A ham radio, also known as amateur radio, or hobby radio, is a device used to communicate with services and other radio operators using the amateur radio bands. The best ham radios will have dual band support and support for data packets.
Ham radios can be used to receive emergency communications, talk to radio operators all around the world, and are even capable of bouncing a signal off the moon. They can be used to send and receive text messages and can also communicate with amateur radio satellites in space!
Dual band ham radios allow for communications in both the UHF (ultra high frequency) and VHF (very high frequency) bands.
The VHF band is called the 2 meter band, and ranges from 144 MHz to 148 MHz. The UHF band is called the 70 centimeter band, and ranges from 420 Mhz to 450 MHz (Source).
A ham radio can be used to talk with someone across a city just as easily as it can be used to talk to someone across the globe. It’s educational, social, and can be a lot of fun.
Prior to purchasing a ham radio, consider the price, durability, usage case, and reliability. You should also consider the output power, support for data packets, receiver gain, and other top aspects (Source).
In this round-up, we will review the top-rated dual band ham radios. All of the radios in this guide will be excellent choices, whether you’re just now getting into the field, or you are a seasoned ham radio operator.
Top 5 Dual Band Mobile Ham Radios: Quick Roundup
|BTECH MINI UV-25X2 Dual Band Ham Radio|
1. Kenwood TM-V71A – Best Overall
Moreover, it features an extensive list of radio display which shows the status of every function. You can set the screen to amber or green.
The general specification of this transceiver is RX frequency 118-524 MHZ band A. Band B contains 136-524 MHZ band and also 430-450 MHZ and TX frequency 144-148 MHZ. Additionally, it has an antenna impedance of 50 ohms and DC power requirement of 13.8 V. Alongside that, this device has a compact device and weighs 3.3 lbs.
Meanwhile, you can also change the appearance of the front panel. Irrespective of how you install this device, the front panel can be flipped in any position.
In addition to that, it boasts 1000 memory channels as well, and each of them can store up to 6 alphanumeric characters.
Unlike others, this transceiver can scan the weather through the weather alert feature, too. Likewise, it comes with 10 dedicated Echolink memory channels and Echolink operation modes.
- It is long lasting
- Compact design
- It has Echolink memory feature
- High power output of 50 watts
- Digital code squelch
- Green and amber backlight color
- The body becomes hot sometimes
2. Yaesu FT-7900R – Most Advanced Device
No products found.This model has a very unique design which enables it to provide the best performance in terms of receiving and transmitting signals.
If you are searching for a top-rated mobile ham radio, Yaesu FT- 7900R might be what you are searching for. It has a power output of 40 watts on 430 MHZ and 50 watts on 144 MHZ. Alongside that, it also features three power levels which allow you to choose your preferred level.
Moreover, it uses different frequencies which ranges from 700-999 MHZ and 108-520 MHZ. This means that the device can be used in various areas such as AM aircraft, government organizations and business companies with ham radio communication. Plus, it also contains five front panel keys to allow one-touch recall.
Notably, it is easy to select the operating bands automatically using the synthesizer steps as well. Apart from that, it has the ability of cross band repeater, unlike others, too. Likewise, its LCD backlight provides excellent visibility.
Furthermore, it allows more than 1000 memory channels; each can store up to six alpha numeric characters. It also features 20 memory groups, and each channel can be stored in multiple groups.
Additionally, it contains a special memory bank which enables you to recall any of the ten NOAA weather frequencies. Plus, it has a severe weather alert which features an alarm of emergency broadcast.
- It features NOAA weather alert
- Large LCD display which provides a clear visibility
- It contains the hyper memory register
- Provides high power output of 50 watts
- It overheats at times
3. Juentai JT-6188 – Best Dual Band 2 Way Radio
No products found.This one is a top quality transceiver which provides clear and excellent radio communication unlike others. It has an ergonomic design and is very easy to use.
