10 Best Handheld Ham Radio For Survival in 2022

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You need to find the best handheld ham radio for survival before an emergency situation actually happens.

We all know that strange things happen in life. No worries! Even in the most dire emergency situation, there is a chance you’ll be saved, especially if you have an excellent portable ham radio. Here is our well-researched handheld amateur radio reviews for you.

What are the Best Handheld Ham Radios for Survival?

Are you one of those who want to prepared for an alien attack or nuclear attack? Then you will need to get yourself the best handheld Ham Radio for Survival. We highlight the best 10 in the market you can choose from when purchasing one.

Best Overall: BaoFeng BF-F8HP Survival Ham Radio
It has a large battery that powers this radio to give it great transmission power

Best Display: BTECH UV-5X3 Tri-Band Ham Radio for SHTF
It has a two-line display that allows one to get clear and more information.

Most User Friendly: TYT MD-380 Ham Radio for Emergency
It has clear audio reception, is compatible with many Motorola radios, and has a clear digital screen that makes everything easy to use.

Best Battery Life: Yaesu Original FT-2DR Handheld Amateur Transceiver
It comes with two batteries, and each can last up to 8 hours.

Best Budget-Friendly: BTECH GMRS-V1 GMRS Two-Way Radio.
If you are on a tight budget, this radio offers you all you need from ham radio and much more.

Most Accessories: Yaesu FT-60R Ham Radio for Emergency
Despite its size and portability, it also comes with a 1400mAh battery, charger, antenna, and belt clip to give you all you need to operate this radio.

Best for Outside: Yaesu VX-6R Tri-Band Powerful Ham Radio
It is waterproof, compact, submersible, and tough enough to be used outside.

Best for a Group: Baofeng BF-888S Long-Range Handheld Ham Radio
If you are a group of five and need a quality handheld ham radio for survival, then this is the one for you.

Editor’s Choice: HESENATE HT-UV8R Power Portable Two Way Radio
You get clear, uninterrupted communication, long battery life, and clear display with this radio.

Most Features: Amcrest ATR-22 Baofeng Handheld Ham
This radio offers you a voice prompt, scan, scrambler features, among many other modern functions.


Survival Handheld Ham Radio Buying Guide

Best Handheld Ham Radio For Survival

There are some important factors you should not underestimate when you want to buy survival ham radio for any kind of emergency situation. For more details check below.


The frequencies you can use depend on the class of your license. First, earn a license, and then buy a good portable ham radio of the appropriate frequency. You must ensure that the ham radio you buy corresponds to the frequencies that your license allows you to use.

There is a big difference between VHF and UHF frequencies on the one hand and HF on the other. RF frequencies are wider and require more power, so the license must be a higher class. You need an SWR meter to tune your radio and get the best performance from you radio and antenna.



BaoFeng BF-F8HP Survival Ham

VHF: 136-174MHz, UHF: 400-520MHz 

BTECH UV-5X3 Survival Ham

Tri-band Frequency

Yaesu FT-60R Ham

144/430 MHz dual band

Tri-Band Yaesu VX-6R

144, 220 & 430Mhz




Handheld Ham radios usually have no more than 5 watts of power. There are models with more power, but5 watts is enough for manual use and is ideal for an emergency.

On average, 5 watts of power will save your battery so it lasts longer and can provide communications during an emergency. It is all you need.


Power Output

BaoFeng BF-F8HP Survival Ham

1, 4, 8 watt

BTECH UV-5X3 Survival Ham

5 watt

Yaesu FT-60R Ham

5 watt

Tri-Band Yaesu VX-6R

1.5, 5 watt


3 watt


The ability to program their radio is the dream of most amateurs. If you can program your radio using a computer, you will enjoy using the radio even more. For this, the radio must have a cable for programming.

In the case of the Ham radio, give preference to manual programming, because the keyboard and radio buttons allow you to do this anytime and anywhere.

Memory Slots

Memory slots are very important. But the number of slots is an important indicator. It depends on the purpose for which you want to use the radio. For example, if your goal is local communication or emergency use, then 12 slots will be enough.

International communication (this is not possible for portable radio) requires at least 100 or even 200 memory slots. In general, memory slots are needed to store frequencies.

Backlit Display

backlitThis feature is one of the most desirable and useful. If you find yourself in an emergency, a backlit display (ideally also the keyboard) will allow you to use the radio much more easily.

