What is a Ham Base Radio Station?
A ham base radio station is a device that lets you transmit and receive radio signals. Ham base radio stations are one of the best ways to transmit and receive signals from other stations across distances. Ham base radios are a bit different from other transmitters as they have some extra features. In order to buy one that you can use for a lengthy period, you have to know a thing or two about ham base radio stations. The little knowledge will go a long way in helping you choose right.
In this post, we will be taking look at some of the best ham base radio stations available. In addition, we will be looking at some other important information concerning ham base radio stations such as a guide to buying.
10 Best Ham Base Radio Stations
|BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 50 Watt Dual Band Base, Mobile Radio: 136-174mhz (VHF) 400-520mhz (UHF) Amateur (Ham)||Click Here For User Reviews|
|BTECH Mini UV-25X2 25 Watt Dual Band Base, Mobile Radio: 136-174mhz (VHF) 400-520mhz (UHF) Amateur (Ham)||Click Here For User Reviews|
|Kenwood TM-281A 144MHz FM Transceiver||Click Here For User Reviews|
|Yaesu Original FT-450D HF/50MHz Compact Amateur Base Transceiver - 100 Watts, IF DSP Technology||Click Here For User Reviews|
|Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver - HF, VHF, UHF All-Mode 100W Remote Head Capability||Click Here For User Reviews|
|President Lincoln II Plus (V3) 10 and 12 Meter Ham Radio||Click Here For User Reviews|
|Icom IC-718 HF All Band Amateur Base Transceiver 100 Watts - Original Icom USA||Click Here For User Reviews|
|Yaesu Original FT-991A HF/50/140/430 MHz All Mode"Field Gear" Transceiver - 100 Watts (50 Watts on 140/430MHz) - 3 Year Warranty||Click Here For User Reviews|
|Ranger RCI-2995DXCF Base station 10 meter SSB/AM/FM/CW Built-In Cooling Fan Kit||Click Here For User Reviews|
|Kenwood TS-480HX HF/50 MHz Amateur Base Transceiver 200 Watts - Original Kenwood||Click Here For User Reviews|
BTECH Mobile Watt Dual Band Base – Best Amateur (Ham) Base Station For The Money
Weighing 4.2 pounds, the BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 is a popularly liked ham base radio. It has a frequency range that reaches 520MHz.
It has a multi-color LCD display screen that can be tweaked so that it looks exactly how you want it. There are nine available colors across ten display elements. This radio also features a dual synchronize display mode which allows you to synchronize two channels. Your screen will display both names and frequencies.
It can save up to 200 memories and in addition, you can rename the channels using alphabets and/or numbers. You can also add or remove channels from the scanning list. There are actually various types of scanning you can perform with the BTECH Mobile UV-50X2. You have the option of auto-scan, scanning resume, and variable frequency scanning.
With the microphone, you can customize how you sound. It also auto-switches off to help save battery. There is a quad-watch delay time which allows the user to stay on the secondary channel for a delayed time after incoming transmission. This will eliminate the possibility of mistakenly switching frequencies when you have two at once.
The BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 supports analog tones such as 5TONE, 2TONE, DTMF, CTCSS, and DCS. Due to the DTMF tones, you can send caller ID or various commands.
Using a PC, you can customize the ham base radio is so many ways so that it functions as you like. The radio uses an upgraded power chipset that will not burn out over time as some others do. You can monitor various frequencies at once with the BTECH Mobile UV-50X2. The VHF and UHF can be customized as well for dual VHF-VHF or UHF-UHF connections.
It the package comes the radio, the speaker mic, the radio and mic brackets, DC cable, mounting hardware, and a manual. It also has a one-year warranty. Although the power output is not high, the BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 is a feature-packed ham base radio. It may not be the choice for some who are in need of wider coverage. However, if the coverage suits you, you are bound to enjoy it.
It is also extremely cheap compared to the other models. Realize that you always get what you pay for. In this case, you get that and a little bit of extra.
- Multi-color LCD display
- Very affordable
- 200 memories
- Very customizable
- Compact and lightweight
BTECH Mini UV-25X2Watt Dual Band Base Station – Best For Ease of Use
As is obvious from the name, the BTECH Mini UV is a mini ham base radio. It measures 10.6×6.2×2.5 inches and weighs 2.3 pounds. If you are looking for something a bit heavy-duty, this is not for you.
It has 200 programmable memory channels. Despite its size, it still holds its own. When a channel is found during after a scan, you can rename it using letters or numbers for easy identification purposes. You can also edit your saved channels and delete them as well.
