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The Best HF Radios for 2020

In the golden age of the Internet, it is nice to see that old means of communication like radios are still alive and kicking. The radio has its own charming points and many people take great interest in it. They are willing to spend time and money to establish their own radio system.

best hf radio

There are different types of radio on the market – each type serves different purposes and caters to a specific audience. Today, we are going to discuss HF radio – a popular kind of radio that is frequently used for DXing or communications over a vast distance.

Many people might be curious about the best HF radio on the market. We have compiled a list of the best-selling HF radios that might appeal to you. Every product on this list has its own strengths and weaknesses. We hope that with our reviews as the buying guide you can pick the most suitable product for yourself.

Best HF Radio Reviews

1. ICOM 7300 02 Shortwave Radio

To begin with, I’m going to introduce a wonderful product from ICOM. It is not an exaggeration to say that this is the best mobile HF radio on the market. This device is impressive in many aspects and I can guarantee that this purchase is a worthwhile investment.

First of all, I would like to appreciate the intuitive user interface of this ham radio. It might not look like it at first, but you will only need some time to familiarize yourself with this new device. The button and knob system is not too hard to figure out, with the adjacent labels’ help.

Acting as the main control panel of the radio, the large LCD touchscreen is placed right in the middle. You will find any information that you need to know on this 4.3’’ screen. There is a waterfall display to indicate all radio frequencies, and you can tap on it to tune in the frequency you want.

There are many interesting features in this product. This device is an effective direct sampling receiver. Also, this is a decent 100-watt transmitter with up to 101 channels in diverse modes (FM, AM, RTTY, CW, or SSB). Another special thing is that you will have an SD card to store all screenshots and audio recordings.

The signal sensitivity of this HF radio is no joke. This device works well on the frequency range from 0.030 to 74.800 RX. The signals are stable and clear with little to no noise. When you’re scanning different bands, the device does not fail to pick up even the faintest signals, all to ensure the best experience for radio users.

The only thing I can complain about this product is that it is a bit heavy. Having a heavy radio could be troublesome at times, especially when you need to move it around.
Pros
  • Intuitive, user-friendly interface
  • Packed with interesting features
  • Great signal sensitivity
Cons
  • A bit heavy
Regardless of one small issue, this is an HF radio that is worth every penny. This radio with strong assets never fails to deliver on the expectations. Customers are in for the best experience with this one-of-a-kind radio device.

2. Xiegu G1M G-Core Portable Radio

Brought to you by Xiegu, the next HF radio on this list will blow your mind. There are many wonderful points about this product that would definitely catch your attention. To whomever in search of the best hf ham radio, this device right here is a strong contender.

At first glance, this radio is small-sized and portable, but the power it packs is immense. This is a high-quality HF radio that stands out from other products on the market. It is not an exaggeration to say that this is an all-rounded radio. Also, it is convenient to keep this radio at home or in your vehicles.

First of all, the menu system is user-friendly and it is easy to handle. The OLED screen is large enough to display all the necessary information. There are two knobs on two ends of the front to make adjustments. There is also a set of yellow button system right below the screen. It wouldn’t take too long to figure out what to do.

In addition, with the AM CW receiving mode, you are allowed to stream news from any part of the world. This wonderful radio can keep you updated and above all, it brings great fun to your everyday life. Moreover, a special thing that this radio can do is improve the Morse Code transmission process, thanks to the 800Hz narrowband CW digital filter.

The signal quality is another great point that I want to add. The sensitivity level is high so you can enjoy clear and consistent signals even from far away radio stations. Good reception quality improves the radio’s performance a whole lot – and that’s something you can look forward to with this product.

As a result, the sound quality of this radio does not disappoint. You are in for the most realistic experience with clear, stable, and excellent sounds. With the adaptive speech noise reduction, the audio quality is upgraded to a new level. I’m really impressed with the performance of this product.

There is a minor issue with this radio, though. The microphone connector is a bit loose, and it might come off unexpectedly. You should be careful and pay attention to it just in case. That is my small advice to improve your experience with this radio.
Pros
  • Easy-to-use menu system
  • Excellent audio performance
  • Great reception quality
Cons
  • The microphone connector is a bit off
There is one small problem with this product but that will not put me off. Apart from that, this radio just shines in other aspects. It does the job wonderfully and manages to satisfy even the most demanding customers. I don’t see any reason why you still hesitate to pick one unit of this incredible HF radio.

