It is fun to have ham radios with you while hiking or camping, but this handheld device is more than just a simple radio.
It is a very important tool for survival, especially if you suddenly got lost while trekking or you got stuck in a certain area, and you don’t have any idea how to get out from there.
Finding the best handheld ham radio for survival is extremely important, and you cannot simply buy the first product that you see.
If you plan to use it as a precautionary device during a hike or trek, you need to look for the best possible product in the market.
We listed down some of the best ham radios for survival that you can buy right now.
Best Handheld Ham Radio for Survival: Brief Reviews
If it is your first time buying a ham radio, it is pretty hard to find the one that fits your preference as it is very technical.
Most of the features are extremely hard to understand to the point where you will still need to research them to understand what they entail.
Below are our top choices when it comes to ham radios.
1. BaoFeng UV-5R Dual-Band Two-Way Radio
The BaoFeng UV-5R Dual-Band Two-Way Radio is only one of the different variants available in the market.
However, it is known as one of the best and the most affordable.
They have the same hardware, but the firmware is totally different, depending on the model.
It has a wide range of features that would help you in times of emergencies.
- Frequency Range
It has a frequency range of 136 – 174/400 – 520 MHz.
You also have access to FRS and 5 MURS frequencies, but you will need a license to access them legally unless it is an emergency.
- Power Output
It has a power output of four to five watts, which is already enough if you are only using it within a small area.
- Battery Life
The BaoFeng UV-5R Dual-Band Two-Way Radio can last up to 12 hours with 128 channel capacity, which makes it a good choice if you need mobility and long-lasting battery for an affordable price tag.
- Built-in VOX
The built-in Voice Operated Transmit (VOX) allows you to broadcast your voice automatically.
There is no need to push any button if you want to talk because if VOX is turned on, the microphone is always listening, and once your voice is heard, it will transmit automatically.
- Other Features
This ham radio has 128 programmable channels along with a priority channel scanning.
It also features a 1750 Hz call tone, as well as a dual watch.
It comes with UHF/VHF Dual Standby, Ani code, dual display switch, CTCSS manual input, DTMF code, and 65-108 MHz FM radio.
- Very affordable
- Comes with different accessories
- Very convenient
- Cheap charging bay
- No programmable cable
2. Midland GXT1000VP4 Two Way Radio
The Midland GXT1000VP4 is a premium two-way radio that features 50 General Mobile Radio Service channels.
It also has a channel scan to help you check for activity.
Although it is a bit pricey compared with other two-way radios, the features are definitely better than regular, entry-level ham radios.
The Midland GXT1000VP4 is made from durable plastic, and it can take a beating.
The screen is made from plastic, which means that it might pick a few scratches but won’t break easily even if it accidentally falls.
The microphone and headphone ports have a rubber cap that would prevent moisture and dust from entering these areas.
The Midland GXT1000VP4 has a JIS4 weatherproofing rating, so it can be used even when it is raining lightly.
- 36-Mile Range
This ham radio provides an amazing range of 36 miles, especially in open areas, as long as there are little to no obstructions.
- Comfortable to Use
Although it is on the bigger side, it is not uncomfortable to use.
It would fit perfectly for different sizes of hands.
Also, it won’t slip easily from your hands even if it is wet.
- NOAA Weather Scan Feature
This device has an NOAA weather scan feature that will scan 10 weather band channels.
It will lock onto the strongest channel and alert you if there are any urgent weather updates.
- Extremely durable
- Very comfortable to use
- Easy setup process
- Amazing range
- Good audio quality
- Complicated menu system
- Poor headset quality
3. Uniden Bearcat BC125AT Handheld Scanner
The Uniden Bearcat BC125AT Handheld Scanner is considered as an “event scanner” as it is often used on racing events and air shows.
It is the most expensive handheld ham radio on the list, but it can be a lifesaver in case of emergencies.
- Alpha Tagging
This is one of the best features of the Uniden Bearcat BC125AT Handheld Scanner as it allows you to add short descriptions to label the frequencies.
- Close Call Alert
This feature will enable you to set the scanner to alert you if there are any close call hits.
You can choose what type of alert you want to receive: light alert or audible beep.
You can also turn both of them on or off.
- Do Not Disturb Mode
The Do Not Disturb (DND) mode will prevent any close call checks when you are making a transmission.
This would prevent any interruptions while there is a transmission happening.
- 40,000 Frequencies
With this, you can now listen to more than 40,000 frequencies, including civilian and military bands, fire, police, ambulance, marine, aircraft, racing events, and more.
- Lightweight and Portable
The Uniden Bearcat BC125AT Handheld Scanner is extremely lightweight, and you can bring it anywhere you want since it is not too big.
It perfectly fits in your hand, and it is not too hard to store, as well.
The Uniden Bearcat BC125AT Handheld Scanner is also programmable; you just need to check the owner’s manual, and you can do it on your own.
- Portable and lightweight
- Comes with a DND mode
- Extremely durable
- Alpha tagging feature
- Difficult to setup
Among the three devices mentioned above, we think that the best handheld ham radio for survival is the Uniden Bearcat BC125AT Handheld Scanner.
Although it is a bit more expensive than the others, with this device, you cannot be shorthanded in times of emergencies.
You need to use the best possible device with more life-saving features, and this unit from Uniden would be a great choice.
Along with a portable stove, tent, cooler, and more, this ham radio is a perfect communication device to bring during camping trips, too.