7 Best Mobile Ham Radios to Consider

There are specific tools that are not only necessary but also really cool to use.

You have seen on TV how cop cars or the guy in Jurassic Park movies has a ham radio to connect with other people. And if you have thought about owning one of those, then you cannot be blamed. A ham radio is a terrific device that offers a variety of features in a compact tool.

With it in your possession, you can not only treat yourself to FM but also connect with someone even if they are far away. Now, you may ask about mobile phones, but can your phone operate without a mobile network? This is where ham radios come in handy, all you need is to set the right frequency, and you are good to go.

Best Mobile Ham Radio to Consider

So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced operator, here’s the list of the 7 best mobile ham radios to consider for your mobile station.

1. QYT KT-8900D Best for Affordable Compactness

This is a very affordable model that comes with several desirable functions. The QYT KT-8900D is small in size but delivers a powerful performance. It is a two-way radio system with a bright blue display and an all-black ensemble that makes it eye-catching while offering a range of features.

It is compact, which translates into a portable model, allowing you to take it from place to place comfortably. Along with this, it is a two-way radio that comes at an affordable price, which is sure to please the customers. Moreover, it transmits on two amateur radio bands – the VHF and the UHF.

While the VHF gets 25 watts, the UHF gets 20 watts, so you do not need a lot of power to operate it. Moreover, you can power it using your car’s cigarette outlet, and you do not even have to wire it to your vehicle, making it highly efficient. 

On top of this, it includes a programming cable that ensures you can program the radio with a computer app like CHIRP. Finally, it has excellent sound quality so that you can receive and transmit signals with ease and enjoy an efficient performance.

It does not include an antenna, which means that you have to spend extra, which may not be the best option for many buyers. Besides, the knobs are not of high quality, which could impact their performance in the long run.

Frequency Range: 136-174 MHz / 400-480 MHz | Power Output: 25W / 20W (VHF/UHF) | Channels: 200 | Programmable: Yes

2. BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 Best for Customization and Monitoring

This is one of the most popular devices in the market, thanks to several features. If you like to tinker with your model, then the BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 could be suitable. It is a two-way mobile radio that has a white display and orange light-up buttons.

It includes many features that are sure to provide you with a powerful performance. In keeping with this, it is a two-way radio that is ideal by ensuring that there are numerous ways in which you can use it. For one, it has a digital display that allows you to customize it with nine different colors.

On top of this, you can add alphanumeric names to the channels while watching and monitoring four channels in one go. Such is its efficiency that you can also monitor channels as you are scanning through the frequencies. 

You can either add channels or remove them from the unit, and you can plug it into a computer that will allow for more accessible programming. Moving along, it has two broadcast modes – high and low power. The high-power mode broadcasts at 50 watts while the low power does so at 10 watts.

It has an expanded frequency range that offers you better coverage, but you must be careful not to pick up any restricted signals. This could pose legal problems. In addition to this, the screen could have been bigger, making it easier to see.

Frequency Range: 136-174 MHz / 400-520 MHz | Power Output: 50W / 10W (VHF/UHF) | Channels: 128 | Programmable: Yes

3. ICOM 2300H 05 – Best for Versatility and Portability

This is one of the most versatile products in the market that is sure to pique your interest. The ICOM 2300H 05 has several unique features that guarantee excellent performance for many years. This has allowed it to quickly climb the ladder and cement its place as a top brand.

If it is small, it must pack a punch, and that is where this device outscores its rivals. Firstly, it is compact, which means that it is lightweight and can be easily carried from one place to another. You can also fit it into tight spots without much difficulty.

Furthermore, it is versatile, too, and you can easily mount it on the dashboard of your car without having to fret over the build or model. It is compatible with almost all vehicles. Moving along, it offers a wide range, which is backed up by several features that ensure you get fantastic performance. 

Apart from this, it has a 207 display that shows numbers and alphabets. This display then allows you to scan it, even under different conditions. This is because the LCD screen monitor is customizable between green and amber while allowing for different scan functions.

It is restricted to a single band and could be a limiting factor while transmitting or tuning into channels. Thus, you may opt for any of the other models on offer. The programmable cable is not included, and many of you may not prefer to purchase it separately.

Frequency Range: 144-148 MHz | Power Output: 65W | Channels: 207 | Programmable: Yes

4. TYT TH-9800 Plus

This is one of the highest-rated products in the market, and the range of features it offers is easily visible on the large display. The TYT TH-9800 Plus is a quad-band radio that can transmit and receive signals at several frequencies. This will allow you to use it as per your requirements.

Just like the Yaesu Original FT-8900R, this, too, is a quad-band model that can send and receive signals on HF, and UHF as well as two VHF bands. Moreover, you can also get radio transmissions on those bands along with frequencies of 108-136 MHz, 320-399 MHz, and 750-950 MHz.

