Ham radio is considered as a fun and basically social exciting hobby. It is not only a hobby but it also achieves vast array of activities. By using the best ham radio, you can talk to anyone one you wish, in the entire world without wires. Alternatively, you can talk locally using repeaters and even satellites or astronauts.
During emergencies caused by disasters such as hurricane, quakes and fires; the ham radio acts as a great friend. Why? It enables you to talk promptly and get instant help regardless of where you are. That’s fantastic!
Again, it can also be used in public service commission and contest or awards playing contest. Those who use it are called the ham operators.
A complete set of ham radio comprises of several things: trans-receiver unit, an antenna tuner, the microphone, power supply, and an antenna. In this article, you’ll learn all about a ham radio and what it comprises, the best ones to buy, and what you get from each of them. So, read on.
Types of Ham Radios
There are mainly three types of ham radios available in the market.
All these types have the same operation procedure. Nonetheless, they vary in the application and body structure. The power supply as well as the frequency needed for its operation also greatly varies.
During the time of setting it up; you must have a combined transceiver unit, a microphone to talk over, a power supply that boosts the transceiver unit and an antenna with an antenna tuner. In this case, the Antenna plays a very essential role since it receives and transmits both signals.
Handheld Ham Radio Overview:
If you have got some free time; you may consider using it as a fun time by using the portable handheld ham radio to study, socialize and have fun. You may even make it your hobby!
The fact is that, this ham radio is, of course, getting popular day by day among the people of all ages and levels in recent times around the globe. Why?
It has been observed that sometime this radio becomes so vital during times of great disasters. So, it is not all about having fun. That’s why; we consider it appropriate to classify this radio as the best handheld ham radio for survival.
Nonetheless, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) of USA has restricted an unauthorized use of this ham radio by providing licenses to only authorized persons.
Also, the restriction may affect frequency and power supply allocation. That is; the FCC has restricted its power supply to 0.5 watt, while the maximum range of talking is 5-10 miles when using a handheld ham.
Now, though the construction of all the ham radios is the same; the way of installing the antenna is different as well as that of the power supply and microphone. However, in the case of handheld radio; the power supply, microphone and antenna are built-in.
Though there are lots of handheld ham radios; it is good to ensure that you are sure how you want to use it to ensure that you chose the right one. Otherwise, you may count it as a loss after buying.
The Quick Preview of Top 3 Handheld Ham Radios
|BaoFeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual-Band Two-Way Radio|
|Yaesu VX-6R Tri-Band Submersible Handheld Ham Radio|
Features of Handheld Ham Radio
Since we are dealing with the features; several things which we must have a look at include the range of ham radio, the frequency and the power supply to run the radio unit.
FCC allows only 0.1 watts for walkie talkie for a range of one mile and portable ham radio can use 0.5 watts, with a range of 10 miles. Regarding frequencies; there are 10 frequency ranges, bands or channels in the entire radio waves.
The frequencies start from extra low to extra high of 300 GHZ. Most of the handheld ham radio comes with a dual band facility of VHF and a UHF band. The DCS and CTCSS features have been incorporated in order to decrease noise. The DCS have 83 codes. The CTCSS on the other hand has 50 codes.
In this portable ham, alpha numeric display, lighted keypad and different scan modes have been included. Normally, these radios utilize VHF 108-520 MHz for receiving purpose and UHF 700-999MHZ for transmitting purpose.
In most cases there is a special locking system so that frequency cannot be changed accidentally. Most of the packages for handheld ham radio contain one battery, one quality charger and a durable antenna as well as a nice clip.
Again, these radios are mostly equipped with 800-100 memory channels and a NOAA weather alert. Easy programming and scanning system are also available. They are mostly solid construction.
Usability of Portable Ham Radio
The overall use of the best quality ham radio is extensive. Let’s explain why.
See, you can use it to talk throughout the world without connection of wires. You can also talk locally by using local repeaters. Further, you can use it while in the space to talk with astronauts, which, in the actual sense, is essential.
You see? Although the use of portable handheld ham radio is limited; its function in the cases of disasters when trying to save the survivals is enormous. Not only that, but these hams are considered to be the best ham radio for beginners.
As a buyer, you can use the portable ham radio in the following fields:
✱ In cases of Disasters: When all the communications are dead during disasters; you can establish stable and swift communication between people with hams at any time using any type of ham radio.
Why? Natural calamities have no effect on the radio waves. So, ham operators as well as trained volunteers can talk well during this period.
✱ Space communication: Ham radio operators are able to connect even with astronauts irrespective of the distance or weather conditions.
✱ Agricultural sectors: A handheld ham radio can be used in the Agricultural sectors by different farmers to talk. Plus, the Agricultural seniors can use it to communicate with the famers.
