How Much Does a Ham Radio Cost? Detailed Cost Breakdown


Written by

Rafeal Hart


Fact-checked by

Norris Howe

how much does a ham radio cost

The average cost of ham radio ranges from $25 to $10000. However, these prices greatly vary and can be influenced by various factors, including the features and types of equipment.

Different levels can also influence them, from entry-level, mid-range, high-end, and used ham radios. So, is ham radio an expensive hobby? Don’t, worry! We got you covered.

If you are wondering “how much does a ham radio cost,” this article is for you.

We will cover various categories of ham radios in-depth and discuss the additional costs to consider for this hobby. We’ll also look at the tips for buying a ham radio on a budget and more.

A table summary of the prices ranges of ham radios: 

Category Price Range Cost of Equipment
Entry-Level Ham Radios $25-$300+ $100-$400+
Mid-Range Ham Radios $700-$1200+ $800-$1200+
High-End Ham Radio $800-$10000+ $150-2000+
Used Ham Radios

$20+ depending on specific factors

$100+(varies greatly)

>Note: The price ranges and equipment cost above are just estimates and can still vary if factors such as age, brand, features or the seller are considered. With the equipment cost, you may still have to factor in antennas, power supply, and more.

Price Range of Ham Radios


Ham radios prices can differ depending on their level, such as entry-level, mid-range, high-end, and used radios. Let’s take a closer look at each category:

  • Entry-Level Ham Radios
Baofeng UV-5RA is among the highly recommended first ham radios.

The price range for entry-level ham radios ranges between $25-$300. They are designed for those on a budget or for those who want to get started. While they still offer reliable communication, they have fewer features and are quite cheap.

You can’t compare them to those that cost a couple of dollars. Baofeng products are among the highly recommended first ham radios.

  • Mid-Range Ham Radios
Costs of ICOM 7300 02 is about $1200.

Mid-range ham radio prices can range from $700-$1200. They have more advanced features and perform well compared to entry-level ham radios.

In addition, they have more power, ability, and easily accessible spare parts and optional accessories.

  • High-End Ham Radio
Costs of Kenwood TS-890S is about $5300

The price range of a high-end ham radio ranges from $800-$10000. The high-end level consists of the most expensive ham radios, with exceptional and more advanced features.

They are usually designed for experienced operators with licenses or those who want to set up a complex base station.

  • Used Ham Radios


The prices of used ham ranges might not be definite. However, depending on various factors, they can start from as low as $20 for entry-level ham radios and up to a handful of dollars for high-end ham radios.

Factors such as condition, features, brand, or age can affect prices. The seller and the location might also be a factor. However, here, you can find some inexpensive ham radios.

  • Cost of Equipment

The cost of equipment for a ham radio can start from as low as $100 for entry-level equipment to some thousands for high-end equipment. However, power, features, and the brand still influence these costs.

Additional Costs to Consider


Beyond the initial costs, there are several other costs to consider when buying a ham radio.

Below are some of the costs:

Power supply $100-$150
Cables and connectors $70
Antennas $50 – $1000
Licensing Fee $90 – $100
  • Power Supply

The cost of power in ham radio can vary between $100-$150, depending on the equipment quality needed to power the transceiver and other components.

Typically, a 13.8 power voltage is used, but this can vary depending on the specific signal requirements within the system.

  • Cables and Connectors

A basic ham radio setup will require various cables and connectors. You might need the grounding cables, coaxial cables, or fuses.

In the lower level, this should cost at most $70. However, the actual cost may vary depending on the type, length required, or brand.

  • Antennas

The ham radio’s range is determined by its antenna, which receives and relays radio signals. Depending on the setup level, installing an antenna can range from as low as $50 to as high as $1000.

Ham radio tower prices might also affect the cost of the antenna. The tower plays a critical role in providing signal clearance, height, and accessibility for the antenna.

  • Licensing Fee

The cost of a ham radio license can vary based on the specific license type needed. Generally, three types of licenses are available: general, technician, and amateur radio.

Each type has its permissions depending on the region or country. For instance, in the United States, you may need $32.95 for the entry-level test, $15 for the exam, and $35 for the FCC.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Ham Radios


Various factors affect the cost of ham radio. Here are some of the major factors:

  • Frequency Range

Ham radios with higher or broader frequency bands are more expensive than others. They are versatile and provide access to various bands and modes. These radios can operate across multiple frequency bands, including UHF, FH, and VHF.

  • The Type of Radio

There are two types of radio: A portable ham radio and a mobile ham radio. Each has its features and capabilities, affecting its price. A portable ham radio is usually priced under $100, while a mobile ham radio can cost up to $2000.

  • Power Output

The power output of a radio affects its frequency range and price. Radios with higher power output are typically more expensive than those with lower power output.

  • The Brand and Quality of the Radio

The better the brand and quality, the greater the performance and the more advanced the features.

Good-quality brands are more reliable and often command higher prices than other low-quality brands.

  • Features and Functionality

The cost of a ham radio is primarily determined by its features and functionality. Radios with more advanced capabilities and features are priced higher than those with less impressive features.

Tips for Buying a Ham Radio on a Budget

Purchasing a ham radio on a budget doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality. These top tips will guide you in finding affordable ham radio options that fulfill your requirements.

1. Go step by step


As a beginner ham radio operator, start small. Don’t buy what your knowledge and skills can’t handle.

Look for something that matches your skills and is easy to operate. Go step by step as you make your way up to more advanced radios.

2. Consider your needs


Take your time to identify what you want and your budget. Don’t just buy. Consider the style of operation and the gears you may require for that style.

For instance, if you are not interested in using high-frequency radios, do not buy them. Make a thoughtful decision.

3. Enroll in a local club


Local clubs can provide beginners with guidance on running ham radios. At these clubs, you can meet people you can exchange or borrow equipment from before buying. Make use of these clubs for valuable recommendations and tips.

4. Consider older models


If you’re working with a tight budget, it’s worth considering used equipment to save money. Used items are some of the affordable ham radio options and are typically priced lower than new ones, and can cut the cost in half.

However, it’s important to check the brand and quality, review the purchase terms, and if possible, test it out before buying.


Starting as a beginner ham radio operator doesn’t have to be daunting.

Although, the price of a ham radio is not straightforward and can be influenced by various factors, not limited to the seller, brand, or features. Still, you can purchase a ham radio on a budget by following our guide.

Now that you know how much does a ham radio cost, you can easily choose the one that specifies your needs and your intended investment level.

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