While on the road, at times, there is a need to communicate with your co-workers, family members and friends. Due to the instability of the network on the road, it is good to use mobile ham radio for communication.
However, you need to consider buying the best mobile ham radio if you are serious about steady communication and less or no noise during communication.
If you buy one of the top rated handheld ham radios, you will have no trouble communicating from your car regardless of the weather condition and the distance.
Again, regardless of the type of radio you settle for, you can use it in your car, truck, bus or microbus; it will still work effectively.
Nonetheless, to determine the right choice to use in any car model, the buyer needs to consider why they need to have a mobile radio in the car, and what budget they have. Also, there should be a consideration of the best quality to go for according to their budget.
Since there are many mobile ham radios in the market, we have written detailed reviews to save you the trouble of deciding on the best mobile ham radio. Also, we have covered the considerations to make to settle on the right one in the list of the ten we have here.
Quick Overview of the Top 5 Mobile Ham Radios:
BTECH Mini UV-25X4
Top 10 Mobile Ham Radio Reviews 2020
#1 Kenwood TM-V71A: Top Quality Mobile Ham Transceiver
While on a 440 MHZ and 2 meters; this mobile radio has a high performance. On the other hand, irrespective of the band, the levels of power range are 5, 10 and 50 Watts. Moreover, with this radio, it is easy to change the front panel’s configuration.
With a good budget, this is the best quality mobile Ham radio you may want to purchase. Though the price of this ham radio is slightly high, the quality is rewarding.
On the other hand, this Kenwood TM model has a high Radio Frequency (RF) which comes with a maximum output power of 50 Watts. Also, it is installed with a1000 multifunction memory channels.
In addition to the above features, this radio also features weather alert capabilities. It also has a remote head control, a wider band as well as a cross-band receiver plus a simplex checker.
The Echo link sysop mode, which is available on this radio allows you to connect your PC with the mobile transceiver; thus, making this radio a great choice. The Kenwood TM mobile ham radio is also equipped with multiple scanning systems and an invertible front panel.
Again, the tool can handle Digital Code Squelch (DCS) of 104 codes. With this advanced mobile ham radio, a good dual-band operation means that you can use VHF+VHF, VHF+UHF, UHF+UHF in three varieties of operation.
The dual-band on the same band, however, means that you can handle VHF+VHF, UHF+UHF. The large display screen clearly shows the status of the mobile ham radio and can easily be set to green or amber color.
This radio is a very sensitive MARS band and you can easily connect it to the digital data. Considering these features, we feel that this is a high quality mobile ham radio worth anyone’s time and money.
- Durable and high output power available.
- Echolink memory and sysop mode facilities are super.
- 1000 multi-functional programmable memory channel.
- On the same band dual reception is possible.
- Invertible front panel with 2 backlight.
- Microphone is a bit heavy.
- The price of this ham radio is a little high.
#2 TYT TH-9800 Review: Best Ham Radio For Car
This TYT TH-9800 model comes with the design of the quad-band transmitter and twin receiver. To ensure that it does not overheat, it has a fan to retain low temperatures.
In addition, it has more than 800 memory channels, which are in alphanumeric mode. It comes with a handheld microphone.
Also, there is a power cable that you’ll use to connect to the source of power. Screws and accessories are also available. Again, first-time buyers have no issues using it since there’s a detailed user guide.
There is a microphone hanger than you can use to hang the microphone at your most convenient place. The receiving ranges of this mobile amateur radio are 26-35MHZ, 47-54MHZ, 110-180MHZ, 350-39-MHZ, 430-512MHZ and 750-947MHZ.
The maximum output power of VHF 2M band is 50 Watts while the maximum output power of UHF 10M band is 40 Watts.
This mobile ham radio uses DTMF (Dual Tone Multi-Frequency) signaling. That is 2 tone and 5 tones. This mobile radio features a backlight display that has a blue color to make it possible for users to see without any trouble. Also, it has an Automatic Number Identification (ANI).
This tool kit includes 12v DC battery, SO-239 antenna connector, power cables and mounting brackets. This mobile ham radio comes with a built-in cooling fan.