If you want to edit a channel, you do not have to delete it. You can edit the additional squelch information or edit tones. As with its older brother, a PC can help with the programming.
Its display is adjustable. This gives users the ability to customize the screen using the various colors the multi-color LCD screen offers. It allows you to add a touch of personalization.
With the BTECH Mini UV, you can watch or monitor up to three frequencies at once. You can also configure your VHF and UHF setting. The radio uses an upgraded chipset.
It supports dual synchronize display mode. Similar to the BTECH Mobile UV-50X2, it has a 50-watt output which limits its coverage. You have a frequency range of up to 520MZh. This machine will automatically switch off it is was mistakenly left on in order to conserve battery.
The BTECH Mini UV has three scan modes; the auto-scan, the scan-resume and the variable frequency scanning. The auto scan commences with reboot while the scanning resume can be tweaked however you like.
In the package comes the radio, the speaker mic, the radio and mic brackets, DC cable, mounting hardware, and a manual. It also has a one-year warranty. Although the power output is not high, the BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 is a feature-packed ham base radio. It may not be the choice for some who are in need of wider coverage.
The BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 supports analog tones such as 5TONE, 2TONE, DTMF, CTCSS, and DCS. Due to the DTMF tones, you can send caller ID or various commands.
- Very small which makes it easy to move around
- 200 memories
- Dual synchronization
- Auto-switch-off to conserve battery
Kenwood TM-281A 144MHz FM Base Station Transceiver – Best For Highest Power Output
Kenwood TM-281A is a 65 watts ham base radio. With it, you can select either a low or high output.
It has a vivid LCD display that has a 32-step brightness control. The brightness control makes it possible to see clearly irrespective of the available light. Similarly, the keys are backlit for easy use in dark areas.
On the screen, six large alphanumeric characters are shown. The oval speaker gives out high quality and clear sounds. The Kenwood TM-281A ham base is not so heavy-duty but its specifications can suit an average user.
It has up to 100 memory functions that allow you to name and store your favorite channels. If you have not used the memory name function, then you will have space for 200 channels. In addition, it has one space for a channel. The channels can be saved with a combination of alphabets and numbers.
The Kenwood TM-281A has multiple scan functions which include a VFO scan, a memory scan, a call scan, a tone/CTCSS scan, and a DCS scan.
The CTCSS covered 42 sub-tone frequencies and DCS covered 104 sub-tone frequencies. When this radio is switched on, it welcomes the user with a power-on message. It also has an automatic simplex checker.
For the channels, you can make use of memory channel lockout, channel display mode, and busy channel lockout. It also features a direct frequency entry.
- 100/200 memory functions
- LCD display
- Alphanumeric input
Yaesu Original FT-450D HF/50MHz Compact Amateur Base Transceiver – Best For Ease of Use
This ham base radio station is a small-sized transceiver that weighs 4.4 pounds. Its frequency is HF/50MHz which makes it a great choice. Yaesu is a known transceiver producing company and the FT-450D model is one of the most favored models.
It is designed simply so that even beginners or amateurs can understand and use it. It is powered by a 13.8 VDC 22 amp external power source. This transceiver has soft control buttons. It has an output transmit of 100 watts. It receives 30Khz to 54Mhz as well as shortwave and AM broadcasts.
This ham base radio station comes with an antenna tuner. However, it is automatic. This means that your audio quality will be superb. It has the CTCSS squelch mechanism as well as 500 & 300 Hz CW filters. With this, you can transmit within 6-160 meters.
The main dial and knob dynamic microphone are of great quality as well. It has the fast 400 MHz IF digital signal processing technology. This means that unwanted signals are filed away.
This ham base radio station measures 9 x 3.3 x 8.5 inches. It is quite compact and can be taken from place to place with ease and so, it can be used as an on-the-go transceiver. It is also perfect for use in small, tight, or cramped places.
To use this radio, you have to have an FCC license, however. You can also listen to Citizen Band channels, however, you are not allowed to transmit on them. The buttons on this machine are clear and are easy to use. Most of them are multi-functional buttons but that doesn’t make them harder to use.
The keys are also illuminated so that even in dark places they can be used. However, the buttons are rubber and after some time of use, they wear off. You would need to be accustomed to it to keep using it. It has a colored LCD display which makes it even easier to use.
