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What Is The Best Dual Band Mobile Ham Radio

ham radio held in hand

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, choosing a dual band ham radio is tough. With the wealth of options available in the market, you can end up with a device with limited range, subpar performance, or unreliable reception.
So, we’ve compiled the best dual band mobile ham radios we’ve tested to help you out.

Best Dual Band Ham Radio Reviews

1. BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 50 Watt Dual Band Base, Mobile Radio

Operating on two bands (UHF and VHF frequencies), the BTECH Mobile ham radio features 200 memory channels on your scanning list. The frequency range of this dual band mobile ham radio is 65 MHz to 108 MHz, with the UHF frequencies at 400 MHz to 520 MHz and the VHF frequencies at 136 MHz to 174 MHz. 

This BTECH dual band mobile ham radio is actually one of the first to introduce the dual sync mode, which allows you to display the channel frequencies and names of both bands simultaneously. And with the channel memory feature, this radio can autotune to your preferred bands.

 

When we tested the BTECH ham radio, a few things stood out from its feature set. It has  a fully customizable LCD display screen, auto scan, privacy mode, and channel mode editing  settings. With the channel edit settings, you can change the squelch, tones, and add or remove channels from your list if you want.

Plus, this dual band VHF/UHF mobile ham radio also features more scanning modes that can start, stop and resume scanning easily, making usage smooth and efficient. Overall, it’s a reliable radio for any kind of user.

Pros

  • Dual band support (VHF, UHF)
  • 200 memory channels for scanning list
  • Fully customizable LCD display screen
  • Dual sync mode
  • New scanning modes
  • Channel editing
  • Microphone audio gain
  • Auto power-off feature
  • Privacy mode

Cons

  • Very sensitive to certain antennas

2. BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-Watt Dual Band Two Way Radio

If you want a handheld radio rather than a base mobile one, this model from BaoFeng is a great choice. Like the previous option, the BaoFeng BF-F8HP operates on two bands. It has a VHF band that ranges from 136 MHz to 174 MHz and a UHF frequency band of 400 MHz to 520 MHz.

Design-wise, the rugged build of this dual band mobile transceiver is ideal for use in the outdoors. You can also take advantage of its VOX capabilities, which allows hands-free use when you’re busy with other tasks.

If you want to listen to FM radio channels, this mobile ham radio also provides access to commercial FM radio reception. You don’t have to worry about running out of juice as well, because the upgraded BaoFeng BF-F8HP has a longer battery life – allowing you to use features like the flashlight without trouble.

Pros

  • Handheld ham radio
  • Supports dual bands
  • Long battery life and rugged build
  • Easily portable and mobile design
  • VOX
  • Extra features such as flashlight
  • High gain and powerful antenna
  • Commercial FM radio reception

Cons

  • Power output may be a little lower

3. Kenwood Original TM-V71A 144/440 MHz Dual-Band Amateur Mobile Radio Transceiver

Kenwood is a well-loved name, and this mobile amateur radio impresses with a high power output of 50 watts and 1000 memory channels. With this many channels, Kenwood makes it easy to organize them by allowing easy naming of up to 6 alphanumeric characters.

Like the other models on our list, this mobile ham radio is dual band and operates on VHF, UHF bands. Plus, you have 144 MHz to 148 MHz TZ frequency and 430 MHz to 450 MHz frequencies as well.

The front panel is also customizable and there’s also a digital code squelch that’s easy to use. However, what stood out for us in this Kenwood dual band mobile ham radio is the Echolink memory feature, which can store call signs and node numbers to your channels. On the whole, it’s a great choice compared to others in this price point.

Pros

  • High power output of 50 watts
  • The Kenwood radio can be set with green or amber backlight
  • Store up to 1000 memory channels
  • Dual band support (VHF, UHF channel frequencies)
  • Echolink memory
  • Small and compact
  • Durable build
  • Digital Code squelch

Cons

  • This amateur radio can get a little hot

4. FTM-7250DR FTM-7250 Original Yaesu Dual Band

This mobile ham radio from Yaesu supports both VHF/UHF frequency bands and is compatible with analog and digital CF4M, giving you more options compared to others.

When it comes to power, this is designed with three power settings ranging from 5 watts to 25 watts all the way up to 50 watts. But in our tests, the audio output of the front speaker measures up to 3 watts  – also enough for powerful sound.

