Many people want to try hand-held ham radios, but they are worried about the transmission and receiving that amateur radio can provide. Then you should consider ham radio base stations that are feature-rich, but kinda complex to use.
This tool is a powerful transceiver, meeting all your expectations about ham radio, even if you are a fanatic of technical devices. However, due to the complexity and versatility of ham radio case stations, you may be challenged to choose a good one.
There are always many similar products and each of them has a very attractive but detailed introduction. Well, don’t fret. If that sounds like something you might be interested in trying, here are our top picks for the best ham radio base station to help you choose the right one.
The Best Ham Radio Base Station Reviews 2020
1. Yaesu Original FT-450D HF/50MHz Ham Radio Base Station
- FM-USB-LSB-AM-CW, 100 Watts of Transmit output on 6-160M Amateur Radio.
- Receives 30Khz to 54Mhz continious including All Shortwave & AM broadcast.
- Built-In Automatic Antenna tuner, ctcss, 500 & 300 Hz CW Filters.
Yaesu FT-450D is one of the best products in the market and it is tagged a relatively rational price. So if your ideal base station is a typical feature-rich and enjoys a high reputation, you should take this. Whether you are a serious radio fan or a beginner, you won’t be disappointed.
The first feature we like about this model is that It receives frequencies ranging from 0.030MHz to 54MHz, receiving all FM and AM broadcasts. So you can receive both local and farther channels. Plus, it comes with the output power of 100-watt that enables you to broaden your connection range. With these features, you receive almost all wanted signals.
Besides, its Continuous Wave (CW) features work in the range of 300 and 500 Hz. This feature can reduce the power consumption, meanwhile, it has low interception that is a key point to anti-interference. So with this function, your base station can receive clearer signals.
Something else worth mentioning is that there are user-friendly buttons and a high-readable display. To be specific, the buttons on this model have a backlight, which allows you to operate the device conveniently when the light is dark or just at night. And you can read all the information on the display effortlessly. That is a very practical function.
Additionally, this base station also comes with a built-in automatic antenna tuner and 400MHz IF DSP. With the help of the antenna tuner, you can adjust the unit to get the strongest signals. And DSP means Digital Single Processing, with which you can enjoy very fast signal receiving. That is a big surprise for technology fanciers.
On the other hand, the cope of the built-in antenna tuner is a little limited, which is not appealing enough for some users.
All in all, even if the antenna tuner is not perfect, the other features are good enough to make the unit an attractive product in the market.
- AM and FM frequencies– receive more stations
- 100-watt power output– provide high range
- Backlight– use it in the dark conveniently
- DSP– makes the unit function fast
- CW filter– improve the clarity
- Limited antenna tuner scope– chicken rib function
- Knobs are too small– difficult to use
2. Icom IC-718 HF All Band Ham Radio Base Station 100 Watts
- USB, LSB, CW, RTTY(FSK) and AM modes are built-in
- 0.03-29.999999 MHz* general coverage receive capability. *Guaranteed range: 0.5-29.999999 MHz
- Total 101 memory channels are available
If you want a feature-rich unit but your budget on this is tight, you will like ICOM IC-718. It is excellent both in transmission and reception, providing you some superior features without costing a lot of money. And this is very simple to operate, so it is also suitable for those who are at the entry-level.
One of the wonderful features is that it features the DSP technique, ensuring you an outstanding receiver quality whether you are inside your house or in vehicles, even during an expedition. That means you can always receive signals clearly and fast wherever you are.
Besides, this product comes with auto-adjustment of the volume that is highly sensitive so that you don’t have to operate and adjust it manually. So it is convenient and labor-saving, making you feel the benefits of high-tech.
Another amazing feature is that the speaker is mounted on the front panel, allowing you to hear the sound clearly and directly without any possible obstacles.
Something else we like about the base station is that the unit is designed to be compact and rugged. The size is quite small so that you can take it anywhere without effort. And it is built to be rugged and sturdy, making it a wear-well product.
Additionally, it has 101 memory channels available in total. Therefore, you have many options to set and can tune to your favorite channels as soon as possible.
However, the receiver is fixed in the fast mode, which can cause trouble for SSB.
In a word, with such all-rounded functions and nice prices, this unit can be very appealing among both old hands and beginners.
- Compact– high portability
- Rugged– high durability
- DSP– receive signals fast
- 101 memory channels– provide convenience
- Auto-adjustment volume– save efforts
- Fixed in the fast mode– troublesome for SSB
- No automatic tuner– bring inconvenience
3. ICOM 7300 02 Direct Sampling Shortwave am Radio Base Station
- 100W (25W AM) Output power
- 0.030-74.800 RX frequencies
- Receiver type: Direct sampling
There is another ICOM product that earns high popularity. Compared with ICOM IC-718, this unit needs a much higher budget. So if you have more money to invest in the best ham radio base station, then you can select this model. Well, the higher the price is, the better the quality is. ICOM 7300 is one of the top-quality ham radio base stations you may find in the market.