As a rule, the backlight can be turned off if you need to save battery power.


You may be surprised, but not all portable radios have antennas. Many models have do antennas. In this case, the antenna should be of high quality. A good antenna will give better reception and signal transmission.

Have you bought a ht ham radio with a weak antenna? You have the opportunity to fix it. You just need to buy a new antenna.



BaoFeng BF-F8HP Survival Ham

Dual Band 7" Antenna

BTECH UV-5X3 Survival Ham

V-85 Dual Band Antenna

Yaesu FT-60R Ham

High Gain Antenna

Tri-Band Yaesu VX-6R

YHA-67 Antenna


SMA Female Antenna

Weather Alert Function

Our goal is survival. It is only possible if you are well informed. You can find out that inclement weather is coming by using this feature in a handheld radio.

Scan Functions

During an emergency, there is no time for unnecessary actions. Any action should be quick. That is why the scan function will be indispensable.

The scan function is needed to search for the desired frequency quickly. Such features include full scan, memory scan, programmed scan, ban scan, priority scan, skip scan and others.


CTCSS or continuous tone-based noise reduction, as well as DSC or digital-coded noise suppression, help keep the conversation on the same frequency independent of each other.

Best Handheld Ham Radio for Survival

survival ham radio reviews
If you search for survival ham radio without sorting out your requirements, budget and reliable information, you’ll be overwhelmed with several options. In this case, our well-researched reviews will help you for sure.

1. BaoFeng BF-F8HP Dual Band Survival Ham Radio

BaoFeng BF-F8HP Dual Band Survival Ham Radio
Quick Summary

  • Channels: 128
  • VHF Frequency: 136-174 MHz
  • UHF Frequency: 400-520 MHz
  • Power Levels: 1, 4, 8 watt
  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 2 x 2 inches
  • Weight: 0.63 Pounds

The BaoFeng BF-F8HP is a new generation of the popular UV-5R radio. The radio even looks tough and built for survival!

It is one of the best portable ham radio for survival and offers high transmission power, thanks to its large battery. The main feature of this radio is the new generation chipset.

Additionally, there are 3 power levels: High / Med / Low Power Settings (8W, 4W, 1W). The frequency ranges are: 65-108 MHz(only commercial FM radio reception); VHF: 136-174 MHz(Rx/Tx); UHF: 400-520 MHz(Rx/Tx); Broad (Wide)/Narrowband (Narrow) Selectable. The choice of different bands and frequencies greatly increases your chance of making contact with someone who can help you.

Radio lovers will appreciate this ham radio because of its High-Gain V-85 antenna. In addition to its other features, it has a completely new battery pack, which lasts 30% longer.

The BaoFeng BF-F8HP comes “fully loaded” with the battery, antenna, power adapter, headphones, belt clip, straps, and charger. So you have everything you need. And, you can use this radio not only for survival but also for entertainment!

Highlighted Features:

  • Has power output at three levels High/Med/Low Power or 8 W (24 hours), 4 W (20 hours), 1 W (18).
  • The battery lasts 30% longer.
  • The radio has a high-gain V-85 antenna.
  • The frequency range is 65-108 MHz (FM radio); VHF: 136-174 MHz (Rx/Tx); UHF: 400-520 MHz (Rx/Tx).
  • The radio has a concierge function, simplified for programming.
  • BF-F8HP’s kit comes with a programming cable PC03 FTDI, 2000 mAh battery, and V-85 antenna.
  • It has the latest N5R-340A firmware.

2. BTECH UV-5X3 5 Watt Tri-Band Ham Radio For SHTF

BTECH UV-5X3 5 Watt Tri-Band Ham Radio For SHTF
Quick Summary

  • Channels: 128
  • Tri Band: VHF, 1.25M, UHF
  • Calling Methods: CTCSS, DCS, Tone Burst, DTMFs
  • Battery: 1500mAh
  • Weight: 0.5 Pounds

The BTECH UV-5X3 is another handheld ham radio for the emergency. The fact is that it has a display synchronization feature so you can take advantage of the two-line LCD display even in single channel mode. Now, you can get more complete information on the screen.

This best ham radio for SHTF is not similar to analog radios, because it allows the operator to modify the channel list. Users can change channels, delete a channel or re-create it again, change settings, change/ add privacy tones, change power levels, and so on. And you do not need a computer for these functions.