3. Yaesu Original FT-450D Transceiver

The third product on our recommendation list is this amazing radio with a base station from Yaesu. If you are looking for the best HF transceiver, this product is an excellent choice. You would definitely be satisfied with this radio and have a wonderful time along the way.

Radio base stations are normally expensive and not everyone can afford one. However, you can get this one at a reasonable price and of course, the superb quality is ensured. This is a good device for radio lovers at entry level – you will have all the important features in other pricey devices.

This 100-watt radio receiver can work on different modes: CW, AM, LSB, USB, and FM. You will have a wide range of options to choose from and a more diverse listening experience. In addition, with this radio, you can reach all shortwave and AM broadcast stations. With the help of the notch filter and variable bandwidth, you can tune in stations from a distance.

The signal quality of this radio is quite impressive, too. With the high-quality digital signal processing technology, the clarity of the signals is significantly improved and there is little to no interference. I guess everyone would understand the frustration of cracking signals and that’s the last thing you would want to experience. This product is the right answer.

However, some people might be put off by this point: the menu system could be confusing. It would take some time for a person to grasp what is presented fully. You should consider it before making any purchase.
Pros
  • A reasonably priced option
  • A well-featured product for beginners
  • Great signal clarity with little interference
Cons
  • It took some time to be familiar with the menu options
There is a minor issue with this HF radio but it is not a deal-breaker. This is a product that you would be satisfied with every part of it. I highly recommend this radio to customers who are interested in establishing your radio system.

4. Xiegu G90 HF Amateur Radio

Coming up next, the fourth product promises to bring even more surprises. This HF radio is another high-quality product that you should not miss out on. There are many interesting features to look forward to. Check this out and see if you share the same opinion as I do.

This product comes in a relatively small size and the portability is great. If you are looking for a small and compact design, this portable HF transceiver might appeal to you. The display unit is detachable so that you can place the head in other places. This is what sets this radio apart from other models.

On the front of the device, there is a large LCD screen to show the essential information. The wide colored screen is visible even in the daylight and in the dark. The waterfall display shows which frequency you are tuning in and keeps tracks of others as well.

In addition, this radio features a wide-range antenna tuner and the signal quality is significantly improved. With this wonderful radio, you will enjoy incredible transmission and reception quality. I believe that is an important factor to look for in a decent product and this radio does just right.

It is quite easy to operate and control this radio. There is a Quick Mode button for you to control different functions. You don’t have to set up the functions in the menu system anymore, but pressing the corresponding keys instead. That would be more convenient and save a lot of time.

However, the thing that makes customers hesitate to buy this radio is the price. Many people consider it too high and they aren’t willing to pay that much. I suggest you should take this matter into account when making a purchase.
Pros
  • Portable size
  • Easy to use and control
  • Excellent signal quality
Cons
  • A bit expensive
Overall, this HF mobile ham radio deserves its spot on our list. It possesses all the necessary qualities to be the best HF radio for beginners. You will have a wonderful experience with this incredible device. I can say that this is a worthwhile investment that you should not miss out on.

5. Yaesu Original FT-891 Transceiver

The fifth product comes from Yaesu and it is an incredible HF transceiver for the money. There are many charming points about this device that you will be excited to explore. This product truly lives up to the expectations and it will deliver the best experience.

Overall, this radio is small in size, especially when compared to other similar models. That is a huge plus point that you would definitely enjoy – no one wants a chunky and completed device that they will never fully explore. Because of its size, this product is suitable for a truck or any other vehicle.

There are many interesting features to look forward to. For example, there is a ZIN feature that would adjust two radio frequencies to equality via the touch of a button. You should also pay attention to the new circuit design that will significantly improve the radio performance.

This radio boasts a pretty high output power – at a stable 100 Watt. I would also like to mention that you can connect this radio to the PC via USB port. This feature will broaden your range of listening options and customers are in for an exciting performance.

This device is designed in a way that brings out the best of the product. The control buttons can be lit so that they are visible in the dark. In addition, the LED screen is of great quality. Information is displayed neatly and cleanly, making it easy to read. This screen is visible even in bright conditions, unlike other models.

