Let’s face it. Setting up a HAM radio for satellite use can be tricky, to say the least. However, the right radio can take a lot of challenge out of this task.
But how do you go about finding the right HAM radio for satellites when you don’t even know what to look for? Well, you don’t really have to, because we have done all the hard work for you (and a lot of it by the way).
We will also explain at the end of this post some quick tips that are important to keep in mind when choosing the right HAM radio for satellite use as well as for the overall operation, but for now, let’s review our top picks.
Best HAM Radios for Satellites
Here are our HAM radio for satellite reviews.
1. TYT TH-9800
Again, we have a full duplex HAM radio and again, it’s one with quad band performance. It’s actually designed as a mobile HAM radio, but should work just as well as a base station too.
The 50W/40W power output is stable and paves the way for a great overall performance, there’s twin display and cross band repeater mode, great transmitting capabilities, 800 channels, full direct keypad mic and more. The sound quality leaves nothing to be desired as well as it’s pretty loud and clear.
The build quality is solid as well and users have been reporting of using it for long periods of time with no issues whatsoever. The programming isn’t too tricky either.
- Great full duplex quad band performance
- Very functional with twin display, cross band repeater mode, superior transmitting capabilities and more
- Amazingly clear and loud sound
- Solid build quality
- The cross band repeater mode doesn’t work flawlessly and can be a bit tricky at times
The Icom ID-5100Ais an excellent dual band full duplex HAM radio. It means that you will be able to receive using two bands at the same time, including within just one band too. This is exactly what you need for the perfect HAM radio for satellites, and the reason we picked the ID-5100A as best option.
However, the ID-5100A is amazingly functional and very advanced apart from its satellite capabilities as well. It has a touch screen LCD, internal GPS, D-Star feature, ability to monitor two DV signals, lots of details being displayed on the screen in an easy-to-understand way, stable 50W output on both VHF and UHF (which is more than enough for satellite use), weather alert function and much more.
Although Amazon has listed it under CB radios, it’s actually a HAM radio with dual band ability and would qualify as both a HAM radio base station and mobile HAM radio.
- Full duplex HAM radio with superior overall capabilities
- Touch screen LCD, internal GPS, monitors two DV signals, stable 50W power output and much more
- Easily hits all the local repeaters
- Easy to program with excellent sound
- The touch screen isn’t as responsive as some of those pricey smartphones out there, so don’t expect a lot on that front
The Yaesu FT-8900R isn’t the most popular HAM radios out there, but for satellite use there aren’t many options that would turn out to be better than it. It boasts full duplex capabilities as well with both VHF and UHF, and it’s actually a quad band radio that can operate on four different frequencies including 29/50/144/430 MHz.
It definitely has a lot less bells and whistles than the one we reviewed above, but it’s also much easier to use with easy programming and installation. Then there are over 800 memory channels, convenient access to popular internet-linking systems, impressive portability despite being suitable as a base radio.
The receive and transmit quality is impressive all-round, and if you’re going to do some HAM activity with the satellites for the first time the FT-8900R is definitely going to be pretty hard to beat.
- Full duplex capability with great quad band performance
- Very easy to use, install and program
- Impressively functional with over 800 memory channels, among other features
- Fantastic sound quality
- The availability of this radio can be a bit of a hit or a miss, especially for new units, so get it quick before they run out of stock and take like forever to restock it
So it’s about time we get to some HT radios as well, but not the ones that don’t support full duplex mode. And that’s exactly what the Kenwood TH-D72A is, while also being a dual band radio.
It’s amazingly functional with built-in GPS, TNC integration, 1000 memory channels, and great weatherproof build quality. APRS and FM works in every mode, and there’s some great flexibility with the ability to map the buttons to any function as per your needs. The programming is easy too.
The only thing that might seem a little disappointing is that the power output is only 5 watts, but that’s not unusual with handheld HAM radios and for satellite use, it wouldn’t turn out to be much of a problem either.
- Great HT that supports full duplex operation with dual band performance
- Amazingly functional with lots of great features
- Easy programming
- Rock-solid, weatherproof build quality
- Power output is only 5 watts
So we have another handheld HAM radio here and another one that works in duplex mode but with an impressive triband performance.It also comes with cross band repeater capability, dual receiving ability (part of the duplex mode), and very impressive functionality all-round.
It supports voice compander, adjustable backlight intensity, voice encryption, 999 memory channels, ability to scan on twin bands at the same time and much more. The audio quality is good too, and the programming is a breeze thanks to the ability to program it with nothing but just direct keypad entries.
The overall ease of use is great as well despite the impressive functionality and performance.
- Duplex work mode with triband performance
- Cross band repeater and dual receiving capability
- Great overall functionality with tons of useful features
- Great ease of use and programming
At this price we didn’t find anything worth complaining about, especially as something that offers duplex work mode with triband performance.Check Price on Amazon
HAM Radios for Satellites Buying Guide
When it comes to choosing a HAM radio for satellite use, its ability to offer full duplex performance is one of the most important factors. This is because during the satellite operation, your radio would have to constantly transmit and receive signals, but ideally, it would have to do this simultaneously, which is exactly what full duplex performance means.
Your HAM radio for satellite use must also at least be a dual band radio for obvious reasons. This is because the most basic requirement for HAM activity with satellite use is to be able to operate on both the VHF and UHF bands, so anything less than dual band won’t cut it.
Preprogramming the required satellite frequencies is necessary before you start working on the setup. You can visit this site to find the frequencies in order to program your radio accordingly.
You may be able to work without a full duplex radio if you’re just working on a low-level operation or fine with hit-or-miss performance, but you won’t be able to do anything without a good, long antenna.