The BTECH UV-5X3 comes equipped with three frequency bands that are available for scanning in a certain frequency setting.

The future is already here because this sophisticated portable ham radio has the function of remote decoding DTMF (receiving remote commands). It seems that this thing can make any radio amateur happy.

Highlighted Features:

  • BTECH UV-5X3 is fully compatible with all BTECH’s UV-5R and BF-F8HP accessories.
  • The radio has a tri-band portable transceiver.
  • Output power is 5 watts.
  • The UV-5X3 radio has a 1500 mAh battery, a V-8 dual-band antenna, a 220-MHz single-channel antenna, a CH-5 charger, and a CH-5 110V adapter.
  • UV-5X3 uses CHIRP for simple programming on Windows, OSX, and Linux PCs.
  • It has 128 programmable memory channels with the ability to delete and add channels using free software.
  • Additionally, the BTECH UV-5X3 includes a set of headphones, a strap, and a belt clip.

3. TYT MD-380 – Digital Ham Radio for Emergency Preparedness

TYT MD-380

The TYT MD-380 DMRuses time division multiple access to digital technology (TDMA). All new technologies and design make this radio irreplaceable. The MD-380 DMR is digital and analog. It is a unique precedent, you can use both modes in one radio.

And the radio is compatible with Motorola’s TRBO Tier I & II radios, including Motorola, Hytera, Kenwood and Vertex Standard radios. There are 1000 channels and 1000 contacts.

Radio users will immediately appreciate the clear voice communication and display of operations, voice prompt, scanning, encryption function and text messages in digital mode.

The radio comes with a high gain antenna, a common antenna, a battery, a belt clip, a charger, an adapter, and a programming cable.

Highlighted Features:

  • The radio has a UHF frequency range of 400-480 MHz.
  • Up to 1000 channels are available here that can be remotely destroyed/stunned/ activated; channel spacing is 12.5 kHz.
  • All calls and text messages are possible in digital mode.
  • Handles both private calls and group calls.
  • Both digital and analog modes.
  • TYT MD-380 DMR equipped with built-in CTCSS / DCS, DTMF decoding and encoding, and it has operating voltage 7.4V.
  • The battery capacity is 2000 mAh with a standard lithium-ion battery.
  • There are three levels of output power: High: 5 W (High)/ Low: 1 W (Low).

4. Yaesu Original FT-2DR 144/430 Handheld Amateur Transceiver

Yaesu Original FT-2DR

The Yaesu Original FT-2DR is made for amateur radio on bands 2M/440 VHF and UHF. So, this radio will be useful not only in a survival situation and also for entertainment. This radio is equipped with many different functions.

For example, it has the digital C4FM FDMA feature with automatic mode selection, a built-in high sensitivity GPS with recording/ recording functions, an antenna, high-resolution touch screen, and wide reception (including HF, which requires a general license). The FT-2DR runs on a L-Ion battery, which is powered by a charger. It offers digital, but not encrypted, conversations.

The FT-2DR is convenient for programming from the keyboard. Each battery can work up to 2 days without recharging, and one charge will last about 8 hours. So, this radio helps you to be prepared for an emergency.

Highlighted Features:

  • The FT-2DR is compatible with many Yaesu accessories: Mh-85A11U, CD-41, CT-44, MH-34B4B, FBA-39 camera microphone, SSM-63A headset, B012E5UIQ4 for PC programming and cable set.
  • There are Digital V/D mode C4FM, FR voice mode, FR data mode and regular FM.
  • Digital control is possible with AMS (automatic mode selection).
  • The radio has a large 43 x 43 mm touch screen display, which displays the data obtained with the snapshot function.
  • Yaesu Original FT-2DR has a 700 mW loud and clear voice technology.
  • Wide Band Receive Capability 0.5 – 999MHz (A Band),180-580MHz (B Band). AF DUAL Monitor.
  • It has built-in high sensitivity 66-channel GPS with an antenna.
  • GPS log records
  • Cellular band blocked
  • Yaesu Original FT-2DR has the ability to receive broadband 0.5–999 MHz (band A), 180–580 MHz (band B), there is a slot for microSD memory cards.

5. BTECH GMRS-V1 GMRS Two-Way Radio


This economical radio is the BTECH GMRS-V1. This radio has 22 modified GMRS two-way channels, and reception and transmission are possible on 8 modified channels of the GMRS repeater – reception and transmission.