The most marvelous feature of this model is that it has a 4.3-inch touch-screen waterfall display that works with spectrum scope, making it easy to find out the weak signals and adjust resolution bandwidth. All these functions come handy and you will be amazed both visually and physically.
Besides, the model supports the Single Side Band (SSB), which means that the built-in amplifier can be operated effectively to make the speaker work well. Namely, you can enjoy better sound quality.
Moreover, it also comes with radio-teletype (RTTY), which is a communication system that allows you to connect it to multiple electronic-mechanical teleprinters in separate by wireless methods. That will be very convenient and practical.
And there is also a built-in auto-tuner that can work efficiently to ensure you a better sound quality. Plus, it can use the Continuous Wave (CW) efficiently to mute the unwanted noises.
But, there are some downsides too. First, you need to spend more money on this. Second is that the unit may have trouble rejecting QRM from the bypass band.
In conclusion, although some minor defects are unavoidable, it still ranks the best in the market. You won’t regret having it.
- Compact– high portability
- Touch-screen– operate easily
- Spectrum scope– easy to find out weak signals
- SSB– better sound quality
- RTTY– connect it to teleprinters conveniently
- Expensive– need a big budget
- Have trouble rejecting QRM –bring inconvenience
4. Yaesu FT-857D Amateur Radio Transceiver – All-Mode 100W
- Utilizing an up-conversion architecture for HF with a first IF of 68.33 MHz, the FT-857 features a double-conversion superheterodyne system (triple conversion on FM), with the 2nd IF at 10.7 MHz. Extensive bandpass filtering in the front end, along with careful device selection and gain distribution, yield a receiver system ready for the strong-signal challenges of today’s crowded bands!
- Providing transmitter coverage of the HF, 50 MHz, 144 MHz, and 430 MHz Amateur bands, the FT-857 also includes receive coverage on 100 kHz to 56 MHz, 76 to 108 MHz, 118-164 MHz, and 420-470 MHz. Enjoy the excitement of public safety monitoring, along with weather broadcasts, AM and FM broadcasts, aviation communications, as well as the action on the Ham bands!
- The FT-857 provides up to 200 “Main” memory channels, each of which may be named with an Alpha-Numeric label of up to eight characters. These 200 Memories may be separated into as many as 10 Memory Groups of 20 Memories each. For added convenience, you also get a “Quick Memory” and a “Home Channel” on each band, plus ten pairs of band-limit memories, to let you restrict operation to a sub-band, if you like.
Yaesu FT-857D is one of the most versatile models on the list. And it is of great value in terms of price. Buyers who have a tight budget but still want to enjoy good features should take this unit. It can be used virtually anywhere you want, such as expedition, camping, vacation, and field. Let’s look at some specific features.
First and foremost, it is a station that has 100w HF/VHF/UHF modes, supporting transmission at HF, 50MHz, 144MHz, and 430MHz. Moreover, the receiver is designed to receive coverage on 100kHz-56MHz, 76kHz-108MHz, 118MHz-164MHz, and 420MHz-470MH in AM/USB/LSB/FM/CW respectively. So it has very good performance and guaranteed reception.
Something else we like about this model is that this radio base station comes with up to 200 memory channels. That means you can have 200 options when choosing favorable channels. To be more surprising, you have the rights to name them with an alpha-numeric label consisting of up to 8 characters. Furthermore, it allows you to set the memories into ten groups separately. And you can also set a Home Channel and a Quick Memory on each band to add yourselves more convenience. That makes the little item especially charming.
Besides, there are also multiple noise reduction filters, band-pass filters, which are responsible for muting unwanted noises from all sources. Therefore, your station can have superior sound clarity.
And this unit is highly compact, providing you high portability. It has a small size and good looking so that you will love it when you see it at the first sight.
However, it still has some negatives. For example, the keys are too small for some users and hard to operate. Then, premature failures of the LCD could happen.
In a nutshell, with such a low price, it could have some disadvantages. If you don’t mind the shortcomings, you can have a try. Maybe you will love it.
- Compact– high portability
- AM/USB/LSB/FM/CW – operate easily
- Multiple filters– ensure a better sound quality
- 200 memory channels– more choices
- Name the channels with an alpha-numeric label– more convenience
- Too small keys– unfriendly to big hands
- Premature failures of the LCD –bring disappointment
5. President Lincoln II Plus 10 and 12 Meter Ham Radio Base Station
- Same as LINCOLN II but 12 meter band added, key "CH19/9" replaced by "Emergency Channel 1 and 2" programmable by user; HF output power 35W PEP SSB instead of 31W PEP SSB, 35W FM instead of 28W; AM is same 12W RMS 48WPEP.