- It is simply designed
- Amateurs can operate it easily as it is non-complex
- It has a colored LCD display
- The keyboard is illuminated
Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver – HF, VHF, UHF All-Modee
The Yaesu FT-857D is for HF, VHF, and UHF bands. It measures 2×9.2×6.1 inches and weighs 4.6. Similar to other models from its brand, it is lightweight and compact. It can be easily transported and moved around. It receives power through a 13.8 VDC 22 amp external power source. However, it also has a built-in power supply.
Its power output is 100 watts on 6-160 M. It receives all shortwave AM/FM broadcasts. It also receives 0.1-56Mhz, 76-108Mhz, 118164Mhz, and 420-470Mhzz. This gives a wider range of coverage than machines of its size give.
As expected due to its wide coverage range, it gives weather reports, public safety broadcasts, and other important messages. The available channels can be tuned-in to through a big dial. The dial makes using the Yaesu FT-857D easy and stress-free.
The Yaesu FT-857D has CTCSS for eliminating squelch sounds. It has a wide range of buttons and controls which would be bliss for an experienced ham base radio station user but
It can save up to 200 memories which can be named. Whatever name you give can have up to 8 characters and can contain alphabets and numbers. The memories can also be separated into ten groups. The machine also featured a colored LCD display.
The Yaesu FT-857D has a 24-bit D/A chip that helps the machine to process signals speedily. It works with the filters and the digital signal processing technology inputted in it. This model comes with a microphone as well. It can be used to talk to other ham base radio station users.
- Wide range of frequencies
- 200 different memory channels
- Compact and easy to carry around
President Lincoln II Plus (V3) 10 and 12 Meter Ham Base Station Radio
The Lincoln II Plus (V3) is one of the weightier transceivers. It has a bold build and has its front side decorated with well-placed buttons. It measures 9.5 x 6.8 x 2 inches and weighs 4.9 pounds.
This ham base radio station has a 12-meter band. It has a rotary switch as well as a channel selector. In its VFO mode, it continuously scans 24.890 MHz to 24.99 MHz and 28.000 MHz to 29.700MHz.
It has a multi-function LCD display as well as a frequencies display. This ham radio has six memories. While it is not as much as some others, it still serves a purpose. Its CTCSS has 38 tones and the DCS has 104 codes.
You can set a time-out-timer. This will enable your ham base radio to switch off when it is not being used to save battery. The buttons have a backlight. With this radio, you can enjoy the key lock feature.
With the mode switch button, you can switch between AM, FM, LSB, USB, and CW. The dual watch allows you to monitor two frequencies at once. The antenna has an impedance of 50 ohms
It comes with the power cord and the fuse. The package also contains one microphone and its hanger as well as a mounting bracket with screws for fixing.
- Has a multi-function LCD display
- Six memories
- Backlit buttons
- Automatic switch-off
Icom IC-718 HF All Band Amateur Base Transceiver 100 Watts-Original Icom USA
The Icom IC-718 which measures 9.4×9.4×3.7 inches is the third ham base radio station on our list. At 8.38 pounds, it is lightweight and is great for people who either move around or have small spaces. It has 101 memory channels available for storing channels so they can be accessed easily. The memory channels have space for two scan edge memories and ninety-nine regular channels. It has an output of 100 Watts.
The frequency range of this device is at a fixed 500KHz to 30MHz. If you are looking for something wider, you will need to get another. However, despite the user’s level of expertise, the Icom IC-718 is still suitable for use. It performs a wide range of scanning functions.
With this ham base radio station, the UT-106 digital signal processing technology is already installed. The hand microphone and the power cable are also part of the package. The microphone has a processor that helps your words to be transmitted more clearly. It does this by increasing the power talk through compressing the audio input and minimizing the adjacent interference.
Icom IC-718 has USB, LSB, CW, RTTY(FSK) and AM modes built-in. It has a level adjustable noise blanker. It also features an RF attenuator and a Pre-amplifier. With this radio, you can select the amount of Watts you want to use to power an amp.
This machine is quite easy to operate. If you are a first time user, you will find it rather easy to use. The loudspeaker of this machine is situated at the front which makes it easier for users to hear what is being said. In addition, the RF gain control partners with the squelch to focus on the needed signal and ignore others.
The soft-touch keypad has ten keys that are easy to operate and use. The keys have no backlight but there they are boldly labeled. Most users comment about the ease of operation they enjoyed from this ham base radio station. Although the Icom IC-718 does not have an automatic base tuner, it is still a very smart choice.
- The microphone processor improves audio transmission quality.
- 101 memory channels
- Lightweight and compact
Yaesu Original All-Mode “Field Gear” Base Station – Best For Loud Modulation
The Yaesu Original FT-991A is one of the heavier Yaesu models. It measures 9×9.3×3.2.