Using this radio was easy, and we noticed that it didn’t heat up as fast as others. That came as no surprise, especiaaly since it’s equipped with Yaesu FACC (funnel air convection conductor) and a heavy-duty heat sink for cooling.

Overall, it’s a good Yaesu ham radio that has many features including 200 memory channels, CTCSS, DCS, DSQ, DTMF, AlphaNumeric, Auto Mode Select, NOAA weather transmissions, and an emergency weather alert feature for more severe conditions.

Pros

  • No temperature issues
  • Yaesu exclusive FACC feature
  • Heat sink
  • More than 200 memory channels
  • Can receive emergency weather alerts for severe weather conditions
  • Durable
  • Wide range coverage
  • Multicolor LED display
  • Varied power settings ranging from 5 watts to 25 watts

Cons

  • The screen is clearest when viewing head-on

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

Next on our list is the Icom IC-2730a. It’s another dual band mobile ham radio that can simultaneously receive VHF/UHF frequency bands in any combination. And with 50 watts of power output, it gave clear audio and a reliable performance in our tests.

The large LCD screen is a great feature, with its white backlight giving a clear view in any lighting. When it came to the controls, the front panel layout is highly intuitive, with volume, squelch knobs, and other buttons conveniently laid out.

But aside from the on-device buttons, you can also control the device remotely with a Bluetooth headset. This radio also has VOX hands-free voice control, making operation much easier.

The only downside is that it doesn’t include the mounting hardware, so that’s something you should buy separately.

Pros

  • High power output
  • Small and compact design
  • Easy to use with intuitive controls on the panel
  • You can use VHF and UHF bands simultaneously
  • The large LCD display offers more contrast with white lighting
  • VOX hands-free operation
  • Can be used with a Bluetooth headset for control

Cons

  • Doesn’t include mounting hardware

6. Radioddity DB25 Pro Dual Band Radio

The first thing you’ll notice about this radio is its size – it’s much smaller than the other base mobile ham radios on our list. As such, it’s very easy to carry wherever you go.

But this size means the screen is smaller too, but the 4 different colored backlights make up for it and makes things easier to read. Looking at the features, it offers some impressive functions including include dual band synchronized display, microphone gain settings, alarm, auto power-off function, auto scan, privacy settings and selectable power settings.

This Radioddity dual band amateur radio also includes a spare fuse and operates on an ideal frequency range (136 MHz -174 MHz / 400-480 MHz). And with the 50-watt high-speed quad-band antenna, it’s powerful enough to ensure quality audio.

This radio is also easy to use, program, and install. You just have to download the programming software straight from the site and use the programming cable. Speaking of cables, here are some of the best coax you might want to check out.

Pros

  • 50-watt high-speed powerful antenna
  • Dual band mobile ham radio (VHF and UHF)
  • Auto power-off
  • Auto-scan function
  • Privacy settings
  • Power output settings
  • Small and compact easily portable
  • Easy to use and program

Cons

  • The setup manual has compressed files

7. TYT TH-8600 Mini 25 Watt Dual Band Base, IP67 Waterproof Radio

The frequency bands at this dual band dual display mobile ham radio operate at a frequency range of 136-174 mhz for VHF and 400-480 mhz for UHF. There are also over 200 memory channels with 5 function keys you can program. While that’s not as high as other models, it’s a decent amount for the average user.

To give you more freedom in terms of power consumption, you can choose between the low, medium, or high setting. Other dual band radios have this function as well, as it comes in handy for conserving power.

In terms of setup, the kit comes with everything you need. You can also download the free software, which we also found easy to use.

Pros

  • Small but powerful dual band amateur radio
  • FCC certification
  • IP67 waterproof
  • Dual display of both bands
  • Over 200 memory channels
  • 5 function keys you can program
  • Easy setup
  • Comes with everything you need
  • Save power by using low power settings

Cons

  • A little heavier than other options

Dual Band Mobile Ham Radio Buying Guide

Dual band ham radios are some of your best options for ham or amateur radios. But aside from a popular brand or name, there are certain things that mobile ham radios must have for smooth operation. Sometimes, using add-ons can affect how the dual band ham radios perform. 

To make everything easier, we have compiled a list of criteria a mobile transceiver should meet in order to be considered the best. Alternatively, you can also prepare for getting your ham radio license with any of our recommended online courses.

