Best Dual Band Mobile Ham Radios: Buying Guide and Reviews

Out of the three main types of the ham radios: handheld, mobile, and base stations; mobile ham radio is the most feasible option for the beginner as well as advanced level ham enthusiasts. Mobile ham radios are not necessarily installed in the vehicles; they are portable and you can take them with you easily without the need of the vehicle. They are better than the handheld ham radios because they offer higher frequencies, and they are better than the base station ones because they are portable.

The dual band mobile ham radio is the most convenient one for the ham radio enthusiasts because they allow operating on two different frequencies hence providing more options and better communication. They can be used at homes, in a vehicle, or wherever you go. 

Mostly these are popular with the hams who want to communicate with other hams in their area while driving or sitting at home. They offer more power for direct communication and they often come with a cooling fan which prevents these radios from getting hot during long conversations. In addition to that, mobile ham radios allow the manufacturers to add multiple interesting features hence making these more interesting for experimentation.

In this article, we will present to you the top ten best options that you should consider while buying a dual band mobile ham radio and also the key factors that should determine your final choice.

AnyTone AT-778UV Dual Band Transceiver Mobile Radio VHF/Uhf Two Way Amateur Radio

AnyTone Dual Band Mobile Radio

The AnyTone is dual band VHF/UHF mobile radio transceiver with DTMF and 5Tone function. This ham radio is astonishing, and all around the world, it is loved by the licensed users of ham radios. It features built-in speakers in mic and radio, DCS, CTCSS, 200 channels, lighted keypad microphone, built-in cooling fan, DC power cable with fuse holder, and a lot more. Its colored screen is the best feature. Its frequency range is: VHF: 136 to 174 MHz UHF: 400 to 480 MHz. It comes with various power ranges i.e. 25W, 15W, and 5W. It also features 180 degree rotatable TFT LCD display. Moreover, single call, group call, selective call, and emergency calls are all available on this ham radio. Its size is good enough to be used as a portable device as well as for the computer desk as it won’t take much space. In addition to that, it caters to the operator’s need as the buttons on the radio and the microphone are programmable.  The manual that comes with this ham radio is extremely user-friendly for foreign users. The price is quite reasonable considering all the specifications that it incorporates.

Pros

  • A phenomenal colored screen.
  • A compact size and it can be mounted anywhere.
  • An easy to read display.
  • Its audio report is good.
  • It has an excellent transmit power.
  • It also works as a scanner.

Cons

  • Its programming is a bit complex as the programming software is not included in the package.
  • It has no CHIRP support.
  • Its DTMF functions are not quite up to the mark.

BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 50 Watt Dual Band Base, Mobile Radio: 136-174mhz (VHF) 400-520mhz (UHF) Amateur (Ham)

btech-dual-band

This is one of the best dual band mobile ham radios in town that is introduced by X-Series BTECH Mobiles. It is unique because of its dual synchronize display mode, auto power-off function, multicolored LCD display screen, and a comprehensive user’s guide. The display can be set up just like you want it to be. The programmable memory channels are 200 and the channels can be added or removed from the scanning list. The channels can be given the alphanumeric names according to your liking.

Moreover, it features a broad range of frequency range, that is, up to 520MHz, Auto Scan, Scanning Resume, Channel Mode Editing Setting,  variable frequency scanning, Quad Watch Delay Time, and Randomization Privacy Mode (like the previous generation UV-5001). You can adjust the ‘microphone gain’ with the in-menu audio adjustments. The X-Series Mobiles include a 3.5mm Line In/Line Out multi-jack to allow remote audio input and output.

In addition to all the above-mentioned specifications, this mobile radio also features high (50W) power settings and low (10W) power settings. Its broad frequency range includes 65Mhz to 108 MHz (only for commercial FM radio reception), VHF ranging from 136 to 174 MHz(Rx/Tx), and UHF ranging from 400 to 520 MHz(Rx/Tx). It also operates as multiple radios in one with either the main band of 144MHz or 430MHz while at the same time watching up to 3 other channels or frequencies. And, if you want, you can also configure it to simultaneous VHF-VHF or UHF-UHF operation.

Now, as far as the installation process is concerned, it is recommended to pair it with Nagoya UT-72 Magnetic mount antenna, and for easy computer programming, the PC04 FTDI cable is recommended.

The kit includes speaker microphone, DC cable, radio and microphone brackets, mounting hardware, and user guide.

Pros

  • CHIRP support.
  • Very reasonable price.
  • Excellent sound quality.