There is just a minor inconvenience when using this radio. When you switch between different frequency bands, the menu settings would change back to default. This might not be the best thing, so you should definitely consider this factor carefully.
Pros
  • A small-sized radio
  • The buttons can be lit to use in the dark
  • Excellent power output (100W)
Cons
  • When switching between different bands, the menu settings turn to default
Considering all the benefits, you should not miss out on this amazing HF radio. The device does its job wonderfully and there is no big problem with it. I highly recommend you check this product and get the first-hand experience with it.

6. Kenwood Original TS-590SG Transceiver

The sixth product is another high-quality radio from Kenwood. This radio possesses many strong assets to make it to our list. I believe this product could be a smart choice for your radio system. You can have high hopes for it!

This device is made of heavy-duty and durable material so that it can withstand grueling conditions. You can have this radio as your companion for a long time. In addition, the device works well for hours on end without overheating, thanks to the effective cooling system. You can have complete trust in the durability of this wonderful product.

The LED screen on the front is large enough for customers to see all the information clearly. Plus, the light of the screen can change to whichever hue you choose. This feature could be quite fun, especially in dark places. It also makes the display screen more noticeable.

The audio performance of this product is phenomenal. Since the signals are stable, the sounds are of great quality as well. With this product, you can enjoy an amazing radio experience that you have never had before. Moreover, the noise reduction function helps filter out the noises and as a result, the audio becomes clearer.

In addition, to help with the reception quality, there is a built-in automatic antenna tuner. This extra feature might make a great difference when compared to other radio models on the market. Plus, the mic monitor feature is also great. It allows you to choose from six different settings to adjust the audio. You can have different listening experiences with this function.

The thing with this product is that it is a bit pricey. It might not be the best option for those who are shopping with a budget. In that case, I suggest that you shop around for better deals.
Pros
  • The LED screen can be illuminated with colored lights
  • Exceptional sound quality
  • Several mic monitor features
Cons
• Expensive

  • A bit pricey
I’m 100% satisfied with this product. I think this radio is a great investment that you won’t regret. It is not an exaggeration to claim that this is the best mobile HF transceiver and it truly deserves this spot on the list. Don’t hesitate to check this out.

7. Icom IC-718 Transceiver

The seventh product on our list is brought to you by Icom. This is a great HF base transceiver that has everything you need. This radio could be a strong contender to be a part of your radio system. Check this out and see what this device has got to offer.

This product is another small-sized radio that would be perfect for casual radio users. The small size is particularly convenient since you can put it in a car or other vehicle. If you are looking for a companion on the road, this radio promises to be a wonderful entertainment source.

There are several built-in modes to choose from: AM, RTTY (FSK), CW, LSB, and USB. You will have a wide range of listening options to experience. Plus, there are also a total of 101 radio stations stored in memory that you can tune in.

This radio is a perfect fit for DXing, especially with the DSP function. The reception quality is improved significantly, and the radio works well over a vast distance. I believe this radio is a valuable piece of equipment that you would love to add to your cart.

It is not difficult to operate and control this radio. You might be confused at first with the button system, but it is quite easy to figure it out. In case you have some difficulties, please refer to the manual for better instructions.

However, this product lacks a bit. There is no antenna tuner on this radio, and that might be a minus point to some people. The device would be complete if the manufacturers work on this matter. The quality of the product will be significantly improved.
Pros
  • A small-sized device
  • Easy to use and control
  • Up to 101 channels stored in memory
Cons
  • No antenna tuner
This HF radio would make an excellent addition to your radio system. With this amazing device, you can tune in whichever stations you want and have a great time. I highly suggest you consider adding this wonderful product to your cart.

8. HYS HF Transceiver 3-30Mhz

The next spot on our list goes to an interesting HF radio from HYS. There are many features to look forward to and you will have a great time with this amazing product. If you are looking for a high-quality HF radio, don’t forget to check it out.

The design of this radio is a bit different from other models. Instead of having flat surface design, the radio has a kind of wavy design to give customers a better grip. I think that this is a huge plus point and you should definitely check it out. Also, the size is small so you can carry the device around easily.

This HF radio works well on 10, 12, and 15 meter bands, and the best frequency range is between 20 and 30mHz. The input power ranges from 2 to 10W, depending on different modes. Those technical specifications are some information you should keep in mind to use the device properly.

The signal quality and the sound quality of this product is quite impressive. Customers can enjoy crisp and consistent audio without little to no interruption. This is a huge plus point that urges people to pick up this cheap HF transceiver. You won’t be disappointed with what this product has on offer.