In addition; you have the privilege of tuning this mobile radio at multiple levels. Again, there is a microphone which has a complete keypad, which makes it user-friendly.
Some of the vital specification related to this set of mobile ham radio are Mode of emission F1, F2, F3, antenna impedance 50 ohms and current consumption RX-0.5A plus TX 8.0A. Due to these features, this is a top-rated mobile ham radio you can buy.
- Has a high power output of 50 Watts.
- Programmable space for 800 memory channels.
- Crossband repeater is available.
- Manual programming is simple.
- Durable antenna with a mount bracket.
- Manual guide can be difficult to some.
#3 Yaesu FT-7900R – Dual-Band Amateur Ham Radio Review
This dual-band mobile ham radio has a maximum output power of 50 Watts on 144 MHZ and maximum output power of 40 watts on 430MHZ.
To have this radio function, you need to connect to a power source of 12 volts DC. The dual bander functions at 7 Centimeters as well as 2 meters.
There is also a provision for synthesizer steps which can automatically select operating bands. Also, there is a unique feature; large LCD; which has a backlit to ensure super visibility. In addition, users can complete the configuration of the transceiver efficiently using the five available front panel keys.
There is a NOAA weather alert, too. Nonetheless, it is only available to the US residence. But that’s not a big deal. Why? In comparison, two other previous models like the FT-8800R, FT-8900R it is superior in the sense that it has the capability of cross band repeating.
That is why; this ideal dual-band mobile ham radio is popular due to its high performance and simplified operation. On the other hand, it provides a wide range of receiver frequency that ranges from 108-520MHZ and 700-999.99MHZ.
Besides, there are three levels of power which you can choose according to your preferences. This feature is useful since it makes it possible for you to use the amount of power you need.
However, since this radio is not a CB radio, you should, therefore, not expect it to transmit on CB frequencies.
- High power output in the device.
- Crossband repeater mode accessible.
- 800 programmable memory channels available.
- Multiple tuning steps and full keypad microphone.
- Multifunction scanning available.
- Some clients reports overheating issues.
#4 BTECH MINI UV-25X4: Tri-Band Mobile Ham Radio
This BTECH UV-25 mobile ham radio has a display mode of dual synchronizing with the setting of audio gain for its microphone. This ham radio has an extended frequency range of up to 520MHZ.
It features an adjustable LCD which users set according to their preferences. Still, it features LCD multi-color. Also, this mobile radio has 200 channels that users can program easily. You may, therefore, remove any channels and add those that you love.
Not only that, but it is also possible to program this mobile radio using your computer to have it function as you want. Nonetheless, you need to use the PC04 FTDI Cable so as to program well.
As long as the main TX/RX band is 144, 220 or 430 (all in MHz), this mobile radio works like multiple radios. The same case applies to the 430 MHZ.
At the same time, you have the privilege to watch up to three channels or frequencies. In addition, for simultaneous UHF-UHF or VHF-VHF operation; you may consider configuring it since it is easy.
The radio features auto-scan mode. During a reboot, you can easily resume scanning even if there was an interruption. Additionally, it features variable frequency scanning. Even when there is an incoming transmission, receivers can still stay longer on the secondary channel since this radio features Quad watch delay time.
On the other hand, users have the privilege to use the low or high power settings. Since this radio features automatic power off; it saves lots of power. As a result; it saves the battery and prevents power draining. Thus, we considered it the best mobile ham radio for car use.
This radio features a dual Synchronization Display Mode, which makes it possible to view the name of the channel as well as the frequency.
- Compact, lightweight and most durable.
- Display mode can be dual synchronized.
- Audio gain setting in microphone is available.
- Power off function is automatic.
- Auto scanning and frequency scanning with variable selection.
- Overlaying of the sensitive frequency range.
#5 Kenwood TM-281A: FM Mobile Ham Transceiver
This Kenwood TM 281A model of mobile ham radio is a compact rugged. It can produce an output power of a maximum of 65watts. Also, there is an alphanumeric display.
