In a SHTF scenario, being able to have constant and reliable communication could prove to be a huge deciding factor as to whether you live or die. We understand that’s a blunt way to start off an article, but it’s true. Without proper communication with other members in your group, other additional survivors, your chances of survival dwindle considerably. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, you need to outfit yourself with the best emergency radio for preppers.
An emergency/ham radio system will allow you to have a channel of communication without the need for cell phones, the Internet, or anything along those lines. Radio communication might seem archaic compared to other technologies, and while it may not be as feature-rich or dense, its reliability is second to none.
The best and most well-prepared preppers understand the importance of this, and if you haven’t equipped yourself with a radio to use in an emergency, now’s the time to change that.
We’ve created a list of our 5 picks for the best ham radio for SHTF, and it is as follows:
1. BaoFeng UV-5R5 5W Dual-Band Two-Way Ham Radio
Our first pick for the best ham radio for preppers goes to the BaoFeng UV-5R5. There are a few BaoFeng radios on this list, and that’s because the company is one of the industry leaders when it comes to handheld ham radio systems.
With the UV-5R5 specifically, you’re looking at a very well-equipped handset that offers a solid amount of features at a very reasonable price. BaoFeng says that this radio can reach up to 3-miles away, and the 5-watt power output should be enough for most situations.
The dual-band frequency works really well here, and BaoFeng’s high-quality antenna allows for crystal clear calls ever at a great distance. BaoFeng promises a 12-hour endurance rating per one single battery charge, and the overall body of the UV-5R5 is built to be as durable as can be at this price.
Users have a host of functions available to them, including 128 different channels, comfortable body to hold, a 1-year warranty, and more.
2. C Crane CCRadio-2E Enhanced
For those preppers that have a bit more money to spend and want something with as much function as possible, C Crane’s CCRadio-2E Enhanced is a fantastic purchase that offers just about every feature and setting you could ask for.
First up, you have access to a ham transmitter that allows you to reach up to 2 meters away. That’s a fair bit smaller than the 3-mile/5-meter rating on the BaoFeng UV-5R5, but C Crane makes up for this shorter distance with a few other goodies.
Along with the ham radio functionality, you also have access to phenomenal AM radio reception. This is also combined with access to FM channels and weather information, and all of this is powered by a built-in twin-coil ferrite antenna system. This allows you to get official government alerts for natural disasters and other serious weather conditions, and as if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a headphone jack, backlit display, alarm, clock, and a sleep timer.
If you want basic ham radio services on top of a host of other goodies that could really come in handy, the C Crane CCRadio-2E Enhanced is a superb buy.
3. Yaesu Tri-Band VX-6R Submersible Amateur Ham Radio
Sticking with the idea of money not being an object, the Yaesu Tri-Band VX-6R is another expensive product. However, in addition to offering many of the same features as the C Crane pick, it does so in a smaller package and with even more ham radio power. It is more expensive, but if you truly want the best that the ham radio market has to offer, this is for you.
Yaesu’s ham radio offers a powerful tri-band system, and this allows it to receive stations between 504 kHz and 989.9 MHz. There are 900 memory channels to customize to your liking, and the ARTS-Automatic In-Range Transponder is a great addition as well.
Also present here is a black magnesium case, AM/FM channels, weather alerts, a multi-color LED light for transmit and receive signals, Internet Key to access Yaesu’s WIRES system, and more.
4. BaoFeng 5 Pack BF-888S Portable Handheld 2-Way Ham Radio
The Yaesu and C Crane radios are undoubtedly awesome products, but if you’re trying to be more savvy with your dollars and want to stretch them as far as you can, one of our top recommendations is the BaoFeng BF-888s — more specifically, the 5-pack bundle.
BaoFeng’s BF-888S isn’t the most powerful ham radio around, but it does get all of the basics right. It offers a frequency rating between 400 and 469.995 MHz, gets 16 different channels, packs a 1500 mAh battery for long endurance, has an emergency alarm, time-out timer, and a built-in flashlight.
The radio works perfectly fine, but what’s awesome here is that you get 5 of them for well under $70. That’s an insane amount of value, and for preppers traveling with a group of people, this is a must have.
5. BaoFeng BF-F8HP 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio
Our last pick for the best emergency radio for preppers is the BaoFeng BF-F8HP. This is the most powerful of all the BaoFeng radios on our list, and we’re particularly fond of it because it offers a lot of high-end features at a pretty reasonable price.
For starters, we especially like the 8-watt power rating. This is considerably more than the 4-watt one that’s found on most radios around this price, and it makes a big difference in day-to-day use. The battery is rated to offer 30% more than many of BaoFeng’s other radios, and the new hardened durable shell feels like it’ll be able to withstand just about any amount of physical abuse.
BaoFeng’s V-85 High-Gain Antenna works wonderfully in all sorts of different environments, and the easy-to-use user interface means that even radio novices can use the BF-F8HP without any trouble at all.
You might not have ever thought about carrying around an emergency radio before reading this guide, but now that you know what’s out there, hopefully you have a better idea of what sort of tech you should be keeping with you, just in case you ever come upon a SHTF situation. Ham radios are excellent tools for staying in touch with loved ones and friends in a survival setting, and all 5 of the ones listed here are excellent places to start.