Best Ham Radio for Jeep & Car | Top 5 Ham Radios for Cars and Jeeps

Ham radio also called amateur radio, is without a doubt a valuable addition to any automobile like jeeps and cars. These devices can transmit long-range, deliver crisp and clear signals, as well as use repeaters to enhance the signal.

This makes ham radios the champion concerning emergency communications. So, whether you require them for emergency contact purposes or for exchanging messages, there are several fantastic choices on the market.

To help you select the appropriate one for your vehicle, we have spent over 40 hours researching and gathering reviews from real purchasers. We have now compiled a list of the best ham radios for jeeps and cars on the market today.

Top 5 Ham Radios for Jeeps and Cars

            #Ham RadioSpecialty
1Kenwood Original TM-V71ABest Overall
2Yaesu Original FTM-400DR/XDRMost Durable
3BTECH Mobile UV-50X2Compact & Lightweight
4BaoFeng UV-82HPBest Handheld
5TYT TH-8600 Dual BandExcellent Audio Output

The Best Ham Radio for Jeep and Car: Kenwood TM-V71A

Best Overall

This Kenwood radio comes with some fantastic attributes that earned it the top spot on our list. To start with, the device is a high-level dual-band radio.

Radios of this type allow you to communicate on the VHF and UHF bands within the electromagnetic spectrum.

With the V71A, you can receive messages on one band and broadcast on the other. This simply means you have more communication possibilities when you are out adventuring in your jeep.

The RF output power is remarkable at 50 watts. This can enable you to communicate within a 30 – 60 miles range. If you pair this output power with a solid magnetic mount antenna, you can easily hit repeaters more than 100 miles away.

Furthermore, the device’s 1000 separate memory channels will let you store important data. You can store things like receive and transmit frequencies, tone frequency plus frequency step.

It also gives you 10 more channels for a programmable scan. The radio gives you 8 alphanumeric characters to save a particular channel.

Furthermore, you can edit and store memory data on your personal computer using the memory control software and PG-5G programming cable. You can visit the Kenwood website to download the software free of charge.

Mounting the V71A on your Jeep or car will present no hassles. This is because the radio’s control head is detachable. Accordingly, you can easily put the major radio body beneath your vehicle’s back seat.

The control head can then be mounted on your vehicle’s dashboard in an area that allows for simple access during use. You can also invert this removable front panel so you can mount it upside down.

This helps ensure nothing obstructs the speaker. Included in the package is a separation kit that comprises wires, a bracket, and a mounting plate that you can place on the rear of the device’s control head.

Several previous buyers have described the sound quality of this Kenwood transceiver as impressive. Most of these users report that the audio is sufficiently loud to overcome wind noise plus noise from passing vehicles.

Several users have also lauded the transceiver for its simplicity of use. The TM-V71A has a clear plus simple-to-read display. It is also easily programmed using the RT systems gear.

The build quality of the V71A is excellent. The radio is well outfitted to survive the bumps and dips that your vehicle may encounter on the road. It will last you a long time provided you take good care of it.

You can switch the LCD panel’s backlight color between the color green and warm amber. This helps boost visibility. The V71A can receive weather reports transmitted by NOAA.

It can also respond to storm warnings and other emergency transmissions by sending out an audible alert pitch. This feature will work for only US residents.

The Kenwood TM-V71A comes with a user manual. You can also download a PDF manual from the Kenwood website. The manual is written by people who are native English speakers so you will have no problems understanding it.

Considering all the above details, Kenwood TM-V71A is our choice for the best ham radio for jeep and car.


  • Dimensions: 5.51 x 8.39 x 1.69 inches (Length x Width x height)
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Turner technology: VHF / UHF
  • Color: Black
  • Input Voltage: 13.8 volts
  • Frequency range: 45.05 – 455000 megahertz
  • Channels quantity: 1000 channels
  • Maximum Power output: 50 watts
  • Invertible front panel
  • Multiple scans (Program scan, VFO scan, megahertz scan, call scan, and memory scan)
  • Choice of two backlit color
  • Weather alert


  • Simple user interface
  • Durable
  • Long-range transmissions
  • Receives weather reports
  • Remarkable audio quality
  • Easy to install on jeeps and cars
  • Advanced controls


  • A few users have reported intermittent fan noise during transmission

What makes Kenwood TM-V71A the best for Car and Jeep?