There is an extra feature of this amazing radio that could appeal to you. To cope with overheating, this device is equipped with a mini fan. This fan is small but its practicality is immense. It’s necessary to cool down your device after an extended time.

However, there is a minor problem with this product. Although the fan is a great feature, it is a bit loud. This could be distracting, especially when you are enjoying the radio. I suggest you take this matter into account before making any purchase.
Pros
  • Equipped with a fan to minimize the heat
  • Works on different frequency bands
  • Small and compact design
Cons
  • The fan is a bit loud
This budget HF transceiver is not perfect, but the device does its job wonderfully. This radio truly lives up to my expectations and I’m certain that you will think the same. To whoever is looking for a decent radio, this product is the right answer for you.

9. Yaesu Original FT-991A Transceiver

Coming up next is a detailed review of an amazing radio from Yaesu. This is the product that you should definitely have a look at. It boasts wonderful assets that will attract even the most demanding customers. This worthwhile investment would bring you a wonderful time.

This radio is an upgraded version from the old models, and two new features have been added. First of all, the new real-time spectrum scope helps radio users view the signal location on the band, which helps them tune in the desired channels quickly.

Secondly, on the large LED screen, you can see a multi-colored waterfall display of the radio signals. This indicates the strength of those signals, allowing users to detect weak signals. The spectrum scope sometimes cannot fully recognize every signal band, so it is necessary to have this display function.

Moreover, the 3.5-inch display screen is another interesting point that I want to comment on. It is large enough for customers to see all the information clearly, and it also supports a full-colored display. The touch screen also facilitates the interaction between the device and customers.

This HF radio supports various modes: AM, FM, CW, or SSB, which equals a variety of listening options for customers. This device also boasts a high level of power output (up to 100 watts). You can definitely look forward to this one-of-a-kind HF radio.

There is a minor thing that you should consider when buying this product. Many people complain that it is a bit difficult to program this device, especially for beginners. Therefore, you should do research carefully and make sure you understand this radio thoroughly before picking it up.
Pros
  • The new real-time spectrum scope
  • Waterfall display with multiple colors
  • High output power
Cons
  • This device is a bit difficult to program
There is a minor downside but it does not affect my experience with this radio. I’m 100% satisfied with what this device can do and I highly recommend this incredible radio. You won’t be disappointed by all the amazing features that this handheld HF radio has on offer.

10. RECENT RS-918SSB Transceiver

To conclude the list, I’m going to introduce to you a high-quality radio from RECENT. Looking at all the amazing functions, it’s safe to say that this radio could pass as a top-of-the-line product. I can’t see why you should not go for this radio and enjoy a satisfying experience.

The first thing I really like about this product is its portability. The small size and weight allow customers to carry the device around without much difficulty. You can put this radio in your bag and travel with it. If you are a radio enthusiast who is constantly on the go, this HF radio is a perfect fit.

The large LED screen is the most noticeable point of this product. The display comes in full color so that users can see the essential information clearly, either in dark or bright conditions. Another special thing is the dynamic waterfall display that indicates the radio frequencies for quick tuning.

This radio is also a multifunctional piece of equipment. It can be an effective SWR meter, an audio frequency meter, and a signal modulation meter while doing its job wonderfully as an HF transceiver. I can say that this product has great values and it is indeed a smart investment.

The sound quality of this radio is excellent – you would definitely be impressed. The sound delivered through the device is clear and consistent, and it stays true to the original. I can guarantee that your ears are in for a wonderful treat with this high-quality radio.

The product package comes with many pieces, so I suggest you check it carefully before receiving the pack. There is a radio unit, a hand microphone, a change-over plug, a DC power cable, and a user manual. That’s all you need to install the radio and begin to experience it.

The only problem with this radio concerns the touch screen. Many people complain that it does not work properly at times. This might cause unwanted inconvenience to radio users, so you should consider everything carefully before making any purchase.
Pros
  • A lightweight and portable unit
  • Dynamic waterfall display
  • Excellent sound quality
Cons
  • The touch screen does not work properly at times
There are many things to praise about this product and I have a great experience with this HF radio. I highly suggest that you check it out to see whether you share the same opinion as I do. This device embraces everything you’ve ever wanted in a decent HF radio.