- Rotary switch and Up/down channel selector; Volume adjustment and ON/OFF; Manual squelch and ASC; RF Power; MENU function key; Dim; Mode switch AM/FM/LSB/USB/CW.
- VFO Mode w/ continuous scanning; Multi-functions LCD display; Frequencies display; S-meter; Channels and memories scan; 6 Memories; CTCSS (38 tones); DCS (104 codes).
You can tell from the name that President Lincoln II Plus is the upgraded edition of President Lincoln II. Some of you may have used the original edition before. This new product shares many similarities with the former. But there are some good changes like the addition of the 12-meter band. Apart from that, the output power is HF output power 35W PEP SSB and FM is at 35W. So you have a new and satisfying experience.
One of the amazing features about this model is that it comes with many user-friendly controllers, including rotary switch and Up/down channel selector, volume adjustment and ON/OFF, manual squelch and ASC, RF Power, menu function key, dimmer, mode switch on AM/FM/LSB/USB/CW. With these various controllers, you can adjust the model freely and flexibly, providing you with unexpected convenience.
Besides, it features VOX function, which means that you can operate this unit by voice, setting your hands free. So you can give it orders while dealing with other important work.
Something else we like about this model is that it has emergency channels 1 and 2, and they are user-programmable. That means you can preset them according to your specific needs in case there come emergency events when using it.
Also, there is an external loudspeaker jack that allows you to plug in an external speaker to raise the sounds. With this function, you will never worry about the clarity of the sounds.
However, the disadvantage is that it focus over on channels instead of frequencies, resulting in that the screen is usually occupied by channels. You may miss some information.
To sum up, the interior display may be caused by the low price. But if you don’t mind paying attention to the frequencies on the screen, this is worth buying for its versatility.
- Useful controllers– provide convenience
- VOX– set hands free
- Programmable emergency channels– ensure safety
- External loudspeaker jack– helps to raise the voice
- LCD– can use it at night easily
- Display focus too much on channels– easy to miss information
- The receiver can be more powerful –brings disappointment
6. Yaesu Original FT-991A All Mode”Field Gear” Transceiver
- Dynamic Real-Time Spectrum Scope *NEW!
- Multi-Color Waterfall Display *NEW!
- 160 Meters through 70 Centimeters - SSB/CW/FM/C4FM Digital/AM
This model is one of the typical Yaesu products. It is designed to be compact and rugged, making it easy to use and move. If you are a big fan of Yaesu, you will love this model. And if you are a new buyer, the unit won’t let you down.
To begin with, in terms of reception, it can work on AM, FM frequencies. And CW(continuous wave radar) is applicable in this base station. Moreover, the provided power output is 100-watt that works on a single-side band(SSB). With the combination of all these functions, this is an excellent transceiver, offering good transmission and reception.
Besides, the most outstanding feature is that the unit uses the spectrum scope of dynamic real-time, which plays an important role in helping the users to find out the precise location of signals on the bands and find the missing signals while listening to the receiver. Also, this feature makes the unit looks fashionable.
In addition to the last feature, the model allows you to see the signal intensity easily by equipping it with a multiple-color waterfall display. The reason is that different colors appear in chronological order, enabling the operators to observe weak signals at a glance.
On the other hand, the drawback is that there are too many knobs on the display, which could make some operators fell exhausted.
All in all, this unit has many practical and fancy functions to meet your multiple demands. So you don’t need to hesitate to take it even if the knobs are a little dazzling.
- Real-time spectrum scope– helps you to know the signal locations
- Waterfall display– observe the weak signals
- 100-watt power output– ensure solid power performance
- Multiple-color display– fancy visual experience
- Compact and rugged– portable and durable
- Too many knobs on display– can be complex
- A little difficult to program –brings inconvenience
7. BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 50 Watt Dual Band Ham Radio Base Station
- What Makes the UV-50X2 Unique: Dual Synchronize Display Mode, Mic Audio Gain Settings, Expanded Frequency Range (up to 520MHz), In depth user's guide, Auto Power Off Function, Channel Mode Editing Settings, Auto Scan, Scanning Resume, and Variable Frequency Scanning, Quad Watch Delay Time, Randomization Privacy Mode - Builds upon previous generation UV-5001
- High / Low Power Settings (50W/10W); Frequency Range: 65-108 MHz(Only commercial FM radio reception) VHF: 136-174 MHz(Rx/Tx). UHF: 400-520 MHz(Rx/Tx); Broad (Wide) / Narrowband (Narrow) Selectable
- Recommended Accessories: Pair UV-50X2 with the Nagoya UT-72 Magnetic Mount Antenna for easy installation. The PC04 FTDI Cable is recommended for easy computer programming
BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 is another product that is a great value of money with multiple useful features. It provides great transmitting and receiving functions that can satisfy both advanced users and beginners. So if you want to buy a bargain, this is your choice.