With its high RF output power of 50 watts, dual-band capability, excellent sound and build quality, plus a detachable control head, the Kenwood TM-V71A has all the features you will want in a ham radio for car or jeep.

User Reviews and Feedback on Kenwood TM-V71A

Users of the Kenwood TM-V71A have had lots of positive things to say regarding the radio. Most users especially liked the selectable power output that lets them choose between 50 watts, 10 watts, and 5 watts.

Users also reported that mounting the device on their jeeps and cars was a hassle-free process. Most previous buyers enjoy using the radio as their main UHF/VHF rig. Several buyers say there is nothing spectacular about the LCD panel but it does what it is meant to do.

Most previous purchasers report that the radio sends out clear signals even on very low power. And, nearly all users are happy with the transmission range. Many of these users report that they were able to hit repeaters 80 miles away by pairing the device with a dependable antenna.

Nearly all previous buyers say the radio works extremely well and is very simple to program and use. Users have also praised the device’s durability saying it lasts several years without losing robustness.

Several reviewers were also pleased with the price. These reviewers note that the product delivers enormous value for the dollar.

The major complaint that users of the Kenwood TM-V71A have about the product is that it requires using an external speaker, particularly if the user is more than 5 feet away. Also, some users who are new to ham radios think that the transceiver is complicated to use.

4 More top Rated Ham Radios for Car and Jeep

1. Yaesu FTM-400D/XDR

Most Durable

When you go out on a day trip in your jeep or car, you want to be able to communicate reliably with people far-off from you.

With the FTM-400/XDR from Yaesu, you can broadcast over 60 miles – thanks to its 50 watts output power. And, if you have a reliable mobile antenna like the Comet CA-2X4SRB, you can broadcast even further.

The unit does not require DC batteries and no batteries are included in the package. This simply means you have to link it straight to your automobile’s battery to power it. You will have no trouble doing that with this radio.

The radio kit includes a fused cable harness with which you can easily link this ham radio to your car or jeep’s battery. Many reviewers found that the speaker stands up well within any outdoor environment. The speaker delivers clear, crisp, plus loud audio consistently.

This means you will have no difficulty understanding incoming messages even when driving at expressway speeds.

The construction of the FTM-400D allows for ease of installation. It features a condensed design meaning that the radio will not take up loads of treasured space within your jeep or car.

The kit contains all needed wiring, double-sided tape, fuses, as well as brackets for a hassle-free installation. The transceiver’s control head is removable.

So, you can mount the unit’s body out of sight and install the control head at a convenient location on your dash.

Users are particularly pleased with the enhanced GPS receiver fitted on the Yaesu FTM-400D/XDR.

Aside from helping you sidestep traffic or navigate unfamiliar city streets, the GPS functionality can also help you tour outside your comfort zones without worrying about getting lost.

Apart from the GPS functionality, the Yaesu FTM-400D has APRS integrated into the software. If you regularly drive through the woods, you will love the APRS feature. It makes receiving and sending messages with the device a breeze.


  • High volume output
  • GPS functionality
  • Compact size
  • APRS functionality
  • Durable


  • Difficult-to-understand manual
  • Expensive

2. BTECH Mobile UV–50X2

Compact & Lightweight

If you are looking to purchase a heavy-duty ham radio for your jeep or car, then the BTECH mobile UV-50X2 certainly fits the bill. The radio is constructed with hardwearing constituents.

So, you can rest easy knowing that your transceiver can stand up well against any type of roadway no matter how rugged it may be.

Another fantastic thing the radio has going for it is its impressive max output power of 50 watts. When you combine this high output power with a high-quality antenna, you can broadcast over 50 miles.

Many users have reported connecting to repeaters 80 – 90 miles away using this radio. The UV-50X2 also has a lower output power of 10 watts.

This lower output power can be beneficial when you want to transmit for a short distance and do not require the higher 50 watts output.

