Smallest Ham Radio Reviews: Lighter Amateur Radios You can Carry Anywhere

There are times even the best ham radios might fail to be your friend. I am talking about situations like:

    • Paragliding
    • Backpacking
    • Hunting

These are the situations that demand the smallest ham radios. Yeah, as most people say it – big always doesn’t mean better.

You should have the lightest and thinnest accessories with you when you are participating in activities like paragliding and tracking. What if not? There is every chance that you fail before reaching your final destination.

You might be wondering how can you not end up like most people.

Well, we have done the job for you!

In this article, we will see some of the small ham radios which have been the favorite of many adventurists. I am sure that you will love one of them.

Top 5 Thinnest Ham Radios

Here are the top choices you have in thinnest ham radios. Mind you, all these are great handheld ham radios.

  • BaoFeng UV-5R Plus: Our Top Choice
  • Kenwood Original TH-D74A: Best Small Ham radio
  • BaoFeng UV-82HP: Most affordable mini transceiver
  • Yaesu VX-6R: Lightest Amateur radio
  • BF-T1: For Experts

If you are in a hurry, I don’t recommend you to read the whole reviews. Instead, the two options given below will make your life easier:

Product Highlight
BaoFeng UV-5R Plus: Best for Beginners Check Price on Amazon
  • Dimension: 7.00 x 6.10 x 3.90 inches
  • Dual-band operation
  • Available in 5 colors
  • Durable metal shell
  • Lightweight and versatile
  • Easy to program
Kenwood Original TH-D74A: Highly Advanced Choice Check Price on Amazon
  • Dimension: 2.20 x 1.33 x 4.72 inches
  • High-performance GPS
  • Weatherproof
  • Multi-mode reception
  • Easy to use settings
  • APRS compliant and supports D-Star

 

What Are The Advantages of Mini HAM Radio

Are you a radio enthusiast looking to jump onto the bandwagon and gain some tech skills? Here’s why you must consider a mini HAM radio:

      • If space is a significant concern for you, having a compact-sized device means you can carry the transceiver wherever you go!
      • Moreover, the light weight means you can fit it right into your pocket or backpack.
      • Amateur radio transceivers are known to be complicated and expensive. However, a mini transceiver offers limited but essential features at an economical price!
      • If you’re an avid traveler, a mini HAM radio can accompany you on your outdoor adventures!
      • The best part about having it accompany you outdoors is that you can use it for emergency communications. It comes in handy, especially during harsh weather conditions or unpredictable situations.

Smallest HAM Radio Transceivers: Reviews

Here is a detailed overview of the top amateur radios you can buy if the size is your biggest concern.

1. BaoFeng UV-5R Plus: Our Top Choice

BaoFeng UV-5R

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One of the best ham radios in the market, BaoFeng UV-5R Plus, is still the most trusted ham radio for many.

Pros Cons Key Specs
  • Easy to Program
  • Highly affordable
  • Lightweight option
  • Rugged robust design
  • Extended battery life
  • Needs better and durable casing to protect against damage
  • Dual-band Ham Radio
  • Frequency Range: 136-174/400-480 MHz.
  • FM Radio
  • Power output: 4 /1 watts
  • 50 CTCSS and 104 DCS

When it comes to BaoFeng UV-5R, it has a certain magic to it. This ultra-portable transceiver is an upgraded version from the previous models UV-5R and UV-5RA.

It is compact, lightweight, and versatile.

Most importantly, you are going to love the high-quality and well-written user manual by BaoFeng. It covers every function with detailed diagrams to get you started on the HAM experience!

Along with ample battery life, BaoFeng UV-5R comes with an excellent antenna. All of this helps the transceiver outperform many of its competitors!

All in all, if you are looking for a decent handheld, we recommend it!

2. Kenwood TH-D74A: The Smallest HAM Radio

Kenwood Original TH-D74A

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Kenwood dominates the market with an enviable reputation. It has raised the bar higher with the TH-D74A transceiver!

Pros Cons Key Specs
  • Excellent display with great visibility
  • Ease of use
  • Convenient programming using PC
  • Feature-rich
  • Short battery life
  • APRS compliant
  • In-built GPS
  • 4 TX Power selections
  • 144/220/430 MHz
  • Rugged weatherproofing

Kenwood dominates the market with an enviable reputation. It has raised the bar higher with the TH-D74A transceiver!