✱ APRS (Automatic Packer Reporting System): In cases of emergencies, an Aircraft can be tracked using any type of the ham radio.
✱ Tracking Space Balloons: by using portable ham radio, space ballooners can track balloons via data transmission, triangulation or Amateur Radio High Altitude Ballooning.
✱ Internet via ham radio: This is done by repeater-networks that allow hams to access the internet via ham radio.
Mobile Ham Radio Overview:
The use of mobile ham radio is different from the other types: portable ham and base station. When you are driving in long roads and want to talk to other drivers using a mobile ham radio will make your communication effective and free of noise. However, that only happens if you are using a good quality mobile ham radio.
We have already explained how a ham radio is much more crucial over other ways of radio communication like cell phone, normal phone and internet connection. You must, however, note that the mobile radio is not just for safety purposes. No, the taxi drivers, package delivery services and tow truck dispatcher’s always use the mobile radio.
Truly speaking; the mobile ham radio has become the key tool for almost all types of business communications. That’s why; the FCC is working continuously in America to make ham radio safer in radio communication.
Though the first use of the ham radio in the vehicle was in 1921 by the Detroit police commissioner; in the recent days, land based mobile radio, maritime and aviation are some of the non-broadcasting uses of the radio band.
The Quick Preview of Top 3 Mobile Ham Radios
|TYT TH-9800 Quad Band 50W Mobile Ham Radio|
|Yaesu FT-7900R Dual-Band Mobile Ham Radio|
|Kenwood TM-V71A: Best Mobile Ham Transceiver|
Features of the Mobile Ham Radio:
Basically, all the VHF and UHF ham radios are the same. Even in towns where there is lots of congestion; the UHF works well for mobile ham radio. In urban areas; the UHF is superior to VHF in respect to the mobile ham radio.
Almost all the UHF will be absorbed by the organic material of the forest in the urban areas. That’s why; it is necessary to select best survival ham radio from the present market.
It is found that; VHF can penetrate a forest better, while the VHF is best for travelling from one mountain to another. Also, VHF works well when communicating from repeaters to the mountains.
On the other hand, if it is repeaters; it is best to consider the quality, placement, power output and the quality of antenna system. Although most of them vary due to their make; they tend to perform best on VHF band.
The best amateur radio with VHF/UHF is the smoothest and easiest portion of ham radio. In fact, it is very easy to install as long as there is no disaster. There are some top brand mobile ham radio namely Yeasu-FT 2900R, Yeasu-FTM-10R, Yeasu-FT8800R and Yeasu-FT 1900R.
These are the ham radios from the same manufacturer. They have a power output of 5-75 watts, 5-50 watts, 35-50 watts and 5-55 watts, respectively.
The good thing is that most of the mobile hams have a light microphone, dual corded power cable and direct entry keypad. Again, some of the models have got speakers built-in and consumers can buy the external ones if they desire.
Some models, however, are made for outdoor purposes. They are weatherproof, so they can do well in all kinds of weathers.
Usability of the Mobile Ham:
Most of the mobile ham radios have 2 or 3 power levels, so that no power loss can occur. Again, most of the mobile radio has large LCD with backlit to ensure there is a better visibility. Not only that, but most of the models have got multifunctional programming channels plus a NOAA weather alert.
Since the mobile ham radios are compact, lightweight and durable; these radios are becoming popular day by day. That’s why people are using the ham radios for different purpose.
- Emergency communication during a disaster: When all the communication is dead during disasters; the most effective way you should consider to talk with the hams is by use of any type of ham radio. Remember, a dual band ham radio is the best of all mobile ham radios. This is because, just as we have mentioned previously, natural calamities have no effect on the waves. So, the connection remains stable and effective regardless of the type of weather calamity that has taken place.
- Space communication: Anyone in the space and has a mobile ham radio; can talk all over the globe with the astronauts without trouble or disconnections.
- Space to earth: All types of mobile ham operators can talk from space to earth with the help of mobile hams.
- Agricultural zones: Ham radio can be used in agriculture with the help of handheld set and mobile set.
- HF: Short wave e-mail gateway or helping the sailor to provide e-mail relay to their families through any type of ham radios.
- ARHAB: This is done for auto tracking of aircraft, while landing in cases of an emergency.
- Echo link: The software allows licensed Ham radio station to talk with one another over the internet using streaming technology.
Ham Radio Base Station Overview:
The ham base station, too, is different from other two variations: the portable ham carried by individuals and the mobile ham installed in vehicles. You see, since the portable ham radio is normally carried by an individual; it does not require any set up space.