98 programmable scanner channels are available for reception plus FM radio.

The GMRS-V1 has 50 CTCSS privacy tones, 346 DCS privacy tones. BTECH GMRS-V1 is ideal for survival because it is also a weather radio station (compatible with NOAA), has a three-color adjustable backlight and a flashlight.

This radio is convenient and understandable to use. GMRS-V1 can be changed to transmit a privacy tone directly from the radio menu. Any modification of the channels is possible.

There is another good news: GMRS-V1 can work with any GMRS radio device with the ability to scan tones from another radio. It is very convenient if another operator does not know what tone he uses.

I like the built-in receiver’s ability to monitor two channels (semi-duplex). You can monitor 2 GMRS channels, or you can monitor two different frequencies (even on different bands (VHF/UHF)). The radio can monitor both frequencies, and it gives priority to the first station to receive an incoming call.

Highlighted Features:

  • There is a channel skip function (add/remove a channel from the scan list), and the GMRS-V1 has one built-in receiver with the ability to view two channels.
  • This radio can monitor 2 GMRS channels or two different frequencies, for example, VHF and UHF at the same time.
  • The BTECH GMRS-V1 has a switchable FM radio with a frequency of 25 kHz/12.5 kHz (65.0-108.0 MHz).
  • The case is equipped with a large three-color LCD display (3 selectable colors).
  • There are a variety of features: switching channels, frequencies and tones, high/ low power switching, VOX 50 CTCSS 346, DCS tones, and search/scan functions.
  • The radio is equipped with a programmable storage mode for alphanumeric channels (VFO / menu lock is selected), as well as a transmission timeout (TOT) function and a busy channel lock (BCLO).
  • The kit also includes the1800 mAh battery, V-85 dual-band antenna, CH-8 charger, 110-volt CH-8 adapter, headset, wrist strap, and belt clip.

6. Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band Handheld Ham Radio For Preppers

Quick Summary

  • Recvs: 108-520Mhz & 700-999.99Mhz
  • Trans: 144-148Mhz & 430-470Mhz
  • Battery: 1400mA
  • Power Output: 5W
  • Weight: 0.82 Pounds

Yaesu FT-60R is another excellent choice for a survival ham radio, because the radio is not overloaded with a huge number of unnecessary functions. But it has all the functions necessary to do the job.

This radio has a good antenna that will allow operators to use the radio over long distances. And 5 watts of power is enough for that. This is the perfect example of 2 meter radio.

The Yaesu FT-60R is a very popular handheld ham radio for SHTF preppers in the market due to its robust housing, programming capabilities, and high battery capacity. Amateurs will also appreciate the small size of the radio that fits comfortably in your hand, which is very important in rescue operations.

Highlighted Features:

  • Yaesu FT-60R – dual band VHF / UHF for 2 meter and 70 cm bands.
  • The radio functions include CTCSS / DCS (PL & DPL), DTMF.
  • It has an alphanumeric display, keyboard backlighting, scanning modes, 1000 memory channels, NOAA Weather Alert, receiving alarm channels at 800-900 MHz.
  • The radio receives 108-520 MHz and 700-999.99 MHz.
  • Transmits on 144-148 MHz and 430-470 MHz.
  • There is a locking mode that prevents accidental changes in frequency.
  • Nine DTMF Auto-Dialer Memories are handy in an emergency.
  • The radio also has a 1400 mA battery, charger, antenna and belt clip included, it is compatible with such optional accessories as Yaesu’sMH-37A4B, MH-34B4B, E-DC-5B, EDC-6, CT-44, and FBA-25A.

7. Yaesu VX-6R Tri-Band Powerful Handheld Ham Radio

Quick Summary

  • Recvs: 0.5-999Mhz
  • Trans: 144, 220 & 430Mhz
  • Battery: 1250mAh
  • Power Output: 1.5w, 5W
  • Weight: 0.08 Kilograms
  • Waterproof level: JIS7

What’s the perfect handheld radio for field conditions? Tri-Band Yaesu VX-6R is what you need. It’s built to military standards, compact, waterproof and submersible. This tri-band radio transmits on the 144, 220 & 430 Mhz amateur ham radio bands. It receives at 0.5-999Mhz. Also, itis easy to use and store in your pocket because it is small in size.

