The Best Mobile Ham Radios For 2024

William Shatner By, William Shatner
Updated
Uniden BEARCAT 980 40
Image credit: Amazon.com

The Rundown

1. Best Overall: Uniden BEARCAT 980 40

This radio will allow you to stay connected while out on the road, which is great for people with a long drive ahead of them and also allows for wireless microphone compatibility. Read Review

2. Best For The Price: President Electronics USA Bill CB Radio

This device is recommended for drivers who want a long-lasting, compact CB that has a depth of features. The President Electronics is also ideal for off-road use in Jeeps, Cruisers, Tractors and HD equipment. Read Review

3. Best Versatile: Midland 1001LWX 40 Channel Mobile

We like it because it is a mobile CB with a built-in weather scan. This radio has an adjustable RF gain control to adjust sensitivity range and a bright backlit LCD for nighttime use. Read Review

4. Best Dual Band Base: BTECH Mobile UV-50X2 50 Watt , Mobile Radio

The LCD screen with nine available colors is one of the features that distinguish this radio from more affordable models. You can fully customize the color scheme as well as the elements displayed, allowing you to see the information you need without being overwhelmed. Read Review

Do you enjoy exploring the outdoors and the great outdoors? Do you often go camping or hiking? If so, you'll love getting a mobile ham radio. They're small devices you can take with you and use to communicate with others in your group who also have them.

These compact radios are generally handheld and quite portable. They're lightweight and small enough to fit into a backpack or other more minor carrying case. Many people have found these devices used when camping or hiking with friends, as well as during other outdoor activities and excursions.

Our experts have determined the models that would be the most excellent fit for your requirements, specifically Uniden BEARCAT 980 40, after extensive study and analysis over a considerable time. Consider President Electronics USA Bill CB Radio as an alternative if you're still undecided. Other suggestions on this list are worth considering, and we've put up a helpful shopping guide to help you decide on the best mobile ham radios.