Moreover, this product contains two frequency bands: UH4-400-480 MHZ and VHF-136-174 MHZ. Notably, it is very reliable even in harsh climates as well.
Additionally, the device provides a multifunction activity to the operator, and it is also affordable. It has a robust design of UHF 20w and VHF 25w and contains a scrambler feature for conversation privacy, too.
Besides that, it boasts FM radio functions and PTT (push to talk). It also has 200-memory channel programming. Furthermore, it has three selective power levels which help reduce misuse of power.
Consequently, the best thing about this device is that it has a compact design and it lasts longer than other transceivers. It also comes with an unlimited warranty, unlike others.
Meanwhile, if you are not sure about how it works, you can check the easy to understand user manual. Plus, the whole package contains one keypad microphone, user manual, one radio, DC power cable, one hardware, and a mounting bracket set.
Other features include scan modes, DTMF dual tone multi-frequency, and the keypad locks.
- High power output
- It features an auto lock system
- It is strong and durable
- FM radio feature
- Easy to use
- Unlimited warranty
- It overheats
4. BTECH MINI UV-25X2 Dual Band Ham Radio – Best Adjustable Microphone
Moreover, it also features an automatic power off feature, variable frequency scanning, automatic scanning, privacy mode randomization, and the memory channel-editing feature. Similarly, it has high and low output power settings of 25 w and 10 w. It also features a commercial radio frequency of VHF 136-174, 65-108 MHZ, and UHF 400-520 MHZ.
The full set of this device features 6 feet DC cable, microphone speaker, hardware, and mounting brackets. Plus, you can adjust the microphone to reduce road and background noise, too. Similarly, apart from the microphone gain, the DTMF can also be adjusted to access the IRLP network.
Likewise, you should use the PCO4 FTDI cable when you are programming the device in a computer.
This unit also comes with one quad receiver and it can be used as multiple radios with 430 MHZ or 144 MHZ. You can also configure it for simultaneous UHF and VHF operation. You can choose both narrow and wideband, too.
- It is sturdy
- Features high and low power output settings
- You can edit the memory channel
- Microphone audio gain
- It comes with FTDI cable for programming
- It is expensive
5. AnyTone AT-778UV – Best For Any Budget
Additionally, it comes with LCD color display which you can rotate at 180 degrees TFT. It provides a frequency range of UHF- 400-480 MZ, VHF 136-174 MHZ.
However, if you are not sure about how it works, you can download the programming software and the user manual from the AnyTone website. Unlike others, it has DCS and CTCSS decoding and encoding features.
Meanwhile, another outstanding thing about this device is that it allows you to make a group call, a selective call, or a single call.
Other features in this device are the self-defining function pressing keys P1-P6, TX/RX main channel display, CTCSS/DCS which displays when the main channel is set, and main channel displays which show the strength of the field channel and also the strength of the signals.
- It has three power outputs
- DSC/CTSS feature
- LDC can be set at 180 degrees
- Allows different types of calls ranging from single calls to group calls
- The user interface is a bit complex
6. Retevis RT-9000D – Best Value for the MoneyRetevis RT-9000D Mobile Radio delivers loads of value for its price point. It’s not a cheap radio, but its price is well below some higher-end models. Regardless, it includes the features and power of a more expensive radio at a fraction of the cost.
Some dual band radios require a license to use. This Retevis model does not. But be aware that using it without a license is subject to certain federal restrictions ().
That said, this dual band mobile radio is a hit with users for a variety of reasons. Many of them landed it the second spot on our list.
It features three power output settings allowing you to configure its power depending on the distance across which you’re communicating. You can set its power output to 10, 25, or 50 watts. It operates in a frequency range between 400 and 490 MHz.
With 200 channels, you’ll have no problem finding one that works best for you and your partner or team.
Plus, its scrambler function ensures your team’s communications are confidential. Moreover, it gives you three channel-spacing settings (10K, 20K, and 25K) to choose from based on your required bandwidth.