The VX-6R works great 3 miles away, even with obstacles in its path. Fans of radio programming will appreciate the ease of programming this transceiver with the software. It is very easy if you use a spreadsheet.

Plus, this ham radio for preppers has as many as 900 memory slots and is loaded with useful features. It will give you bad weather warnings, and has both transmit and receive indicators. Using the Yaesu VX-6R Tri-Band, you will know how much battery is left too. It comes with the FNB-80LI 1250mAh battery, SAD-11B Wall Charger, YHA-67 Antenna, a belt clip, manual and warranty card.

Highlighted Features:

  • Tri-Band Yaesu VX-6R supports AM/FM BCB and has wideband reception in the 504 kHz-998.9 MHz band.
  • Offers 144 and 430 MHz transceiver operation
  • Receive coverage from AM and FM broadcast bands, HF shortwave bands, VHF and UHF TV bands, the VHF AM aircraft band, and a wide range of commercial and public safety frequencies.
  • It has a black magnesium case, a backlit keyboard and an LCD display, and an Internet key for accessing WIRES.
  • The radio is equipped with 900 memory cells, a warning about the harsh weather and a multi-color LED receive/transmit indicator, CTCSS / DCS, EAI Emergency Automatic ID.
  • Yaesu VX-6R comes complete with antenna, HiCap 1500 Ma battery, charger, and a B004H5Q8IM USB cable.
  • The Tri-Band VX-6R is waterproof (can be submerged in 3 feet of water for 30 minutes).
  • It has a password security feature, and a built-in Morse code simulator.

8. BaoFeng BF-888S 5 Pack Long Range Handheld Ham Radio

Quick Summary

  • # of Channels: 16
  • Frequency: 400-469.995MHz
  • Battery: 1500mAh
  • Power Output: 3W
  • Weight: 0.95 Pounds
  • Battery Life: 8 hours

If you need five radios, perhaps for your spouse and kids as well as yourself, the BaoFeng BF-888S 5-pack gives you great portable ham radios for any purpose. You can use this amateur radio for survival, for building, for connecting to the store, and even if you work as a security guard, go hiking, or on a long bike ride. Regardless of the emergency, you can use this radio.

The fact is that this radio has all the necessary functions. It has16 channels, so press the button, talk, then release the button and hear the answer.

The BaoFeng BF-888S can also be programmed using a PC (not Apple) computer. It has a cable for this. So if you find it easier to set up your radio using a computer keyboard, this is an excellent feature for you!

The BF-888S has robust packaging that stops any damage to the case.

Highlighted Features:

  • The radio frequency range is 400-469.995 MHz.
  • The BF-888S has 16 channels and 50 CTCSS / 105 CDCSS.
  • It has a 1500 mAh lithium-ion battery, a low voltage warning function, and intelligent charging.
  • The radio is equipped with a VOX function, voice prompt, programming on a PC, 3 W transmissions.
  • The power rating of the BaoFeng BF-888S is 5 W, and the controlled voltage is 3.7 V.
  • There is an alarm, timeout timer, and flashlight.
  • The battery lasts about 8 hours without recharging.

9. HESENATE HT-UV8R 8-Watt High Power Portable Two Way Radio

The HESENATE HT-UV8R is a high-quality amateur handheld radio that improves the communication experience and is indispensable for survival. This radio is a special version of the HT-UV5R with an update to higher power. The HT-UV8R’s maximum power is 8 watts.

It offers 128 channels with double redundancy, as well as a wide and narrow band, VOX function, time-out timer, and the elimination of the cell phone signals.

There is an alarm signal and a low battery warning signal. Generally, there is everything you need, plus a dual frequency display, a charge saving indicator and a flashlight. It is an ideal portable ham radio for emergency and field conditions.

Highlighted Features:

  • This is a small handheld radio for the NEW Ham Radio User.
  • The HT-UV8R offers 8 watts of power compared to the previous model’s 5 watts.
  • The radio has power output at three different levels: High-8W / Med-4W / Low-1W.
  • There are dual-band, dual display, dual standby modes.
  • The HESENATE HT-UV8R operates in these frequency ranges: FM 65–108 MHz (for reception) / VHF: 136–174 MHz / UHF 400–520 MHz (Rx / Tx).
  • It has a PC programming cable, MIKLOR tips, and free CHIRP programming software is available.
  • The HESENATE HT-UV8R comes equipped with a lithium-ion 1800 mAh battery, a dual-band antenna, strap, belt clip, headphones, adapter, desktop charger, and speaker.