Firstly, the power output of this model is optional between 10-watt and 50-watt, which brings users with much convenience and freedom. As for the reception, it works on the frequency range: 65-108 MHz(Only commercial FM radio reception), VHF: 136-174 MHz(Rx/Tx), UHF: 400-520 MHz(Rx/Tx). So the transmission and reception functions are well guaranteed.
Another feature worth mentioning is that this model offers 200 programmable memory channels. You can program them using your computer, enabling you to set up all these channels conveniently and flexibly.
Something else we like about this unit is that it comes with many user-friendly controllers. Specifically speaking, apart from the above-mentioned high and low power settings, there is Auto Power Off Function, Auto Scan, Scanning Resume, and Variable Frequency Scanning, and so on. And the buttons are big to operate easily.
Additionally, the installation is simple because the unit comes with mounting hardware that allows you to set up effortlessly.
However, some negatives exist too. For instance, there could be some annoying noises during transmission. And the display screen is kinda small.
In conclusion, it is not a perfect model since it is a budget base station. Well, you can still try this because the basic functions are excellent.
- Useful controllers– provide convenience
- Optional power mode – allows different power uses
- 200 programmable channels– more choices and freedom
- Included mounting hardware– make it easy to setup
- Use themain band while watching up to three other channels or frequencies – won’t miss any information
- Display is too small– hard to read
- Transmission includes some noises –brings disappointment
How To Choose A Ham Radio Base Station: A Buyer’s Guide
What is a ham radio base station? And why you need it? What are the benefits of using it? Let’s think about these questions briefly – and after that, we can look at the factors you need to consider when choosing one.
An amateur radio base station is a device that is responsible for transmitting and receiving wireless signals. Working on the ham radio frequencies, it provides more features, ranges, and choices to the operators. Compared with common hand-held ham radio, a ham radio base station allows you to have more powerful options and functions to use.
Nowadays, people are getting used to mobile and portable electronic devices, so ham radios earn high popularity recently for its better mobility, portability comparing with other kinds of radios. As a result, there is an increasing requirement of a ham radio base station because it can transmit a longer distance and it is more versatile.
By using a ham radio base station, you will experience more powerful and constant transmission, which attracts many serious radio fanatics.
However, choosing a good ham radio base station in the market could be challenging because there are many tricks on it. So you may be bothered by specific searching and need some help.
Now let’s look at some of the brief and key points to consider when choosing.
One of the most important functions you need to take into consideration is the power output because this feature determines the range of a ham radio base station. Usually, common hand-held ham radio can output 3-5 watts, which merely allows you to communicate with other hams locally. By contrast, a ham radio base station can offer at least 100-watt that is powerful enough to enable you to connect to others who are far away. As a big fan of ham radios, you may want to communicate with other hams both local and distant. So you need to bear that power output is the key.
When you choose the frequency coverage, you have to think about the purpose of using a ham radio base station. Different frequencies suit for different areas. Generally, frequencies below 1GHz are preferable for amateur ham radio base stations because it can penetrate through the obstacles like buildings without reducing its intensity. So if you want to use it in densely populated areas, you need to consider the frequencies to guarantee communication efficiency.
Generally, most ham radios are programmable and businesses usually include program software into the product package for convenience. There are always two programming options: programming it via your computer, or programming it manually using the station. And both of these two options offer their benefits. Programming using your computer conserves both your time and money. To some extent, this is easy to operate too. However, some serious radio hobbyists may prefer to program manually because it provides them with more technical-related experiences and freedom. You can make your own choice according to your preference.
Longevity is one of the most important concerns for buyers because you don’t want to waste money replacing a new one for a very short time. The device is relatively expensive so that you need to care about the product quality and functions it offers. Also, you should know whether it is easy and convenient to repair when there appear some problems.
You should think about whether you wanna use it only during the day or you may use it for both day and night. That means the display matters if you want to operate in the dark. In that condition, you are recommended to buy one with an illuminated keypad that allows you to see clearly at night.
The purpose of using a ham radio base station is to realize better communication, so an effective filter is worth considering. Since the base station is powerful enough to allow you to receive both near and distant signals, there must be some interrupting or unwanted signals. You will need a filter to eliminate these interfering noises. And different base stations with various features employ different filters. Just select on the basis of your requirements.
Many great options
As you can see, there are many great ham radio base stations on the market to suit almost any requirement. If you have decided you’d like to purchase one but are having trouble choosing, any of the picks in our review would be a great place to start your search.