Cons

  • The display is comparatively smaller (about two-inches).
  • The buttons on the face of the radio don’t light up.
  • Less memory storage.

BTECH Mini UV-25X2 25 Watt Dual Band Base, Mobile Radio: 136-174mhz (VHF) 400-520mhz (UHF) Amateur (Ham)

Btech-25watt-dual-band

This is another dual band mobile ham radio that belongs to the X-Series by BTECH Mobiles. It has more or less the same specifications as the previous X-Series dual band mobile ham radio with a few changes: the high power setting is 25W instead of 50W, and the size (specifically height) is smaller. Also, unlike the UV-50X2, it comes with a vehicle cigarette connector power cable. Besides these differences, it also features multicolored and easily customizable LCD display like the UV-50X2 and you can adjust the complete display to be exactly as you want it (with 9 available colors across 10 display elements). Beyond the display, you can fully customize your channels to display their alpha-numeric names or frequency settings.  

The kit includes speaker microphone, 6 foot DC cable with the cigarette plug connector, radio and microphone brackets, mounting hardware, and user guide.

Pros

  • CHIRP support.
  • Very reasonable price.
  • Can be easily carried mounted in a co[act vehicle because of its small size.

Cons

  • High parasitic current when the radio is off.
  • The display is not dimmable.

Kenwood Original TM-V71A 144/440 MHz Dual-Band Amateur Mobile Transceiver, 50 Watts, 1000 Memory, EchoLink Sysop-Mode Operation, True Dual Receiver

This dual band mobile radio is yet another option to consider if you are looking for the best dual band ham radio and it is also one of the most popular dual-band mobile ham radios among the hams. Moreover, Kenwood is a reliable company and it doesn’t fail to put out the best products in the market.

Coming back to the specifications of this dual band mobile ham radio, its power output is 50W. It features 1,000 multifunction memory channels, dual receive on the same band (VxV, UxU), EchoLink® memory (automatic dialer), and EchoLink® sysop mode for node terminal operation. 

It is the ultimate dual band mobile radio so VHF+VHF/VHF+UHF/UHF+UHF operation is possible. Its detachable control head can be easily connected with the optional remote cable. It also features multiple scan, choice of 2 backlight colors (amber/green) for the LCD panel, invertible front panel (extremely convenient as it allows the transceiver to be mounted upside down), and five-in-one programmable memory (used for storing five complete operating files that are easily available for the operator at push of a button). In addition to CTCSS (42 sub-tone frequencies), this is stocked for DCS (104 codes).

Just as VFO scan, program scan, MHz scan, memory scan, and call scan, the TM-V71A offers memory bank scan: the 1,000 channels are gathered into 10 banks for particular scanning. Additionally included are scan resume (time-operated, carrier-operated, and seek), memory channel lockout, tone scan, CTCSS scan, and DCS scan.

For programming, RT Systems KRS-V71 programming kit is recommended.

Pros

  • Easy to setup/program via CHIRP.
  • Simple interface.
  • Good value for the money.
  • Compatible with ARRL TravelPlus (US only) for repeaters.

Cons

  • Programming cable/software is not included.
  • Lack of space for buttons on the face of the radio may cause some inconvenience in usage.

Yaesu Original FTM-100DR 144/430 C4FM Digital / FM Analog Dual Band Transceiver

This is yet another impressive option for basic level as well as advance level ham radio enthusiasts to look for if they are in search of a dual band mobile ham radio. Its single receiver and dot-matrix display design are what that makes it quite popular among the hams of all levels.

Its compact and recently designed front display includes a bright and highly visible White-LED backlit display (160×40 Full Dot Matrix) and a vibrant multi-colored Mode/Status Indicator to visibly and clearly inform the operator of the ongoing state of the transceiver. The multi-colored mode/status Indicator on the display faceplate shows what mode the radio is in by changing from green (receive analog) to blue (receive digitally) when receiving a signal.

This dual band mobile ham radio makes use of the Yaesu’s revolutionary Automatic Mode Select (AMS), as well as a full suite of C4FM Digital and FM Analog features. AMS swiftly recognizes whether a transmission is digital or analog and appropriately switches the transceiver operating mode to allow an efficient co-existence of both digital and analog communication.