This device offers 200 memory channels and 100 memory channels with 6 alphanumeric characters. If you are looking for the best ham radio, then, this one is the go-to because of its large speaker, which makes it offer a top quality audio.
The tool possesses CTCSS and DCS coding and encoding features. CTCSS stands for Continuous Tone-coded Squelch System.
Of course, DCS (Digital Coded Squelch) is a further development of the TCSS version. It uses slow speed transmission with binary data stream, which is incorporated in this device. This too, just like the most radios, gives weather alerts.
The Kenwood TM mobile ham radio has been designed in such a way that it conforms to MIL-Std 810 which stands for military standard 810 category. Laboratory test methods C, D, E, F and G are applied for environment engineering vibration and shock measurement.
Buyers should also note that this Mil-std transceiver offers powerful performance with excellent audio sound. Also, the device offers a fantastic operating facility during the day as well as the night since it features LCD backlights. In addition, it has an illuminated keypad.
The Kenwood TM-281A is a two-meter FM mobile ham radio and has the ability to display 6 alphanumeric characters. Moreover, the amber display can adjust up to 32 brightness levels.
Users can easily select as well as control all the available functions since the radio has a menu. This radio is a narrow band FM. On the other hand, the keypad of both the microphone and the front panel are illuminated; thus making it easy to use.
- It provides clear audio output.
- Compact, sturdy and is most durable.
- 2000 programmable memory channels.
- Mil-Std for vibration and shock measurement.
- Emergency weather alert.
- Some buttons are difficult to read to some users.
#6 AnyTone AT-778UV Dual Band Amateur Mobile Radio
The Anytone AT mobile ham radio has 3 output power settings: 25Watts, 15Watts and 10 Watts. These power settings help to decrease misuse of the power.
Approximately, this product weighs 0.64 kgs. On the other hand, it has a width of 124, a height of 39 and a depth of 163. The device is a dual-band (VHF and UHF) mobile radio transceiver with a colored LCD.
In addition, the LCD is 180 degrees rotatable. So as to improve the quality of the images; the radio possesses a thin film transistor technology.
The frequency range for this product is 136-174MHZ in VHF while in UHF; it is 400-480MHZ. Moreover, this mobile transceiver features Continuous Tone-coded Squelch System and Digital Coded Squelch, which are necessary for coding and decoding.
Again, it has 200 memory channels with narrowband compliance and a lighted keypad. The mobile ham radio has built-in speakers, cooling fan and a DC power cable. This Anytone AT-778UV is a versatile mobile ham radio transceiver which is capable of handling a single, selective, group as well as emergency call.
In addition, this mobile ham radio can be widely used during outdoor sports, self-driving, taxi deployment, military cooperation, firefighting deployment and property management. On the front panel of this device, there is a power on and off switch, an LCD, function keys, microphone jack, self-define key and a channel switch.
Additionally, the front side of the microphone has got a mic, a Push to Talk (PPT), speaker and band indicator, among others.
Once you purchase the radio, you can download the programming software at any time from the Anytone website. That, therefore, means that if you prefer using a cable so as to do programming, then, this might not be a perfect mobile ham radio for you.
- Sturdy and 3 output power selection facility are available.
- TFT LCD is rotatable.
- Built-in speaker.
- Has a cooling fan.
- Single, selective, group and all calls possible.
- 10 phase lock steps available.
- To some; the user interface is complex to understand.
#7 ICOM 2300H: Perfect Mobile Amateur Radio
The ICOM 2300H model of mobile ham radio is a 144MHZ amateur radio transceiver. The interface of this tool is the same as the previous model IC-2200H.
The receiver can cover anywhere from 136-174 while the transmitter can deliver an output of 5, 10, 25, or 65 all being in Watts.
On the other hand, it has an alphanumeric that is easy to read. As a user, you can opt to have the LCD either in amber, green or yellow color. The radio has 207 channels.
It is sturdy and most durable and has been tested by the latest MIL-Std 810 G specification. The MIL-Std is an abbreviation for Military Standard and there is a provision for environment engineering vibration shock measurement with 810G method.
