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Best handheld vhf 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated September 1, 2023

Arnold SimmonsHey, I’m Arnold Simmons. After 52 hours of research including speaking with consultants and experts, and plenty of parents and 16 hours spent testing 10 handheld vhf, I believe that I found the best handheld vhf of 2018.

My main objective is to write article on these subject so that buyers like you can have the best assistance and education in making that next purchase. We take a close look at some of the best handheld vhf to help you get ripped.

Best handheld vhf of 2018

I’ve based my selection methodology on customer feedback, the size, functionality, and budget to meet various demands. The best handheld vhf will make your fairytale dreams come true!

Here we have compiled a detailed list of some of the best handheld vhf of the 2018. The table below summarizes features, and below you’ll find more detailed reviews of each good.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
Ease of use
5 points
5 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
5 points
4 points
4 points
4 points
5 points
5 points
4 points
Awards 1
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How to save up to 86%? Here is little trick.

You must visit the page of sales. Here is the link. If you don’t care about which brand is better, then you can choose the handheld vhf by the price and buy from the one who will offer the greatest discount.



№1 – 2-Way Radio Dual Band Radio Antenna SMA Female High Gain VHF UHF Handheld Radio Antenna fit BaoFeng UV-82 UV-5R BF-F8HP GT-3 BF-F8+ 888s Series

2-Way Radio Dual Band Radio Antenna SMA Female High Gain VHF UHF Handheld Radio Antenna fit BaoFeng UV-82 UV-5R BF-F8HP GT-3 BF-F8+ 888s Series

Dual Range:145MHZ&435MHZ(2M/70CM)
Features a 2.15dBi signal with up to 10W of power. Length: 15.7inch Boost up your Ham radio, extend your communication distance
Connector Type: SMA-FEMALE If your radio model is not listed above please email us your model number before purchasing interface. If you are not sure what kind of antenna connector you need, please email us.
Literally no flaws

Why did this handheld vhf win the first place?

I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack.


Ease of use














№2 – HYS NA-771 Dual Band VHF/UHF 144/430Mhz SMA-M Handheld Antenna For YAESU VERTAX VX-3R VX-5R VX-6R VX-7R

HYS NA-771 Dual Band VHF/UHF 144/430Mhz SMA-M Handheld Antenna For YAESU VERTAX VX-3R VX-5R VX-6R VX-7R

The HYS NA-771 Whip Antenna will allow you to get longer range on your handheld radio, like BaoFeng UV-3R radio. This antenna features a 2.15dBi signal with up to 10W of power. It is 40cm in length and weighs 42 grams. Boost the signal of your radio significantly! It is 100% brand new.
It smelled a little, but it didn’t last for a long time..
Lack of durability.

Why did this handheld vhf come in second place?

This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made.


Ease of use














№3 – Standard Horizon HX870 Floating 6W Handheld VHF with Internal GPS

Standard Horizon HX870 Floating 6W Handheld VHF with Internal GPS

Floating 6W Handheld VHF with Internal GPS
Meets ITU-R M493-13 Class D DSC (Digital Selective Calling)
Separate Receiver for CH70 (Receiving DSC Calls)
Not very flexible.
Longevity is in question.

Why did this handheld vhf take third place?

This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. The material is incredibly nice to the touch. It has a great color, which will suit any wallpapers.


Ease of use














handheld vhf Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy handheld vhf, right? No!

How They Work

Marine VHF radios rely on radio waves to send and receive transmissions. They rely on line of sight in order to function. Anything that blocks line of sight (land masses, earth curvature, etc.) will disrupt the signals. Thankfully there are few such obstacles on the open water.

The most powerful marine radios are those with long antennas and high wattage. If multiple boats simultaneously transmit on one frequency, the strongest signal is the one which will come through.

Fixed-Mount and Handheld

There are two basic types of VHF marine radio: fixed-mount and handheld. You can maximize your range with a fixed-mount system, which also draws from the boat’s electricity (so you don’t need batteries). Then again, if the electrical system goes down in an emergency, you will need a handheld. Buy one of each if you can.

VHF Radio vs. Mobile

Why buy a VHF radio at all? Why not simply use your cell phone? There are a number of good reasons. For one, mobile networks offer spotty coverage on the open water (nonexistent in many locations). Cell phones lack the weather alert and DSC features of marine radios and are not waterproof.