In addition to Automatic Mode Select, the FTM-100DR also includes a broad range of System Fusion and analog features, which makes it an ideal communication product that suits every Amateur Radio Operator’s needs. Moreover, the FTM-100DR transceiver is equipped with various expert features like Smart Navigation, Digital Group Monitor (GM) featuring telemetry data and ID transmission, a full-featured 1200/9600bps APRS system, built-in high sensitivity 66 channel GPS with Antenna, GPS logging/recording, microSD card slot (for programming and data storage), and Bluetooth hands-free operation. Easy and quick firmware updates add value and create a unique operating experience by allowing manufacturer upgrades, modifications and additions to software-based radio features at no additional cost.

The kit includes MH-48A6JA DTMF microphone, MMB-36 mobile bracket, SCU-20 PC connection cable, DC power cable, microphone hanger, and a user manual.

Pros

  • Portable size.User friendly interface.
  • Mounting brackets for the base and even one for mounting just the faceplate.

Cons

  • It is not dual receive.

TYT TH-7800 50W Dual Band Dual Display Repeater Car Truck Ham Radio

TYT-50W-Dual0Band

This is a dual band UHF/VHF mobile two way radio. It has a powerful transceiver at a very reasonable price.  It is 4.8 pounds in weight with dimensions of 5.5 x 1.6 x 6.6 inches and is equipped with Ultra-size LCD screen dual display for better readability. This item comes with full featured backlit DTMF keypad on handheld microphone. Detachable front panel can be relocated separately from the radio chassis. For convenience extension cable is also included in the package so that you can install it anywhere in the vehicle like inside the dashboard or under the seat.  Other features consist of a mobile mounting bracket, a cooling fan for keeping its temperature low, a hand microphone hook, fuses, and screw packs.

TH-7800 has 809 channels capacity with 2.5/5/6.25/10/12.5/15/20/25/50KHz of channel spacing. It comprises of F3 Modes of Emission.  It contains a double-conversion super-heterodyne circuit. 136-174MHz can be covered with 50 watts on VHF and 400-480MHz with 40 watts on UHF, resulting in maximum power for mobile communications with efficiency.

This is a full-duplex cross-band and cross-band mobile repeater. It supports 76-108Mhz FM radio, 1750Hz burst tone, group calls, 8 group voice scrambler.

It comes with Keypad DTMF microphone, radio body mounting bracket, DC power cable with fuse holder, front controller separation cable, front controller mounting bracket, screw packs, protection fuses, user manual, and Pergear Clean Kit.

Pros

  • Supports CHIRP.
  • The microphone is quite handy because of its small size.

Cons

  • Slightly slower scanning speed as compared to the one by Yaesu.

TALKCOOP KT-8900D 25W/20W Dual Band VHF/UHF(136-174/400-480MHZ) Mini Color Screen Quad-Standy Mobile Car Radio 2 Way Radios Walkie Talkie Car Mobile Ham Radio+ Free Programming Cable and CD

Talkcoop KT-8900D Ham Radio for Car

This dual band mobile ham radio is recently updated and it has become quite popular due to its compact size and easy usability. It features FM radio function, remote stun, DTMF, remote kill, PTT ID, and auto-lock. Its frequency ranges from VHF 136 to 174MHz (Rx/Tx) and UHF from 400 to 480MHz (Rx/Tx). KT-8900D has a power output of VHF 25W and UHF 20W. The power supply that is suitable for this radio is DC 12V-5A. Moreover, it has 200 channels, cooling fan, and quad watch with prioritized channels. It requires 12v/13.8v power supply for indoor use.

It also features customizable colors and boot display text. Finally, the kit includes a microphone with DTMF keypad, a user manual, a charger, a mounting kit, and a programming cable. 

Pros

  • Supports chirp.
  • 3.5mm audio output on the back.
  • Programming cable included.

Cons

  • Receive sensitivity is not as impressive as the other ones.
  • Slow scanning speed.
  • Quad watch only lets you hear one, prioritized signal at a time (no mixing).

TYT MD-9600 Dual Band Digital DMR Mobile Car Truck Transceiver, VHF/UHF 3000 Channels,10000 Contacts, 250 Zones, 50W VHF/45W UHF/25W Amateur Ham Radio with Programming Cable

TYT-MD-9600-Digital-DMR

The MD-9600 offers you the crystal clear, noise-free audio of over-the-air digital communications in your vehicle and up to the mark analog transceiver capabilities. Other than that, you can go digital on the road with the TYT MD-9600 DMR Digital Mobile Two Way Radio. It also supports the digital and analog modes so you can enjoy the best of both. It provides dual band support, operating on both 420-450MHz UHF frequencies and 150-160MHz VHF at up to 50 watts VHF and 45 watts UHF, using Time-Division Multiple-Access (TDMA) digital technology. This digital mobile ham radio is also compatible with MD380, MD390, MD2017, Code-Plug, and MOTOTRBO, DMR Tier II.