10. Amcrest ATR-22 Baofeng Handheld Two-Way Radio

The Amcrest ATR-22 is a fully functional portable radio station that is equipped with two-way communication and a handheld transceiver.

The radio works from the charger, has an antenna and a full set of all necessary accessories for comfortable work. The ATR-22 is a radio that can come in handy in any situation.

There are several reasons: its ergonomic design makes it easy to hold for a long time, and it offers many modern functions. For example, you can use the radio in the dark thanks to its LED light and flashlight.

There are a lot of functions, including a VOX function, a voice prompt function, a scan function, a scrambler function, a low voltage warning, and a time-out timer. This radio will also appeal to those users who appreciate intelligent charging and battery saving.

Highlighted Features:

  • The Amcrest ATR-22 operates at a frequency of 420-470 MHz with an updated 1800 mAh battery.
  • There is a noise cancellation function, a wait timer, and a voice prompt.
  • The radio has a scanning feature.
  • The radio has 16 channels and works on 1800mAh lithium-ion battery.
  • The maximum output power is 1.6 watts.
  • The frequency mode is UHF 420-470 MHz.
  • The ATR-22 has 50 CTCSS / 105 CDCSS.
  • The kit includes 2 pairs of headphones, a 7.4 V 1800 mAh lithium-ion battery, an SMA antenna, a belt clip, a desktop charger (100 V / 240 V), and a handy wrist strap.

Survival Handheld Ham Radio Overview

Survival Handheld Ham Radio
Radios that will be useful for survival are important, especially if you like to go to quiet, remote areas, or live in an area that is prone to natural disasters. Each radio has its advantages. Which is the right survival radio for you? Let’s look at survival Ham radios in more depth.

What is a Ham Radio?

Ham radio is also known as amateur radio. Ham radio assumes that you use radio frequencies on a private, non-commercial basis.

The Amateur radio operators communicate with each other, conduct fascinating experiments with wireless communications, and can also facilitate emergency communications in emergencies.

Ham radios allow their operators to do the impossible. They can connect with a person from another hemisphere or even an astronaut on the International Space Station. Few radios are capable of such feats.

This kind of radio is a popular hobby for completely different people. People of all ages and nationalities use Amateur radio not only for entertainment, but also for saving themselves and their loved ones in difficult situations.

Types of Ham Radios

Amateur radio is divided into several types. Each type is suitable for a particular activity. That is why if you choose a Ham radio, you must decide what you want to do at first, and then buy the appropriate type of radio.

Handheld Ham Radio

Handheld Ham Radio

Portable ham radio is an excellent type for those who love mobile devices that do not take up much space. This beginners friendly ham radio is a bit heavier than your mobile phone. But it will never lose touch at the most inopportune moment.

Handheld amateur radio has a special belt clip. The size of the handheld ht ham radio is very small, so it can even fit in your pocket. Generally, everything is great with this type of radio. Only this is limited by the line of sight. So you can connect with objects within a radius of 1 or even 2 miles.

You might think: “In what cases can this baby come in handy?” In fact, such a handheld type of amateur radio can be useful to you at a construction site, in organizing an event, and also in emergency conditions, to establish communication with the team.

Mobile Ham Radio

Mobile Ham Radio

Many amateurs consider mobile and handheld radio to be the same. It is a fallacy of the century. Mobile radios are perfect for a car. Moreover, mobile ham radios are more powerful than portable models. To complete a mobile radio, you will need an antenna and a battery (or car) to power the radio.

The horizon line does not matter at all for this type of ham radio since it works at any distance. This is made possible by the repeater, which receives signals from the radios nearby and retransmits the signal with greater power.

Basic Station

Classic ham radio is used at home or in the office. That is a basic installation that surpasses the other two types of radio in power.

Basic amateur radio is available for people with a general license. So basic radio gives you the opportunity to get access to the high-frequency bands (from 30 kHz and higher). It is this type of radio that allows you to communicate with radio amateurs who are very far away from you.

If we are talking only about handheld ham radio, then there are 2 types:

Digital Ham Radio

Digital radios have wider coverage and better sound quality. You can use this radio where analog radio no longer works. The digital radio transmits a clear sound without background noise. Additionally, this radio has a GPS function, and some models are waterproof.