A fixed-mount VHF marine radio is one which is permanently mounted to your boat and wired into the boat’s electrical system, generally the helm. Benefits include a higher power output and range than handheld radios, dedicated power, and ease-of-use in choppy sea conditions. Many options are available for antennas (straight mount, swivel mount, ratchet mount, rail mount, etc.). You can even set up dual stations and navigate using GPS.

Power and Range

A fixed-mount radio can transmit on anything from one to 2watts of power. Transmitting on one watt allows you to talk to nearby boats without disrupting other transmissions. Transmitting on 2watts will maximize your range (anywhere from five to 30 miles, depending on clear line of sight).


As mentioned before, you have numerous options when it comes to antennas for fixed-mount units. To get the best range, you want your antenna to be mounted as high as you can. If you plan to attach the unit to a powerboat, do so on the superstructure and pick an antenna with six- or nine-dB gain. If you have a sailboat, mount on the mast and go with three dB.

Dual Station

One popular feature for fixed-mount systems is dual station. This allows you to install a microphone in another room inside your boat and operate dual stations from the helm radio. You can then use the system as an intercom.

This is a feature you will find in higher-end fixed-mount marine radios, but generally not in the less expensive models. It allows you to broadcast to other vessels in the area, line handlers, and so on. To use it, you will need to purchase additional hardware in the form of an external waterproof speaker. You also may find it comes equipped with a feature called Listen-Back. With this, you can convert speakers into microphones to amplify noises. This makes it easy to hear the foredeck hand or fog signals in the distance. Not all hailer functions include Listen-Back, so if you need it, look for it specifically in the product specifications of the model you are considering.


This is the portable version of a VHF marine radio. It isn’t mounted; you carry it around with you. Many handheld units these days offer most of the same advanced features as fixed-mount units. You can get extremely basic models at the lower end and very sophisticated ones at the higher end.

Features can include DSC capability, built-in GPS, a distress button, waterproofing, noise canceling, and much more. Range is lower than what you will get from a fixed-mount radio, but handheld models offer a couple of very important benefits. They offer a backup if your ship’s electrical system crashes in an emergency (or your ship sinks altogether). On top of that, they are portable. You can take them anywhere on your vessel or off of it.

Battery Life

The larger your handheld radio, the bigger the battery it can hold and the longer its battery life is going to be. Buoyant, lightweight models also generally hold smaller batteries than those which are allowed to sink. At the lower end of the range, you might get seven hours of charge. At the higher end, you can expect around 20 hours. You will need to weigh the importance of battery life in conjunction with other important features such as buoyancy. Figure out what you need most and make your purchase decision accordingly.


As just discussed, some radios these days are made to float. While the tradeoff is a shorter battery life, there are plenty of benefits to a floating radio. For one thing, you are less likely to lose it and have to waste money on a replacement. For another (and more importantly), you might need to use your radio to get rescued in the water. If it sinks, obviously it is useless to you. A buoyant radio could save your life.


Handheld marine radios usually have either a dot matrix or LCD display. A seven-segment LCD display looks like your clock radio; it is blocky and hard to read. A dot matrix display can generate any image, and looks more like the screen on your smartphone or television. While dot matrix may not be a vital feature, it certainly makes for a more pleasant user experience.


What are some important features to look for on a VHF marine radio? The features listed below may cost you extra, but they can provide you with greater value in your purchase.

GPS is an incredibly useful feature. As mentioned above, you can use it in conjunction with your DSC to transmit your exact location in distress. This allows rescue parties to make their way to you directly.

GPS is also useful for general navigational purposes. You can view your latitude and longitude, and even set up custom waypoints as you travel. That way you can find your way to and from specific locations. This is excellent for fishing, diving, and numerous other purposes.

AIS stands for “Automatic Identification System.” It is a tracking system you can use to locate and identify other vessels. Using an AIS-equipped transponder or receiver, you can see real-time data on nearby ships including their type, dimensions, cargo, position, speed, destinations, and more. A transponder will broadcast information on your vessel; a receiver will not. Benefits include the ability to transmit your position, detect movements from unauthorized vessels, manage a port, conduct coastal surveillance, and more.

Weather Alert

Early warning in case of inclement weather conditions at sea can quite literally save your life. For that reason, you are going to want a marine radio equipped with weather alerts. These should include alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as well as Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) alerts. SAME alerts are specific to your region; NOAA alerts are national.

