Best Handheld Ham Radio For Survival [SHTF]

We can’t control every strange event that affects us daily. It is often difficult to decipher why these strange things occur. However, being prepared at all times is the best way to overcome the uncertainties of life. Getting the best ham radio for SHTF (Shit Hit the Fans) is an excellent way to prepare for emergencies.

Why? You can only survive circumstances of an emergency such as wildfires, tsunamis, fires, flooding, and earthquakes with a suitable SHTF communication device. Ham radios are one of those devices.

With the best handheld ham radio for survival, you won’t have to worry. You will be rescued even in the most desperate extreme situation, particularly if you have the best portable ham radio.

It is always advisable to get ham radios before an unexpected tragedy strikes. Good ham radio is the primary device that can help you communicate with your household, rescue services and make sure you’re saved.

Most modern children will not understand that there is a limit to cell phones. With the invention of different social media, it is effortless to communicate with anyone on earth. ⠀

But, when SHTF, the whole concept of cellphones goes out of the window. The mobile device will not continue to work for quite some time in a significant natural disaster. In split seconds, a nuclear EMP will destroy the entire network.

Even when the situation is less traumatic, the network will require some maintenance before working effectively again. 

 Before we look at the best handheld ham radios for SHTF and Survival,

What is a Ham Radio?

The term ‘Ham’ is culled from ‘Amateur.’ This kind of radio uses private ham radio frequencies. With one of these portable radios, people can speak with one another, lead intriguing analyses with remote interchanges, and can likewise encourage crisis correspondences in unexpected circumstances.

Ham radios enable their administrators to do the impossible. They can associate with an individual from another half of the globe or even a space traveler on the International Space Station. Not many radios can do such accomplishments.

This sort of radio can perform different functions for different people. Individuals and nationalities use these portable radios for fun and to survive troublesome circumstances with their friends and family.

Portable ham radio is separated into a few kinds. Each type is best used for a specific action. Therefore, you must decide what you want to use ham radios before buying. With our ham radio review, you will make the right choice.

Portable Ham Radio 

These ham radios for survival/SHTF are brilliant for the individuals who love cell phones that don’t occupy a lot of room. However, they are somewhat more substantial than your cell phone and will never lose contact at the most inauspicious minute.

This sort of ham radio has a great belt clip and is so small, so it can easily place it inside your pocket. For the most part, everything is incredible with this sort of radio.

This is restricted by the viewable pathway, which will help you establish a connection with other objects that are one or even 2 miles.

You can use the portable Ham radio in building sites and natural disasters to correspond with the group.

Mobile Ham Radio 

Numerous beginners believe this radio and the previous one to be the equivalent. Sounds wise, but it is incorrect. You can use mobile radios for your vehicle.

These radios are functional than portable ones. To finish a versatile radio, you will require a reception apparatus and a battery (or vehicle) to control the radio.

The line of sight doesn’t make a difference for this sort of ham radio since it works at different locations. This is made conceivable by the ‘repeater,’ which gets signals from the radios close by and retransmits the sign with a more major power.

Basic Station 

This ham radio is utilized at home or in the workplace. That is an essential establishment that outperforms the other two sorts of radio in control. 

 You need a ham radio license for this type of radio.

Basic radios offer you the chance to gain admittance to the high frequencies (from 30 kHz and higher). This sort of radio enables you to speak with radio novices who are far away from you.

If we are speaking just about handheld ham radio, at that point, there are two sorts:

Advanced Ham Radio (Digital)

Advanced radios have more extensive coverage and better audio quality. You can utilize this radio where simple radio never again works. The progressive radio transmits excellent audio without echo from the background. Furthermore, this radio has a GPS capacity, and a few models are waterproof.

Simple Ham Radio (Analog)

The coverage range is limited, and the sound isn’t as straightforward as advanced radios. Such a radio is valuable for short separations where there are no generators or another echo to meddle.

5 Best Handheld Ham Radios for Survival [SHTF]

1. The BaoFeng BF-F8HP– Best Overall

Having one of the best Baofeng radios is enough to be fully prepared for any danger. The device has all the complete accessories so that when SHTF, you will be assured of safety. The body design alone is made to look tough for emergencies.

BaoFeng BF-F8HP comes with a big battery that can transmit high power for a long time. The power option is divided into three levels: one, four, and eight watts.

The device has a dual-frequency band that you can pick from depending on the area you are using.

One unique feature of this best Baofeng radio is the new generation chipset and its V-85 antenna. These two features make it easy to send and receive signals whenever you are in trouble. The 2000mAh boosts your power strength by 30%

Other features include Power Adapter, Earpiece, Belt Clip, Hand Strap, Battery Charger, and a User Manual.


