 – 33 MHz, 136 – 174 MHz, 400 – 480 MHz, and 47 – 54 MHz
With TYT TH-9800D, the package also contains a mic hanger, mounting bracket & screws, power cable, programming cable, user manual, and factory disc.
This model has some good features like V/V, U/U, V/U simultaneous receive, full dual display, V+U cross-band repeater, wide/mid/narrow bandwidth, 2 Tone and 5 Tone, full direct entry keypad mic, and many more.
The radio supports CHIRP. That means the programming will be very easy. You can download factory software from DISC or TYT’s official website as the installation is much needed. TYT TH-9800D has paired with 4 bands antenna. The operating voltage is 13.8 V.
- Wide range of frequency coverage.
- It has 5 Tone supported system.
- This ham radio base station supports CHIRP
- Memory channels are alphanumeric.
- There are many online tutorials available.
- Digital FM broadcast band radio.
- Does not come with many advanced features.
07. Icom IC-2300H – Best for Basic Usage of Beginner
The Icom IC-2300H is very simple but powerful. It is much cheaper with simple features.
This ham radio is not suitable for everyone. But as a beginner, it will be perfect for you as it is rugged, small, and easy to use.
Though it is small in size, the power it can pack up is 65 watts. In the same price range, you cannot expect a better unit!
The Icom IC-2300H satisfies MIL-STD 810 G shock, vibration, and temperature criteria, making it ideal for mobile use.
Although 65 watts is adequate for a 2-meter radio, the Icom IC-2300H also enables 25 watts, 10 watts, and even 5 watts transmission, reducing heat and power consumption.
When it comes to heat, this portable radio performs admirably, even in extreme conditions. Even during lengthy 65w transmission, the metal chassis acts as a passive heat absorber, keeping the unit cool.
As there is no fan, the IC-2300H will be more dependable and quieter than fan-cooled 2w radios.
The speaker, which is positioned on the unit’s top, produces 4.5 watts of clear sound. Even in noisy circumstances, this is sufficient for mobile usage.
You can select between green, amber, or yellow lighting on the 6-character LCD screen. It’s simple, yet vibrant and simple to use, especially on mobile.
This 2-meter radio is compact enough to fit on even the most crowded desk or in a confined car with minimum space for a transceiver, with the dimensions of 6.38*5.51*1.57 inches.
The screen is quite small. You may face difficulties using menu options. Despite this one small problem. It is surely one of the perfect ham radio transceiver for beginners.
- It has a long expected lifespan.
- Transmission power is 65 watts.
- Very good heat dissipation.
- Loud and 4.5-watt speaker.
- This device has an LCD screen.
- Very Small space required for set up.
- The screen size is very small.
08. TYT TH-8600 Mini – Waterproof Ham Radio Base Station for Beginners
TYT TH-8600 Mini is a waterproof transportable ham radio base station. For using outdoors, it can come in handy as we cannot predict the weather and circumstances. It also covers the frequency range of 420 – 450 MHz (70 cm frequency) and 144 – 148 MHz (2m frequency).
This mobile radio is 3.48 pounds in weight with 107*125*45 mm dimensions. Hence, the package includes a programming cable, DC power cable, screw, DTMF microphone, mount bracket, and user manual along with the radio unit.
The international protection rating of this particular radio is IP67.
TYT TH-8600 Mini has a large screen. Therefore, it helps the users to operate with ease. A large display is convenient for operation. Also, it offers a high/mid/low tri-power setting, dual display, dual-band, and dual watch.
Besides being waterproof, TYT TH-8600 Mini also has some great features in stock. There are 200 channels and 5 programmable function keys.
Additionally, it also has 5 Tone, 2 Tone, DCS, CTCSS, and 1750/2100/1000/1450 Tone.
You can download software for free from TYT’s official website. The radio is easily programmable through the microphone.
- This ham radio base station is waterproof.
- It has an IP67 international protection rating.
- The system is easily programmable.
- It covers a wide range.
- A user-friendly device that is great for beginners.
- You cannot unlock it without a license.
09. QYT KT-980PLUS – Affordable Ham Transceiver for Beginners
If you want to begin with an affordable ham radio base station that gives a satisfactory performance, QYT KT-980PLUS is for you. It comes in dimensions of 140*43*172 mm.
The weight is only 2.27 pounds. In addition, the package also includes a speaker mic, mounting hardware, programming cable, screw and fuse, power cable, software, and user manual with the KT-980PLUS mobile radio.
This radio can operate from -20°C to 60°C. The operating voltage is 13.8V DC. However, the frequency range it covers is 144 – 148 MHz and 420 – 450 MHz.
As a beginner, you need a radio which you can program easily. This ham radio base station has a large LCD and free program cables which makes it easy to operate. It also has an inner cooling fan to keep the temperature low.
