Newby looking for 2m Hand Held Advice

Hi today after getting my License early in December (M7BIA) I did my first activation G/SP-004 Shinning Tor in the UK. It was a beautifully bright, but windy, cold day. With my bonus I got 5 points (10 QSO’s) and a Summit to Summit! A good start! So I am hooked.
Today I was using a Baofeng UV5R+ on 2M. I know the front end is poor and I suspect I lost a few calls because of it. I did improve things by using a Sotabeams 2M Bandpass filter, with a Super-elastic Signal Stick Antenna. What would people suggest as a reliable 2m hand held, that is going to reject RF interference? It is something I am plagued with in this part of the UK. 73s Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Good to work you S2S today. I wonder if you managed to get a good QSO with 2E0SAE in the end? I’ve never had any breakthrough issues on Shining Tor with any rig. I imagine that if you used a better rig then you wouldn’t even need the SOTABEAMS filter on that summit.

The handheld I was using when I worked you today was the very Yaesu FT70D. I can honestly say it is, by some distance, the best handheld I have ever used. So if you’re looking for a recommendation, then I suggest this with total confidence.

Of course you’ll want a multiband portable rig as well at some point - an FT-817/818 for instance, allowing access to HF. I was mainly on 60m today but took a break from it to try and get the S2S with you.

2m and 10m for me tomorrow morning.

In our country the best one I had ever used is Yaesu FT-60, now available from second hand :wink:
Good luck on SOTA.

73, Jarek

Thanks so much for the advice. It was great to get you today. I have looked at some of your previous logs and am in awe… I learnt a lot about organising myself in the cold. The Baofeng has been a great gateway into the hobby but now I plan to upgrade. I have always been a keen Walker so being able to combine the two things is great, I am looking at a QRP rig and a hand held. My shortlist is either a FT-818 or a Xiegu 5051. Have a good morning!

1 Like

Thanks Jarek. A lot of people like the FT-60. I will keep an eye open. 73s!

1 Like

Yaesu FT70D
Icom V85

2nd hand
Yaesu VX170
Yaesu FT270
Yaesu FT60
Kenwood TH79


I’m another recent licence holder and bought a Yaesu FT65 which is at the budget end of their range I think. I’ve used it successfully on a hill both with the stock antenna and a slim Jim hanging from a fishing pole.

However, I can’t use it at home with any sort of external antenna during the week as there is a strong background signal I can only describe as a roar. No amount of twiddling with the squelch can remove it.

It is much better at the weekend so I’ve concluded it comes from a massive construction site nearby where lots of portable radios are being used.

I’m not sure this adds much to your question but spending a bit more might be an answer. :slight_smile:

But if you can meet up with someone on a hill and compare what they get with their equipment compared to what you are getting it could be very useful.

I won’t be travelling your way for a few months I fear. :frowning:

Well done on the Activation!

As others had said FT-60, but use an Diamond RH770 Whip. The whip makes the radio top heavy, but you’ll be amazed at its capabilities! Just watch out for the cheap fakes on ebay!

I’d recommend the IC-V86. It has an amazing receiver and the BNC connector is great for changing antennas with gloves on. The only downside is that its only VHF. I’d echo the recommendation for a RH-770 antenna, or the MFJ 1714 long ranger if you can’t find a real one.


Pure cruft. Cut your loss and sell it ASAP.

Welcome Martin

While I realize you asked about different/better handhelds, I suspect you might improve your results irrespective of the handheld with a slim Jim antenna. I have a variation of this one available on eBay

and the snap below is mine deployed hanging from a carbon fibre pole. I have had QSOs out 170+ miles using a 5w handheld and this antenna, YMMV…


I went with the FT60 as my first radio. Good decision, robust, good feature set for a beginner radio. A N9TAX Slim Jim J-Pole antenna also made loads of difference when I was starting out. And I swapped out the factory whip on my FT60 with a Signal Stick, which helped greatly for those times when putting up the Slim Jim wasn’t convenient.

I’ll second the recommendation of getting a mast. I love hearing the old “just throw it up in a tree” from people who live in other areas with trees. A lightweight mast means never having to count of finding a suitable tree in the AZ.

1 Like

I use a Yaesu VX6 handheld, primarily because it is properly waterproof (advertised as submersible). Only downside is it lacks C4FM and has a very wide front end (but that makes it useful for listening to non amateur frequencies too).

Yaesu 818 for HF operation…but if I am eyeing up an elecraft kx2 at the moment. Maybe I will treat myself if I get a full license and one comes up second hand.

I was expecting more second hand portables to appear on the market after the influx of brand new icom 705s.

1 Like

I’ll post a link to Razvan’s blog article about 2m/70cm handheld performance again.

I had UV82 as my first handheld and it is still good. I made modification to improve modulation based on following info. If you are not confident with solder iron, just make microphone hole slightly bigger 2.1mm and modulation will improve. This could be great spare/second radio.

Baofengs suffer from blocked RX when close to strong signal like repeaters or transmitters, so I moved to Yaesu FT65 and recently purchased AnyTone AT-d878UV as a FM and DMR radio. It has GPS and APRS in it on top of 8W output.

I use double 5/8 FlowerPot antenna as a foldable version which is easy to hand on any tree or 4-5m mast.

Good luck and HNY
73 de Marek


We have had this request here many times… and this link “qrpblog” has also been posted:

It simply depends on what equipment you want… what it should be able to do…! If it may be simpler, but robust and with a really good receiver - an Icom IC-V__ may be enough for you (like for me).

Otherwise you have the choice in the upward pretty open price scale.

For SOTA, you might want to think about the operation and outdoor qualities.

73 Armin

I use a Yaesu VX6 HT with Diamond SRH770, although it is usually my backup radio. I’d buy another if anything happened to this one.

I like it because it’s compact, rugged (metal case), relatively affordable (paid £150 new) and can be recharged in the field with USB power bank and/or solar. No APRS which is a shame but not a deal breaker by any means. Anecdotally, I’ve had some great contacts on 70cms. Worth a look.

@M1HAX does the VX6 charge from 5V?

@M0MZB - Hi mate, no, it’s 12v, but there is a USB/12v boost cable designed for an Echo Dot which works perfectly, see

@M1HAX That’s brilliant, thanks for the tip. I have just ordered one. It saves me carrying a 3S LiPo when I only have the VX6.

1 Like