  • Longer battery life
  • Wide Coverage range
  • Dual-frequency band to select from


  • It is not easy to adjust some settings on your own. However, if you can follow the user manual, You can easily overcome this.

2. The Yaesu FT-60R– Best For Frequency and Memory

Getting free and private frequency can be difficult during traumatic events. Many people can get stuck on a channel, which makes it impossible to send or receive private messages during those moments.

With Yaesu FT-60R, you get 1000 frequency memory, making it a good ham radio for survival.

The device is easy to use with lesser functionalities that can make operation a bit difficult. The portable radio for Shtf comes with five watts of power, good enough to get long-distance signals. The simplicity of this radio makes it unique among all other ham radios.

Other accessories attached to it include a 1400 mAh battery, charger, antenna, and belt clip.


  • It is simple with fewer features
  • More space to store channels
  • Auto-dialer makes it easier to use during emergencies
  • NOAA weather channels


  • The battery life is sometimes poor

3. Baofeng UV-5R5– The Best Battery Option

You need the best ham radio with good battery life and is Baofeng UV-5R5 is one of the best baofeng radios. It is not just cheap; it is portable and light enough to fit into a small shirt pocket.

The device comes with two Li-ion batteries that can use six days on stand-by. You can either use the desktop charger or the Adapter to recharge when it is low.

The Baofeng radio has a dual watch receiver that keeps tabs on different channels and incoming calls. The in-built FM stereo does not affect this functionality.

The radio has a VOX function for audible sounds and an LED flashlight for night time security. It is suitable for outdoor activities like Hiking, Fishing, or Rock Climbing.

Essential accessories include Antenna, Earphone Mic/Headset, Belt Clip, Hand Strap, Manual, Speaker Mic, and programming Cable.


  • Stronger battery life
  • It is cost-effective
  • The VOX function makes sound audible


  • It needs a good line of sight before it can function properly

4. BTECH UV-5X3– Best For Advanced Radio

The BTECH UV-5X3 is an excellent portable ham radio for the next generation. The inventive display has a synchronization feature that helps you utilize the two-line LCD even when you are in single-channel mode.

With this, you will have access to the comprehensive information on the display.

 As a digital ham radio for Shtf, it enables the administrator to adjust the channel list easily.

As a user, you can change channels, erase a channel or re-make it once more, change configurations, change/include security tones, change control levels, etc. Also, you needn’t bother with a PC for these capacities.

The BTECH UV-5X3 is produced with three frequency bands (Tri-bands) accessible for scanning during configurations.

As a futuristic digital ham radio, it can get remote commands due to its remote decoding DTMF.

Significant accessories include a set of headphones, a strap, a user manual, and a belt clip.


  • Use software to add or delete channels on it easily
  • Tri-band handheld radio


  • There are so many controls on the menu, and it may difficult to follow sometimes.

5. Greaval Ham Radio Walkie Talkie– Best For Budget

Greaval Ham radio is one of the best handheld ham radios for SHTF that maintains its price. Even though it is cheap, the radio comes with great features that make it excellent for use.

The radio comes with a 2100 mAh battery that would remain switched on for more than half a day. It supports the UHF and VHF, frequency bands.

The VOX function makes crisp and clear, like any costly radio. There is a longer antenna for outdoor activities and an indoor, which can be used at night.

For a great price, you will get constant English Voice prompts, LED flashlights, Original Antenna, Hand Microphone, Car Charger Adapter, Power Adapter, Earpiece, Belt Clip, Hand Strap, and User’s manual.


  • It is cost-effective and cheap
  • Longer battery life
  • VOX function for better audio quality.


  • The power output is 3 watts instead of 8 watts.

The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide For SHTF Ham Radios

If you want the best portable ham radio for SHTF, you must note some important things. Initially, portable ham radios don’t take after different radios, as they have various capacities.


The frequencies you can utilize will depend upon the class of your ham radio license. To start with, acquire a permit and then purchase a compact Ham radio of the proper recurrence.

It would help if you guaranteed that the ham radio you purchase compares to the frequencies that your permit enables you to utilize.

There is a significant contrast among VHF and UHF frequencies from one viewpoint and HF on the other. RF frequencies are more extensive and require more power, so the ham license must be a higher class.

It would be best if you had an SWR meter to tune your radio and get the best execution from your radio and reception apparatus.


The best portable ham radio for survival uses at least five watts of power. Five watts of intensity will spare your battery, so it keeps going longer and can give correspondences during a crisis. It will suit all you need at the moment.


Ham radios for beginners should be programmable. This is what most amateurs want. If you can program your radio utilizing a PC, you will appreciate using the radio considerably more. For this, the radio must have a link for programming.