The Kenwood Original TH-D74A is one of the best compact HAM radios. It looks fantastic, has an exquisite display, and offers complete ease of use.

Yes, it’s pricey, but you will not get a similar product within a price range like that!

Here’s why TH-D74A is worth considering:

      • It lets you record anything on an SD card.
      • The color display is exceptional and is visible even in sunlight.
      • It is relatively easy to set up.
      • With the GPS position display, weather alerts, and APRS reporting, it is a fantastic tool for outdoor adventures.
      • You will be super satisfied with the audio reports on this Kenwood model.

3. BaoFeng UV-82HP – Quality Product at a Budget Price

BaoFeng UV-82HP

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After UV-5R, BaoFeng continues to show the world it is playing for keeps in the amateur radio market. The UV-82HP portable transceiver is one of the most fashionable and feature-rich models you can own right now!

Pros Cons Key Specs
  • Superb battery life
  • VFO mode easy to access
  • Solid construction
  • Outstanding value
  • Non-intuitive menu system
  • Dual-band amateur radio
  • 136-174 MHz VHF
  • 400-520 MHz UHF
  • In-depth user guide
  • High Gain V-85 Antenna

What stands out here for us is the price aspect. The UV-82HP delivers everything that any high-end amateur radio would!

Along with a selectable single/dual PTT switch, the device supports CTCSS, DCS, and DTMF calling methods. It also comes with a sturdy casing employing larger buttons and better range and accuracy than that of previous models.

The tri-color and versatile device offers three variable power settings, allowing for a high output of 8 watts. Additionally, the package also includes a high-gain antenna for optimal performance.

If you have got under $100 to spare, then the UV-82HP is a must-have!

4. Yaesu VX-6R – Best Lightweight Option

Yaesu VX-6R

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For lightweight ham radio buyers with a mid-range budget, the Yaesu VX-6R is a top choice! It delivers all-round specs in a device that boasts both quality fit and finish.

Pros Cons Key Specs
  • Solidly-built
  • Clear and easy to understand
  • Performs beyond expectations
  • Delivers good receptions
  • Learning curve
  • Tri-band
  • 144, 220 & 430 MHz
  • Submersible
  • 5 watts output power
  • Supports Wide-coverage Internet Repeater Enhancement System (WIRES)

Yaesu is also there in the list with an amazing small ham transceiver. The most notable features of the Yaesu VX-6R include:

      • It is waterproof and submersible.
      • VX-6R outputs at 5-watts with multiple other lower power settings.
      • It is tiny for what it does but comes with solid casing.
      • The brand offers excellent customer and tech service to help you out at all times.
      • Yaesu VX-6R performs better than expectations and gets you good reception and transmission.

In short, this one’s likely to be on the shortlists of many ham radio enthusiasts looking for a reasonable and compact device!

5. BF-T1: For the Geeks

BF-T1

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BF-T1 is another excellent entry from BaoFeng with reasonable power and range. The sleek design, weighing less than 120 grams, lets you carry the device in hand wherever you go!

Pros Cons Key Specs
  • Good-quality ear-piece
  • Easy to program with CHIRP
  • Reasonably priced
  • Fits into the pocket
  • Does not offer adequate volume control options
  • 20 memory channels
  • Alarm function
  • Power saving feature
  • LED flashlight
  • Range: 400-470 MHz

This mini handie-talkie by BaoFeng offers not only pleasing aesthetics but also adequate power for two-way communication. It is tiny enough to fit into your pocket or bag without taking up much space.

With a long-lasting battery, 20 memory channels, and alarm function, this is a respectable transceiver as far as features go! But, you will want to consider the BF-T1 model for its size, weight, and smart design.

If you’re a newbie, you can take a backseat and let the CHIRP software do the programming for you. Another point of interest is the exquisite earpiece that comes with the BF-T1!

Concluding Remarks

When looking to expand your list of hobbies or connecting with your loved ones, the most reliable tool is the ham radio. You can keep tabs on the latest reports and bulletins through the touch of a few buttons!

With size being a significant concern, given limited space, our list of mini amateur radios can be pretty useful. Unsurprisingly, they’re packed with all the features that full-sized ham radio would offer!

Last update on 2020-10-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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