Analog Ham Radio

Analog radios offer less coverage and the sound is not as clear as digital radios. Such a radio is useful for short distances where there are no generators or other background noises to interfere.

Benefits of Using Survial Ham Radio

We must be prepared for various difficulties. One such difficulty can be emergency situations such as hurricanes, tsunamis, storms, floods, earthquakes, and others. And that imagine you’re stuck in the middle of the wilderness. What can you do to survive?

Those who have used a survival Ham radio at least once know that it is exciting.

It is fascinating because you can practice your interest in radio and communications. And this type of radio is most convenient in emergency conditions.

Ideal Hobby

First, having a survival amateur radio gives you the opportunity to coordinate rescue operations and the movement of people. It is especially useful if you do not have any other means of communication.

Group Control

Second, a handheld ham radio allows you to decentralize the communication system so that each operator has their own station. And it increases the chances of survival if you are isolated from other people or facing a natural disaster, such as a tornado, flash flood, etc.

OK, you can say: “Many radios will work in emergency situations”. The problem is that not every radio can relay a connection. Ham radio is capable of that. That is why this type of radio is very popular for preparing for emergency. And when someone is in a dangerous situation, being able to talk to others on a survival ham radio brings them a lot of reassurance.


There is no doubt this type of radio is very useful during earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and other disasters.

Handheld radio allows you to coordinate movements and actions not only during emergencies but also when performing certain operations/ campaigns. An example would be the organization of a major event.

Why Ham Radio Is Important for Survival and SHTF Preppers

It’s unlikely that anyone would have doubts whether ham radio is very important for survival, least of all for SHTF preppers.

In emergency situations, cell phones and the Internet often fail. Such types of communication cease to be useful because they depend on infrastructure. If the infrastructure suffers as a result of floods, etc., there will be no Internet or cellular communications. But the ht amateur radio will continue to work.

Looking for specific examples?

In 2017 Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. It was a destructive Category 5 hurricane. Almost all wireless communication was impossible because the hurricane “disconnected” it.

That is why all the devices on cellular and on the Internet were completely useless. Only Ham radio was useful. It let people listen to emergency alerts and communicate with emergency services.

Ham radio is important for survival and SHTF preppers, if only because it lets you connect with other people and emergency services, even when the infrastructure is destroyed.

How to Use Survival Ham Radio

Imagine that you have just bought an emergency call device like a Ham radio. Now you need to understand how to use this radio to transmit important information.


Ham radio will be exactly what will help to “kill two birds with one stone”, that is, to be informed about the forecast and about how your family is doing.

But the law is that first, you need an entry-level license (that is, a technician class license). It will allow you to talk on VHF and UHF frequencies (these are local frequencies).

If you have a general class license, you can even be on RF frequencies. Such frequencies allow you to communicate around the world, regardless of satellites or other infrastructure.

If you have a radio, then a license is required. If you do not you have a license yet, here are your choices. A technician’s license will be useful for local communications, and the general license is needed for global communication. Both are suitable for survival communications. You need to take a sit for ham license exam.

Emergency Power Supply

Infrastructure will be broken during disasters. That means that the power supply will also suffer. That is, you need something that will provide electricity no matter what happens. You could use an emergency generator or solar panels (if you live in a sunny place). Keep in mind that you must have something like this because the radio will be as useless as a telephone without electricity.

Use the Radio Before A Disaster Happens!

This is important because your skills must be developed. An emergency situation requires knowledge and a quick response. So, you should feel comfortable using the radio.


FAQs on Survival Ham Radio

survival Ham Radio faqs

How Long Does A Handheld Ham Radio Work?

Portable amateur radio does not require much energy. You can use batteries, and if they are not there, then there are batteries in vehicles, boats. Turn off the backlight when you don’t need it to save power.

There are also special batteries that can be pre-charged and then used in the radio. Depending on the battery, a handheld amateur radio can work from 8 to 12 hours when fully charged.

What Is the Difference Between VHF And UHF?

In this review, you have repeatedly seen the concept of “VHF” and “UHF” and probably you wonder, “What do they mean?”

VHF – Very High Frequency radio bands. This is the choice of those who are going to use the radio on the street (on the line of sight, without obstacles or with a small number of obstacles), then you get a clear sound. It is great for sailing boats, for use in open areas.