Our Top Picks

TOP Choice #1 Uniden BEARCAT 980 40
Our Score:
9.7
Uniden
  • STAY CONNECTED: The BEARCAT 980 SSB CB Radio allows you to stay connected while out on the road and is great for people with a long drive ahead of them
  • 40 CHANNEL: Full spectrum CB operation & instantly switches to emergency channel 9. Features NOAA weather channels with the push of a button
  • LARGE EASY-TO-READ DISPLAY & CHANNEL: Illuminated control panel with 7 color personalized display options for easy use in all lighting conditions. Also features easy-to-read laser etched keys
  • NEW NOISE CANCELLING MICROPHONE: Noise Canceling Mic reduces background noise for crystal clear communication
  • WIRELESS MICROPHONE COMPATABILE: The integrated SWR gives perfect antenna matching. Working with the Uniden BC906W CB Wireless Microphone the Bearcat 980 has become more adaptable
TOP Choice #2 President Electronics USA Bill CB Radio
Our Score:
9.6
President Electronics
  • USB Charging Socket
  • Weather Channels
  • 2 Programmable Emergency Channels
  • Noise Blanker....
  • 7 Color Display
TOP Choice #3 Midland 1001LWX 40 Channel Mobile
Our Score:
9.4
Midland
  • Mobile CB With Built-In Weather Scan
  • Automatic Noise Limiter Improves Reception For A Weak Signal
  • Weather Scan Instantly Finds Local Weather Channel
  • Adjustable Rf Gain Control To Adjust Sensitivity Range
  • What Makes the UV-50X2 Unique? -- Dual Synchronize Display Mode, Mic Audio Gain Settings, In depth user's guide, Auto Power Off Function, Channel Mode Editing Settings, Auto Scan, Scanning Resume, and Variable Frequency Scanning, Quad Watch Delay Time, Randomization Privacy Mode - Builds upon previous generation UV-5001
  • Kit Includes: BTECH UV-50X2, Speaker Mic, DC Cable, Radio & Mic Brackets, Mounting Hardware, and User Guide
  • The UV-50X2 operates as multiple radios in one, with either 144 MHz or 430 MHz as the "Main" TX/RX band, while simultaneously watching up to 3 other frequencies or channels; and, if you like, you can configure your UV-50X2 for simultaneous VHF-VHF or UHF-UHF operation, too!
  • Recommended Accessories: Pair UV-50X2 with the Nagoya UT-72 Magnetic Mount Antenna for easy installation. The PC04 FTDI Cable is recommended for easy computer programming
  • High / Low Power Settings (50W/10W); Frequency Range: VHF: 144-148 MHz(Rx/Tx). UHF: 420-450 MHz(Rx/Tx); Broad (Wide) / Narrowband (Narrow) Selectable
5 Uniden PC68LTX 40-Channel
Our Score:
9.1
Uniden
  • The PC68LTX includes an extra-long mic cord for operator convenience even in the largest of vehicle cabs.
  • The Uniden PC68LTX Professional 40 Channel CB Radio brings back the high quality circuitry that made Uniden famous!
  • Radio operators have been mourning the disappearance of the "high-cut" audio option from Uniden's CB Radio line up for quite some time. Now Uniden has reintroduced the high-cut audio in the PC68LTX mobile CB radio!
  • The Uniden PC68LTX is elegantly styled and packed with the most popular 2-way radio features in a user friendly package that will be familiar to all Uniden CB fans!
  • A bright LED channel indicator, easy to read meter, front panel Mic connector, and Uniden's classic controls with an enhanced channel selector that offers more positive channel selection and reduced drift are some of highlights to the new PC68LTX.
  • And the reintroduction of the high-cut audio switch will make any veteran driver happy while newer CB radio operators will enjoy the clarity and frequency response that Uniden's high-cut audio brings to the conversation.
  • RF gain control, Mic gain control, PA/CB switch, Analog S/RF meter, instant access to channel 9, and a sturdy mic with left side positive push to talk make the PC68LTX loaded with the features that professional drivers have enjoyed for years!
6 President Lincoln II Plus
Our Score:
8.9
President Electronics
  • VFO Mode w/ continuous scanning; Multi-functions LCD display; Frequencies display; S-meter; Channels and memories scan; 6 Memories; CTCSS (38 tones); DCS (104 codes).
  • Dual watch; Key locking; SWR (Power Reading/SWR); Preset emergency (EMG 1/2); TOT (Time Out Timer) adjustable.
  • Same as LINCOLN II but 12 meter band added, key "CH19/9" replaced by "Emergency Channel 1 and 2" programmable by user; HF output power 35W PEP SSB instead of 31W PEP SSB, 35W FM instead of 28W; AM is same 12W RMS 48WPEP.
  • Public Address; Vox function (hands-free); ANL filter, NB and HI-CUT; RF Gain / Mic gain; Clarifier; Roger Beep; Front microphone plug; External loudspeaker jack.
  • Rotary switch and Up/down channel selector; Volume adjustment and ON/OFF; Manual squelch and ASC; RF Power; MENU function key; Dim; Mode switch AM/FM/LSB/USB/CW.
7 Stryker SR-94HPC 10 Meter Radio
Our Score:
8.7
STRYKER
  • 45+ Watts PEP
  • 10 & 12 Meters
  • Backlit Keys
  • RF Power High / Low
  • MIC/RF Gain Controls
8 AnyTone Dual Band Mobile Radio AT-5888UV
Our Score:
8.6
AnyTone
  • ☞ * Narrow Band compliant, Remote Mountable Faceplate, Lighted Keypad mic, Built-in Speakers in both Radio & Mic, Built-In cooling Fan, & More! Automatic calling ldentification function by DTMF--ANI or 5Tone--ANI. Multi groups of fixed scrambling and 2 groups of self defined scrambling.
  • ☞* Features CTCSS, DCS, ANI, DTMF, 2-Tone/5-Tone, Alphanumeric Display, 758 channels & more!758 programmable memory channels, identified by editing name.Programming different CTCSS, DCS, 2Tone, 5Tone per channel, rejecting extra calling from other radios. Various scan functions including CTCSS/DCS Scan function. Using 5Tone to send Message, Emergency alarm, Call all, ANI, Remotely kill, Remotely Waken, etc.
  • ☞ * Compander function for decrease the background noise and enhance audio clarity, it can set compander ON/OFF per channel. Different band width per channel, 25K for wide band, 20K for middle band ,or 12.5K for narrow band. Theft alarm provides extra safety.
  • ☞ * Full Twin Display and Receive, Cross Band Repeater mode too!.Display on a large LCD with adjustable brightness, convenient for nighttime use. There are Amateur operation mode and Professional operation mode for option. Distribute buttons reasonably, convenient for operation. Adopt superior quality material, better technology and direct-flow heat sink to ensure stable and durable operation.
  • ☞* 50W/40W Full DualBand VHF/UHF Mobile Radio Transceiver! Frequency Range: VHF 136 - 174 MHz, UHF 400 - 512 MHz. 758 memory channels, full duplex operation with independent volume and squelch controls, 50 Watts of power output on the VHF band and 40 Watts on the UHF band with cross band repeat function.Four independent receiving bands, consist of UU, UV,VU,VV for dual receive and dual output, plus receiving for AM/FM signal of air band,marine band, PMR, etc
9 PRESIDENT Ronald 10 Meter Radio
Our Score:
7.9
President
  • 50 + Watts PEP
  • 7 Color Display
  • DW
  • AM/FM
  • Mic Gain
  • Dual watch - select two channels to constantly monitor simultaneously. Keep an ear open for incoming transmissions on multiple channels so you will hear alerts around you.
  • Sound tracker The sound tracker system helps by cutting 90% of the noise, You'll hear crystal clear communication without the distractions of static and interference.
  • Channel scan - find the channel with the best signal automatically, with 40 channels to chose from. You won't have to manually search for a strong signal again.
  • Noaa weather channels - be the first to know of incoming Hazards or changing weather with instant access to NOAA weather channels 24 hours a day.
  • Extended range - 4 Watt power output allows maximum power and extended range of communication.
Product Images, Product Titles, Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