When it comes to power, it uses 50 to 5 watts for transmitting in VHF while the maximum output you get from UHF is 40 watts. Furthermore, it is a full-duplex model that has a cross-band repeat function. Along with this, it has 809 channels and 256 memories to ensure that you do not lose your settings. 

Apart from this, it is user-friendly too, and so programming is easy whether you want to do it on the radio or use your computer. To allow this, it comes with a programming cable and proprietary software that is compatible with CHIRP.

There have been reports that the fuse may be blown, causing it to stop functioning. So, you will have to dedicate extra time to fix it, not the ideal scenario. Also, there are problems with the transmission, which may prompt you to consider other brands.

Frequency Range: 26-33MHz, 47-54 MHz, 136-174 MHz, 400-480 MHz | Power Output: 50W / 40W (VHF/UHF) | Channels: 809 | Programmable: Yes

5. ICOM IC-2730A

This, too, is an affordable device, but at the same time, it offers you a powerful performance. The ICOM IC-2730A is smaller compared to the other models, but it is loaded with features that make it suitable for use even on the road. It has big dials and an easy-to-read display to make your job easier.

It is seldom seen that an affordable model offers you high power to function your device. But this model is different as it comes with three output power options 5-watt, 25 watts, and 50 watts. This allows you to use it according to your needs and ensures that you stay connected.

Furthermore, it has RX frequencies that range from 118-174MHz and 275-550MHz so you have no trouble with connections. On top of this, it has 1052 memory channels, of which 50 are scan edges, and 2 are all channels. This provides you with the much-needed versatility that is often lacking in other models. 

As it is a dual-band tool, you can receive and transmit signals in VHF and UHF. Making this process easier is a large screen that is brightly lit, which clearly shows the channels and frequencies. Therefore, you can handle all the settings with aplomb.

There are a couple of issues with it, one of which is that the speaker is quite small, which many of you may not prefer. The designers could easily have incorporated a slightly bigger speaker to solve this issue. Besides, there is no provision to mount the control head, which is an inconvenience.

Frequency Range: 118-174 MHz / 375-550 MHz | Power Output: 50W / 35W (VHF/UHF) | Channels: 1052 | Programmable: Yes

6. Yaesu Original TH-9800AD

It is one of the most flexible models in the market, which has already earned positive feedback from users. The Yaesu OriginalTH-9800AD has a fancy name and features to back it up. It is a quad-band radio that has a large orange display.

This is a quad-band option, which means that you can transmit signals on four bands – a 10-meter HF, a 6-meter VHF, a 2-meter VHF, and a 70-centimeter UHF. This makes it a highly versatile device that is sure to endear it to users.

Staying on the topic of power, you get a maximum output of 50 watts for HF as well as VHF transmissions. And when it comes to UHF transmissions, you get 35 watts of power. The significant addition is the inclusion of FM radio at 700-985 MHz and other bands around expanded frequencies.

Moreover, it has a cross-band repeat function that makes sure you can make calls from a handheld unit. To achieve this, the speaker and microphone are of excellent quality to ensure that there are no disruptions during transmission. Therefore, people down the line will be able to hear from you quite clearly.

It is expensive in comparison to other brands, and this could be a deterring factor. Most of you will not be willing to spend a considerable amount on it, given that there are so many options. Apart from this, it has no antenna you have to purchase, which drives up the cost even further.

Frequency Range: 26-33 MHz / 47-54 MHz / 136-174 MHz / 400-480 MHz | Power Output: 50W / 40W (VHF/UHF) | Channels: 800 | Programmable: Yes

7. AnyTone AT-5888UV

As is evident from the name, this is a versatile model that allows you to use it in many ways. The AnyTone AT-5888UV is a dual-band model that includes features rarely seen in some of the other products. It has a yellowish display and pink light-up buttons that ensure you have no problem while working.

It is a dual-band radio that comes with a 2-meter as well as a 70-centimeter band. Added to this, you get four power options that allow you to choose how much power you need to contact your listener. This ensures that there are no disruptions, and you do not end up hitting everyone around you.

Thus, the maximum power that you get is 50 watts, or 40 watts if you are using it for UHF operations. The minimum power, on the other hand, is 10 watts, thereby offering you a wide range. Furthermore, the connections are user-friendly as they come with non-proprietary CAT5 plugs.

Thanks to this, you can add your accessories with ease. On top of this, there is even a USB port allowing you to charge your phone directly from this device. Also, the display screen ensures you can watch two channels at the same time.

This is not the most durable of models, which means that it could break down after continuous use. This means that it does not provide the long lifespan that most buyers expect. Besides, the scanning speed is slow, and you will have to wait a little longer to tune into your channels.

