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HAM Radio Communications Gear

ham radio for mobile or baseAre you ready to communicate if phones stop working? Do you have HAM radio gear? Is that gear adaptable for use in base operations and mobile ops?

HAM Radio Gear

Lets look at some good, entry-level gear, that can be modular, and will support your needs even as you become a HAM radio ninja!

Shack Gear (Base Station)

The key player in most new Ham shacks will probably be a 2 Meter radio. The radios listed below are mobile radios, designed for automobile use, but make great base stations. Since we're about being prepared having 2 bands gives us more communication options, so a dual band, 2 Meter & 70cm radio, would make the most sense. 2 Meter 2 Meter + 70cm
  • Yaesu FT-7900R (or a FT7800 if you can locate one) - Mobile Dual-Band Amateur Ham Radio 50W/45W VHF/UHF Transceiver. In addition to being able to transmit and recieve on both 2 meter & 70cm, this radio has a 1200/9600 bps Data port (Packet Jack). This means you can send digital data to other HAM radio operators or connect to the internet via a HAM network!
  • Yaesu FT-8800R - VHF/UHF Dual Band Amateur Radio Transceiver - 50W/35W. Simultaneous Receive of 2 Frequencies & Cross-Band Repeater Capability! I don't think this has a data port.
These radios are designed to be used as a mobile radio, therefore to use them as a base station they will require a DC power supply.

Quick Connections

If you use Anderson Power Pole Connectors and stout wiring to connect your radios in your automobile, and a RigRunner (similar to a DC power strip, with connections for Power Pole Connectors) in your shack, you'll be able to quickly move your gear between your ham base shack and your vehicles. rigrunner powerpole

Base Antenna

A ham radio is only good, if you have an antenna.  To connect any ham radio to a dual band antenna you'll need a reasonable length of good antenna cable. If you want to really reach out and maximize your 2 meter and 70 cm radios you'll want to find a good base station antenna for the shack.

Backpack Antenna

If you plan on being on the move or need some flexible deployment options, a dipole antenna, like the Falcon 2 Meter Dipole Amateur Ham Radio Antenna (horizontal polarization) will give you some flexibility for mounting and positioning. This antenna can be hung from a hook, dangled out a window, or even strung up between 2 trees. This is a great option if you need flexible deployment options, or may need to move it to new positions quickly, but won't give you the best transmissions, since you'd want vertical polarization for 2 Meter FM broadcasts.

Auto Antenna

The car, being metal, is pretty much the equivalent of a Faraday cage, so if you want any type of good distance, you'll need to employ a mobile dual band antenna, probably with a magnetic base, so you can move it from vehicle to vehicle.

Handheld Radios (Auto and Travel)

A handheld radio would also work for base station, vehicle use or backpack carry. To connect to a mobile or base antenna, an adapter is needed because handheld radios use SMA connectors and not the standard PL-259 connectors. BaoFeng UV-5R + is the workhorse of the budget HAM radio world. 2 Meter and 70cm (and more) TYT TH-UVF1 -2 Meter and 70cm     This should give you some ideas to allow you to use a mobile 2 meter or 70 cm radio in your car.   If you're just getting started with ham radio, it makes sense to get the best bang for your buck and use gear that can be used in both base and mobile operations!   Links to help you get up to speed on Budget Ham Radio Gear: Budget Ham Radio – Reliable and cheap Budget Ham Radio – Part 2: The Prequal Satellite Communications with Budget Ham Radios Radio Communication After a Disaster  


  1. Good post. In case you are unaware, a very good alternative to Amazon is Ham Radio Outlet at http://www.hamradio.com They have thousands of radio equipment and shippment is free when you purchase $100 or more. Also 409shop at http://www.409shop.com is THE place to purchase Baofeng gear and they also don’t charge S&H. I have purchased many times from them, very reliable. Congratulations on a well-written post. Richard, KR4ZAN

  2. Good article. I have bought items from the 409 shop in the past and alway have been happy with them.

  3. First off, the 10 amp power supply is not enough to run any of those radios. For instance, the 2900R draws 15 amps at 75 watts output, meaning a power supply in the 20 amp range is minimum, and something closer to double the amperage is preferred, to deal with overheating and surges for continuous duty. Secondly, you never want to run a transceiver like theses, which draw a lot of current, from your cigarette lighter. The wiring in your cigarette light is not heavy-duty enough to handle it. Also, it a good recipe for noise. That is in fact a couple of questions on the Technician exam. Always wire directly to your battery and car grounding post. You can buy quick disconnects for your wiring to move your transceiver from your house to car. And last, wire dipoles like the Falcon make lousy 2M FM antennas, because they are horizonally polarized and you want a vertically polarized antenna for FM, which is the mode you will be using most on 2 meters. Also, it is a single band antenna, so it does you no good on the 70 cm band, if you buy the dual band radio you suggest.

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