What to Look For in a best mobile ham radios?

Often buyers are reluctant to buy best mobile ham radios. When considering a large purchase, certain things should be examined. Our knowledge and experience of best mobile ham radios will help in making the best options.

Please keep in mind the following criterial before selecting the best mobile ham radios:

Weatherproofing

You can't keep your two-way hidden in your bag, but there is a good chance it will be exposed to other conditions than the cool, mild, early summer sun when there is a gentle breeze blowing. It is important to consider the weatherproofing of your two-way. If you reside in an area with moderate temperatures and light to predictable rains, some models can withstand splashing water.
An entirely waterproof radio is an option. Many models are waterproof and can withstand severe rain. Some models can be submerged up to 30 minutes without causing any damage. A model that floats will be your best option if your radio is used for fisherman, fishing or crossing open waters. If you drop your model accidentally, it can be easily picked up from the water surface.

Maximum Range

When choosing a 2-way radio, the first thing to think about is how far you want them to travel. Consumer 2-way radios with a transmit power of 0.75W and the PMR446 frequency can travel up to 10 km. This could be possible only in the ideal circumstances: high above ground with no obstructions between radios. This range is unlikely to be achieved unless you use your walkie-talkies to connect between mountaintops. The maximum range in a dense urban setting is more likely to be lower. A good radio will provide sufficient range to reach the majority of people. You will require more power and range than that. They are more costly than the license-free model and require a license.

Weight And Size

Both weight and size play a major role in carrying all you need. Two-way radios are small and lightweight, so they can be carried in a bag or attached to your belt. Although smaller units can be more affordable than larger models, they might not offer as many features or provide the same protection. Heavy-duty, impact-resistant two-way units that are heavier and more durable are a better choice for outdoor enthusiasts who want to be tough.

Number Of Handsets

You will need as many handsets as you can afford when purchasing two-way radios. While a twin-set may suffice for camping trips, busy warehouses might need more to ensure everyone is connected. The price per handset drops when you purchase in bulk. To meet every customer's requirements, we offer many two-way radio packages. If you need to add more handsets, we also have single handsets.