As far as the calling features are concerned, this dual band mobile ham radio has them, including private call, group call, and all-call. In addition to that, it includes Lone worker mode, power save mode, low power alarm, an emergency alarm, and VOX capability. Moreover, it is easily programmable through PC and the firmware is upgradeable to boot, which provides the maximum flexibility and versatility in order to compete with any other digital mobile radio on the market.

It offers 250 zones with 64 channels for each zone. It has built-in CTCSS/DCS, priority scan, channel scan, short text message features, draft message edit, contacts check and edit, and encryption. It also has remote stun/kill and activate.

This dual band mobile ham radio features colored LCD display with clear, vivid text for an easy read from your dash or console. Besides, it gives you programmable function keys on the console and a hand microphone with programmable keys, two built-in LEDs and a DTMF keypad and for full access to its menu of powerful digital and analog features.

The kit includes a speaker microphone, screw sets, spare fuse, user manual, mounting bracket, free programming cable, and a power cable.

Pros

  • Smooth construction.
  • Easy to use.

Cons

  • Does not have a detachable control head.
  • The receive squelch is not as impressive as others.

Icom IC-2730A Dual Band VHF/UHF 50W Mobile Radio

For its price, this is another great dual band mobile ham radio in the market for the ham radio enthusiasts at beginners’ level. It has all the features of a mobile ham radio but there is one feature that is quite unique and which sets it apart from the other radios of this kind: Bluetooth. Hence, it can be connected to different headsets (provided that you have installed the Bluetooth module inside the unit by opening it). 

It comes with three power outputs, that is, 50W, 15W, and 5W, hence you can choose which one to use depending upon your use. The RX frequency of ICOM 2730A ranges from 118 to 174MHz and from 375 to 550MHz. It comes with not 200 or 300, but 1052 memory channels! And this includes 50 scan edges and 2 calls.

In addition to that, the IC-2730A provides VHF/VHF, UHF/UHF simultaneous receive capability, as well as VHF/UHF receive. Now, coming to the display screen, its display screen is 1.5 times bigger than its previous model and this makes it easy to operate while driving the vehicle. And on top of all this, its frequency display and channel names are larger, and the white backlight provides higher contrast, hence easier visibility.

Pros

  • Great scanning capability.
  • Easy visibility due to bigger display and bright LEDs.
  • Easy to install.
  • The audio quality is great in its price.

Cons

  • The control headset is separate and you will have to buy the mounting hardware.
  • No data port on the radio.

QYT KT-8900 Mini Dual Band Mobile Transceiver 2M 136-174MHz/70cm 400-480MHz 25W Amateur Car Radio (HAM)

QYT Mini Dual Band Car Radio

The last (but not the least) on our list is QYT KT-8900. As it is evident by the name, it is yet another dual band mobile ham radio that is quite handy due to its smaller size. It is upgraded with a cooling fan that prevents it from getting hot while it is being used.

It comes with a broad frequency range, that is, VHF from 136 to 174MHZ and UHF from 400 to 480MHz. the output power of VHF is 25W and UHF is 20W. In addition to that, it features MSK, 5Tone, 2Tone, DTMF, CTCSS, and DCS. For the ease of its users, it comes with an optional signal setting. The QYT KT-8900 also features FM radio function, PTT ID, auto lock, remote stun, remote kill, and channel name set. It also has 200 memory channels. Its frequency step is from 2.5 to 25 kHz. The programming cable (Microsoft XP, Window 7/8/10 Supported, driver installation needed) comes with this mobile ham radio and hence the programming is made easier through CHIRP software (which is another plus point as not all dual band mobile ham radios support CHIRP). Furthermore, an extremely easy to read the user manual and mounting cable and screws are included in the package besides the 1 x QYT KT-8900 Mobile radio speaker microphone (DTMF function), and one 13.8V DC Power cable with a cigarette plug connector.

Pros

  • Compact in size.
  • Does not heat up.
  • Excellent speaker.
  • Supports CHIRP.

Cons

  • The display screen size is small and it makes it a bit difficult to operate while driving.
  • The microphone condenser is located behind the silicone keypad and this affects the sound quality at the receiver’s end.