Nevertheless, in the case of a base station, you must have a safe and well secured space in your house or your working site to install it. So, planning to set up a ham station needs several preparation tasks. Plus, you need the perfect ham radio transceiver to have the best experience after setting it up.
By this time, of course, you have decided what the best types of equipment are and the antennas necessary. Also, you must have decided the most perfect place to install the ham shack as well as the antennas. However, it is good to also have a large table for the transmitter, receiver, key and other necessary equipment.
It is good to note that the Ham radio base station kits are essential when you are installing a base ham.
Alternatively, if you have no much space in your office or house, you can choose to install the ham station on a shelf. There, however, you’ll only have the essential equipment.
Moving on to the transceiver; this is a device that is a combination of both transmitter and receiver with a common electrical circuit.
You should also know that an armature radio works with the UHF or VHF propagation. More so, most modern ham radio stations can use the digital modes of CW, SS, USB and LSB. What’s more? All these modes are equipped with their own equipment. The base stations, however, uses a wide range of frequencies that have got the ability to bounce from the ionosphere.
The Quick Preview of Top 3 Ham Radio Base Stations
|Yaesu FT-450D 50MHz Amateur Base Transceiver|
|Icom IC-718 HF All Band Amateur Base Transceiver|
|ICOM 7300 HF/50MHz Direct Sampling Shortwave Radio|
Features of the Amateur Radio Base Station:
The most common base station comes with 50-100 watts output power. In most cases AM (Amplitude Modulation) is applied. It uses 25watts. Also, you should remember that the base stations have got the feature of an LCD color touch-screen and spectrum scope.
This allows you to find out the weak signals. The base stations are made in compact, solid construction and most durable material. Most of the base station can provide reliable and flawless communication.
The base station with a high transmitting and receiving power can give a better performance. There is a way of removing unwanted signals with the help of filters. On the other hand, NOAA and local alerts can be obtained from the base stations.
The squelch feature is very important since it can reduce the local noise and channel distortions. Almost all the base stations use the feature of DCS and CTCSS. DCS means the Digital Coding System and CTCSS means Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System.
This feature helps to maintain continuous communication between two persons without experiencing sudden end of communication or interruption.
There are two types of base stations: programmable and the non-programmable. The programmable base station is much better than the other. Let’s explain. With the programmable, you can program manually through your computer. This is less expense and enhances the efficiency of the ham radio.
Usability of the Ham Radio Base Station
Most of the base stations come with HF band, which can propagate sound frequency a very long distance even from one part of the world to the other part. The Ham radio base station is a compact system with a combination of RF technology and digital technology which facilitate a simple operation.
Are you considering to buy a ham radio base station? Great! Here’s how you may consider using it:
- Emergency communication: Natural calamities don’t affect radio signals. You see, it is easy to use the ham radio to communicate no matter the situation. That is; regardless of the type of ham radio you have, you can easily communicate with any hams during times of disasters.
- Space sky communication: Ham operators have no trouble communicating with astronauts.
- APRS: Whenever there are emergencies, the Aircraft is easily traceable.
- Short wave e-mail gateway: enabling the sailors to send e-mail relays to their families) base station.
- Internet via ham radio: repeater network makes it possible for hams to have access to the internet using the ham radio base station.
Questions and Answers on Ham Radios
Most times, as a new buyer, several things may become a challenge to you and you may not be sure where to seek help. Plus, asking the wrong people may make you use the product in a way that is inappropriate or one that may interfere with its operation.
Seeking solutions to some of the questions you may be having is necessary. Also, seeking the solution from the experts is the best way to go. We are the experts and we have answers to most of the questions you may have.
After dealing with several buyers, we decided to have this section to answer some of the commonly asked questions.
What is amateur radio (Ham radio)?
Ans: A ham radio is basically a social communication provider. Nowadays, you may choose to either use it for fun or for communication, international or space communication. But it is good to know that the most important activity that ham radio renders is in disasters cases.
Who is the inventor Ham radio?
Ans: Regarding the invention of ham radio; there are several participants who are scientists: Guglielmo Marconi is the first inventor from Italy. Then, there are other contributors: Nikola Tesla and Ernst Alexanderson who are electrical engineers that can’t be forgotten.
Also, there are three ham operators who used the initial letters of the radio from their original names. Initially, they started by using the full names. Later, they used only 2 initial letters before they finally resolved to use only the first letters.
What can I do with Ham radio?
Ans: Besides your fun activity; you can talk to a person locally, internationally or while they are in the space. However, when every other mode has failed, though not necessarily, this radio is the most reliable to use for communication in cases of emergency. That is; when you encounter natural calamities.
This is because the communication is always stable and prompt.
How can ham radio contribute to my emergency plan?
