There aren’t as many options available on the market for HAM radio base stations as there are for other types of HAM radios like handheld HAM radios, but there are still enough to make you seek some help choosing the right one.
So we just went ahead, did a lot of research, and found the 5 best HAM radio base stations for you on the market while you sipped your coffee sitting on your couch.
Best HAM Radio Base Stations
Here are our HAM radio base station reviews.
1. ICOM 2300H
The ICOM 2300H is one of the few HAM radio base stations on the market that has managed to receive almost universally positive reviews from the customers.
With 65 watts of power, user-friendly interface, great durability and over 200 alpha-numeric memory channels the 2300H turns out to be a great option for both beginners and experienced users. It’s very versatile too and can be used both as a base station and a mobile HAM radio.
The repeater signal reports are surprisingly clear for the price, and the sound is great. The 2300H also scans very well and fast, and offering an S-meter and coming with a high-quality mic.
- Great versatility – can be used both as a base and a mobile radio
- 65 watts of power
- Great sound and repeater signal reports
- Fast scanning
- Users only get a CD as a user manual, no hard copy
The Kenwood TM-281A is another great choice with an amazingly high rating on Amazon. It comes loaded with tons of features but that doesn’t make it difficult for beginners to operate it. Just make sure you keep the user manual handy when using it for the first few days and you will easily get familiar with all the features.
With 65 watts power, it ranks right at the top in its price range. The build quality is impressive with a lot of aluminum on the body. Programming the TM-281A is fairly easy too.
The back light is also pretty bright, and the mic gets consistently good reports.
- Lots of features
- Plenty of power with great audio clarity
- Great build quality and durability
- Great reports on almost all local repeaters you would use
- It just gets a little warm when you use it at high power for too long, that’s all we could find as a con for this great radio
The Yaesu FT-2980R is priced surprisingly affordably for the kind of power it brings to the table, which makes it one of the top options for us. With 80 watts of power, you’re sure to get a great performance from it as a base station.
There are 221 memory channels, an alpha-numeric display that’s easy to read, and it’s easy to program with the right software and also supports CHIRP. If you’re a complete beginner you may want to consider getting the RT Systems Programming Software as it turns out to be a great help with both programming and operating the radio.
Finally, the FT-2980R is also built like a tank, while not leaving anything to be desired on the sound front as well.
- Very affordable for 80 watts of power
- Very functional and easy to program
- Amazing durability
- Has a bit of a learning curve for beginners
4. Icom IC-718
Do not let the advanced look and feel of the Icom IC-718 scare you if you’re a beginner. The Icom IC-718 is surprisingly easy to operate.
For the price, the IC-718 performs great for both receiving and transmitting. There are a lot of menus and features and they actually make things easy for beginners. Once you spend some time setting it up properly, you would start getting fantastic audio reports in no time.
The included mic works pretty well too. The sound quality is impressive as well and the IC-718 is also fairly portable.
- Very affordable for the functionality it offers
- Easy to operate but comes with many features
- Great menu and button layout
- Great sound and audio reports
- You would need an antenna tuner to set up the IC-718
The Yaesu FTM-400DR only comes with 50 watts of power despite being priced much higher than the other options on our list, but it still manages to be a great option overall. If you’re not an absolute beginner and looking for an advanced HAM radio, you would love what the FTM-400DR offers.
However, it’s easy to set up with its own memory program software too so you would save some money not having to buy one. The APRS functionality is amazing, and the receiving and transmitting capabilities are surprisingly good as well, even for the price.
The loudspeaker is indeed pretty loud, and the microphone has some advanced functions thanks to the numerical keyboard it features.
- An advanced option while still being easy to operate
- Comes with its own memory program
- APRS functionality is great
- Loud, clear sound
- Only 50 watts of power, but it doesn’t prevent the FTM-400DR
HAM Radio Base Station Buyer’s Guide
Well, while we just made it very easy for you to choose one of the best HAM radio best stations out there by walking you through the top choices on the market currently, you may still want to know more about what exactly you should consider when choosing one.
The power output is one of the most important factors, although there are some HAM radios that manage to perform surprisingly well with a low power output, such as the Yaesu FTM-400DR.
However, a higher power output usually improves the overall performance, so this is definitely one thing to consider even though you shouldn’t base your decision just on the basis of this factor.
The sound quality being an important factor is a no-brainer. If your HAM radio has all the features in the world but a terrible sound that’s too low or just too distorted, you won’t have a good experience for sure.
All the 5 options we reviewed above offer an excellent sound quality, although the higher priced models often tend to do much better with their sound and clarity.
It doesn’t make sense to spend close to $200 on a HAM radio base that will not even last a year, even if it’s otherwise very good with a lot of features and functions.
The Yaesu radios often turn out to be the best on this front as most of them are built like a tank, but the other options we reviewed above are very durable as well and will definitely last you a very long time.