This FM transceiver front panel has MW and SMW buttons at the left-hand side. Besides them; there are two control knobs. One is for adjusting the volume while the other one is an SQL.
Just at the center, there is a brown colored display board where the model number blinks. Again, under the model number, you’ll find a number of knobs that are clearly marked. They show different functions for the device. There are multiple scan options that you can use.
However, this product works well when you want to communicate with the local repeaters. One good feature of this radio is that the audio sound is crystal clear and very audible.
The manufacturers have a good and clear user guide that you get after buying the radio.
Also, there is a CD that you will use during the programming process. Besides, the device is excellent and very easy to program. Though it is tricky to choose a good quality mobile ham radio, buying this ICOM 2300H is also a perfect choice.
- Stable and most highest output power available
- Compact and most durable body construction.
- Tested with latest MIL-Std 810G spec. for shock and vibration.
- 207 programming channel with alphanumeric.
- User manual with CD available.
- Some users say the manual is not helpful
#8 BTECH MOBILE UV-50X2 Mobile Ham Radio Reviews
BTECH UV mobile ham radio has a frequency range of up to 520MHZ. Like the previous models of BTECH MINI UV, it has some features like the power on and off capability. That’s not all.
This radio is unique in that it features a display mode that is dual synchronized. Not only that, but it also has a frequency range that is expanded up to 520 MHz.
For those who may have trouble using this radio for the first time, there is a user manual guide that is well detailed to make it possible for users to operate the radio without difficulties.
Additionally, users can edit the channel modes according to their preferences. The radio also features auto-scanning capabilities. Moreover, it also features scan resuming so that you do not worry if it is halted unexpectedly.
On the other hand, the radio has the ability to scan at a variety of frequencies. The highest power setting for this radio is 50W while the lowest is 10W. The frequency, on the other hand, ranges from 65-108 MHz.
However, this frequency range only favors reception for the commercial FM radios. The other frequency range is 136-174 VHF and 400-520 MHz. Users can also choose to select either the wideband or the narrowband.
Once you buy this car radio, a few accessories are necessary to make installation a success. For instance, you need to have a PC04 FTDI cable that can help you to connect the radio to your computer so as to do programming efficiently.
Also, for a stress-free installation process, you need to pair Nagoya Magnetic Mount Antenna with the UV-50X2. Though this radio may not be the best mobile ham radio according to our list, it is definitely worth buying it if you have a good budget.
- Dual synchronizing display mode functions.
- The microphone has an auto gain setting.
- High and low power setting save power.
- Edit programming channels without programming.
- Edit tones and additional squelch information.
- Beep tones are loud at times.
#9 Yaesu FT-2900R – 75 Watt Mobile Transceiver Review
The Yaesu FT-2900R comes as a 2M mobile amateur ham radio that transmits 144MHZ-148MHZ and receives 136MHZ-174MHZ. This device also has a provision for 200 alphanumeric memory channels.
On the other hand, it features both CTCSS and DCS, which as we have mentioned previously, are analog and digital encoding and decoding functionalities. They help in reducing noise on the receivers’ end.
What’s more is that it has also been equipped with NOAA weather alert. Additionally, this product uses a maximum power level of 75 Watts, which is more than most models. However, you can also use power levels of 5watts, 10watts or 30 Watts.
All you need to do is use the selecting key to choose the power level that you want.
Consequently, you can be able to reduce power misuse in different applications. With this tool, you can do proper scanning as well as use the search function to set it accordingly. The lighted keypad provides clear visibility. Also, this radio offers direct frequency.
The mobile transceiver utilizes a DC battery of 13.8volts at 14 amps. The product package contains a power cord, a microphone, optional 2-meter antenna and all types of mounting brackets.
It’s has a compact and solid construction. Not only that, but it also has a big size heat sink. This helps to reduce the heat so that it doesn’t overheat and end up being faulty. The selection and controlling of functions are very easy to do.