Frequency Range: 136-174 MHz / 400-490 MHz | Power Output: 50W / 40W (VHF/UHF) | Channels: 200 | Programmable: Yes

Best Mobile Ham Radios Comparison Table

Product Frequency Range Power Output Channels Programmable
QYT KT-8900D 136-174 MHz / 400-480 MHz 25W / 20W (VHF/UHF) 200 Yes
BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 136-174 MHz / 400-520 MHz 50W / 10W (VHF/UHF) 128 Yes
ICOM 2300H 05 144-148 MHz 65W 207 Yes
TYT TH-9800 Plus 26-33MHz, 47-54 MHz, 136-174 MHz, 400-480 MHz 50W / 40W (VHF/UHF) 809 Yes
ICOM IC-2730A 118-174 MHz / 375-550 MHz 50W / 35W (VHF/UHF) 1052 Yes
Yaesu Original TH-9800AD 26-33 MHz / 47-54 MHz / 136-174 MHz / 400-480 MHz 50W / 40W (VHF/UHF) 800 Yes
AnyTone AT-5888UV 136-174 MHz / 400-490 MHz 50W / 40W (VHF/UHF) 200 Yes

Buying Guide for the Best Mobile Ham Radio

After narrowing down the products you have set your sights on, how do you pick one from the rest? Here too, we have done the work for you by listing the essential elements that make an excellent ham radio.

If you keep the following points in mind, you do not need to wrack your brain to single out a quality unit that is best suited to your needs. The demands may vary, but the essential features that make an excellent tool remain the same.

  1. Durability

Any product that hopes to make an impact on the market must be long-lasting to serve its purpose. Buyers spend a lot of money to purchase it, and in return, they not only expect quality output but also hope that their tool can survive the test of time.

If it breaks down, that will inevitably bring your work to a stop, which is an unpleasant scenario. Neither is it viable to buy devices one after the other in a short period. So, the manufacturers must use quality materials to make sure that it is sturdy and robust to handle the demands.

  1. Versatility

Gone are the days when you bought something to focus on just one particular task. With newer and better models taking to the market, your tool must be versatile to be used in several ways.

It must be flexible enough to be compatible with different electrical devices. There will be limitations, but it must never be limiting that you cannot use it as per your needs.

  1. User-friendly

And finally, it must be designed such that users have no difficulty operating it. You are already under a lot of stress in the workplace, and you do not need the added burden of getting to know the functions.

Even if it has many features, it must be simple yet effective so that performance does not take a hit. You must be able to efficiently work out what each element does and how to get the most out of your model.

What is the range of a mobile ham radio?

The range of a mobile ham radio depends on several factors, including the frequency band, power output, and antenna height. Generally, VHF and UHF frequencies have a range of up to 50 miles, while HF frequencies can reach much farther under certain conditions.

Do I need a license to operate a mobile ham radio?

Yes, you need to obtain an amateur radio license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate a mobile ham radio. There are several license classes available, each with different privileges and requirements.

How do I install a mobile ham radio in my vehicle?

The installation process for a mobile ham radio will vary depending on the radio and your vehicle. Generally, you will need to mount the radio in a secure location, run power and ground wires to the battery, and install an antenna. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure that the installation is safe and secure.

Can I use a mobile ham radio outside of my vehicle?

Yes, many mobile ham radios can be used outside of a vehicle with the addition of a power supply and an external antenna. However, it is important to check the manufacturer’s specifications and ensure that the radio is designed for portable use.

What is the difference between a mobile ham radio and a handheld ham radio?

A mobile ham radio is designed to be installed in a vehicle or used in a fixed location, while a handheld ham radio is a portable device that can be carried around. Mobile ham radios typically have higher power output and a larger range than handheld radios, but they are less portable.


We’ve taken you through all the nitty-gritty details of seven carefully selected models, giving you an insight into their salient features, highs, and lows. We hope this aids you in making a well-informed decision that perfectly aligns with your needs.

Our top three recommendations, keeping different needs in mind, stand as follows:

QYT KT-8900D with its compact size, excellent affordability, and impressive performance is the ideal option for those requiring portability alongside a competitive price point without compromising on functionality.

BTECH Mobile UV-50X2, accessorized with a slew of features including customizability and multi-channel monitoring is a superb choice for anyone keen on personalizing their ham radio experience.

ICOM 2300H 05, distinguished by its superior versatility and portability, is the right choice for radio enthusiasts who are always on the move and need a device to match their pace.

Remember, the ‘best’ radio will always be the one that satisfies your unique requirements and preferences, while securely sheltering within your budget. Always make sure the radio you select mirrors your individuality and the situations in which you’ll be using it.

Above all, the world of mobile ham radios is an exciting one, richly filled with myriad possibilities. No matter what choice you make, the vast landscape of connectivity is waiting for you to explore and make the most of it.

Here’s to countless hours of enjoyable communication with your new radio! Happy transmitting!

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