- Auto power off options
- Hands-free capabilities
- Five configurable keys to create shortcuts to the functions you use most
- Locking keypad to prevent accidental channel changes
- Power-saving functions and emergency alarm
- Tons of value-added features at a great price
- Microphone could be more solid and reliable
- Display can be hard to read against blue display background (NOTE: You can change background colors)
7. TYT TH-8600 Waterproof Radio – Most Rugged Dual Band RadioTYT TH-8600 Waterproof Radio. This robust radio is small in physical size but is large in nearly every other aspect.
First of all, it is waterproof, which is an unusual feature for dual band ham radios. But you never know when an unexpected pothole will cause your coffee to splash onto your device.
It reaches a maximum power output of 25 watts and a maximum frequency range of 400 to 480 MHz. It also features programmable keys that you can configure as shortcuts to the radio functions you use most. Plus, it includes 200 channels on which to communicate.
The TYT TH-8600 Waterproof Radio’s toughness doesn’t end there. It can operate in the harshest weather conditions as well. You can use it in freezing temperatures as low as negative 22 degrees Fahrenheit. It also keeps on ticking in temperature as hot as 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you play rough, this TYT model is almost certainly the right road companion for you. It will take your abuse, brush off its shoulders, and keep right on going.
- Potentially the meanest, toughest dual band ham radio you’ll find
- Can be easily programmed through the microphone
- Modular distortion levels below 5%
- Remote stun/kill and activate capabilities
- None that we could find
8. QYT KT-8900 Mini – Most Affordable Dual Band RadioQYT KT-8900 Mini has a price point that surprised us all when we started testing it. We found that, with the features and reliability that this QTY radio offers, it should be priced much higher.
Weighing in at under one pound, it almost looks like a toy at first glance. But we know not to judge a book by its cover. This little guy packs a powerful punch for its size—enough to take you off guard and leave you on the floor.
It delivers a maximum power output of 25 watts and a frequency range of 400 to 480 MHz—not bad for such a small, inexpensive device. Plus, it has 200 channels and is half the price of a standard single band radio.
The QYT KT-8900 Mini even offers an FM radio function in case you get tired of listening to all the chatter. Top that off with a built-in cooling fan, auto lock feature, and optional single-band setting. When you add all this up, you can see why we like this model so much. Big things do come in small packages, it seems.
- Constructed of high-quality, durable materials
- More features than models twice its price
- Extremely small and easy to mount
- Surprisingly-high speaker volume
- Easy to program using CHIRP
- The mic’s sound is too soft for some users
9. Radioddity DB25 Pro – Best Multi-Feature Dual Band RadioRadioddity DB25 Pro, on its own, is a 25 watt dual band transceiver. However, when you purchase this model, you also receive a powerful antenna that you can mount to the hood of your car or truck. This antenna doubles the wattage of the radio, bringing it up to 50 watts.
That is not the only feature that led us to name this model the best multi-feature dual band radio. It includes various additional value-added features such as an alarm function, dual synchronized display mode, and a mic audio gain setting.
If that wasn’t enough, it also comes complete with an auto power off feature and a handy channel mode editing setting. Add to that list a scanning resume feature to save you time, and auto scan capabilities. Plus, its speakers emit louder, crisper sound than most other dual band ham radios.
If you get bored driving, you can always switch on its FM radio feature and listen to whatever station you’re able to find. All in all, the Radioddity DB25 Pro is a solid option for those who like extra bells and whistles. If that describes you, we recommend you take a closer look.
- Long-distance communication
- Alarm function monitor
- Compact design
- Easy to use
- Best-in-class sound quality
- Installation software poses problems for many users
- User manual written in English as a second language
10. Rtevis RT98 – Best Compact Dual Band RadioRetevis RT98 Mobile Radios Mini Amateur Transceiver is as compact as they come. This 15 watt dual band radio is perfect for those who drive a smaller vehicle with limited dashboard space. Moreover, it is quite easy to install and also easy to disconnect if you want to take it with you in a friend’s car.