Although it is a 100 watts device, it operates on 50 watts at 140/430mhz bands. This ham radio has a multi-color waterfall display and although beauty matters less, it does not hurt to have a nice looking ham base radio station.
Another feature the Yaesu Original FT-991A has is chronological order color differentiation. Chronological order color differentiation is a tool that operators use to detect weak signals. Without the chronological order color differentiation, these signals could be missed.
The Yaesu Original FT-991A has a 3kHz roofing Yaesu Original FT-991Afilter. The Yaesu Original FT-991Afilter works for the triple conversion receiver. It has a 32-bit high-speed floating-point digital signal processing technology. The digital signal processing technology works to eliminate noise. The auto notch removes QRM caused by strong tones. The contour function and audio peak filter also do their bit to reduce any other noise. It has a dynamic real-time spectrum scope. The touch panel measures 3.5 inches and has a high-quality audio transmission feature.
To power this ham base radio, you will need a 13.8v power cord. It comes with a three-year warranty which is a testimony of how good the Yaesu Original FT-991A is.
- Multi-color waterfall display
- Has a 32-bit high-speed floating-point digital signal processing technology
- Three-year warranty
Ranger RCI-2995DXCF Ham Base station
The Ranger RCI-2995DXCF’s output of 150 watts should hint at how good it is. It weighs 29.6 pounds and so it is quite heavy. Its dimensions are 21×17.9×9 inches which makes it big as well. Although it is a bit bigger than the others on this list, it can still be moved.
It features AM, CW, FM, and SSB modes of operation. It has 16 frequencies that can be erased or programmed. The display is handled by a screen with a dimmer. The keys are backlit and so they can be used at any time of the day and in any lighting condition.
This ham radio has dual-panel meters and a variable output power control. Its double FET balanced mixer does the work of improving receiver intermodulation rejection. The receiver has been improved on so as to have higher sensitivities and image rejections. The built-in heavy-duty AC power supply transmits operating frequency.
Its frequency scanner is active as well. It has 10 and 12-meter bands. Also, the Ranger RCI-2995DXCF has three methods of frequency selection. It has a non-volatile memory that scans and keeps information about up to favorite frequencies. The device has a built-in cooling fan kit which ensures that over-heating does not happen.
The buttons are not backlit but they are clear and have a lot of knobs in place of buttons. The radio has a rather regal look and promises durability.
- Ten memories
- Dual panel meters
Kenwood TS-480HX HF/50 MHz Amateur Base Transceiver
At 200 watts output, the Kenwood is one of the best transceivers you can get. It has a wide coverage range due to the output. To buttress this, it has a great built-in and automatic tuner. It supplies 13.8V of power.
Another amazing feature it has is that it allows you to transmit to any amateur radio band that ranges between 1.8MHz to 50MHz. that amount of coverage is amazing. The Kenwood TS-480HX couples this with a TX/RX 16-bit digital signal processor.
Due to its specifications, it has extra clear transmission and clearer reception. The buttons decorate the front of the transmitter. They are large enough and are easy to read. Although some have multiple functions, it is not rocket science. They are also backlit so that they can be operated easily even in the dark. On the side is a carry-handle for increased portability.
The LCD control panel on this radio is separate. The speaker is fitted with the panel.
You are likely to enjoy this radio whether you are experienced or not. However, experienced users will definitely appreciate it more. If you are a first time user, you may end up setting your bar too high for other ham base radio stations.
Despite its many techniques, the Kenwood is not large. It measures 12x4x6 inches and weighs just 14 pounds. The package contains the radio, two power cables, a microphone, and a remote control extension kit.
The Kenwood TS-480HX is known for its superb performance. With an amateur license, you can use it. However, to enjoy its full capabilities such as accessing all radio bands, you will need to upgrade your license.
Although the Kenwood TS-480HXn is one of the more expensive brands, users will tell you it is quite worth its salt.
- Wide range of frequencies
- The LCD light and backlit keys make usage a piece of cake during low light situations
- Clear transmission
- High volume speaker
- Built-in automatic tuner
What to Consider Before Buying a Ham Base Radio Station
Here are some things you should consider before picking out your ham base radio station. All these features are not likely to be in one ham base radio station x ham base radio station it a high-end one. However, you can get a great one with most of them.
Decide how much you are willing to spend. It is possible to get a suitable ham base radio station for an average price. However, beware of any ham base radio station that is too cheap. It is important that you realize that you get what you pay for. Be ready to spend to ensure the quality of whatever you buy. It is better to buy a single ham base radio station that costs a pretty penny but lasts for years than a cheap one that barely makes it through the first six months.
