The Most Popular Ham Bands: Greatest Buying Guide In 2023
1. Best Overall: Uniden Bearcat BC125AT Handheld Scanner, 500-Alpha-Tagged Channels
The Bearcat BC125AT handheld scanner gives you power and flexibility with 500 Alpha-Tagged channels. With up to 10 storage banks and 500 channels, finding the channel you want is easy. Organize your channels by department, location, area of interest, or any other way you prefer. With 5 levels of Alpha Tagging let you assign names to your channels so you can keep track of who you are listening to.
2. Best Bang For The Buck: Ham Radio Walkie Talkie (UV-5R) UHF VHF Dual Band 2-Way Radio
The UV5R 8-W Dual band ham radio is a convenient, compact and powerful two-way radio that is perfect for all your outdoor needs. This dual band radio is compatible with many other radios such as the BF-F8HP/UV 82HP, etc. The UV5R 8-W Dual band ham radio also covers most commonly used frequency range, making it compatible with many other radios such as the UV82HP, etc.
3. Best Connectivity: Uniden Bearcat SR30C, 500-Channel Compact Handheld Scanner
The Bearcat SR30C is a compact and easy-to-use handheld scanner that enables your to listen in on radio frequencies. You can manually tune specific channels, or use the pre-set service banks that are preset for Amateur Radio, Marine, Police/Fire/Emergency, NOAA Weather reports, Racing and Civil Aircraft. The SR30C also comes with a convenient auto-tuning feature in order to quickly scan for traffic.
4. Best Durable: Extended Ham Radio Handheld Starter Kit Mirkit Baofeng Radio
The MirKit Baofeng Radio is a compact yet powerful radio. With 400mw output power, it's perfect for everyday use and can be used in large team activities. Most popular among police, security services and most times used during patrol duty, the microphone is perfect to keep your hands free without any hassle.
The world of ham radio is more than just a hobby for some people. It can be a way to stay in touch with family and friends, and even make new contacts that you wouldn’t have if you hadn’t gotten into amateur radio. The most popular ham bands radio are used to connect other hams across the country, allowing them to talk to each other via their radios.
With so many people getting into ham radio these days, there are plenty of opportunities to meet new hams and learn from them as well as get advice on how you can get your own station up and running faster. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, there is always something for everyone on the most popular ham bands radio list.
After doing extensive study and analysis over a 17 hours, We think the most popular ham bands is Uniden Bearcat BC125AT Handheld Scanner, 500-Alpha-Tagged Channels. You can consider Ham Radio Walkie Talkie (UV-5R) UHF VHF Dual Band 2-Way Radio as an alternative if you're still undecided. Other suggestions on this list are definitely worth considering, and we've put up a useful shopping guide to help you decide!
RELATED: We've researched 6,239+ real reviews in 2023 on top-rated best 2 meter ham radio to help you decide what to buy. See our top picks and ultimate guide here.
Our Top Picks
- SEARCH MORE EFFICIENTLY with 500 Alpha-Tagged Channels finding the channel you want to listen to is easy, with 500 channels divided into 10 storage banks. Organize your channels by department, location, area of interest, or any other way you prefer. Alpha Tagging lets you assign names to your channels, so you can keep track of who you are listening to.
- GET STARTED LISTENING RIGHT AWAY with convenient Pre-sets for the most popular searches. Frequencies are preset in ten separate Non -Digital Police/Fire/Emergency, Ham, Marine, Railroad, Civil Air, Military Air, CB Radio, FRS/GMRS/MURS, and Racing search bands. This makes it easy to find channels that interest you.
- LIGHTWIEGHT PORTABLE DESIGN, take this Bearcat handheld radio scanner with you on the road, or on outings. It packs plenty of features, the orange backlight display is easy to read, even in low light conditions.
- EXCELLENT HAND-HELD SCANNER (Please note: model BC125AT is NOT suitable for Trunking or Digital Radio system monitoring, (e.g. Project 25, DMR, NXDN). Some Police/Fire/Emergency/Public Safety Agencies in larger cities are switching over to DIGITAL Trunking systems. If you live in an area where Trunking or Digital Radio systems are used, you need to upgrade to a Uniden Digital model (“D” stands for Digital), such as models BCD436HP, BCD536HP, BCD996P2, BCD325P2, or HomePatrol-2.