Frequency Range

The first thing to consider is the frequency range, as this can make or break your dual band mobile ham radio’s performance. Frequencies are measured in MHZ (megahertz), and mobile ham radios are classified as single band, dual band or all band.

In line with the purpose of this guide, let’s focus on the dual bands. Dual band opens up more communication possibilities than single band, especially since you have simultaneous access to VHF/UHF.

The UHF frequency bands are great to use in urbanites or in an environment with lots of buildings and obstruction. In comparison, VHF frequency bands are better for open areas. This is why it’s important to have mobile ham radios that have both.

A product with a higher frequency range will also have a wider reach. So when looking for the best mobile ham radios, try to find one with a higher frequency range.

Durability/Build

Just like with any other product, you also want your radio transceiver to last for a long time. Good dual band mobile radios will be strong and rugged in build, so you can take it with you on outdoor trips.

For us, the best mobile ham radios are portable, so it’s an added bonus if the design is small, compact and lightweight. Handheld two way radios are great to use if you want to receive and transmit info as well, but they can be pretty limited compared to dual-band ham radios.

If you plan on installing your amateur radio in your car,  durability won’t matter as much as if you have a handheld version.

If you plan to install the amateur radio in your offroading vehicle, however, then the build should be great. The outside world can be harsh, so your transceiver should be able to handle the elements.

The shocks and vibrations that come with adventurous driving could affect even the best mobile ham radios, so if driving on rugged terrain is something you often do, opt for a good ham radio transceiver that’s designed to be more robust. That would be a better choice than one that’s packed full of fancy bells and whistles.

What should be on top of your list is IP67 waterproof capabilities [1]. It’s not hard to find a radio that is well built, but finding one that meets your needs is a whole other story. 

Another good way to get a clearer picture of a product’s durability is to search for reviews. Reviews will tell you one or two things about the good or bad aspects people say about a product, giving you valuable insight.

Size

Also consider the size when selecting a dual band mobile ham radio. Most radio transceivers are small in size, but it still depends on your needs.

Mobile models, including our favorite handheld ham radios, are the size of walkie talkies and some smartphones. These are easy to place in your pocket and carry around, so you can use your hands for other tasks.

Other types, most of what you’ve seen on our list, can fit in vehicles if needed. But to make sure the one you purchase fits in your vehicle, you need to take a look at the allotted space.

Then again, dual-band mobile ham radios are mostly small and compact and designed to be transported. You can easily find ones on our list that weigh in at around 2 pounds. The ones on the heavier end can see about 4 pounds in maximum weight and there are also ones that fall right in between at around 3 pounds.

man using handheld radio

Power

When you search for the best mobile ham radios for your car, there is also a certain output power it should reach. Radio transceivers designed with a minimum max power of 25 watts is great.

If you can get something closer to 40 watts or 50, then you have one powerful radio on your hands. With this, you can receive and transmit messages excellently.

The higher the output power, the better. However, if you find a device that’s over 50 watts, the difference may be barely noticeable.

Additionally, the higher the output power, the wider the range you get. That said, you may not always need a ham radio that’s using full power all the time because you may also reach people who your message was not intended for.

As said, 25 watts at the minimum for max power is a good starting point for radio transceivers. Your amateur dual band ham radio transceiver is good at draining car batteries when used at max power all the time. As such, it should also be capable of having low power settings which can be used if you want to save power. Another tip is to only use the dual band radios when your car engine is on.

The Bands

The next consideration is the bands. Dual bands usually operate on a wavelength of 2 meters starting from 144 MHz of power. You also have the 70 cm bands (in length) that go from around 430 MHz of power.

There are also 6-meter bands that are lower than the 144 MHz dual bands that start from 50 MHz. The last ones are the longest bands of 10 meters that operate around 28 MHz.

These are incredibly long-range bands. The longer-range options generally need an antenna to transmit, so that’s another thing to take into account as well.

Antenna

The antenna is one of the most important features of these radios in order to transmit well. A good dual band ham radio is not only capable of high power but also has a quality antenna that pairs well with your transceiver.

Depending on how high a frequency you plan to transmit, you need to make sure the antenna is compatible and of great quality

photo of tower with cloudy background

Features

The next thing you want to look for in reviews like this are the features of your best 2-band amateur radio. There are some functions that are great to have such as a keypad lock, different levels of power outputs, and more.

But more importantly, you should want one with scanning features. Multifunctional scanning features in a transceiver can scan and receive broadcasting signals on different channels.

