Mobile transceivers are the more compact and even upgraded version(in some cases) of the general transceivers that are used stationary. These have better portability, and additional features to make them useful while traveling in remote and unknown places.
However, as these are ‘mobile’, sometimes the functionality has to be compromised to make them fit in a small concealed space. This is what makes purchasing one more confusing than purchasing general transceivers.
Now, I am here to help you so that you don’t have to compromise not be confused while purchasing one for your vehicle or cabin. I have reviewed six transceivers that are proven to be best considering different parameters like affordability, coverage, functionality, additional features and ease of use. All of those are may not seem ‘the best’ to meet your needs. So, I also developed a guideline that should help you to pick one that will perfectly fit your budget and still gives you the performance you want.
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6 Best HF VHF UHF Mobile Transceiver Reviews
1. Yaesu Original FT-891/50 MHz Mobile / Base HF Transceiver
- FT-891 model;
- 100 Watt Output;
- 32-Bit IF DSP.
Are you new with HF transceiver? No worries, this Ft-891 model from Yaesu is meant just for you. It is super easy to tune, flexible to program and has a lot of functions to explore so that you can upgrade your knowledge and skills about transceivers. However, beginners always opt for transceivers that are mobile but also can be used stationary. This is just the right pick for them due to its USB PC connectivity. So, no need to purchase multiple transceivers for your home/office and vehicle; this one unit is enough to carry on the go, or to place at home.
This one is a 100 watt transceiver with a 32-Bit floating point DSP. it is designed to filter the signals it receives with multiple filters. It will be really fun to explore. Besides, there is a ZEN feature that lets you center any signal instantly. No annoying tuning for getting the right signal you want. This one is a great unit as the first-ever transceiver to any hobbyist.
- Long warranty;
- For mobile and stationary use;
- Easy to program and use;
- Suitable for amateurs.
- Covers only HF bands.
2. Icom ID-5100A DELUXE Radio Mobile Transceiver with Touch Screen, and GPS
- ID-5100A model;
- 118-174MHz and 375-550MHz;
- With D-Star and GPS.
To begin with, this ID-5100A transceiver covers both the VHF and UHF bands simultaneously with its two receivers. You can set the mode as FM/FM, DV/DV, and FM/DV. When you can receive two signals at the same time, the possibilities become endless. Besides, the built-in GPS does wonder in tracking the position, speed, altitude, and course of your own and show you the repeaters you are passing. All these data are shown on a 5.5 inch touchscreen display, which is definitely a plus for its qwerty keypad to input numeric characters faster.
All the features of this awesome transceiver are not possible to stack in one or two paragraphs. However, I can say, it is difficult to find one at this price point. The flexibility of use and sound quality makes using this transceiver enjoyable.
- Dual receiver.
- No cons.
3. Kenwood TM-D710G Amateur Mobile Transceiver APRS/TNC GPS/Echolink
- TM-D710G model;
- 144/440 MHz;
- 118-524MHz, 800-1300MHz;
- 1000 memory channels.
Yes, just like the former model of transceiver, this one also covers both VHF and UHF bands with dual reception and has a GPS. The reason you have to pay a few bucks more for it is, it also has Ecolink functionality. Your device with arrive with pre-stored 1000 channels and an autodialer. You only need to shuffle through those to prioritize the ones you are going to use.
However, the receiver bandwidth is also wider with this radio. It is available in two shades of the display. Choose yours from the amber and green. The only matter I found worth considering before purchase is, the APRS sound can’t be cleared with the help of the provided manual. I tried and failed, they said they will upgrade it soon. Let’s cross the fingers and knock them before purchasing if they really fixed it or not.
- Broad spectrum reception;
- APRS sound can’t be eliminated.
4. Yaesu Original "Field Gear" Transceiver
- FT-991A model;
- 118-524MHz, 800-1300MHz;
- Waterfall Display.
If you love to play with your gadget, then this is the ultimate ‘toy’ of your dreams! This super compact, teeny tiny transceiver from Yaesu. At first sight, you have got to fall in love with its waterfall display. Apart from showing the signals, with its multicolor indicators, it lets you know the exact position of it, the strength of the signals and so on. It is a touch panel, so programming and fine-tuning is a breeze when you have this unit with you.
This model of transceiver is enclosed in a rugged box of merely 9 x 9.3 x 3.2 inches dimension. It is the perfect size for small van and trucks. After all, there is a reason behind naming it the ‘field gear’.
However, this unit has multiple features to expand its functionality. You can add additional antennas, connect it with PC and whatnot. This one radio overs all the popular signals of HF, UHF and VHF bands. So, there is nothing to regret about this unit. It is one of the best dual band transceivers one can ever find. The only problem is, as it covers all the three bands in one device, it costs double compared to its competitors.
- A long warranty offered;
- Covers HF, VHF and UHF bands;
- Space saving.
5. Yaesu FT-818ND HF/VHF/UHF Mobile Transceiver
- FT-818ND model;
- All mode transceiver;
- Battery powered.