The built-in speaker delivers a clear sound even in a noisy environment and very easy to program manually. There is no switching noise on the transmitter and this mobile ham radio never gets so heated even after a long time of usage. In addition, it has been found that the average talk range is 30-40 miles.
- Compact, solid construction and durable.
- CTCSS and DCS encoding and decoding in analog, digital system.
- Selectable 4 output power levels help save power.
- Microphone has a lighted keypad.
- Has a DC supply with 13.8 volts at 14 amps.
- Some buyers complain that the manual guide lacks some crucial details.
#10 Yaesu FTM-3200DR – VHF Mobile Ham Transceiver
This Yaesu FTM-3200DR mobile ham radio has a maximum output power of 65watts. When compared to most mobile radio hams, it is considered compact, solid and most durable.
On the other hand, the modulation modes of this set are C4FM digital with DFR or VFR. It is installed with frequency modulation analog, and auto mode selection functionalities.
This device can easily and automatically recognize any signal as conventional FM. The speaker of this product in the front panel has 3 Watts audio output power. With this feature, the radio can give audible sound as well as a clear one.
The fact that it possesses digital group monitoring functions and multi-color bright LED has made most buyers term it as the best mobile ham radio for buyers on a budget.
More so, this transceiver has 220 memory channels with alphanumeric characters and has an illuminated microphone which allows direct entry of frequencies. Besides, this mobile base station utilizes the DSQ signaling feature. Also, it uses CTCSS and DCS; digital encoding and decoding function like the other models.
Additionally, this device is capable of receiving an extended frequency of 136-174MHZ with the stability of +-2.5ppm. In addition, it also features weather alert. However, when purchasing this radio, remember to ensure you have one DTMF microphone, a USB cable, necessary mounting brackets, DC power cord, a manual guide and a safety guide, too.
Even in a noisy environment, this new model of mobile ham radio transceiver gives clear and loud sound. The AMS Automatic mode selection that is available in this model can instantly recognize whether the transmission is analog or digital.
Digital group monitoring is another important feature you’ll find in this transceiver. That means; it can instantly register the group of persons that are within its communication range.
- Compact and high power output.
- Most buyers can afford it since it’s affordable.
- Automatic recognition of signal.
- Digital group monitoring function available.
- Direct frequency entry in the illuminated microphone.
- CTCSS and DCS function along with spit tone.
- The noise of the fan can be irritating.
Who should buy a mobile ham radio?
Well, any driver who wants to communicate from his car can buy this radio. Whether you need to use in your company’s car, family vehicle or commercial buses, this radio is just perfect for you.
The fact that the ham radio base transceiver is made of high-quality makes it possible to use in any type of a car without compromising on the quality.
How to Install a Mobile Ham Radio
Now that you have bought the best mobile ham radio that you were looking for; it is time to install it in your car. It is a simple process that should take you about ten to twenty minutes according to how fast you are.
So, here’s how to go about the installation process. In fact, there are no special skills needed.
1) Decide the most appropriate place to install it
The first thing is to decide where exactly to install your mobile radio. The most crucial thing at this point is to ensure that the radio is away from harsh weather conditions like rain and direct sunlight. Also, make sure that it doesn’t cause interference to the person driving.
Still, ensure that it is within reach so that you won’t struggle reaching out to answer a call while you are driving. Once you are sure that you have a good place to install the mobile radio, it is time to mount it.
2) Mount the radio
According to your preferences and the available space in your car; determine where you want to install your mobile ham radio. You may choose to have the ham radio hook which looks like a V face downwards or upwards; it can still work perfectly well.
However, the only thing you need to ensure is that there should be a good circulation of air where the heat sink is. This way, the radio cannot over heat and it can last long.
3) Test the transceiver
After you have completed mounting it, ensure that the radio is firm. Next, test it. You may call the other driver or one of your family friends to be sure that it is functioning all right.
Mobile Ham Radio Buyer’s Guide
Having plans to buy an ideal mobile ham radio can be a real challenge if you do not know the qualities it ought to possess to make it ideal. However, we understand that it is quite difficult to know what to look out for in a product you’ve never used before.