- How can we help? Uniden Customer Support web site is designed to conveniently walk you through product setup and troubleshooting, Web site: https://uniden.com/pages/support-1 . Contact customer support at email: email@example.com or phone: 1-800-297-1023.
- LISTEN TO OVER 40,000 FREQUENCIES, you can listen to both civilian and military bands, including Non-Digital Police, Ambulance, Fire, Weather, Marine, Aircraft, Railroad, Civil Air, Amateur radio services, and Racing events.
- LISTEN IN AND STAY INFORMED, this sophisticated scanner has 500 alpha-tagged channels in a convenient compact design with loads of features. Close Call RF capture technology instantly tunes to signals from nearby transmitters and the Do Not Disturb Mode prevents Close Call checks during a transmission.
- NOTE: The product does not have 2-way communication, is only a scanner for receiving radio transmissions
Best Bang For The Buck
Ham Radio Walkie Talkie (UV-5R) UHF VHF Dual Band 2-Way Radio
- Wide Compatibility: The Greaval UV5R 8-W Dual band ham radio covers most commonly used frequency range, makes it compatible with many other radios such as the BF-F8HP/UV 82HP, etc.
- RF Power Output: High /Medium /Low Power Switchable, Programmable professional ham Radio Supports Keyboard or PC programming (for Outdoor /Home /Workplace use, etc.)
- Frequency Range: VHF: 150-174 MHz(Rx/Tx). UHF: 400-480 MHz(Rx/Tx), 128 channel memory, fully in compliance with the FCC part 15B and part 90 regulations, you may need to apply for a radio license to use this device.
- Complete Set: Package contains a full set of accessories, no more worry about looking for compatible accessories. Best choice for your business. 30-day hassle-free return, 18-month warranty, hardware and tech-support provided.
- Power Source: Rechargeable 2100 mAh Li-ion Battery, Supports 12-20 Hours continual use, car charger adapter included. The package has 1 radio with 2 batteries along with accessories.
Uniden Bearcat SR30C, 500-Channel Compact Handheld Scanner
- LISTEN TO OVER 32,000 FREQUENCIES: Get started listening right away with convenient pre-sets for the most popular searches. Frequencies are preset in ten service banks, Non-Digital Police/Fire/Emergency, NOAA Weather reports, Marine, Racing, Civil Aircraft, Ham Radio, Railroad, CB Radio, and other bands. This makes it easy to find channels that interest you.
- EXCELLENT ENTRY LEVEL PORTABLE SCANNER This scanner is NOT for receiving DIGITAL communications (e.g. Project 25, DMR, NXDN). Some Police/Fire/Emergency/Public Safety Agencies in larger cities are switching over to DIGITAL Trunking communication systems. For Digital Scanners please look at other leading Uniden models such as the BCD436HP.
- PC PROGRAMING lets you program your scanner using your PC. Close call RF capture technology instantly tunes to signals from nearby transmitters and the Priority Scan function Scans the channels you have designated as priority channels. Memory backup keeps the frequencies stored in memory for an extended time if the scanner loses power
- THREE POWER OPTIONS: #1- The included USB cable will power your SR30C from your PC or other USB power source, such as a smart phone USB charger (not included). #2 - Two AA alkaline batteries (not included). #3 - Two AA rechargeable Ni-MH batteries (not included). You can also charge rechargeable Ni-MH batteries in the unit using the USB cable.
- LISTEN IN AND STAY INFORMED! The Uniden Bearcat SR30C is a very affordable 500 channel hand-held scanner with loads of features in a convenient compact design.
- DELAY FUNCTION helps prevent missed replies during two-way conversations. Other features include keypad entry, Earphone Jack, key lock, battery low alert, battery save. The triple-conversion design ensures excellent Performance.
- ✔️Keep your hands free with this cb radio handheld mic! Most Popular Baofeng Mic among police, security services and mostly used for patrol duty, large team activities, airsoft
- ✔️All that you need in one box! Handheld ham radio kit, Get full PRO pack: Baofeng Max Power with additional 3800mAh battery + USB charger cable, speaker mic, programming cable and Lanyard Mirkit HAM radio scanner
- ✔️Extended working time up to 5 days foy your portable ham radio! Baofeng Batteries: 1x BL-5 1800 mAh and 1x BL-5L 3800 mAh + Baofeng USB charger for it! Charge your Bl-5L battery from a solar panel, computer, car or any USB slot
- ✔️Link for a special firmware mirkit-channelist will be provided on request. Baofeng programming cable provides the smooth flashing process of your uv-5r radio!