Although it’s a smaller model, it features a back-lit LED display screen and large knobs. These features make it easy to change frequencies and read the information it displays. There is no need to take your eyes off the road and squint to read or adjust it.
This Retevis model is also rugged and reliable; it’s known for its long lifespan. It’s constructed of superior-quality material and features best-in-class technology. Its powerful technological design is more complex than many other models but easy enough for amateur users to grasp. Plus, its impressively powerful radiator facilitates usage over long periods of time for clear, effective communication you can count on.
This model even includes two modes of operation. An Amateur mode displays comprehensive information to guide new users. Its Professional mode only displays channel information.
Finally, its 10 levels of squelch double encrypt your calls for clear and uninterrupted communication even in noisy outdoor areas. If that’s not enough, it includes a portable and sturdy speaker mic, offering you a higher-volume sound that is both faster and clearer than many of its predecessors.
- 199 programmable channels
- 16 levels of mic gain
- Broad range of frequency steps, from 2.5K up to 50K
- Great value for the price and easy to program
- Auto power off features
- 12.5K for narrow bands and 25K for wider bands
- Some users find the installation instructions difficult to understand
How to Power a Mobile Ham Radio?
Any electrical device requires a power source to operate and mobile ham radios are no exception. It’s impossible to use one without some type of power source. So, what can you use to power your mobile ham radio?
Ultimately, you have various options for powering your radio. If you are using one in your vehicle, your vehicle battery acts as the power source. This is the case for many (perhaps the majority of) users. All you must do is plug your radio into your cigarette lighter outlet and you have power.
If you plan to use your mobile ham radio in a context that doesn’t involve a vehicle, you will use another type of power source. Your options include lithium-ion batteries, lead-acid gel-cell batteries, lithium iron phosphate batteries, and lead-acid storage batteries. Be aware that lead-acid storage batteries are quite heavy and are not the best option if you plan to go hiking or otherwise carry your mobile ham radio.
Recently, we’ve seen an increasing number of users leveraging mobile solar panels to power their ham radios. The solar panel will be more expensive than the batteries listed above. However, you won’t have to periodically replace it because the sun isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
How to Install a Mobile Ham Radio in Your Vehicle
If and/or when you decide to take your mobile ham radio on the road with you, you must install (mount) it in your vehicle first. Below, we explain how to install your radio in a few simple steps.
- Find the best place to install. Look around the front dash area of your car for a spot with enough space to place a mounting bracket. This bracket will hold the radio in place. Also, be sure that your desired location allows the driver to easily view the radio’s display screen.
- Determine how you will mount your radio. Many mobile ham radios come with a mounting kit. If that’s the case, use that and follow the instructions. If not, you’ll have to purchase mounting brackets from a hardware store. Once you have your materials, simply screw the mount in and ensure there’s a mechanism that prevents the radio from sliding out once mounted.
- Plug it in and use it. Once mounted, simply plug your radio into your power source and you’ll be all set. These steps assume that you’ve already configured your radio and that it’s ready to be used.
PRO TIP: Be sure to mount your radio in a place where there is ample airflow to prevent overheating.
How Does A Dual Band Radio Work?
Dual band radio allows communications on the Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) bands in the electromagnetic spectrum.
The VHF is also known as the 2-meter band, and it varies from 144 MHZ to 148 MHZ. Meanwhile, the UHF is also referred to as the 70-centimeter band and varies from 420-450 MHZ.
2. Amateur Radio
A dual band radio is an important part of amateur radio operations. These radios provide long-range communications among individuals such as scientists, amateur radio enthusiasts, engineers, and emergency communicators.
The advantages of amateur radio are many. They come with high frequency and channels and can be used for long-range communication.
3. Transmission And Reception
Dual band ham radios enable you to transmit on one band and receive on the other band. It is also able to receive and transmit on the same band. Besides that, the device is also able to receive and transmit on two different frequencies within the same band.