Channels & Privacy Codes

Two-way radios that are license-free have a fixed frequency they can transmit on. PMR446 The majority of two-way radios without a license have 8 to 16 channels. These tune the frequency at which handsets communicate. There are usually privacy codes in addition to channels. These codes do not protect your transmissions, contrary to the title. They allow you to talk freely and without being interrogated by others. This can prove problematic if your use them in an area such as a ski resort, where many other two-way radios are in use.

Battery Type

Many two-way radios can be powered with regular alkaline batteries. Others have rechargeable batteries that include a dock. Two-way radios should not be used for longer than one day without power access. A model that takes both regular and multiple batteries is a better option if you are going on camping trips. We recommend regular 2-way rechargeable radios. This is because used batteries are expensive and can cause damage to the environment.

Emergency Features

Your two-way radio is a great tool for emergency planning, whether you are camping, hiking or hunting. An Emergency Alert radio sends an alert to all radios within your radio group in case you need immediate help. There are many types of emergency alerts available, and they vary from brand to model. Some alerts combine a beacon flashing S.O.S with international Morse Code, others send a loud alarm to members of the group. These alerts block any activity on radios and get louder until someone responds.

FAQs

What Is The Life Expectancy Of A 2 Way Radio?

Two-way radios of commercial grade are made to comply with Military Specifications as well as Intrusion Protection standards. These radios can live for a long time if they are maintained and used in accordance with the specifications. Two-way radios can last up to 10 years. But radio batteries rarely last more than 3 to 4 years.

How Many Radios Can I Use One Location?

You can use as many radios at any location you wish, regardless of the license. To manage communication better, we suggest that the channel's users be limited to ten.

How Far Do 2 Way Radios Broadcast?

Broadcast distances of commercial-grade hand-held radios are generally between one and two miles. While VHF radios can broadcast further, they do not penetrate as far. UHF radios transmit a greater distance and have better penetration.

Is VHF Or UHF Better?

The frequency band that a radio can operate within is called VHF (very high frequency), or UHF [ultra high frequency]. VHF operates between 136 and 174 MHz, while UHF operates between 400 and 512 MHz. Wave length is shorter the higher frequency. A signal will travel farther if it has a longer wave length. It is easier for the signal's to penetrate if the wave length is shorter. VHF broadcasts better over open water and from an unobstructed location to another. For broadcasting through buildings or other obstructions, UHF is better than VHF.

What Is 2 Way Radio VOX?

Voice activation is VOX. VOX promises hands-free operation. "Speak and the radio will open to broadcast your message." However, voice activation should actually be called sound activation. The VOX function on a 2-way radio can't distinguish between a call to help or the usual grunts, groans and grunts of normal physical activity. VOX may cause more problems than it solves. We do not recommend VOX being used in commercial applications.

Can I Change The Frequencies On My 2 Way Radios?

Many commercial-grade 2 way radios can be programmed from either a computer onboard or via a PC. Although you cannot change VHF to UHF, the radio can be programmed with a PC or on-board programming. However, it can alter the frequencies in the band.

Why Do 2 Way Radios Have Multiple Channels?

Every channel can be programed at a different frequency. Most modern 2 way radios can have between 4 and 16 channels, although some radios may have up to 256 channels. Channel one will be the only channel that broadcasts on the frequency being used. It is beneficial for commercial applications to have different communication depending on the work group or whereabouts. Radios can be used by schools to broadcast the news. Teachers and administrators might prefer one channel.

When new data becomes available, we routinely adjust the list of best mobile ham radios. Please do regularly visit our website for the most up-to-date news.

If you have any questions or difficulties with best mobile ham radios, please do not hesitate to contact us. We'll try our best to do everything we can to assist you if you ask!


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About William Shatner

William Shatner

William Shatner is a writer and editor who has worked in the audio equipment, computer, and projector industries. He also enjoys repairing and modifying audio equipment, and he has a particular interest in projectors. William is a critical thinker and problem solver, and he takes great pride in his work. He currently serves as the freelance editor of The Audio Insights.