MR F45-D

2watt mountable marine radio doesn’t have built in GPS. However, it is very reasonably priced, powerful and very easy to use. Also, it’s one of the only marine radios on the market that comes with an external speaker jack.

Comes with mounting bracket. There’s no chance this radio will go overboard. It attaches to the frame of your boat.

Long range communication. 2watts of power allows you to send messages to boats 20 nautical miles or more away.

Noise free transmissions. The built in noise reducer erases static and wind.

Uncomplicated interface. The MR F45-D doesn’t have quite as many features as some nautical radios. But it has all the basics and it’s super easy to use.

External speaker jack. If you need a volume boost, you can hook up an extra speaker.

GX1700W costs twice as much as an ordinary mounted marine radio. But, it has twice as many features. With this unit you get built in GPS and DSC. Plus, water doesn’t phase it. This radio is JIScertified waterproof.

Built-in GPS. No need to buy a separate GPS device. The GX1700W comes with built-in GPS functionality.

Advanced DSC calling. With this radio, you can place DSC calls while you monitor other communication frequencies.

Send and receive position info. Receive, send and navigate GPS waypoints via DSC.

Easy to install. Some bulky marine radios are a pain to setup and wire together. But it’s super easy to set up the GX1700W because it’s slim and compact.

Compatible with RAM3+ remote microphone technology. With a RAM3+ microphone, you’re not stuck in front of the radio anymore. You can walk around your boat and communicate from wherever you want.

Won’t break if submerged underwater. The GX1700W can withstand being submerged in water for up to 30 minutes. It’s JIScertified.

Water damage guarantee. Standard Horizon is so confident in this radio that it has backed it up with a year warranty that covers all water related breakages.

Waterproofing and Buoyancy

Suppose you accidentally drop your VHF radio overboard—or fall overboard while it is in your hand? In a handheld VHF radio, it is important to look for waterproofing. Make sure that the radio is more than just water resistant. The best ratings are IPXand IPX8, which provide waterproofing in up to three feet of water or more than three feet of water respectively.

Also shop for a radio which is buoyant. That means if you drop it in the water, it will float on the surface so that you can find it again. This could easily be a life-saving feature.

Weather Alerts

Look for a radio which includes alerts and updates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This is a nationwide service which warns of inclement weather. Also useful are Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) alerts. NOAA operates at a national level, whereas SAME alerts provide you with regional updates.


VHF radio tends to sell at a higher price than some of the others on this list, but it includes a number of great features. As of the time of this review, it has also received some excellent feedback online.

Waterproof with IPXrating. This means that the radio can be submerged in up to three feet of water without dying.

Dual and Tri Watch. Monitor two or three channels at a time.

Battery life indicator. There is a four-step indicator which shows you your battery level. That way you know exactly how soon you need to recharge.

2-step power saving feature. If you want to conserve battery life, you can use this special feature to do so.

Weather alerts. The weather alert feature warns you if inclement conditions are on their way.

Noise cancellation. True noise canceling keeps your outgoing signals clear.

Output up to watts. Many VHF handheld radios only provide up to watts of power, but this one can operate on watts. This can extend your range.

Higher price. The ICOM M3Vhf-HH marine radio is more expensive than some other models we have reviewed.

Not as much feedback yet. For whatever reason, as of the time of this review, there is not a lot of customer feedback on this radio, so that gives you less information from a buyer standpoint.

Uniden MHS126

VHF handheld radio. As the name indicates, it is waterproof, and also designed to float. It boasts a large LCD screen which is easy to read.

Submersible and can float. This radio has the J1Srating, which means that it is submersible. It is also designed to be buoyant so that you can retrieve it.

Dual and Tri Watch. You can monitor two or three channels using the Dual or Tri Watch features.

Transmit and receive on a wide range of channels. Not only does this radio provide you with access to all USA channels, but it also includes all Canadian and International marine channels as well.

Emergency strobe. An emergency strobe allows you to send a visual signal of your position to rescue workers nearby.

All weather channels. All NOAA channels are included in this radio, and you can receive automatic alerts if inclement conditions are on their way.

Instant channel or 1In an emergency, the radio provides instant access to channels and 16.