On the other hand, even when you have used a particular version of radio and wants to upgrade, it is not easy to know what to look out for to get a better quality.
Now that we are focusing on the best mobile ham radio, we want to state several factors that you should consider when buying one. Without considering these features, it will be difficult to select the best mobile ham radio.
✱ The Purpose
There is no way you will go to the mobile radio shop without having a definite purpose for buying the radio. The purpose is the major factor that determines what the cost of the mobile radio should be as well as its power range.
So, clearly determine the purpose of the mobile radio before setting foot on the vendor’s shop.
✱ The power range
The distance you want the signals to travel determines the power range of your mobile radio. That is; are the people you want to communicate with, a few miles from where you are or in another city? The longer the distance, the higher the power range should be.
With a good power range, the sound can be clear and you can be able to communicate clearly and effectively without any distractions. Who are the people you want to communicate with? How far are they from where you are? These are some of the things that go hand in hand with the purpose.
✱ Your budget
Well, no matter how powerful you want the mobile radio to be, if you do not have a budget that favors it, then, you cannot get it. Also, you should know that it is wrong to budget for something that you cannot afford. Always buy what is within your reach so as to avoid straining financially.
On the other hand, you may consider taking a little longer to get enough cash to buy the exact quality you want. Otherwise, if you need the radio urgently, you can buy the one that is within your budget.
✱ The display
Considering that you are buying a mobile radio, you may need to have one that is clear regardless of the weather condition wherever you are. Ensure that you can see the keys clearly during the day and the night. This helps communicate effectively. Also, it avoids eye strain both in the light and darkness.
To make it possible to see and read clearly; the radio should have some backlight. Before you pay for it, be sure that you can read clearly.
✱ Weather Alert
Now that you want to buy a mobile ham radio, don’t you think it is wise to consider if it has weather alert features? You see, a perfect mobile ham radio should give you weather alerts. These alerts come from the local authorities and the NOAA.
You get warned of the harsh weather conditions, which is definitely something that you need to know. Otherwise, without weather alerts, you may travel to areas that are unsafe.
There’s no way you will buy a poor quality radio regardless of the budget you have. The fact is that in every available category of mobile radios; there’s a good quality for a specific budget.
Now, considering that you will be using this transceiver even in your car means that there are chances of it being hit by several things or accidentally dropping. Being hit or dropping once should not make it dead.
It should, therefore, have the ability to withstand such hostile conditions. Also, when considering its quality, consider how many years you can use it before thinking of a new one or an upgraded version.
✱ Ease of programming
Well, this is not an issue to think about. You see, if you cannot program your mobile radio, it does not make sense buying it. The best mobile ham radio should either be programmable manually or using a computer.
However, if you should program using a computer, remember to ask the vendor if they have the cable to connect the radio to the PC. Otherwise, if they do not have it, you should consider another option lest you go looking for that cable without success.
Whichever way, consider if you can program alone without always depending on some experts or paying for the services often. Nonetheless, if you do not know how to program, you should consider if you can do it on your own if somebody trains you how to do it.
Some radios can be so unreliable because they have low power. They may also be unreliable because of too much noise that can hinder you from hearing clearly, which makes you miss out crucial updates. Also, there may be circumstances of not being able to see the display clearly.
Therefore, whether you want to buy a Tri band mobile ham radio or any other brand, ensure that consider if it is reliable no matter where you travel to and no matter the condition of the weather.
When buying the best mobile ham radio; you should consider critically all the factors that we have listed in this review. We took much time to review these radios so that we could make buying easy and fast for you.
We understand that the market is flooded with cheap, poor quality mobile radios that can trick you easily. Don’t settle for anything that is not of good quality since you now know the factors to consider. Otherwise, you will end up spending double of what you could have spent if you followed this review.
On the other hand, ensure that you follow the installation guide we have given here so that you won’t have to hire anyone to do it for you. Also, doing the installation the right way and mounting the mobile radio at the right place gives it a long life, which saves you the trouble of repairing or replacing it.