The quality actually depends on its price compared with its features. If you are going to choose a transmitter, compare the specs with the price. If it is not a perfect or close fit, choose another.
This feature eliminates that unending buzzing sound when you tune to a station that does not have transmission.
The output power can tell you how good a ham base radio station is. If the output power is around 40 watts and below, it is definitely a low-power ham base radio station. Anything from 50-90 is ‘okay’. Stronger ham base radio stations have an output power of 100 to 200 watts. The output power determines the amount of coverage you can get.
The display of a ham base radio station affects just how easy it will be to use it. Some ham base radio stations display information in colored Liquid Crystal Display while some display in black and white. Of course, colored displays make the ham base radio station easier to use.
If you have any experience with ham base radio stations and know how to operate it or if you are looking to get deep into it, you will be better off with one that can be customized and enhanced.
There are a lot of ham base radio stations that allow users to tweak and edit some things so that the radios function as they wish. Depending on the level at which you can program your ham base radio station to your taste, you can create channels, customize your transceiver, change your bands and hosts, etc.
CTCSS/DCS (Decoder/ Encoder)
CTCSS and DCS are two different types of squelch mechanisms. If two different users are using the same channel together, the CTCSS and DCS will cut down on the noise made from inactive users.
If you ever used a normal radio, you will know that there is a particular number of channels that can be saved into the memory of the radio. If a channel is not saved, you will have to search for it again. A higher memory is a good thing. If you can save many channels, you can access them easily by clicking on them alone.
Scanning refers to looking for frequencies with the transmission. Automatic scanning is done by the device on a broad scale. The various frequencies are scanned for transmission. Manual scanning is done through the dial and search scanning searches available frequencies for transmission.
There are different standards used in different types of broadcast formats; analog or digital. Depending on if your ham base radio station, you can receive your broadcast format in analog or digital. There are different standards that both analog and digital forms have. Analog, for instance, has two popular standards which are FM and AM. Familiarize yourself with the standards you choose.
Some ham base radio stations give weather alerts. Some ham base radio stations transmit weather reports so that their users are not caught unaware by bad weather. With such a ham base radio station the chances of being caught in bad weather drastically reduce. There are various ham base radio stations with this feature.
Not all ham base radio stations have a wide range of transmission. Depending on your needs, consider if the range of transmission your choice has is good enough.
Antennas and antenna tuners are different. The antenna is what collects signal while the antenna tuner is what you fiddle with to find the signal. Although some antennas do not need tuners, some do. One that does not need a tuner may be less stressful to use than one that does.
A warranty is your assurance from the company. Often at times, defective goods are sent. If there is no warranty attached, returning it will not be easy. Rather than going to stress, ensure that your chosen machine has a warranty. The longer a warranty is the higher the assurance of quality. Some warranties promise to replace damaged parts or to totally replace the item if it gets spoiled within a particular period. Be on the lookout for lengthy warranties with good terms.
Frequently Asked Questions on Ham Base Radio
Why Should I Buy A Ham Base Radio Station?
People buy ham base radio stations for many reasons. Some people see learning to operate it as a hobby of sorts. However, even if it is not your hobby, there are some reasons why you should consider getting one. Ham base radios give you access to emergency reports. Usually, when there is a storm or any dangerous weather-related occurrence, broadcasts are always released over radios.
It is safe to cultivate the habit of moving around with it as you do not know when next such a report may occur and since a ham radio is a device you can take everywhere is a surer bet than a television when you are occupied. It also gives you a mode of communication that is not reliant on your mobile device. A ham base radio is a device you can take anywhere and have as a means of communication if something is wrong. It also aids communication.
What Are The License Levels Of Radio Operators?
Radio operators have three main licensing levels which are the Technician, The General, and lastly, the Extra. To get to the level of a Technician, you must take a test, to graduate to the General, another test is taken and of course, another is taking before graduating to Extra. As a technician, you have access to many frequencies but your abilities are listed especially if it below the 10-meter band.
Getting a ham base radio station can be quite a chore especially if the world is new to you. The terminologies and terms may be a bit strange at first, but it is not a herculean task. The above guide is supposed to give you a clear idea of what to expect from a ham base radio station. Although, most of the work is done as we have compiled ten of the best ham radios available.
All ham base radio stations on this list are great choices depending on your specifications. If you have any question concerning any ham base radio station, drop it as a comment, we would be happy to hear from you.