- ✔️Catch wave you never heard before with Max Power Radio scanner Mirkit Edition! FCC Part 15 Part 97 Certified. VHF/UHF 144-148 mhz / 420-450mhz.
- If you are not satisfied with it in 1 month. Please feel free to Contact with us if you have any query. We will give you prompt reply and good after service
- ☛AnyTone AT-778UV Mobile Radio is complied with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations. complies with Part 15B and Part 97 of FCC rule, FCC ID is T4K-778UV. Frequency Range: VHF:136-174MHz UHF:400-490MHz
- ☛25W/15W/5W DualBand VHF/UHF Mobile Radio Transceiver! 180 degree rotatable TFT LCD displayFull alloy body for heat radiation. It is with VOX Function too.
- ☛Narrow Band compliant,Lighted Keypad mic, Built-in Speakers in both Radio & Mic,Built-In cooling Fan,DC power cable with fuse holder & More!!Single call, group call, selective call and emergency call are all available.
- ☛ Please download the Programming Software from support in AnyTone website.You can find the AnyTone website address in the user's manual.
- ✔️[Double Batteries]: Two Pcs Rechargeable 2200 mAh Li-ion Batteries, One for use One for backup. Each battery have up to 48 hours standby time. Non-Stop communication, no need to worry about suddenly running out of power on the road. Multiple charging methods, car charger and desk charger included.
- ✔️[High Quality Speaker Mic]: TD-HM060 Speaker Mic—Excellent sound quality, sturdy outer shell, convenient button design, stretchable and handy wire, rotatable back clip, better than those general speaker mic included in other bundles.
- ✔️[CHIRP Support]: Program TD-H6 with CHIRP by Choosing [TIDRADIO]--[TD-H6]. You can also customize your radio on our Manufacturer software using the included programming cable. We also provide detailed programming guide and video to walk you through your first programming.
- ✔️[FCC certified and exclusive customer service]: This model has been FCC certified, FCC ID: 2AWL3TIDRADIOTD-H6; FCC Certification and Program Guide under the listing product guides and documents; We also provide exclusive customer service, we have technical staff assist, solve your questions.
- ✔️[Upgraded from BaoFeng UV-5R]: The output power of TD-H6 is now twice as much as before (double output power from 5watt to 10watt), it also have longer antenna (comes with extra TD-771 high gain antenna that perform 30% better), tough and rugged shell, 30% larger 2200mAh battery capacity. Suitable for new ham radio users who want to get their first powerful radio.
- ✔️[10 Watt & Long Antenna]:TD-H6 ham radio have 10Watt high output power and TD-771 high gain antenna, greatly expands the signal transmission distance and enhances signal reception; Gives you a better communication experience compared with 5watt and 8watt Radios.
- ✔️[Wide Compatibility]: TD-H6 ham radio handheld covers most commonly used frequency range, makes it compatible with many other handheld radio such as the baofeng uv-5r series and baofeng bf-f8hp series, baofeng uv-82 series.
- ✔️[Multiple Features]: TD-H6 possesses features similar to those of the most popular baofeng uv5r radio: Dual-band display, Dual Freq. Display, Dual-standby; VOX; Busy Channel Lock-Out; Scan; Monitor; Voice Prompt; Emergency Alarm. Easy to learn and operate.
- ★★ Features: V/V, U/U, V/U Simultaneous Receive, V+U Cross-Band Repeater, Full Dual Display and Receive, High/Mid1/Mid2/Low Power Setting, Wide/Mid/Narrow Bandwidth Selectable, CTCSS/DCS, DTMF, 2 Tone & 5 Tone, Voice Compander & Scrambler, Remote Detachable Faceplate, 809 Alphanumeric Memory Channels, SQL, Scan, TOT, Full Direct Entry Keypad Mic.
- ★★ Welcome to VMUKSAN, The Latest Plus Version of TYT TH-9800D, 50W/40W Full Quad Band Dual Display FM Amateur Mobile Radio/Transceiver, A MUST HAVE For all HAMs, FUN & GREAT VALUE as BASE STATION. Size: 5.5 x 1.6 x 6.6", Weight: 2.65 lbs. Package Content: TYT TH-9800D, Mic Hanger, Power Cable, Mounting Bracket & Screws, User Manual, Programming Cable & Factory Disc.