UHF – Ultra High Frequency is the choice of those who are going to use the radio in and around buildings. It will be needed where there are many obstacles in the form of concrete walls, steel structures, offices and so on. This type is the most powerful handheld ham radio.

Is Portable Ham Radio Waterproof?

It depends on the manufacturer. But waterproof handheld ham radio is a real rarity because most models do not have this feature. You will be able to find models with protection class IP57 (you can immerse the radio in water to a depth of 3 feet for 30 minutes).

Do handheld ham radios come with antennas and microphones?

Unlike regular amateur radios, most portable ham radios have microphones and speakers built-in and also come with an antenna because they cannot function without them.

How many users can I have in one channel?

That is going to depend, radio to radio. Normally, you will be able to have five to ten other devices on the same channel that you can simultaneously communicate with. Higher end ones may accommodate for more users though.

Do portable ham radios also need licenses before you can use them?

Yes, the same license that is needed to become an operator of Ham radios is needed to use these portable ones. Do not let the appearance of what looks like a walkie-talkie fool you; these are some really powerful tools in a small package!

Will devices with built-in microphones let you use external ones?

Yes, the worst and the best ham radios all tend to have a microphone jack somewhere on the body that lets you attach an extra microphone to it. There are also some microphones that work standalone; you can use them only for transmission and use your ham radio for receiving radio signals. If still has the same benefit of not having to carry your radio device on your hand.

Can I use external antennas instead of the included one?

Yes, as long as the antenna has the same connector as the native one, it should fit and perform just fine, but you might experience some changes in the frequencies supported if you use an antenna with different physical properties.

What is the best type of radio for survival?

The best type of radio for survival are those which have features like alternative power sources like a solar panel or hand crank when there is no power to charge it. Plus, it got features like an NOAA weather alert which lets you know about bad weather conditions to get to safety, and similar features like that which comes in handy in case of a disaster.

Is UHF better than VHF?

It depends on where you use it. For instance, if you’re using it in an open field then VHF is quite good as it offers long-range. But UHF is better for its high frequency as it offers penetration through walls and other obstacles like such.

What happens if I use a ham radio without a license?

To be honest, you can use a ham radio without a license. But if you don’t know the laws and operate at a frequency that might interfere with the local authorities that are not allowed for you to use, then-FCC can charge you with a heavy fine. They won’t go out their way and triangulate to find you without using a license unless going out your way and doing something illegal that gets you noticed.

How much does it cost to get a survival ham radio?

If you want a true survival ham radio with a bunch of features then you should be ready to spend somewhere between $800-$1000 or even more. You can get a ham radio that cost less than that, but they might not offer the features.

Why Ham Radio is Popular Among Survivalists?

Survivalists love the ham radio because of the range it offers. In case of emergencies, you can send transmissions in long distances with it which is unlikely with a CB radio or any other such transmission device like such.

Which Ham radio license should you get for prepping?

There are three types of licenses you can get. You’ve got the starter license which is called the Technician. Then there is the General level. And lastly, you’ve got the Amateur extra. Now, for the last one, you’ve got to answer more questions to get it, but for the benefits it offers, it is worth to get it. That’s because with that you can enjoy transmission at a wide level which you won’t get with the starter license as it only allows you to operate at a local level.

Can my ham radio work without power?

The answer is yes, they can operate without power if there is no electricity as most devices today have a secondary power supply source like solar panel or such.

Wrapping Up

A good survival radio is important! Check our reviews to find out about the newest features, models, and reviews. Choose, get a license, train and be prepared for difficult situations with the best handheld ham radio for survival.

Related Buying Guides:

1. DMR mobile radio buying guide by our expert.
2. Which mobile ham radio model should you choose for car?

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3 thoughts on “10 Best Handheld Ham Radio For Survival in 2022”

  1. The bubble pack FRS radios sold almost everywhere, DO NOT have anywhere near 35-50 miles range unless you are on top of a mountain talking to someone in the valley below. More like half a mile in the city and maybe a mile or so elsewhere.

  2. It appears that a lot of the radios you show here are not available on Amazon or the hyperlink is bad now. I’m really looking to getting back in the raioi circle down here near Houston BUT it appears a lot of the lower end radios are JUNK??? I wouldn’t mind spending more money later on but don’t want to just throw the money away either to be gin with. Suggestions???

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