What to Look for When Buying an HF Radio

best-hf-transceiver

Buying an HF radio might not be an easy task, especially to those who are still at the entry level. There are a lot of things to consider before reaching the final decision of the best HF transceiver. Moreover, there are a myriad of radio products on the market from different brands, which might confuse even the savviest radio users.

We are here to help with some bullet points of things to consider when buying an HF radio. Please refer to this as a suggestion or a shopping guide to get a rough idea of what type of radio you want. Also, bear in mind that each person has their own definition of the top-rated HF radio, and hope that this could be useful to you.

Signal quality – I believe this is an important factor that you should not ignore. Decent signal reception quality is what makes a radio different from other models on the market. However, it might be difficult to examine the signal quality of a radio at first glance. My best advice is to consult customer reviews and do further research about the product before picking one up

Audio performance – This point goes hand in hand with the first criterion. Good signal quality would improve the sound quality. It’s understandable to prioritize the audio aspects of a radio product – all for the best listening experience. If you go to the local store to get a radio, you can ask to have a soundcheck before coming to the final decision

Size – It would be helpful if you took the size into account. Nobody wants to own a chunky, heavy device that can hardly be moved around. The simple, compact, and portable design seem to be the trend nowadays. You should consider something small in size and light in weight. A portable device could help you multiple times.

Cost – HF radios could be quite pricey and not everyone could afford one. Therefore, it is understandable that you should consider this factor. There are more reasonably-priced options that you could check out, and we have introduced to you some.

The most expensive product does not always go with the best quality. There is no need to splurge a load of money on something you might not need. The best advice I can give is to go for something that suits you personally, not a trendy, expensive device.

Other Important Factors to Consider

best-mobile-hf-radio

What is an HF radio?

HF radio or high-frequency radio is a type of radio that transmits signals between ground operators and base stations over a vast distance. The HF radio has many features that make it a useful tool for wide-range communication, despite outside interference.

Who is this for?

Any radio lover can have one unit of this HF radio, depending on your needs and preferences. An HF radio is best suited to be used to communicate over a vast distance. If you are looking for it in a radio device, then the HF radio is the right answer for you.

How does it work?

The basic mechanism behind the HF radio is based on the delivery of radio signals. Once they leave the base unit or the radio receiver, the radio signals bounce off the ionosphere and return to the radio. Normally, the HF radio is used for communication over vast distances that other radio models fail to do.

What are the different types of HF radios?

HF radios can be divided into two main types: base station transceiver and mobile transceiver. The main difference is its portability of the device. The mobile transceiver is popular for its smaller size and less complicated features. In contrast, a fixed transceiver boasts more features and produces higher levels of power output. Depending on the situation, you can choose a suitable radio.

Why do you need an HF radio?

The communication range of an HF radio is immense, so it would be suitable for wide-range use. If you are interested in wide-range radio communication, the HF radio would be a great choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs-by-Hamtronic

What are the most trusted HF radio brands?

There is a wide variety of HF radio brands for you to choose from. Each brand has its own strengths and weaknesses. You might be attracted to features of certain products and decide to go for it. The decision is personal but there are some brands that you should not miss out on, for example, Xiegu, Yaesu, HYS, and so on.

Why are HF radios so expensive?

Basically, the HF radio is wider banded more when compared to the UHF/VHR radio. It requires a certain amount of power to cover each and every band. The design of an HF radio is complex and intricate, and that explains the price.

How to use it?

Operating and controlling this type of radio is not difficult. You might feel intimidated by the button and knob system at first, but it is actually not. The user interface is normally intuitive and you can easily figure it out with the help of the manual.

Where to buy?

There are different shopping options for you to choose from. You can either order an HF radio online or come to the store and get one by yourself. Each approach has its own plus points – just go for whichever way fits you most. For online shopping, we highly suggest trusted sites such as Amazon and Home Depot. If you are not too fond of shopping via the Internet, the local stores or retail chains are some of the really good choices. Either way, the best advice I can give is to check the products carefully before making any purchase.

How to care and clean?

It is important to take care of your technical device if you want it to last for a long time. It is not a difficult task to do, just need to pay close attention to the device. For example, you should handle the radio with care to avoid dents or scratches. I also suggest that you wipe the surface clean after each use to keep the radio in the best condition. You should keep this radio in a dry place and avoid direct sunlight.

Conclusion

I hope that our reviews could be of some assistance to whoever is looking for the best HF radio. With enough research, I believe that you can find a radio that ticks all your boxes and gives you a wonderful time.

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