- ★★ Frequency: TX: 28-29.7/50-54/144-148/420-450MHz, RX: 26-33/47-54/108-180/320-512/750-950MHz (P.S. AM mode selectable on VHF receive frequencies for Air Band reception), Output Power VHF: 50/20/10/5W UHF: 35/20/10/5W.
- ★★ One Proven Model, Lots of USERS or TURORIALS on Youtube, Google, Facebook Group. PLEASE CONTACT US AT ANY TIME IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS. WE WILL RESPONSE YOU WITHIN 24 HOURS.
- ★★ Free Programming Cable & Software DISC Included (P.S. Driver Installation NEEDED, Factory Software Download from DISC or TYT Official Website), CHIRP Software Supported (Model TYT TH-9800) for easier programming; Pair with 4 Bands antenna (Single SO-259s Connector); Operating Voltage: 13.8V (NO 24V).
- ▼ ABOUT PROGRAMMING: Please download the programming software on Radioddity site or message us for it. If you use Chirp, please choose QB25 and do not write any frequencies out of the VHF UHF bands.
- ▼ QUAD BAND ANTENNA: Say goodbye to awful using experience like signal dropping or excessive distortion! With the 50W powerful high gain quad band antenna we specially design for Radioddity DB25 Pro, you will receive stable signals at any frequency and keep a high quality communication.
- ▼ WHAT MAKES US BETTER: Different from most other dual band car radios on the market, DB25 Pro is with louder and clearer sound, making sure you can get all the info. Second, we also offer you a cable and Win 7/10 drive with instructions to help you program, easy and fast. Besides, the temperature cooling fan is with smart mode, only when temperature ≥ 45℃ (113℉) will the fan start to work.
- ▼DUAL BAND QUAD STANDBY & MINI: This is a mini dual band radio with quad-standby and four colors screen display. Broad (Wide) / Narrowband (Narrow) Selectable. Remote Stun, Remote Activate, Remote Kill. With size just 3.8 * 1.7 * 5 inch, convenient to carry and won't occupy a larger space when placed in your car or truck.
- ▼ MULTI FUNCTIONS: Radioddity DB25 Pro is the latest dual-band car radio model of Radioddity, which features dual synchronized display mode, mic audio gain setting, alarm function, DTMF function(2/5 tone), auto power off, channel mode editing setting, auto scan, scanning resume, variable frequency scanning, quad watch delay time, randomization privacy mode, 25W/10W selectable, etc.
- ✔️【Certification& After-sales】FCC Part 15B and Part 97 Certified: FCC ID: 2AWL3-UV5RPRO; FCC certification and in-depth programming guide under the listing product guides and documents. After Service: 30 Days No Reason Return, any Problems Please chat via: 1.Amazon Message Center 2.QA in this Page 3.Our em in the Manual
- ✔️【Complete Full Kit】Charging Anywhere 2x USB Charge Base, 2x 8W F9GP Ham Radio, 2x USB Plug, 1x Programming Cable, 2x TD-771 Long Antenna, 2x 2100mAh Battery, 2x Hand Microphone Speaker, 2x Earpiece with Micphone, 2x Hand Strap, 2x Standard Antenna, 2x User Manual. Everything you need is in this box!
- ✔️【Easy Programming】Supports keyboard programming; Supports CHIRP software, works with Windows, and you can program your portable handheld Ham Radio using this durable programming cable! In-depth Programming User Guide Included for Beginners to use quickly and easily.
- ✔️【USB Charging】Provide you with more charging methods, charging anytime, anywhere conveniently. Easy to charge like your phone, it can be charged in your car, laptop, power bank, office, home... It can be charged by power bank or any USB method in case of emergency, giving us more time to be rescued.
- ✔️【Farthest Range】Upgraded from BaoFeng UV-5R Radio: 8 Watt Max Power provide you longer signal distance. TD-771 High Gain Long Antenna provide it even much longer range. Feel free to take your ham radio with you anywhere and chat with all your partners easily!
- ✔️【Rich Function】Similar function to the most popular baofeng uv-5r series, built-in Dual-Band Display, Dual Frequency Display, CTCSS/CDS, Flashlight, VOX, Scan, Monitor, Voice Prompt, Emergency Alarm, Easy to learn and operate. Wide compatibility: 128 memory channels, covering the most commonly used frequency range, making it compatible with many other baofeng radios, such as baofeng uv-5r, baofeng bf-f8hp and baofeng uv-82 radio series.