Ans: Actually, speaking of an emergency plan is the same as natural calamities plan that you mark in advance to safeguard humanity and animals. The ham operators mostly devote themselves to helping people during such cases. Also, the volunteering ham workers participate in a great way to save lives.
What ham radio frequencies am I allowed to use?
Ans: There are so many meter bans. For example, we have the 160 meters, 80 meters, 40 meters, 30 meters, 20 meters and any more. Corresponding to these meter bands; the ham radio uses different frequency ranges.
You may categorize the users of these hams as novice, general and advanced. The radio waves such as CW (Continuous Wave), RTTY (Radio Teletype), SSB (Single Side Band), data and image frequencies are usually in use.
Which is the best ham radio?
Ans: The top class ham radio should have the most important features like a strong construction to enhance durability. The LCD is also significant. A high quality battery and an antenna with a tuner are also essential.
NOAA alert is much necessary. The DCS and CTCSS is also necessary to help stop the sudden disruption of the conversation.
Also, the computer programming facility along with the memory channel programming is very vital. However, if you are a beginner, we suggest you purchase the “BaoFeng BF-F8HP”.
The Guide to make it easy for you to choose a perfect Ham Radio
So, you now want to purchase one of the best ham radios? That’s a great choice that won’t make you regret at any one time. But don’ just pay, there are many things you need to take into account before you can carry the product home.
Each of those factors is necessary. Let’s take a look-
A good quality handheld ham radio not only can talk locally through repeaters, but also helpful when the cell phone, internet and other connections collapse. That may be during times of emergencies like fires, hurricane and tremors.
★ Type of Band
While selecting a portable handheld ham, you need to decide if to purchase the band one or double band. Remember, there is a great difference between one and two bands. You see, the single band radio is able to handle one band, while the 2 band radio can only handle 2 bands- each at a time.
In a single band; even when there are obstacles, the low frequencies allows signals to go through. Nonetheless, the speed reduces. The two bands radio offers more distance and stability. Unfortunately, it cannot overcome interference very easily.
However, don’t focus so much on the frequencies. You see, in order to choose the best quality portable ham radio; you should look into the features.
For instance, the solid construction that make it serve you for many years, a battery that has a long life and the ability to output high power in 2/3 ranges.
★ Water resistant
If you know that you will be using the ham radio in rainy seasons or areas that the climate is not predictable, ensure that you get the one that is resistant to water.
As a result, there’s no compromising with the quality due to rain water. On the other hand, you won’t halt any necessary communication because you are afraid of the water coming into contact with it.
★ Clear Display
The handheld ham radio must have a color display and both analog and digital modes. If you cannot see the LCD clearly; chances are that will struggle using it when there is no enough light.
On the other hand, dark times will always be there and the need to use the radio will always be there, too. So, ensure the LCD is clear.
★ Ability to Use Efficiently
Again, a VFO mode with a location to input a specific frequency is very important. However, you should have sufficient knowledge about transceiver menu in order to operation it as required.
In order to have access to the CTCSS for tone setting, the knowledge of changing tone setting is necessary. Otherwise, you will have trouble using it.
However, no matter the purpose or the type of ham radio you want to buy, you should always know the technical terms we have mentioned in this article. Only then will you be able to select the best mobile ham radio for your vehicle to meet your needs when needed.
★ Ability to hold power for long and transmit signals
Mobile ham can often give you a better service than a portable ham radio because it gets extra power from the vehicle and can connect to repeaters to ensure the signals reach a longer distance.
Ability to hold more power ensures that you stay connected with the world for as long as you want. Also, you should check whether the mobile ham is capable of transmitting and receiving strong signals.
★ Available Features
The mobile ham should also have the facility to program memory channels as well as edit them. Again, the multifunction scanning facility along with the output power selectable knobs are necessary.
Also, you should look for the provision of the encoding and decoding features. They will help you ensure that there are no interruptions when you are communicating.
But if you are buying the best quality mobile ham radio; you will need to consider a few more things. Such include the keypad locking system, dual band provision and dual reception mode.
★ Installation requirement
When you intend to install a mobile ham radio; you also need to install the transceiver, antenna, antenna tuner and other components in the passenger’s cabin of the vehicle. Connect the power lead to the terminal of the vehicle battery. The coaxial cable will run to the antenna base which normally remains outside the vehicle.
However, you can easily set a ham base station at home, at your working place or even in the field. Thanks to this buying guide. You now know everything about the ham radio and what you need to consider when selecting one.
Don’t only focus on the fun moments. No, do also think about the critical times like when your life and that of other is in danger. After all; all the ham stuff are always watchful to give you a prompt response when you need it.
All the types of the ham radios handle these cases well and with haste. So, take your time and choose any Ham radio to buy from our three best ham radio