The superior sound quality of this BTECH mobile ham radio has won the admiration of several individuals. When communicating on the move, you will have to contend with wind noise plus other types of background noise.

The top-mounted speaker delivers loud and clear audio to ensure you hear messages. The transceiver has a mic and headphone jack so you can use a headphone with it.

A common user complaint about the BTECH mobile UV-50×2 is that the LCD screen is rather tiny.

Nevertheless, most users are happy that the device allows you to select a wide range of color combinations for the screen. This means you can easily customize the screen to suit your requirements while driving.

With a dimension of 5.7″ x 1.85″ x 7.5″ (W x H x D) and with a weight of 2.65 pounds, this BTECH transceiver certainly satisfies the requirements for being classed as a compact mobile ham radio.

This lightweight construction plus sleek profile means the radio can easily fit onto your car or jeep without taking excessive space.


  • Impressive audio quality
  • Compact construction
  • Lightweight
  • Simple to use
  • Affordable


  • Some reviewers report that they could not find pertinent information in the user manual

3. BoaFeng UV-82HP

Best Handheld

BaoFeng is renowned for making high-quality handheld two-way radios plus other communication devices. The UV-82HP comes loaded with features that make it a superb ham radio for jeeps and cars.

The audio quality is a distinct plus for the device. The speaker delivers excellent sound that is clear and loud. This can be beneficial when wind noise or roadway noise may be hampering your communication efforts.

Being a handheld transceiver, the UV-82HP has a max output power of 8 watts. While this is very low compared to that of mount-type ham radios, some users have reported transmitting up to 40 miles with this two-way radio.

Note that this is under near-ideal conditions. The device delivers quality signals when transmitting for a substantial distance. This is unlike several other handheld ham radios that produce high levels of white noise when transmitting long distances.

The BaoFeng UV-82HP gives you the option of selecting from 3 different output power levels.

When using the UHF band, you can have 1 watt, 4 watts, or 7 watts for low, mid, plus high frequency correspondingly. For the VHF band, you can select 1 watt, 4 watts, or 8 watts for low, mid, plus high.

To use the radio, you will need to first program it. Most previous buyers agree that programming the device via the recommended software is extremely simple.

You can also program the radio by hand, but you need to have a bit of experience in loading and setting up radio memories.

The user manual included in the kit contains information on how to properly program the device. This user manual is written in good English and is simple to understand.

The BaoFeng UV-82HP is also an FM radio. Thus, you can listen to FM broadcasts while messages from other radio users can still come in without interruptions.


  • Highly durable walkie talkie
  • Comparatively low price tag
  • The high max output power of 8 watts
  • Long battery life
  • CHIRP software compatible


  • Some users report that the transmission gets cut off at times
  • Limited range

4. TYT TH-8600

Excellent Audio Output

One of the strongest features of this TYT radio is its rugged compact design. The transceiver is engineered using highly robust materials.

Therefore, you can drive out with peace of mind knowing that your radio can survive the shakings and stresses that your jeep or car will ultimately encounter on the road.

Furthermore, its compact build means that the device can easily fit within your automobile without occupying excess space. Weighing a mere 2.5 pounds and with a dimension of 6.34” x 6.71” x 1.69”, you can move the TYT TH-8600 from one vehicle to another without hassles.

For the TYT TH-8600 to deliver optimal performance in your vehicle, you will have to hook it directly to the battery within your vehicle.

Thankfully, TYT has made the process of connecting the device to your vehicle’s battery a trouble-free process.

Wire brackets and every other item you require to install the transceiver are included within the kit. For exceptional performance, you will have to buy a coaxial cable, a dependable antenna, plus an antenna mount.

The TYT TH-8600 has a 25 watts maximum power output. With this power level, you can talk to other radio users or emergency service providers over 50 miles away.

Most users agree that this TYT ham radio is offered at an affordable price. The kit includes the TYT TH-8600 transceiver, microphone, manual, USB programming cable, 12 volts direct current power cord, screws plus mounting brackets.


  • Rugged design
  • Offers great value for money
  • Excellent audio output
  • Easy to use
  • Compact construction
  • Waterproof


  • Not CHIRP compatible

How to Select the Best Ham Radio for Jeep and Car?