Cobra MRHH350FLT

Floating VHF Radio, it is no wonder why. This radio is buoyant and waterproof, and features a number of other excellent benefits which make it competitive with more expensive models.

Waterproof and floats. This devices has an IPXrating, so it can be submerged in as much as three feet of water. It also is designed to float.

Up to watts of power. You can operate the MRHH350FLT on several different power settings: 1, 3, or watts. This gives you the flexibility to balance range with battery life conservation needs.

Compact and lightweight. This radio is lightweight and small, which makes it ideal for active use.

NOAA weather updates. You get access to all NOAA weather channels and updates through this VHF model.

Tri-Watch. Monitor up to three stations at one time.

There may be quality control issues. There are complaints from some buyers about miscellaneous issues (the antenna, the display, etc.). We did not notice any consistency in the complaints, so there may be quality control issues affecting some units. Most however appear to work great.

Cobra MR-HH125

Cobra’s most basic entry-level handheld features an output for an external speaker/mic, a signal strength meter, a key lock, a large illuminated display, a 12V charging lead and a belt clip. The selectable power output of or Watts is quite modest but with instant Channel 1access, IPXwaterproofing and five 850mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries, the Cobra remains very good value for money.

Entel HT20

Coming from a company with such resounding commercial pedigree was always an auspicious start for the HT20 and its performance doesn’t disappoint. Its robust polycarbonate IP6casing comes with rubberised side grips for easy handling with wet fingers or gloves and its high-visibility backlit display with a simple, seven-button keypad make it very easy to use. It comes with a huge capacity (2000 mAh) Lithium-ion battery pack allied to 5-watt or 1-watt output for more time at sea, plus VOX, which allows you to use the radio hands free.

Standard Horizon HX300E

With 5W transmit power, IPXwaterproofing, integrated buoyancy that enables it to float face up and a water-activated flashing LED that helps you locate it if it goes overboard, the HX300 is a very capable marine unit. Despite the compact case, it comes with a USB cable with 230VAC adapter for extra flexibility when recharging; and the ‘E2O’ (Easy To Operate) menu system allows intuitive access to all the setup functions. It comes with Programmable Scan, Priority Scan, Dual watch and Tri Watch and a belt clip and hand strap are included as standard.

Icom IC-M2Euro

The IC-M2is built around a rugged, waterproof (IPX7) body, with a ‘Float n Flash’ facility, which activates a bright LED if the radio is dropped overboard. You also get an ‘AquaQuake’ facility to remove water from the speaker, plus a 5W Output, a Tri-watch mode and a Lithium-Ion battery with an 11-hour operating time. Despite a user-friendly screen that is 30 per cent larger than its predecessor, the IC-M23, the new radio retains very compact dimensions and a weight of just 220g.

Cobra HH500

As the replacement for the much-loved HH475, the new HH500 is Cobra’s flagship handheld and it shows. You get Bluetooth capability, plus a ‘Rewind-Say-Again’ facility, enabling you to replay the last 20 seconds of a transmission. In addition to ATIS-compatibility, you also get a ‘Burp’ feature to shake water free of the grill, plus output options of 1, and Watts and a noise-cancelling microphone. The battery capacity isn’t huge but with a signal strength meter, a button lock, illuminated keys and a Tri-watch facility, it is an impressively specified radio.

Entel HT644

For those who like to engage in the rough and tumble of year-round open boating, a unit like Entel’s HT64makes good sense. It comes with commercial grade construction, a 2000 mAh Li-Ion battery pack for 12.5-hour use and class-leading IP6submersible waterproofing (five metres for one hour). It also has the ability to function at anything from -20 to +5degrees Centigrade, plus a Keylock safety function, VOX hands-free operation and Entel’s classic seven-button interface for user convenience.

Simrad HH36

While Simrad is not especially well known for its handheld equipment, the HH3has plenty going for it. In addition to a very loud 700mW speaker for clear communication in noisy environments, you get a large LCD display, built-in buoyancy, selectable 5W/1W transmit power, Dual Watch, Keylock and Man Over Board functionality. The battery capacity isn’t huge, but you can extend operation from eight to 1hours on the ‘Power Save’ setting – and at less than 300g, it’s even moderately lightweight for a unit of its type.

