Top Recommended Features to Look For In A Handheld Ham Radio

If you’re looking for a hobby that generally brings people from all over the world together, learning more about communication technology, then you may want to consider amateur radio, also known as “ham radio.” Ham radio is well-liked among enthusiasts throughout all age groups and has, over the years, established a unique global community. While the hobby is educational and fun, it can also be highly useful in an emergency situation. You can set up your Handheld ham radio in your home, out in the field or at the office, allowing you to stay in touch with the rest of the world. 

Top Recommended Features for Handheld Ham Radios 

  1. Power Output

The higher output a ham radio has, the more advanced the range will be. Some handheld models have as little as 5 watts output of power, while the more powerful models can have 50+ watts output. 

  1. LCD Display

Ham radios that come with an illuminated keypad and high-quality alphanumeric LCD enable you to use your radio even when it’s dark. This could be life-saving during an emergency. 

  1. Frequency Coverage

Different ham radios cover various bands; therefore, you’ll have to look for the bands you require for the type of communications you wish to participate in. Check for features such as dual-band and general coverage (adds FM, AM, and TV frequencies) too. 

  1. Weather Alerts

Ham radios with this feature will allow you to receive frequent alerts from local authorities and NOAA. This way, you’ll always be knowledgeable about inclement weather on the horizon. This could be particularly helpful if you live in an area which is prone to bad weather conditions. 

  1. Memory Channels

This allows you to use the channels for storing frequencies. Some models can have hundreds of memory channels. 

  1. Scanning Functions

The best handheld ham radios with multiple scan function will help you in finding the frequencies you require efficiently and quickly. Some models have a full scan, programmed scan, memory scan, priority scan, skip scan, ban scan, and more. 

  1. DCS And CTCSS Decoder / Encoder

Ongoing digital-coded squelch (DCS) and tone-coded squelch system (CTCSS) help with keeping conversations on the same frequency but separated from each other. 

  1. Squelch

With squelch features, background channel noise is inhibited to keep communications clear and lowering general frustration. 

  1. Quality Build

If your radio is susceptible to shock in your car or you drop it, you don’t want it to stop functioning. Low-quality ham radio may not hold up with regular use, but those with a durable build can withstand adverse conditions. 

  1. Programmable

Most ham radios can be manually programmed. However, make sure you do some online research before buying just any programmable radio. Some models only permit you to utilize the radio itself to do programming with the keypad, while others give you an option of programming through a PC. The latter is recommended. 


Now that you have an inkling about the most essential features when you’re shopping for ham radio, you can compare the various models available for purchase and choose one that best fits your requirements.

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