How To Choose The Right Mobile Ham Radio?
Durability, Build Standards and Build Quality
You don’t want your ham radio to die on you when you rely on it the most, which is why durability is one of the most important things to consider when you are picking out a radio.
Some ham radios designed for mobile use, similar to handheld ham radios are built and tested according to strict military standards for shockproofing, waterproofing, and even mold. These are the best ham radios for you if you like to drive your Jeep through rocky and muddy roads.
Even if you are buying a radio for your base station or home setup, you should still opt for something that is built well. These units might not be waterproofed or encased in steel, but the quality of the buttons and knobs should be good enough to withstand frequent use.
Transmission Power Output
Many amateur radio users make the mistake of prioritizing high-power ham radios for their vehicles. After all, the higher the transmission power, the further it transmits, right?
While this is technically true, it shouldn’t be the only thing you look for when you are in the market for mobile radio. The transmission power you need depends on the type of communication you want to engage in.There is no sense in choosing a powerful 50 watts ham radio if you want to use your radio as an emergency unit – a normal two-way radio or VHF/UHF radio of up to 5W would suffice. But if you want to connect with other amateur radio operators all over the world, you would want a mobile radio that offers at least 25-50 watts of power.
At any rate, you should buy a radio that is compatible with an external antenna. This gives you the option to expand your coverage when you need it the most.
User-friendly And Intuitive Menu Setup & Operation
Ease of use is a must when choosing the best mobile ham radio. You don’t want to be distracted by scrolling through menu options when you are driving.
Well-designed ham radios utilize the hand mic for better one-handed control. These designs often include programmable buttons, frequency toggles, and a keypad. Moreover, some radios have a 180 degrees rotatable screen for easy monitoring.
When it comes to menu design, we would recommend choosing a radio that uses a streamlined menu system. Besides being more convenient, a bloated menu can also be frustrating and overwhelming.
Weight, Size And Phisical Factors
You can mount most radios in your dash with a mounting bracket. However, as they tend to get very hot, you might have to consider an alternate spot for your radio if you drive all day. Besides that, getting a bulky and heavy radio can also hamper your efforts to move it around.
Scan Function And Memory Storage
Scan function and memory storage allow you to scan available frequencies and save any channels that you like.
It is much easier to have a one-click scanning feature since you would most likely be driving when you use a mobile ham radio. Typically, you get about 200 slots in your channel storage, which is more than enough for most people.
Newer models offer more robust and convenient saving features. For example, some save your scanning preference so you don’t have to set it up again if your radio reboots. Some save your settings, like volume control and squelch, along with the frequency and channel names.