Standard Horizon HX870E E2O

Standard Horizon’s powerful 6W HX870E comes with built-in GPS/DSC, plus a buoyant die-cast chassis, an IPXsubmersible waterproof rating and a generous 1800 mAh Li-Ion battery. It also employs a glow-in-the-dark gasket, NMEA compatibility via the charger cradle, an LED strobe light with various flash patterns (including SOS), and an impressively watertight three-year warranty. It can save up to 200 waypoints and 20 routes and you can track them via the compass page, which shows SOG, COG, bearing and distance to each waypoint.

VHF handheld radio

The last time PBO tested handheld VHF radios was back in January 201Since then there have been changes to product ranges, updates to existing models, and some are no longer around.

There’s no doubt in my mind, reinforced by lots of practical experience, that a handheld VHF radio is an essential communication and safety item on any craft heading out on the water.

Fixed radios have their role, and when installed by the navigation table offer a convenient communication location. However, there are many occasions when the opportunity to communicate on deck offers great advantages, not least the ability to both monitor the boat’s position and in safety situations monitor the scene while communicating.

Handhelds can be used by a tender shore party to communicate with the mother ship, and of course they’re vital in any abandon-ship situation.

Common features

All those tested come with detachable belt clips, which not everyone will want. The swivel type can be detached by rotating through 180° – which could lead to accidental loss. Hand lanyards (or straps) are also provided, and these are best attached to the radio body, not the belt clip, so they can be used when the clip is detached.

All radios can select high- or low-transmission power, and some have three levels. All have a lock function to prevent accidental change to settings, but will still allow the transmit function.

All have a battery level indicator: those with push-button volume and squelch will have a linear level indicator for these on the display screen.

How we tested them

We took the radios out on the Solent aboard my Beneteau First 305, and I picked up a mooring off Calshot in Southampton Water. Alan Watson then motored his Nelson powerboat Trinity Star eastwards into the Solent, acting as the communication boat.

We tried each radio at different distances on low power (1W) until reception began to break down. We then turned the radios to their full transmitting power. At their limit we used the radios while standing up in the cockpit.

The test team reviewed the sets for ease of use, focusing on channel change, squelch and volume control.

Product Features

If you are looking for a high quality, reliable and lightweight marine radio, then Standard Horizon HX870 is the perfect one for you. It has many awesome features that make it popular among people. First of all the built-in GPS feature is amazing and life-saver. Built-in GPS can detect your position automatically.

Secondly the noise cancellation features. This feature (Noise Cancellation) will help you to listen to the voice of the other end of the transmission. This marine vhf radio is completely waterproof not just so-called water resistant. Standard Horizon HX870 is floatable so you can easily retrieve it if it falls on water. It also has mob function, strobe, and waypoint navigation. You can purchase this product if it meets your need and budget.

There is also no standardization with wire color coding, so you need to pay close attention to the instructions in each manual of the two units you are connecting.  The brown wire on your GPS may need to connect to the purple wire on your radio.

The newer NMEA 2000 standards solve most, if not all, of the problems of the old standard.  It allows all of your electronic equipment to talk to each other.  For instance, the instruments on your navigation station will talk to the gauge on your helm, even if they are of different manufacture.  It also allows easy plug in of all components.

Get the whole story here.

Adjacent Ch. Selectivity – More than 80dB.  Which is better?  Why is one expressed as a negative?  We have no clue.


There are some accessories you may want to consider, such as a remote microphone (called a RAM mike or a WHAM mike depending on brand.)  We use one because our VHF radio is at the nav station below deck, and it’s handy to have a second at the helm.  A remote mike does the job without needing another installation of a radio as well as antenna and 12v power.   Some units will accept these, some not, so if you feel you may want one in the future, make sure you get a radio which has that capability.

A remote speaker for at the helm can be an essential accessory, and almost all VHF radios have an output for it.  However, a hailing speaker, which some may want, may not be available in some models.

Alright, you just got your amateur radio license and you’re itching to get on the air. But first you need a radio. What type should you get? As a volunteer examiner, I’ve been asked this question scores of times. It’s a common question of the new ham, and one that doesn’t have an easy answer. But hopefully in this video will shed some light on what’s available and help you make a good purchase decision.

As new technician radio license holder, you will most likely set your eyes on the VHF & UHF bands. I know techs also have limited privileges on the HF bands, and we’ll talk about getting your first HF rig in a future video. Today let’s concentrate on VHF and UHF communications. And in this realm your choices boil down to two formats, the handheld radio and the mobile/base station.

