Beginners who want something affordable will have a hard time doing better than the BaoFeng UV-5R . It has all the features you need to start exploring amateur bands but it’s definitely not a high-end choice, and this is reflected by its less-than-stellar signal quality.
- Comes with two antennas
- Can be programmed via pc
- Must avoid illegal frequencies
The Radioddity GD-77 is a solid entry-level selection, and it sticks out from the crowd as one of the few in its range to offer DMR capabilities. It’s a good choice for those interested in this newer standard, and switching between analog and digital modes is easy.
- Decent maximum volume
- Clear audio reception
- Complicated programming software
Many new operators start with a handheld walkie-talkie to save money, but the AnyTone AT-778UV serves as an inexpensive choice for those who prefer the style and operation of a mobile radio. Its price is especially reasonable considering that it’s a dual-band model.
- Very compact option
- 1-year warranty
- Lacks integrated dtmf capabilities
The BaoFeng BF-F8HP is one of the most popular and reliable options on the market for anyone who’s completely new to the airwaves. It’s small, light, easy to use, and inexpensive enough that you won’t suffer much if your passion fades.
- Powerful for its size
- 2000-mah rechargeable battery
- No pc connection cable included
Kenwood Original TM-V71A
With its 1,000 channel memory, the Kenwood Original TM-V71A is a great choice for the active user who wants to program a litany of stations for later access. The backlight on its control panel can be set to glow in amber or in green.
- Dual receiving capability
- 104-code squelch
- Could use a 25-watt setting
Kenwood Original TH-D74A
For local communications during emergencies, few options can match the Kenwood Original TH-D74A . In addition to a full-color, TFT display, it offers IF filtering for clearer reception, as well as an IP55 weatherproof rating.
- Can record to sd card
- Works well with repeaters
- Gps and aprs drain batteries quickly
Great for the casual user looking to keep in touch with other local enthusiasts, or maybe jump on a repeater for a little more reach, the Icom 2300H offers 207 alpha-numeric channel presets you can use to program in known stations.
- Very durably built
- Comprehensive controls on hand mic
- Lightweight at under five pounds
The Yaesu FT-60R is a popular walkie-talkie model that’s long been a favorite for new operators. While it doesn’t have a ton of advanced features it sets itself apart from cheaper options with its sturdy build quality and reliability.
- Wide frequency range
- 1000-channel memory
- Comes with a rechargeable battery
The Xiegu G90 is basically a standalone software-defined radio fit into a mobile chassis. Its color display is quite detailed despite its relatively small size, and it can even be detached and connected via VGA cable for more complex installations.
- Good audio quality
- Autotuner works very well
- Straightforward user interface
Avid operators who are ready to take their rig to the next level should check out the Icom 7300 . It’s excellently built, packed with features, and has a high-quality touchscreen display that’s one of the best on the market.
- Live spectrum scope
- Very little background noise
- Digital audio recording