A handheld transceiver (HT) is often a new ham’s first radio. As the name suggests, it is small enough to hold in your hand and has enough performance to be useful under many circumstances.
The appeal of a HT is in its relatively low cost plus its obvious portability. Some new hams want to spend as little as possible to get started in amateur radio and new HTs can be had for less than $50 (although not recommended by experienced hams). Other new hams get started with a local emergency communications group which uses them. Still others simply want a radio for keeping in touch with others while hiking or some other outdoor activity.
These radios have a practical range of one to three miles from one HT on the ground to another. This is limited mostly by power and terrain or obstructions. Greater range is achieved by operating from an elevated position or through the use of repeaters (refer to the repeaters topic).
Amateur use of handhelds is most common on the 2m (146MHz) VHF and 70cm (435MHz) UHF bands using frequency modulation (FM). HTs are available for a few other VHF and UHF ham bands as well, depending on local usage and repeater support. While HTs can be found for upper HF bands, antenna length makes them less practical as handheld devices.
Dual-band HTs are quite common and practical, costing little more than a single-band radio. Many of these also allow the user to receive non-ham band transmissions such as weather alerts, aircraft, and police-fire-EMS dispatching.
While useful in some situations, HTs have limitations for ham radio use. To obtain reasonable battery life a HT Continue reading