But what makes a handheld so convenient, is also their biggest downside. You are limited in transmit power, batteries quickly discharge, and rubber duck antennas are lackluster.

So it’s no easy choice between the two. Maybe the answer is, what do you want to get out of amateur radio? Are you on the road a lot? Are you looking to get involved with emergency communications? Do you want to make friends over the air? And most importantly, what’s your budget. These questions will lead you into what radio choices are best for starting out.

Budget is a big consideration, you may not have a lot of money to spend, or in just getting started with the hobby, you may not want to make a big initial investment only to later regret it.

So in that spirit, I’m going to lay out a roadmap to building your amateur radio station. Prices are approximate and nothing I say is an endorsement of a particular brand. This is just a guideline to help you build your own station.

This setup will work nice, you’ll hit all the area repeaters and be able to talk simplex with your local friends. But using a handheld as a base radio is cumbersome. The battery doesn’t last for long, and they tend to overheat if you use them for long periods of time.

But what matters is to get on the air, make some contacts, meet new people, and most importantly- have fun. The amount of money you spend is immaterial. So with that, invest into the amateur radio hobby the amount you feel comfortable with.

User feedback

Some valuable user insight from community members include the recommendation that you not skimp when purchasing a miniature radio frequency meter. That said, there are some really affordable options on the market- and they are a great place to start before you invest in something more sophisticated.

The way they work, is that you turn on the frequency counter by holding the on button for a second, switch on your radio, make sure that the two antennas are touching, then you’ll hold down the transmission button for a few moments until you have captured the frequency.

Pause for a few seconds at this point before holding down the transmission button again. If you are looking to capture CTCSS codes you do not need to hold as long as you do for DCS codes, which in the case of the NSKI frequency meter requires up to 20 seconds of button-holding to capture. Some users who purchased less expensive options complain about the flimsy build quality and the antenna that oftentimes arrived broken in shipping.

Another common complaint is that the manufacturers sometimes oversimplify the user interface- consolidating all functionality into one button, which can make operation more rather than less confusing.

This manifests when users were attempting to select a frequency range because the time out for the stop was so quick that it would take several attempts before you get what you wanted. In all, it would seem to make sense to invest in a quality model to start with rather than opt for a less expensive option that might arrive broken or lack the functionality and dependability of a higher-priced radiofrequency counter.


The transceiver is also channeled with Trig’s miniature control head.

The two-pound A220 fits in a standard radio stack and measures 6.0 by 1.0 by 10.0 inches. It has an 8-watt transmitter and like its portable brethren, comes standard with a frequency memory bank with programmable six-character channel name (it can store 200 channels), a NOAA weather channel receiver, plus one-touch 121.MHz emergency frequency access. The Dual Watch function monitors the active and standby channels simultaneously.

The newer OLED (organic LED) display is a big improvement over the display used in older versions of the radio. It provides better wide-angle viewing (the specs say almost 180 degrees) and better contrast when splashed with bright sun.

The radio can be wired for a two-place voice-activated intercom and the feature set includes a timer, plus an option for external frequency transfer with a yoke-mounted switch.


The award-winning SP-400 is simply the most powerful portable radio you can buy—like having a complete standby radio stack in your flight bag. The all-in-one radio makes a reliable backup for emergency use, but it’s also perfect for listening to ATIS, getting clearances before engine start or just monitoring local traffic.

But a great radio is worthless if it’s hard to use. That’…

Why we recommend AA batteries

Of course we offer a rechargeable battery pack for the SP-400 if you so desire. This is a good option for pilots who fly more frequently or for FBO use. Whichever option you choose, we believe you’ll get great performance and long battery life from Sporty’s radio.

The History of Wireless Audio Systems

Several individuals and companies have made competing claims that they invented the first wireless system. The earliest wireless mic schematics and do-it-yourself kits appeared in hobbyist magazine such as Popular Science and Popular Mechanics in the mid-1940s. From the late ‘40s through the early ‘50s various tinkerers created “wireless radio microphones” that transmitted signals using radio frequencies. These systems showed up sporadically in theatrical and sporting events.

The Shure Brothers laid claim to having the first wireless microphone system for performers. Called the Vagabond, it had a very limited range of about 1feet. In 1957, a German company called Lab W, later to become Sennheiser, created a wireless system that had a range of about 300 feet.