Basically, this FT-818ND is the improved version of one of the best selling FT-817ND model of transceiver form this same brand. The improved battery with better longevity gives this unit portability and reliability. This unit is lightweight and small, with this 6W DC power source of Li-ion battery, you can surely beat the price.
There is nothing to mention about the features and quality of the performance of this transceiver. It is from Yaesu, so it is evident that it will be the best of its kind. There are some features that are found only in this model and are absent in other models I have reviewed here. For example, the auto power off and time-out timer is power saving, the built-in oscillator gives superior frequency stability and many more. Considering the features and usability, the price seemed reasonable to me.
- Long battery life;
- Power-saving features;
- No cons.
6. Kenwood Original 144/440 MHz Dual-Band Amateur Mobile Transceiver
- TM-V71A model;
- Amateur transceiver;
- 1000 Memory channels.
Please pay attention that this is a dual receiver transceiver than only receives two signals of the same VHF or UHF band at the same time. It is a budget-friendly choice, so, I didn’t expect it to receive dual signals from different bands and that is not advertised as well. It is an amateur level transceiver, so it has all the basic features with unmatched ease of use.
The best feature I liked about this unit is its detachable control head. You can roam around with it and can still control the unit. No need to reach over to the radio to tune it every time. It arrives with a thousand memory channels. Usually, the amateur radios arrive with memory channels to minimize the hassle. Besides, this makes to explore all the bells and whistles of a unit much easier. The memory is programmable, so as the backlight of the display. You can change the color considering the visibility during daylight and night time. For the price, it is a real deal-breaker.
- Cheap price;
- Detachable control head;
- Easy to operate.
- Dual receiver only on the same band.
Read more: How to Choose the Best VHF Marine Antenna
Why Use Mobile Transceiver
Mobile transceivers are basically designed to be used in vehicles. However, some of these also have a USB port for PC connectivity, but in general, they are either used in car, camping truck, remotely located cabin and camping.
Mobile transceivers give you the similar advantages of stationary transceivers, but these are more useful when you are on the go. Some models also have GPS, pre-stored memory, repeaters list, and many features to make using these enjoyable even on the go and at the same time, keep you updated about anything and everything you want.
I tried to pick the ones that are as good as stationary transceivers so that you don’t miss using them in the comfort of your home or workplaces. Check them out and be prepared to get amazed!
Which One is the Best
Actually, before looking for the best transceivers in the market, you should ask yourself, why you are looking for it? Some are amateurs, want to check out how these things work, some want to receive important info and data from it and some people are just gadget junkie and like to explore the versatility of it. You must find which one of them is you, it makes purchasing this radio much easier. In my review, I have tried to pick different models of transceivers that will fit the budget and needs of different buyers.
Ease of Operation
This one is the first and foremost feature you need to find out about the transceivers. In the mobile transceivers, it is a challenge to stack all the usability in a compact unit. So, you may have to compromise with the price or functionality when it comes to the comfort of using one of those.
The general rule is, the display which is easy to read and has a touchpad is easier to program and operate. Generally, those models are pricier. You can also choose the less pricey models and use a PC to program them when required. This way, you don’t need to face any hassle of programming the radio on the go.
Some people intend to use their mobile transceiver with a PC sometimes. It makes programming the unit easier. For those, choosing one with a USB port for PC connectivity will be better. This way, you can use this same unit as a stationary transceiver too. It is a good way to cut costs on the stationary transceiver.
Most of the transceivers have additional outlets to plugin extra antennas. For better reception, I recommend you to also check that out before settling on one unit.
Read more: Finding the Best Software Defined Radios
Here, you will find transceivers that only cover HF band, some cover all HF, VHF, and UHF bands. Some units are dual receivers and cover different bands at the same time. Whilst some units also have the same functionality but only cover the same band at a time. It is a must to have a clear knowledge about the coverage of the unit you are intended to purchase.
Usually, all the models I have reviewed here delivers clear and noise-free signals. The expensive ones have multiple filters to fine-tune the clarity of the received signals. Other than that, all the units are good in this case.
Over time, mobile transceivers have been upgraded in a manner that, it has a wider field of use. Not just for receiving and transmitting HF, VHF and UHF signals. Built-in GPS is one of those features that has expanded its usability. With it, you will be able to receive the location on the repeaters along with their signals.
Just like this, there are other multifunctional features that have incorporated in mobile transceivers nowadays. The more you explore, the more you will be amazed. It is necessary to know these things before buying one.
As these are mobile transceivers and are meant to use in-vehicle, they are mostly designed to take power from a car battery. Only one model in our list has a battery in it, which gives it better portability.
I believe you shouldn’t have any problem with buying the transceiver you want. These gadgets never fail to keep you updated from time to time. If you take your time to justify all the models of mobile transceivers I have reviewed for you, the money you spend on it will be a safe investment for the long term.
Last Updated on January 3, 2021 by Leo Evans
I am Leo Evans, the founder of trollingpowersolutions, and your guide to solve any query regarding to electronic and power devices. I have to stay updated about different aspects of latest electronics for my living. Now I feel obliged to share my learnings and experience to others with similar interests. If you have the similar interest, then this is where you belong.