You would be surprised how unreliable your cell phone can be during a disaster or emergency situation. Internet wouldn’t stand a real emergency situation either.
This is precisely where HAM radios come in. They are much more reliable during emergencies and survival situations, and many people have used them to get through many emergencies and disaster situations like hurricanes.
But not all HAM radios are created equal, and certainly, not all of them are designed for preppers. So which ones are? Well, you’re about to find out as we review the 5 best HAM Radios for preppers.
Best HAM Radios for Preppers
Here are our reviews of HAM Radios for Preppers.
The BaoFeng BF-F8HP is a great option for preppers for more than one reason. It comes with 8 watts of power making it one of the most powerful HAM radios for preppers. It’s also a dual band handheld HAM radio and would allow you to operate on the two most popular bands: 2m and 70 cm.
It’s both easy to use and program, which is one of the most important reasons we are reviewing it as our top pick. Imagine being in an emergency situation and not being able to figure out how important features of your radio work! However, the BF-F8HP supports all weather bands, emergency frequencies and more.
The performance is solid and more than good enough for preppers. It can hit a lot of local repeaters easily, including the ones at quite a distance. The build quality is great as well with a very strong body. It comes with a built-in flashlight as well.
- Very powerful radio for preppers
- Easy to use and program
- Hits local repeaters easily
- Solid build quality
- You may have to reprogram it right out of the box when using it in the US
If you’re after an even cheaper option than the BaoFeng BF-F8HP, then the Baofeng UV5RA would be right up your alley. Users mention how it’s the best investment they could make for an emergency situation.
The programming with the UV5RAis a breeze and you would be able to program all the NOAA weather frequencies and local emergency frequencies in no time. It’s a dual band radio as well with a 4 watts of power, which should be enough for emergency and prepping use.
It also boasts an emergency alarm, LED flashlight and rock-solid build quality like all the other BaoFeng products out there.
- Great for emergency and prepping use
- Super easy programming
- Lots of other useful features like LED flashlight and emergency alarm
- Great build quality
- The battery tray is poorly designed and it’s a bit of a pain to replace the battery
Now, the Kenwood Original TH-D74A is much more than a basic prepping HAM radio. It’s a complete handheld HAM radio option for users that also want to experience a lot of Hamming other than just using it for prepping purpose.
It can do pretty much everything you could imagine of a handheld HAM radio, with APRS functionality, GPS, 1000 channels and much more. It also has a great weather alert function that would come in handy during an emergency situation.
Furthermore, it’s a triband radio and can operate over the 144/220/430 MHzfrequencies. The power output is 5 watts but the performance is as good as any handheld could offer.
- Complete handheld HAM radio
- Super functional with APRS and GPS functionality
- Operates over triband frequencies
- Great weather alert function
- The battery life is on the shorter side
The Yaesu FT-2980R is a mobile HAM radioso it would be less portable than the 3 handheld options we discussed above, but it would be perfect for users looking to use their radio in their home or vehicle. With 80 watts of power, you would get a lot more out of this radio than any of the handheld HAM radios out there.
It easily reaches your local repeaters that a handheld would struggle with, and comes with as many as 221 memory channels. There are a lot of bells and whistles as well, but the weather frequencies being built-in is particularly impressive. However, it’s only a single band radio, but for users only looking to use the 2m frequencies, it’s a perfect option.
Finally, it’s also easy to use and program, especially with the RT Systems programming software. The build quality is nothing to complain about as well.
- A lot of power with 80 watts power output
- Very functional and easily hits local repeaters
- Built-in weather frequencies
- Easy to use and program
- Only single band so the 70cm is not available
5. ICOM 2300H
The ICOM 2300H is one of the few HAM radios out there with almost universally positive ratings. It’s a single band radio as well, but for preppers this shouldn’t be a problem as it performs very well and would connect easily and quickly to emergency and weather stations as well as your local repeaters.
It can be used as a mobile HAM radio and a HAM radio base station, and with stable 65 watts of power it does much more than a handheld. The durability is great and there are over 200 alphanumeric channels.
The sound is good too and the ease of use and programming is great as well. Many users love it as their first HAM radio.
- Great performance and hits local repeaters and emergency and weather channels easily
- 65 watts of stable power
- Great durability
- Ease to use and program
- No 70cm band or a hard copy of the user manual, only a CD
HAM Radios for Preppers Buying Guide
There are many different types of radios out there but the ones like walkie-talkies, two-way radios or CB radios are almost useless for survival and prepping. They just don’t support the frequencies or bands you really need for prepping use and are very limited in their functionality compared to HAM radios.
So let us walk you through the 3 types of HAM radios you can use for prepping.
Handheld HAM Radios
Handheld HAM radios are not as powerful or functional as their mobile or base counterparts, but they are much more portable than them and are a great choice if you see yourself out somewhere during an emergency.
The handheld HAM radios we reviewed above are affordable and work great for prepping, being easy to use and program, as well as come with useful weather and emergency alerts.
Mobile HAM Radios
Mobile HAM radios are something you can mount on your vehicle and take them along with you wherever you go, meaning they are fairly portable as well. Many of them are also easy to carry while you walk away, but they are not as portable as their handheld counterparts.
Mobile HAM radios, however, are much more capable of significantly higher power output. They can also do more in terms of connecting and staying updated about weather and emergency situations.
Base HAM Radios
The mobile HAM radios we reviewed above can be used as base stations as well, but the true base stations are one that can only be used at your home and not your vehicle. They are not portable at all but very powerful and can hit local repeaters and stations far away from your home.
They are also the most powerful but also the most expensive of all the different types of HAM radios for prepping.