One of the first things that are affected when there are emergencies like natural disasters is the access to communication. It’s not uncommon to lose internet connection or even to have troubles with the telephone, and when an emergency strikes, these difficulties are sure to be intensified. In the event that all forms of communication get disconnected, there will remain one option. That is the amateur radio, otherwise known as the ham radio. That’s why you should start looking to find the best ham radio for preppers.
How to Use a Ham Radio
Before you begin your search for the best ham radio for preppers, you need to be sure that you know what a ham radio is and how to use one. There are a few basics you need to know when you’re planning to use a ham radio:
- When you’re talking to someone using a ham radio, it is referred to as a ‘QSO’ or a ‘contact.’
- You can make contacts using morse code, the phone, or data (RTTY or teletype).
Here are the steps you’ll need to know about using a ham radio:
- Licensing: before you’re able to make contacts with a ham radio, you need to obtain the proper licensing. It is easy to get your license with a bit of studying, and even children are eligible. You will need to purchase the study materials and focus on one of the three types of licenses:
- Technician: limited range of frequencies, transmit no more than 100 watts.
- General: a large range of frequencies, transmit up to 1500 watts.
- Extra: operate on all ham bands and frequencies, transmit up to 1500 watts.
- Equipment: besides the actual ham radio, or transceiver, you will need the following equipment to make contacts:
- Power supply.
- Antenna Tuner.
- Microphone or key.
- Extra cables to connect everything.
- The QSO: when you are ready to try to make contact, try to tune your antenna as close to 1:1 as possible. Then try to communicate your message.
- Create a QSL: if you fill out a QSl card, the details of your QSO will be saved forever.
Remember that there are many terms used and recognized internationally by hams and their users. It’s important to take the time to learn these codes so that you can communicate in a way that will be clear to the people on the other side of your contact.
Top 5 Ham Radios
Check out the top 5 ham radios for preppers:
1. BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio
BaoFeng is a popular brand for ham radios, and this dual-band two-way radio will not let you down. This BaoFeng kit is ideal for you if you are investing in your first ham radio. The kit includes the transceiver, battery, antenna, power adapter, earpiece, belt clip for storage, hand strap, battery charger, and a user manual to set you off on the right path. This ham radio has a 30% larger battery, which will allow you to use the radio throughout the day without recharging, as it lasts for up to 24 hours at a time.
Even if you’re a complete beginner, the user manual will take you up to speed on what you need to know in order to operate this radio properly.
2. Radioddity GD-77 Dual Band Ham Amateur Radio
The Radioddity Amateur Radio is a reasonably priced handheld option with a dual band and dual time slot. The radio has a high capacity battery and will run for up to 18 hours at a time without recharging, along with 48 hours of standby. This radio has a USB charger, which means that you will be able to conveniently charge it in your car. The keyboard on this radio makes contacts easy, as it provides many operations options. This radio can be used to practice communication in preparation for emergency situations.
You can use the password feature on this radio to ensure that you and your contacts maintain privacy.
3. Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band Handheld 5W VHF / UHF Amateur Radio Transceiver
The Yaesu transceiver is a dual-band amateur radio that has access to one thousand memory channels, including emergency channels, so you will be able to receive important updates if you lose connection with others. When you invest in the Yaesu transceiver, you will also receive a battery, charger, antenna, and belt clip for easy carrying.
If you find yourself in a difficult position, you can scan frequencies to see if you find anyone else to make contact with. The radio is durably built, as it made of aluminum rather than plastic, and is even water resistant. Use the manual to help you with the setup process and you’ll be ready for transmission in no time.
4. AnyTone Dual Band Transceiver and Amateur Radio
The AnyTone Amateur Radio is a dual-band transceiver with access to more than 758 channels. The radio is built with a remotely mountable faceplate, lighted keypad microphone, built-in speakers and cooling fan. As with most amateur radios, if you plan to make contacts, you need to be licensed, but if you’re interested solely in listening, then you may use this radio without a license. This radio comes with a programming cable and instructions to help you with the setup.
5. BTECH MOBILE UV-50X2 50 Watt Dual Band Base, Mobile Radio Amateur (Ham)
The BTECH MOBILE Amateur Radio has an expanded frequency range and comes with a very in-depth user’s guide that will help you learn the ropes of the radio with ease. This radio uses auto-scan and auto-power off for your convenience. You will need to invest in a programming cable and antenna for installation. This kit includes the radio itself, speaker, microphone, DC cable, mounting hardware, and a helpful user guide.
Investing in a ham radio and the appropriate licensing is a vital part of survival prepping. If and when the time comes that communication fails, you will be able to reach out and connect with others who prepared for emergency situations ahead of time. This one move in preparation could make the difference in your long-term survival plan.