On account of the handheld Ham radio, offer inclination to manual programming because the console and radio catch enables you to do this whenever and anyplace.

Memory Spaces

Memory spaces are significant. Be that as it may, the quantity of openings is a significant marker. It relies upon the reason for which you need to utilize the radio.

For instance, on the off chance that your objective is neighborhood correspondence or crisis use, at that point, 12 spaces will be sufficient.

Universal correspondence (this isn’t feasible for compact radio) requires at any rate 100 or even 200 memory spaces. When all is said in done, memory spaces are expected to store frequencies.

Illuminated Display

This element is one of the most attractive and useful. If you wind up in a crisis, an illuminated presentation (similar to the keyboard++) will enable you to utilize the radio significantly more effectively.

Generally speaking, the backdrop illumination can be killed if you have to spare battery control.

Radio wires 

You might be amazed. However, not every compact radio has reception apparatuses. Numerous models have to do receiving wires. For this situation, the radio wire ought to be of high caliber.

A decent radio wire(antenna) will give better gathering and sign transmission.

Have you purchased a radio with a powerless reception apparatus? You have the chance to fix it. It would be best if you bought another reception apparatus.

NOAA Alerts

Remember that survival is our objective. With weather alerts, it is much easier to know which areas are safe or dangerous throughout the journey.

Sweep Functions 

During unexpected events, there is no need for superfluous activities. Any activity ought to be brisk. That is the reason the output capacity will be vital.

The output capacity is expected to scan for the ideal recurrence rapidly. Such highlights incorporate full sweep, memory filter, customized check, boycott examine, need to study, skip output, and others.


CTCSS or consistent tone-based commotion decrease, just as DSC or computerized coded clamor concealment, help keep the discussion on a similar recurrence autonomous of one another.

Using Ham Radios In Emergencies FAQs

What is the duration of the best portable ham radio for SHTF?

The best Handheld ham radio doesn’t need a lot of power. You can use battery cells or batteries in cars and boats if it is available in the pack.

If you don’t want to save energy, it is best to switch off the backlight.

 Special batteries are available; they can be charged previously and then used when required.

When fully powered, the ham radio can operate from 8 — 12 hours. However, this depends on the type of battery used.

Which is one is better between UHF and VHF?

You have seen the two terms used frequently in this post. Here is the difference between them:

 VHF: It means “Very High Frequency.” VHF is often used by people on the street or areas where the line of sight is without obstacles or with a few blocks. In these areas, you get a clear sound. For cruising vessels, it is ideal for use in open spaces.

UHF: It means “Ultra High Frequency.” UHF is often used in and around buildings. It will be required where there are several obstacles like concrete walls, steel frames, offices, and so on,

Is it necessary for the ham radio to be waterproof?

It’s up to the maker. Yet portable waterproof ham radio is rare because this functionality is not present in most versions. Most products come with a safety rating of IP57, which means that the radio can be immersed in water for half an hour at a level of 3 feet.

Are mics and connectors important in radios?

Unlike the standard products, most portable ham radios for Shtf include built-in microphones and speakers and an antenna since they can’t operate effectively without them.

How many people can use a channel?

This depends on the type of radio. It is okay to have multiple people on a channel; it will allow simultaneous communication. Nonetheless, higher ends may be ideal for more users.

Do I need a ham radio license before I can use it?

Yes, you do. Never let the body shape of what appears as a walkie-talkie misleads you. The package may look small, but they are essential tools!

 Can you use external microphones on the device with in-built ones?

Yes, the truth is, all portable ham radios have a space for your external microphone. Some microphones also work independently; you can only use them for transmission, and while the ham radio is used to receive radio frequencies.

The microphone is also beneficial as you won’t have to carry your device in your hand.

Can I use alternative antennas rather than the in-built ones?

You can if the antenna connector is not different; it would suit and work well. However, if you use a separate antenna with another connector, you can encounter some licensed bands’ variations.

Final Thoughts On Best Handheld Ham Radios For Survival and SHTF

Good ham radio for survival is essential when SHFT (Shit Hit the Fans). Throughout this review, I have given you an overview of what you need to look out for before buying a survival radio.

Ham radios are preferred in times of danger because they will not be affected after a network is destroyed or down.

Most users prefer the best BaoFeng radios. This is not only because they are tough and durable, but they also come with different functions that make them for people to use.

From the body design, the type of battery used to the frequency band selected, Baofeng radios makes it easy for anyone to survive harsh moments.

You can use the Yaesu ham radio as well. It is equally strong and durable, like the Baofeng products. However, remember that the key to buying ham radios is survival.

Therefore, you should not forget that the individuals who survive are the ones who plan.

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