QYT KT-980PLUS supports CHIRP. This means you can do the programming quite easily. Software is free to download from the QYTradio website. The radio is a nice solid and compact unit, durable, programmable, functional, and reliable.
The features this model offers are dual-band, quad watch, quad standby, and an external speaker jacket. It also offers a Repeater, Monitor, wide/narrow selective, high/low power setting, alarm, scrambler, DTMF, and PTT ID.
- The system is programmable.
- It comes at an affordable price.
- It has a cooling fan.
- Wide range of frequency coverage.
- The weight is very low.
- The only downside is that it has a poor user interface.
10. TWAYRDIO Ham Radio – Best for Battery Backup Time
TWAYRDIO is a portable two-way radio also perfect for beginners. The latest transceiver varies from previous models in that it has a built-in 12000mAh battery that allows it to operate continuously for 4 hours.
Charge the radio at home, then pack it in your backpack, and go on an expedition with it. The communication distance is roughly 10-15 miles under typical circumstances (according to the specific environment). There are 198 channels in all, with 6 VFO channels.
On the side of the radio, there is a DC 13.8V hole as well as a power charging hole. When charging, plug the power wire into the charging port. Plug the charging cord into the DC 13.8V hole if you wish to use the radio directly (currently does not pass via the battery).
It comes with a multifunctional button. Place “I” down, and the radio will get power straight from the DC power adapter. You do not have to attach the charging wire. Put “II” down, and the radio will be powered by the internal battery.
If the mobile transceiver is continually used in high power transmission, the temperature will increase and eventually will reach 45°C. In that case, the micro fan will start automatically to decrease the temperature.
This radio features a dual Push-To-Talk (PTT) speaker mic with dual PTT capabilities. And With the two conveniently accessible buttons, you can communicate quickly. There is a speaker switch on the radio, and a speaker is built-in in both the radio and microphone.
- The power backup is great.
- It covers a wide range of frequencies.
- This ham radio base station supports earphones.
- It also can run on power without using the battery.
- This device does not support CHIRP.
Buying Guide to Select the Best Ham Radio Transceiver for Beginners:
As a beginner, while selecting a ham radio Transceiver for yourself, you should keep in mind some key features. Here, we will discuss some facts that you should consider before choosing the perfect beginner ham radio base station for you.
☛ The Lifespan of the Base Station
The cost of a ham radio base station is not insignificant. And in this case, using a low-cost HF transceiver or knockoffs might backfire. As a result, the issue of lifespan is crucial.
Your amateur radio base station is a long-term investment, not a one-time purchase.
Another factor to consider is the cost of repairs and service.
☛ Output Power
The range of a ham radio base station depends on output power. For greater output power, the range should be more. So, to cover more areas, make sure you get a ham radio base station with enough output power.
☛ Frequency Coverage
The frequency on which you transmit will, of course, be determined by your license. For base stations, frequencies below 1GHz are often preferred. If you’re in a city or somewhere with a lot of barriers, this becomes much more apparent.
Your communication will be more noticeable if waves can penetrate through walls and structures without attenuation.
To broadcast utilizing base stations, you’ll need a license. The FCC can impose significant fines if you don’t have a license or transmit on unlicensed frequencies.
When consider a display, keep in mind when you are going to use it. If you want to use it during dark hours, a backlit LCD would be much preferable. A bigger size display will help you easily control the base.
You should consider a ham radio base station which you can program using a computer. Manual programming will take too much time and that would be a more complex thing to do as you will need to be at the manual programmed station.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. What does the ham stand for in ham radio?
Ans: Amateur Radio Operators are usually known as hams. Operators in the commercial and professional radio groups first heard the term “ham” as a nickname for amateur radio operators in 1909.
Q. How far can a ham radio base station reach?
Ans: If you and a friend are utilizing handheld transceivers (HTs) with a normal output power of 5 watts, your range should be around 5 kilometers at most. However, if you use a repeater to extend ham radio range, you should be able to communicate considerably further.
Q. Is the ham radio test hard?
Ans: The technician test isn’t difficult, but you won’t pass it if you don’t prepare.
Q. Is Morse code required for the ham radio test?
Ans: In the United States, the Morse code is no longer necessary to obtain an amateur radio license. The FCC joined an international trend by announcing the discontinuation of Morse code competency testing for all amateur radio license classes in a statement.
Investing in the best ham radio base station for beginners will extend your broadcast and reception range. These are high-quality, feature-rich gadgets that vastly improve the user experience.
The list above includes a wide range of great transceivers, from budget-friendly alternatives to more advanced base stations.
Take a look around, and you’ll most likely discover a top-rated base station that meets your requirements.