Guide to Choosing the Best Dual Band Mobile Ham Radio

Ham Radio is in vogue for some time now as it is a burgeoning hobby. Ham Radio enthusiasts don’t comprise of any specific age, field or area. They include people of all ages, fields and areas. Hence, there is an excessive demand of this device in the market, which leads to so many companies producing them. As a consequence, it becomes quite difficult as well as confusing for the new ham radio enthusiasts to choose from unlimited options that are available in the market. In this section, it will be made easy for you to choose your first ham radio.

How does a dual Band Radio Work?

First of all, let’s educate ourselves about the working of a dual band ham radio. A dual band ham radio allows its users to communicate on two separate frequency bands in the electromagnetic spectrum:  Very High Frequency (VHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF).

According to the amateur radio jargon, the VHF band is called the “2 meter band” and ranges from 144 MHz to 148 MHz while the UHF band is called the “70 centimeter band” and it ranges from 420 to 450 MHz.

The operator can transmit in one band and receive on another band. It also allows transmission and reception on the same band but at two different frequencies in that band. 

Technical Specs of Dual Band Mobile Ham Radio

Dual Band Mobile ham radios come with different features including:

  • Keypad locking feature
  • The ability of the device to receive and transmit signals.
  • Multifunction scanning
  • Various levels of power outputs
  • Memory channels
  • Availability of dual mode reception
  • Digital frequency modulations

Some additional features include Bluetooth connectivity option, CHIRP software support option, size of the radio, size of the microphone, and mounting hardware.

What are the key factors and features to consider when looking for the best dual band mobile ham radio?

Now let’s come towards the key factors and features to look for when choosing your dual band mobile ham radio. There are multiple things to consider while choosing these kinds of mobile radios. 

First of all, you should consider the frequency range. You should always go for a higher frequency range because it works better under different circumstances and it also offers more options for the ham radio enthusiasts to explore.

Secondly, you should consider the power output that is being offered in the mobile ham radio that you are considering. Which power output should you buy highly depends upon the nature of your usage.

Thirdly, the durability of a dual band mobile ham radio should not be taken for granted. Many ham radios are made of poor quality material and when used under different weather ad area conditions, they fail to produce the required result and the desired communication fails to take place. On the other hand, dual band ham radios made out of good quality material are credible and they don’t fail the test against time or circumstances.

Fourthly, the size of the dual band mobile ham radio matters a lot. Depending upon the size of your vehicle and the nature of your usage, always choose the radio accordingly.

Next, in the list are the features to consider while choosing. For example, those radios that support CHIRP software are easy to program as compared to those which do not support this software. Moreover, some ham radios have attached control headsets while some have separate ones. Other important features include the number of memory channels, FM radio function, Bluetooth, multifunction scanning feature, digital frequency modulations, the option of naming the channels according to your own choice, remote shun, remote kill, keypad locking feature, PACKET, APRS, DCS, and CTCSS.

Then comes the operational ease, that is, how easily can you set up your new radio. Some radios require more technical knowledge and are made for the advance level ham radio enthusiasts. Contrary to this, there are some radios that are very easy to operate and do not require any expert-level skill to understand. These are usually made with focusing upon the beginner level amateurs.

Lastly, price matters. You can buy a cheap ham radio with a few features and less durability if you want to try out this as a new hobby. You are not sure whether you will take it up later as a hobby and just buying it on the insistence of a friend. But, if you are an advanced level ham radio enthusiast and need one to expand your recreational ham radio activities by communicating with more fellow hams under different circumstances, then you will need to be extra cautious while buying one. Saving money under the later situation will eventually backfire and you will end up spending more money, effort, and time. Hence, be very aware of the nature of your usage and obviously the contents of your pocket!

Final Review

You are absolutely free to choose from the above listed ten dual-band mobile ham radios as all of them are the best products in the market. But, if you are not tight on the budget and looking for the best dual band mobile ham radio with all the features, then you should definitely go for Kenwood Original TM-V71A as it allows communicating on higher frequency and its durability is also unquestioned. In addition to that, this ham radio receives most of the positive reviews from its users which obviously shows its credibility.

On the other hand, if you are tight on your budget, then QYT KT-8900 is the solution to your question. For its price, it provides all the important features that a beginner’s level ham radio enthusiast would need. Also, it is a compact dual band mobile ham radio and hence it is easily portable and quite handy for its operators.

In the end, choosing the dual band mobile ham radio only depends upon your budget and nature of usage but right now, the top ten best options have been made available to you. Best of luck while choosing yours!

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