Ham Radio Suggestions

What Should You Buy First?

Buying A Ham Radio

When you are thinking about buying your first ham radio, there are a ton of choices and there are many factors you have to consider.  First and foremost:  what do you want to do in Ham radio?  Are you going to stay with the just the 2M and 70CM bands (i.e. 144 – 148MHz and 420 – 450MHz)?  Are you wanting to delve into the HF frequencies 10M, 15M & 40M (Technician)?

When I got my Technician license I purchased a dual band HT (Handy Talkie) and “thought” oh that will be all I want.  After using it for a week or so and listening to our local club members talking about the things they were doing on the HF bands, I then went and studied for my General in order to open up those HF privileges to me.  This of course expanded my radio choices by quite a bit.  That is something to consider if you are just a Tech now, will you be going further and upgrading your license to General or Extra?

What to look for When Buying A Ham Radio

Most new HAM’s start off with an HT radio.  They are very reasonable in price, easily portable and it will get you on the air fast!

Another factor to consider is your financial situation.  If you have limited cash to buy a radio, then an HT might be a good first choice until you can save up for better equipment.  If money is not a factor (within reason) then you may want to get a higher end HT radio or possible go into a mobile radio (which can be used as a base station at home or in your car) or maybe you want to get your self a base station radio that you can grow into as you follow your journey in HAM radio down the road.

Do I need a license to buy a ham radio?  No, but you will need a license to transmit on a ham radio.

Cost Breakdown for Common Ham Radios

HT Radios – $30 – $800
Mobile Radios – $250 – $1100
Base Station Radios – $800 – $10,000
**Keep in mind with radios, as in most things in life, you get what you pay for.  The intro level radios I have listed here will work, you may have them for years, however, I suggest that if the cost difference is only $30-$50 more for a better item, save up and get the better item, you will thank me later!
***The main thing is DO YOUR RESEARCH.  Call up some of these companies that sell these items and tell them what you are looking for or what you want to know about the radios and see which one fits you best.  I can only make suggestions based on reviews and popularity, only you know what you want in a radio.  When I was buying my first radios I spoke with the guys over at Ham Radio Outlet and got some great advice and suggestions for radios.  They are Hams and well and are willing to help you decide on a good purchase without the sales hype and BS.

HT Radios - Pro's & Cons

ht ham radios

HT Pro's

HT Con's


kg-uv8d Plus
Yaesu ft-3dr
yaesu ft-4xr
Yaesu FT-4XR
anytone d878uv

Mobile Radios - Pro's & Cons

best mobile ham radios

Mobile Radio Pro's

Mobile Radio Con's


best mobile ham radios
Alinco DR-735T
Yaesu FTM-400XDR
Yaesu FTM 300DR
ic-7100 ham radio
ICOM IC 7100
Anytone AT-D578UV

Base Station Ham Radios - Pro's & Cons

best base station ham radios

Base Station Radio Pro's

Base Station Radio Con's


Yaesu FT-991A
Icom Ic-7300
Icom IC-7300
Yaesu FT-DX3000D
kenwood ts-590sg
Kenwood TS-590SG

Where to Buy Ham Radio Gear

With Ham radio gear you have a lot of choices.  You can buy items new, from retailers all over the web, or you can opt to buy used gear, sometimes at a reduced price for nice quality gear.  Below is a partial list of places to find both new and used gear.

New Gear Purchases from Online Retailers

Used Ham Radio Gear from Online Directories