Key Factors to Consider When Buying A Dual Band Mobile Ham Radio
1. Frequency Range
The frequency of a ham radio is measured in megahertz. Dual mobile ham radios come with both VHF (Very High Frequency) and UHF (Ultra High Frequency). Having access to both frequencies opens up more communication possibilities for the ham radio owner.
For one thing, a radio broadcasting in VHF can’t communicate with a UHF frequency, and vice versa. If you have both frequencies, you can choose which frequency to use based on who you are trying to reach.
VHF and UHF frequencies also have different strengths. UHF are better for use in buildings or other areas with obstacles. VHF is often preferred for use in open areas. Because dual-band radios come with both frequencies, users can toggle between them as needed.
You must be very sure of the equipment you are purchasing to ensure it is made of high-quality materials. A good transceiver should be sturdy and long-lasting. It should also have a compact design.
Dual band mobile ham radios come with different characteristics. Some of the features you should check include the ability of the device to receive and transmit signals, keypad locking feature, and a multifunction scanning feature. Also, memory channels, levels of power outputs, digital frequency modulations, and availability of dual-mode reception.
Here are some features to look for:
Radios with multifunctioning scanning scan for broadcasting radio signals.
Radios with multiple memory channels let you save your preferred channels, just like a playlist on your phone. You won’t have to reenter the channel information every time.
The squelch feature is aptly named. It “squelches” – that is, quiets – any unwanted background noise, such as static.
- Weather Alert
Ham radios are often used in emergency situations. For this reason, many feature a preprogrammed connection to NOOA’s weather Radio. NOOA, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is part of the National Weather Service umbrella.
- Microphone Audio Gain
You can use this feature to adjust how loud you sound to the people receiving your broadcasts.
Some radios come with backlit and LCD screens. These features make it easier to see, and therefore use the radio, particularly at night in the backwoods.
Some radios come with accessories such as cables. These cables allow you to hook your radio up to a digital device or computer.
4. Easy Operation
Irrespective of whether you have used a dual-band mobile ham radio before or not, you must ensure that the device you select is easy to use. A device with a personal computer control may be the best. This is because you can still communicate with the transceiver even if there is no internet.
Consequently, if you’re looking for the best radio ham for beginners, prioritize this feature.
Smallest Dual Mobile Ham Radios
If having a mobile ham radio is important to you, size might be an issue as well. It’s a good bet that you want a unit that will fit nicely into your vehicle. You don’t want to be lugging around a radio the size of your toaster!
There’s no need for you to worry on the size score. You can easily find quality dual mobile ham radios weighing just over 2 pounds. Slightly heavier mobile ham radios can weigh a little over four pounds. Others fall neatly into the three-pound range.
Can a Dual Band Mobile Ham Radio Talk to a CB?
Ham radios and CB’s are not designed to be compatible. They use different frequencies and are regulated differently.
Ready To Buy The Best Dual Band Mobile Ham Radio?
There you have it! If you have been searching for the best dual band mobile ham radio, you can pick any from our list. Those who are searching for a quality product irrespective of price can consider Yaesu FT-7900R or Kenwood TM-V71A. These products have a higher frequency range as compared to others.
They are also long-lasting, and they have a large LCD. However, they are a bit expensive than others. However, if you are on a budget, you can consider AnyTone AT-778UV Mobile Ham Radio. This device is affordable and comes with advanced features such as three power outputs and DSC/CTSS feature. You can also set the LCD at 180 degrees to give you a clear view, and make different types of calls.
Using a ham radio is exactly the same as using a walkie talkie. They all are two-way transceivers. Regarding their uses, they are slightly different from each other. Dual-band ham radio is basically designed for long-range communications among individuals including engineers, scientists, emergency communications and amateur radio enthusiasts.
In case you are a pilot and looking for an aviation radio which makes the most important communication easier, consider buying a handheld aviation radio.
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