The 2-meter radio band or the amateur radio band comprises of frequencies from 144 MHz to 148 MHz under the International Telecommunication Union Region. The telecommunication within this band is conducted within a range of 100 miles and is perfect for local contact. The Licensing requirements to transmit on the 2-meter radio are easily met, in most of the cases and because of its reliability; it is one of the most popular modes for local communication. The radios and antennas needed are compact and small in size, not to mention light weighed. It is also the most used band in local emergency communication efforts and is helpful for campers and authorities alike. The reason these radios are important is because of the emergency uses it has. When you are looking at these radios, there are a few different functions you should look at to pick the best 2 meter radio.
- 1 Benefits of 2 Meter Radios While Outdoors
- 2 Best 2 Meter Radios 2018 – Reviews and Quality
- 3 BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio
- 4 Handheld VHF & 2 Meter Amateur Radio Transceiver 5watt, TYT TH-F5 Ham Radio
- 5 Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band Handheld 5W VHF / UHF Amateur Radio Transceiver
- 6 Things to Keep In Mind When Finding The Best 2 Meter Radio
- 7 Final Thoughts on 2 Meter Radios For Outdoor Use
Benefits of 2 Meter Radios While Outdoors
This band is perfect for campers because they can not only contact the local emergency services in the case of a crisis but can also take advantage of the advice of the surrounding ham/amateur operators who can inform them about the area and its peculiarities. Campers would also be on a network that will inform them about any sort of emergency situation that may or may not affect them, such as a forest fire or the like. So this is an extremely important tool to carry, more so when you go into areas cut off from civilization and phone signals. Without further ado, let us look at the best devices that you can choose from, before planning your next ‘back to nature’ trip.
Best 2 Meter Radios 2018 – Reviews and Quality
Because there are so many different options for 2 meter radios, it can be difficult to pick which one will be the best for you. Because this is a difficult decision, I have compiled a list of my favorite choices for 2 meter radios. Each of these radios are quality designed, but they each have their own functions and benefits. That being said, each of these radios are different, so you will definitely find something for you!
BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio
This probably the best 2 meter radio, that everyone should have. The price is not sky high that only real radio nuts would splurge on a luxury and gives those who are curious and naive, a reliable and fun product. The size is compact, standing at 8” X 5” X 4”. It uses 2 power settings 4W and 1W, in the frequency range 136-174 MHz and 400-480 MHz. It also includes a VHF receive band from65-108 MHz, that includes the regular FM broadcast. You can customize your channel name- change the Boot Display and much more, using a PC03 FTDI Programming Cable.
There is also an option of selectable, wide/narrow battery save function. The battery is 1500 mAh with 25 kHz wideband and 12.5 kHz narrow. The final product also includes an SMA-Female Antenna, flexible antenna, AC adaptor and more in the final packaging. And it weighs only 1 pound. This is not top class, but if you want an inexpensive and reliable product, then this one takes the cake. Another plus point you want to use the radio to keep track of public safety announcements and such is because you get access to 128 channels and a variety of combination of VHF/UHF channels.
Handheld VHF & 2 Meter Amateur Radio Transceiver 5watt, TYT TH-F5 Ham Radio
The TH-F5 Transceiver from TYT comes with three Transmit Output settings- 5W, 2W and1W. It also provides 128 AlphaNumeric memory channels. It operates on a frequency of 136-174 MHz, and can also receive regular FM Broadcast of 87-108 MHz frequency. It is password protected when you turn it on, you can also directly enter the key frequency and function. And you can even lock the keypad to avoid the amateur radio version of pocket dialing.
It uses LiOn battery to charge and a 1500 mA HiCapacity LiOn battery is included in the packaging along with an antenna and a desktop charger. Optional PC programming cable is also available if need be. It also has a 2 pin speaker mike jack that is compatible with many other accessories available in the market. This one might seem a bit tricky to operate at first but those who have used it swear by it.
First of all, it is a really sturdy product and you know it means business. It is great for first call responders and other such authorities because they have an experience with products of this kind so that they are not disheartened by the slightly sophisticated handling. This is one of the best products with respect to the money in the market correctly. Though you are a newbie, you might want to avoid it but if you are confident enough of your technical aptitude and/or not too shy to ask for help from those who would know, then this is a great product that will be totally worth its price when you get out there and start using it to communicate. Also, the reception on this particular radio is among the clearest and best in class.
Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band Handheld 5W VHF / UHF Amateur Radio Transceiver
The FT-60R handheld amateur radio from Yaesu weighs 13 ounces and stands at 2.28” X 1.18” X 4.29”. It can receive frequencies up to 108-520 MHz and transmits 144-148 MHz and 430-470 MHz. There is an option to lock the frequency once you get the right channel so that you don’t accidentally change it. Apart from that, it comes with certain perks such as 1000 memory channels, NOAA weather alert etc. There are 3 power outputs 5W high, 2W medium and 1W low. It has an Alphanumeric display and the keypad is backlit for better maneuvering in the dark.
Even though this one is the most expensive of the lot, it stands true to its worth. This is outstanding in its performance, the radio range and battery life are enough to set this aside from its cheaper contemporaries. This is a well-recommended product if you think yourself as a more than casual user and is also good for buying in bulks such as by clubs because it can withstand rough use and multiple changes of hands. It might seem like a big investment but is worth it in the end.
Things to Keep In Mind When Finding The Best 2 Meter Radio
2-meter radios are an excellent option for amateurs who are interested in radio and wireless communication. But before buying a unit for you, keep in mind the following pointers.
Frequency- Not everyone in possession of a ham radio would be allowed to access all the frequencies. There are exams that need to be passed before you can get a license to use particular frequencies. Make sure you buy a unit that matches up with the level of your license.
Power- Since they are made for outdoor usage, power settings are really important. Most of the radios in the market are around 5 watts power; you might need to look for beyond that if you think it will not be sufficient.
Memory Slots- The older or smaller models come with limited or very few memory slots which works fine for local use. If you are looking for national or international communication, then getting a unit with at least a 100 or more memory slots would be advisable.
Bands- Check whether the radio is a ‘dual band’ which will allow you to access two frequencies simultaneously. Also, whether there is an option of ‘general coverage’ which comprises of FM, AM and TV frequencies in addition to your regular band.
These are some of the technical aspects, apart from that, there are personal preferences, whether you want a radio with a backlit display or not. Although it is highly advisable to get one with the backlit display as you might need to use it in case of emergencies and power cuts. Then there is the question on how you would prefer programming the radio, whether connected through a computer or using the keypad on the radio itself. The beginners might prefer the former. However, the seasoned users who were doing this before computers were cool would rather opt for the latter. It all depends on what you are comfortable with and you should select a model based on your choices rather than what is public opinion.
Final Thoughts on 2 Meter Radios For Outdoor Use
A handheld radio is a great idea if you plan on camping often or live in an area that suffers from frequent power cuts and network jams. This will not only help you stay connected with your family, as you can use it to communicate during network jams but can also listen to and ask for help from local emergency authorities. I hope this guide helps narrow done your selection for the best 2 meter radio for your needs!