The Top 6 Ham Radios for 2021

There are countless ham radios offered for public use; this overload of options can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to amateur radios. We have put together a selection of 6 radios that we consider the top ham radios for 2021 and top emergency communications technology.

The selection includes the classic critical communications companies, Kenwood, Baofeng, ICOM, and Yaesu. Read this ham radio review to learn about the best ham radios for 2021 and determine which one is right for you and your team.

Baofeng UV-5R HT:

The Baofeng UV-5R HT is the best handheld ham radio for beginners. It is the least expensive radio on the list, is extremely user-friendly, and comes with a variety of safety features. These elements combined make it an amazing starter radio.

Some parents even purchase these for their children who are interested in ham radios due to the low cost and unique features. Design features like a built-in flashlight and wrist strap or belt clip make it a kid-friendly ham radio. However, it also in general makes it a versatile piece of communications technology.

Although the Baofeng UV-5R HT is small, it can handle ham radio emergency frequencies and has a 128-channel capacity. 128 channels is a perfect amount for a beginner ham radio enthusiast.

Design Features:

  • Compact size
  • Built-in flashlight
  • Fixed with a flexible antenna
  • Li-ion battery
  • Wrist strap and belt clip
  • Comes with an earpiece
  • LCD display

Technology Features:

  • 25KHz/12.5KHz can use either wide or narrow band
  • FM radio
  • VOX capability
  • Tone searching/scanning
  • PC programmable
  • Transmitter time out
  • 128 channel capacity
    • Legal use for amateur frequencies

ICOM 2300H:

Ham radios can go through significant wear and tear depending on the user and the situation. The ICOM 2300H is up for it all, it is tested to withstand shock, vibration, and extreme temperatures. It can even resist pressure and solar radiation.

Moreover, the ICOM 2300H ham radio is not just physically protected, it is also protected over networks. This ham radio comes with a built-in encoder and decoder.

Featured in many ham radio reviews, ICOM 2300H is a great communications device that can be used in a variety of critical situations.

Design Features:

  • Shock, vibration, pressure, solar radiation, and temperature resistant
  • Weight- 2.43lb
  • Dimensions-5.51×1.57×6.38in
  • Supplied with a hand microphone, DC power cable, mounting bracket, and microphone hanger
  • Large LCD screen

Technology Features:

  • DMS scan (dynamic memory scan)
  • Tone scan
  • Allows for multiple scans
  • Built-in encoder and decoder
  • Wide/narrow channel settings
  • Weather channel receiver and weather alert function
  • 207 channels
  • 144-148MHz

Kenwood TH-D74A:

This Kenwood ham radio is a true classic. The TH-D74A is one of the best handheld ham radios for beginners due to its user-friendly features. With Bluetooth capability, GPS logger mode, a low carrying weight, and tough weatherproofing, this ham radio is ready for any adventure.

The Kenwood TH-D74A is known for clear communications and high-performance DSP voice processing. All these features combined make the TH-D74A top ham radio news a great device for emergency communications.

Design Features:

  • Weight- 7.13oz-12.2oz
  • Operating Temperature- -4F to +140F
  • Dimensions- 2.20 x 4.72 x 1.42 in
  • User-friendly operation and easy to read visibility
  • Tough weatherproofing
  • Color options-black
  • The backlit screen is bright and colorful (great for night use)

Technology Features:

  • APRS communication protocol
  • Messaging functionality
  • Local and international communications are possible
  • Wideband and multimode reception
    • These cover ham radio emergency frequencies
  • High-performance DSP voice processing
  • GPS logger mode
  • Micro USB
  • Bluetooth functionality

Kenwood NX-1200AV:

The NX-1200AV is a new land mobile radio recently released by Kenwood radios. It is a flexible communications device that offers a variety of unique features. For instance, the NX-1200AV has OAA or over-the-air alias. This allows for the radio to be programmed over the air. The NX-1200AV also features enhanced encryption and an emergency profile. All these features will keep you and your technology safer.

This Kenwood ham is also able to access a variety of ham radio calling frequencies—FM conventional operation, FDMA access (1G), and TDMA (2G). The NX-1200AV is a versatile ham radio that would work well in emergency communications situations.  

Design Features:

  • Weight-9.88 oz-10.41 oz
  • Operating Temperature- -22 degrees F and +140F
  • Dimensions-2.13 x 4.84 x 1.32 in
  • Screen-easy visible display, LCD backlit, battery level indicator
  • Color Options-black
  • Protection-Dust and water protection
  • Maximum and minimum volume setting

Technology Features:

  • Can handle FDMA, FM conventional operation, and TDMA
  • Site Roaming
  • Digital bit scrambler
  • Over-the-Air Alias (OAA)
  • Enhanced encryption
  • Noise suppressor
  • Emergency function-customizable emergency profile
  • IP54 and IP55
  • VOX and PTT triggered

Yaesu FT-857D:

The Yaesu FT-857D is a great ham radio option for those who are looking for something that is stationary. With a rugged case design, it can easily be used inside cars or a home.

This ham radio also features quick memory and a home channel, so it is easy to find your go-to channels out of the 200 options. The Yaesu FT-857D covers enough amateur bands that users can reach public safety monitoring, weather broadcasts, AM and FM broadcasts, aviation reports, and other reporting ham radios.

Moreover, the FT-857D can handle strong signal challenges which is a great plus in present times when many frequencies can be overloaded or busy.

Design Features:

  • Dimensions- 6.1x2x9.2in
  • Easy to access switches and knobs
  • Rugged case design so can be used in a home or a car

Technology Features:

  • 200 main memory channels
  • There is quick memory and a home channel
  • Bandpass filter, auto-notch, noise reduction filters, and microphone equalizer
  • Can cover HF, 50MHz, 144MHz, and 430MHz—amateur bands
    • Public safety monitoring, weather broadcasts, AM and FM broadcasts, aviation, and other Ham radios
  • Extensive bandpass filtering
  • Can handle strong signal challenges

Yaesu FT60R:

The Yaesu FT60R is an optimal ham radio for those involved in emergency communications. Not only can the Yaesu FT60R reach all ham radio emergency frequencies like one-touch NOAA weather access, but it also has technology called EAI.

EAI stands for emergency automatic ID. This feature automatically transmits your callsign to a programmed emergency location of your choice if you are disabled and cannot work your push to talk.

The Yaesu FT60R also supports 1000 memory channels and wideband frequencies. This large range ensures users have consistent communication.

This ham radio also features great outdoors or emergency personnel design features. Elements like water resistance and a bright LCD display support the fact that the Yaesu FT60R is a great emergency communications ham radio.

Design Features:

  • Weight-13.05 oz
  • Dimensions-2.3×4.3×1.2 in
  • Operating Temperature- -4F and +140F
  • LCD display
  • Transmit time out timer TOT
  • Water-resistant and ruggedized case

Technology Features:

  • 1000 memory channels
  • One touch NOAA weather access
  • Emergency Automatic ID (EAI) automatically transmits your callsign if you are disabled
  • Supports wideband frequencies
    • FM, AM, Air band, 144-148 MHz, and 430-450MHz

There are hundreds to thousands of great ham radios made all over the world that a ham radio enthusiast can buy. Therefore, choosing what is the best can be challenging. We hope this ham radio review gave you further insight on the top ham radios for 2021!

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