- ✔️【Hand Free Speaker Mic】Transmit high quality sound even in loud environments, long flexible wire give you comfortable and handy using experience.
- ✔️Up to 5 days of battery life! Extended Battery Pack 1x BL-8 2800 mAh + 1x BL-8 3800 mAh + charger! Charge Bl-8 Battery from solar panel, computer, car, power bank or any USB slot
- ✔️FCC Part 15 Part 97 Certified. VHF/UHF 144-148 mhz / 420-450mhz. Undiscovered channels with UV82 hp 8 Watt Max Power! Boafeng Tripower UV-82: High/ Med/ Low
- ✔️Easily Program your UV 82 v2! Special firmware Mirkit-Channelist is provided by request. Programming cable provides smooth flashing process of Your Dual Band Radio!
- ✔️All included in one box!Get Extra Kit UV82 MK5 + battery BL-8 3800 mAh + USB charger cable, Radio Speaker, Programming Cable, Lanyard Mirkit. 100% USA Warranty!
- ✔️You're hands free with ideal Radio Mic! Proven: Most Popular Speaker Mic among security services, patrol duty, large team activities and airsoft
What to Look For in a most popular ham bands?
The most popular ham bands is based upon a number of factors. Studying a product differs depending on the product type. So, we're on here to help, counsel, and provide solutions to these problems.
Please keep in mind the following points for selecting most popular ham bands:
Number Of Handsets
Channels & Privacy Codes
An entirely waterproof radio is an option. Many models are waterproof and can withstand severe rain. Some models can be submerged up to 30 minutes without causing any damage. A model that floats will be your best option if your radio is used for fisherman, fishing or crossing open waters. If you drop your model accidentally, it can be easily picked up from the water surface.
Weight And Size
RELATED: Are you looking for a handheld 2 meter radio that meets your needs while also being cost-effective? Find the best one for you here.
What Is The Life Expectancy Of A 2 Way Radio?
Two-way radios of commercial grade are made to comply with Military Specifications as well as Intrusion Protection standards. These radios can live for a long time if they are maintained and used in accordance with the specifications. Two-way radios can last up to 10 years. But radio batteries rarely last more than 3 to 4 years.
How Many Radios Can I Use One Location?
You can use as many radios at any location you wish, regardless of the license. To manage communication better, we suggest that the channel's users be limited to ten.
Can I Change The Frequencies On My 2 Way Radios?
Many commercial-grade 2 way radios can be programmed from either a computer onboard or via a PC. Although you cannot change VHF to UHF, the radio can be programmed with a PC or on-board programming. However, it can alter the frequencies in the band.
What Is 2 Way Radio VOX?
Voice activation is VOX. VOX promises hands-free operation. "Speak and the radio will open to broadcast your message." However, voice activation should actually be called sound activation. The VOX function on a 2-way radio can't distinguish between a call to help or the usual grunts, groans and grunts of normal physical activity. VOX may cause more problems than it solves. We do not recommend VOX being used in commercial applications.
Why Do 2 Way Radios Have Multiple Channels?
Every channel can be programed at a different frequency. Most modern 2 way radios can have between 4 and 16 channels, although some radios may have up to 256 channels. Channel one will be the only channel that broadcasts on the frequency being used. It is beneficial for commercial applications to have different communication depending on the work group or whereabouts. Radios can be used by schools to broadcast the news. Teachers and administrators might prefer one channel.
How Far Do 2 Way Radios Broadcast?
Broadcast distances of commercial-grade hand-held radios are generally between one and two miles. While VHF radios can broadcast further, they do not penetrate as far. UHF radios transmit a greater distance and have better penetration.
Is VHF Or UHF Better?
The frequency band that a radio can operate within is called VHF (very high frequency), or UHF [ultra high frequency]. VHF operates between 136 and 174 MHz, while UHF operates between 400 and 512 MHz. Wave length is shorter the higher frequency. A signal will travel farther if it has a longer wave length. It is easier for the signal's to penetrate if the wave length is shorter. VHF broadcasts better over open water and from an unobstructed location to another. For broadcasting through buildings or other obstructions, UHF is better than VHF.
As we are product consulting experts with a wide range of experience, we determine correct information. Apart from that, we keep the most popular ham bands current. You may rest confident that the data is accurate and up to date.
Besides most popular ham bands, we can advise you with anything. Please do not hesitate to contact us whenever you need guidance.