An American electrical engineer, Raymond A. Litke, developed a wireless microphone system in 195that was used in various applications such as the Olympic trials in 195and the 1960 Democratic and Republican conventions. He was granted the first wireless system patent in 196A version of the system was introduced later that year by Vega Electronics and was marketed as the Vega Mike.

Sony introduced its first wireless microphone system, the CR-4, in 1958, and by 1960 it was the system of choice for many theatre performances and nightclub acts. German manufacturer, Beyerdynamic, was also successful during this era with its wireless technology that was used in 196to capture the soundtrack for the filmed version of the musical My Fair Lady.

In the mid 1970s companding technology developed by Nady Systems resulted in wireless systems with a wider dynamic range. This led to their adoption by stadium acts such as Todd Rundgren and The Rolling Stones.

Today, almost every large venue uses wireless systems, dramatically changing the dynamics of performance. In 199a joint Emmy Award for “pioneering the development of the broadcast wireless microphone” went to Nady, CBS, Sennheiser, and Vega.

Wireless Microphone System Components

All wireless mic systems, regardless of their applications, are made up of two basic components: transmitters and receivers. Transmitters convert the audio signal captured by the mic into a radio signal. These are then sent to a receiver that converts them back to an audio signal that is then sent to the sound system.

First, we’ll look at the various types of mic transmitters.

Handheld Microphone Transmitters

These wireless mics incorporate the transmitter into their handle so both functions are contained in a single unit. As with wired handheld mics, there are numerous wireless dynamic and condenser mic models to choose from that will match just about any performer’s needs. Some manufacturers offer separate transmitters that can be plugged into the XLR connector of any dynamic mic, making microphone options even more plentiful when going wireless.

The Shure BLX24/SM5Handheld Wireless System with SM5Capsule includes a BLXreceiver which is a lightweight, durable ABS polymer chassis. It has a smaller footprint than previous receivers, and features an enhanced group and channel scan. Equipped with true diversity and a rugged build quality, this easy to use wireless receiver brings unprecedented quality into this price range.


Virtually all pro wireless systems operate on either the VHF (very high frequency) or UHF (ultra high frequency) bands. VHF wireless systems generally operate within the 17to 216MHz range (the range of TV channels 7-13), while UHF uses the 470 to 805MHz range (the range for TV channels 14-69).

Traditionally, UHF has been used by higher-end wireless systems, and has the reputation for having more transmitter range and being less prone to TV interference. These are real advantages but need some qualification.

UHF-based systems are allowed more transmitter power by regulation, but that doesn’t mean that any given system actually has more power than a given VHF system. UHF also has more range than VHF, not because of power, but because the signals move through the atmosphere more easily. UHF also has up to eight times more frequencies available.

As for less interference, that situation is changing. As parts of the UHF range are being assigned to public safety communications and digital TV broadcasting, the band is becoming more crowded. Also, the highest end of the UHF spectrum (above 900MHz) is a general-purpose range used for cordless telephones, garage door openers, and ham radio, so it’s not advisable for wireless use as interference problems are very likely. Actually, both bands are becoming more crowded. As discussed in the next section, digital signal processing technology is playing an important role in dealing with interference.

Key Wireless Receiver Functions and Features

The true worth of a wireless system is determined by its overall sound quality, dynamic range, freedom from dropouts and interference, and its operating range. Essentially, you want a wireless system to sound like a wired system. You also want a system that has easy-to-use controls and easy-to-read displays. There are a number of other common features that are true for all wireless mic, instrument, and in-ear monitoring systems that are not so immediately obvious.

Automatic Frequency Selection

With this feature, a frequency-agile system selects the frequency automatically. It’s a nice feature to have if you need a system with frequency agility as described in the previous paragraphs, because you’ll be resetting your system fairly often. Some high-end systems offer automatic setup of your entire wireless system.


As with any piece of electronic music gear, how well a wireless system keeps you informed of its status is an important consideration. Having a display that’s highly legible and well-lit is a big help during setup and performance. It should indicate signal strength, identify the channel being used, and have low-battery level warning indicators or battery-level meters. Battery-status displays are usually located on the transmitter, but some high-end systems have them on the receiver too.





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your handheld vhf wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of handheld vhf



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