The critical features to consider when buying a ham radio for a jeep or car include the following:

1. Vehicle Mounted Vs Handheld Radios

Which is better Ham Radio for Car or Jeep -  Vehicle Mounted Vs Handheld?

There are big disparities between vehicle-mounted and handheld radios. These differences are explained below:

Vehicle-mounted radios

These come with two major advantages. To start with, their buttons and screens are larger and this makes them a lot simpler to use compared to handheld transceivers. Vehicle-mounted two-way radios also have a lot more output power than their handheld counterparts.

Their output power typically ranges from 20W to 50W or more. And, if you have a dependable antenna, you can attain a transmission range of 50 miles or more. The major downside to vehicle-mounted transceivers is that you will have to have some installation skills.

Depending on your skill level, it may take you anything from 2 to 8 hours to install one on your jeep or car.

However, you will generally find helpful installation instructions within the user manual. Additionally, the manuals that come with most ham radios are typically complicated to understand.

The Kenwood TM-V71A is our number one choice for vehicle-mounted ham radio.

The transceiver is lightweight and compact and the display head can be detached from the unit’s main body. It also comes with an easy-to-read manual. All these mean you will not have to struggle to mount it on your car or jeep.

The Yaesu FTM-400D/XDR takes the runner-up place for similar reasons.

Handheld Ham Radios

The major benefit offered by handheld transceivers is that they typically cost less compared to vehicle-mounted radios. Also, they offer a great deal of convenience.

Their lightweight feel makes it super easy to move them from one vehicle to the other. Nonetheless, they also have some notable shortcomings.

Using these devices on the go is not easy due to some reasons. Firstly, when you want to communicate you have to handle the entire unit. Also, they come with tiny buttons and screens that make using them difficult.

Some handheld transceivers such as the BoaFeng UV-82HP are fitted with a microphone input jack. These allow the use of external microphones and headphones.

Also, the transmission of handheld ham radios is restricted by their batteries. The max output power of most handheld devices is 5 watts.

The BoaFeng UV-82HP in the above list offers up to 8 watts of output power.

2. Durability

Most Durable Ham Radio for Car and Jeep

If you frequently go off-roading in your jeep or car, you will require a radio that can stand up well against the plunges and bumps that your vehicle will run into. The radios recommended here are all highly durable.

However, the Yaesu FTM-400D/XDR and the Kenwood TM-V71A are the winners concerning durability.

3. Size

Compact and Lightweight Ham Radio for Jeep and Car

If you opt for a vehicle-mounted radio, you must consider the size before you settle for a particular product. A device that is compact and lightweight will not take excessive room within your vehicle.

The BTECH Mobile UV–50X2 is the winner regarding compact and lightweight design.

It weighs an insignificant 2.65 pounds and measures 5.7 x 1.85 x 7.5 inches (width x height x diameter). Thus, it can fit well into your jeep or car without taking up excess room.

Comparison of Top 5 Ham Radios for Cars and Jeeps

Ham RadioWeightDimensionMaximum PowerMaximum operational DistanceTurner Technology    
KenWood TM-V71A3.3 pounds5.51 x 8.39 x 1.69 inches50 watts50 milesUHF/VHF
Yaesu FTM-400D/XDR2.6 pounds5.5 x 4.9 x 1.6 inches50 watts60 milesUHF/VHF
BTECH Mobile UV – 50X22.65 pounds5.7” x 1.85” x 7.5” (W x H x D) 50 watts50 milesUHF/VHF
BoaFeng UV-82HP1.3 pounds2.5 x 8.1 x 7 inches8 watts5 milesUHF/VHF
TYT TH-86002.5 pounds6.34  x 6.71 x 1.69 inches25 watts50 milesUHF/VHF

Final Words:

This post has highlighted 5 of the best ham radios for cars and jeeps. These products were selected after extensive evaluation and research.

According to your particular preferences and requirements, you can select any of the products highlighted. Any of these devices can help ensure you enjoy long-range communications when you are out on a day trip with your jeep or car.

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