The channel memory will allow you to store 100 or more of your go-to and preferred channels. As such, you can easily tune-in to channels without having to manually input the information again.

The levels of power outputs are important as well because they allow you to customize your radio. You don’t always want to be at full power all the time, and customizable power features allow you to tone it down for a low consumption.

Squelching control is also one of the most useful features. Your transceiver can be littered with static and noise, but access to squelch features will quiet that unwanted background noise in channels.

Furthermore, the best ham radio would also have NOAA weather alerts because you can access vital information when you’re on the road. Since ham radios are often used for emergencies in the United States, weather features will give you the latest real-time info gathered from the NOAA.

Another important thing is the display mode. An LCD screens with bright backlights are vital to the display of the radio. You don’t need a lot of power to operate a small LCD screen and it makes viewing the details on the screen at night much easier. There are even mobile transceivers that have a dual display mode.

Finally, consider the microphone audio gain features. This can help you customize how loud you can transmit messages to others.

Now, if you want a more specific comparison, check out the features of both ham radios in this review of Yaesu FT-991a VS Icom IC-7300.

Ease of Use

No one wants a radio that is difficult to use and program. It’s hard to call a device the “best” in the category when it takes you hours upon hours of research time and programming before you can transmit or receive signals. 

Thankfully, there are radio devices that have computer control which helps with convenience. This feature allows you to still be able to control your transceiver with or without an internet connection. One that’s easy to use and control is especially vital to those who are not as tech-savvy.

In the end, having a radio that comes with a user manual and easy to follow instructions for programming is the best.

Price

Your last consideration should be the price. When you search for a new radio, you have should have some idea of the price range and your budget. The best advice is to go for the best radio that matches your needs in terms of power, convenience and more. 

Unfortunately, most higher-end radio and tech products are pricier but if you choose well, the radio should provide enough power and features to reach those you want to communicate with.

What is the Top Mobile Amateur Ham Radio?

The best mobile amateur radio on our list is the BTECH Mobile UV-50X2. However, the perfect one for you will still be different from someone else. Waterproof certification, for instance, may or may not be important. If you’re planning on mounting your radio on an off-roader vehicle, it is, but if not, you can do without waterproofing.

That said, a robust build is something everyone should look for even if they don’t put their cars through the wringer, as durability guarantees that the product will last longer. The best dual band radio should also have a large LCD display screen just to make the channels and functions easier to read, especially in an emergency.

Certain devices can also be affordable and still come with fancy features such as VOX and DSC. Audio quality, squelch controls and power are crucial too. But overall, the best mobile amateur ham radio will excel in transmission, reception, programming, noise reduction and power output.

person wearing a backpack and a body of water

Can a Dual-Band Amateur Radio Talk to a CB Radio?

In general, different types of radios are not compatible with each other. Even the same radio operating on different bands can’t communicate back and forth. 

If you have a ham radio that is a single band rather than dual, you will only be able to communicate with a dual band radio operating on the same band. Different types of radios are regulated differently aside from operating on different frequencies. So, unfortunately, a dual band amateur radio cannot talk to a CB radio. 

What is the Top Dual Band Mobile Antenna?

You may have decided that you want an added antenna on the roof of your car to boost your broadcasting range and ramp up the audio quality. This then begs the question of the perfect dual-band mobile antenna. 

We find that the best products always have a minimal setup and don’t require a whole lot of tuning, programming, and maintenance. Most of them are durable as well.

Since the most suitable dual antenna for one person could be different for the next, we will give you the criteria to find the top one.

It needs to be easy – so look for ones that don’t require any tuning. You also need to have gains in both UHF and VHF frequencies to tailor your sound.

The mount is another key feature. Since it will be sitting on your vehicle, the antenna needs to be just as tough, if not tougher, than your radio itself. Make sure you secure them tightly because low hanging branches are a killer for mobile antennas.

Finally it needs to have the capability of operating with wide bands to push your signal further. 

Our Top Pick: BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 50 Watt Dual Band Base Mobile Radio

Undoubtedly, the best dual-band mobile ham radio on our list is the BTECH Mobile UV-50X2. It provides a 50-watt power output, impressive frequency ranges, dual-display functions, channel editing, auto power-off funciton, and an impressive feature set. Overall, it provides a highly reliable performance for smooth and efficient communication.

William