You’ve finally decided to get that ham radio and join the tight but very active ham community. However, there are more things to take care of before you can fully immerse yourself. Do you already have a power supply for your radio? If you’re on this page, chances are you’re yet to finalize your decision. Many choose to build their power supplies to save money, but honestly, not everyone has the time. If you sort of fall into the latter category and want to save precious hours, then this list is for you. We’ve researched and collected the best power supplies in the market today to help you make the choice, and we have compiled them into a list.
We present our top, affordable recommendations for ham radio power supplies:
TekPower Analog Display TP30SWI 30 Amp DC 13.8V Switching Power Supply with Noise Offset
The company TekPower released a customer favorite in its TP30SWI power supply. Without burning a hole in your pocket, it is already considered a high-quality power supply that has an input power of 110V AC 60Hz and a 13.8V DC power output.
Power supplies like this are conveniently designed with a snap-in output. Besides that particular detail, the power supply model looks sturdily built and more expensive than it is. Its display is easy to read and comprehend. The dimensions, which are listed as 7.5 X 2.8 X 7.5 inches, are not too burdensome and so is its weight at 6 lbs — we’d say everything is just right.
These pros do not mean that it is style over substance with the TekPower TP30SWI power supply. It upholds a reputation for an impressive line and load regulation, and a comfortably quiet run when in use. The power supply is even built with an option for minimizing switching noise through its noise offset knob. In our experience, this is already unnecessary but we appreciate that the function is there. Safety is also a priority with the power supply’s short circuit and overheats protection.
This power supply from TekPower is not meant to be used to power your ham radio alone. If you buy many power supplies of this model, you can also power amplifiers, CB radios, and many others with the power current it has. The only disadvantage constantly pointed out is a barely helpful user manual, which should guide first-time users. For those who are just replacing their equipment, the TekPower TP30SWI might already seem intuitive compared to other power supplies.
TekPower provides the standard 1-year warranty in case of manufacturing defects.
TekPower TP30SWII 30 Amp DC 13.8V Analog Switching Power Supply with Noise Offset
We have another winner from TekPower in its TP30SWII power supply. It is not that far of a departure from the TP30SWI, at least not when it comes to its appearance and primary features. It has an input power of 110V AC 60Hz and possesses the same dimensions while also being affordable. The design is solid and looks as if it is made for long-term use. The analog display is very legible as well. The noise offset knob is present and supposedly handy, but honestly, you probably would not even have to touch it the whole time this power supply is in use.
One minor difference between the earlier TekPower entry and this is the choice of a cigar socket for the design. There are three power sockets including this one, and that is very convenient for a multitude of users. Fortunately, these power sources do not get in the way of its excellent regulation, and the voltage knob is also easy to operate. Moreover, we have no complaints regarding noise.
There are a few things for improvement, though. For one, its voltmeter is not particular with the voltage being put out. Rather than being 30 amp, it is also more accurate to peg the power current at 25. The fan also stands out from the rest of the parts for looking subpar, so much so that one might elect to replace it. However, we don’t find that to be that big of a deal in the long run.
MegaWatt S-400-12x 36 Amps 430 Watts 9.5 to 15 Volts
Our list features another inexpensive option, but this time it is from a different brand. The MegaWatt S-400 is not far off in performance compared to more known brands even when it is considerably cheaper. This option is a reliable power supply that is ideal for radio use as it promises no RF noise and it is highly regulated and filtered. It is also adjustable to up to 15 volts and comes with a grounded power cord courtesy of the brand.
Like the power supplies that came before it on this list, the MegaWatt S-400 prides itself on being quiet equipment. The fans are often described to be nothing more than a whisper, and we can attest to that observation. However, the first two options are better in this regard. Even though the noise won’t strike you as surprising, there is still a discernible whine from its fans that is absent from the power supplies manufactured by TekPower. Some of our experts found it better to position the MegaWatt farther from their hams to tune out the sound the fans emit.
Another critique is its small terminals. There is plastic that obstructs them, which can cause some struggle in the fitting. There is also nothing to buffer the input terminals from direct contact, and this poses an electrical hazard.
MegaWatt makes up for these little annoyances in other things, however. Its voltage stability is impressive, and it also takes pride in a very clean output. Safety is also part of its design: the MegaWatt S-400 has both over voltage shut down and auto short circuit protection.
Pyramid Bench Power Supply | AC-to-DC Power Converter | 50 Amp Ham Radio Power Supply with Adjustable Voltage Control
This one of Pyramid Bench’s power supplies is of a regulated slash linear design. It boasts of a constant supply of DC voltage and a model that does not need any other external power source at 50 Amp or power current. It is also easy to operate and even the screw terminals pose no difficulties. Like others on the list, it is reasonably priced. However, we do have some points that count against it.
Noise is handled better by our first three options. It might get in the way of the microphone, and would affect comprehension. Another is the absence of a cooling fan, which is often a given alongside a heatsink as extreme temperatures shorten the lifespan of a radio power supply, as with any other electronics. You will have to keep it well-ventilated for your purchase not to depreciate faster than desired.
It is a pity though, as the power supply has a rugged build and the materials do not feel cheap. Pyramid Bench gives off a vibe of being ideal for long-term use. It also does not take a genius to operate it, which is our way of giving praise to its intuitive design. Dimensions are fine, although we don’t suppose it is not ideal for constant transport. This won’t break the bank, but there are better alternatives for its price range.
Being a part of the ham community may just be a hobby, but you would want to do it right, and right away. Part of the current challenge is picking important accessories like an antenna and the best power supply for your radio, which might be confusing to a neophyte. Don’t be stumped at this important step! With options that promise minimal noise and voltage stability while leaving still enough money to spend, as with the products on this list, frustration and indecision should be problems that can be addressed ASAP.
If you want a radio that doesn’t need to always be connected to power supplies, check out our review of the handheld ham devices. And watch out for our updates, as we will keep this list current and up-to-date with a fresh sort of top power supplies (e.g. Alinco models like Alinco DM-330MVT).