There is a good variety of VHF UHF mobile equipment intended for the ham radio or amateur radio market.
These VHF / UHF mobile transceivers can also double as base station rigs as well, offering excellent value for money. When bought for base station use, typically a 12 V power supply is also required.
There are several different flavours of these transceivers. Some cover one band, often 2 metres of 70 centimetres whereas others cover multiple bands with the most popular being 2m / 70 cm.
These VHF / UHF mobile transceivers are manufactured by a variety of companies. If other equipment is in use, it can be often useful to have equipment from a single manufacturer, although a careful look at the specifications can ensure that the right rig is bought.
Important specifications include power output (this may vary between bands), frequency / band coverage. It is also worth looking at the ergonomics - some rigs are easier to operate than others. Also look at how easy it is to programme channels as well.
- Base station / mobile or portable: One of the advantages of VHF / UHF mobile rigs is that they can easily be used for both mobile operation and also base station use. They provide an ideal option for base stations - particularly as there are relatively few VHF / UHF base station transceivers available to buy.
- Power output: VHF / UHF mobiles offer a variety of output power levels. Often the mobiles can provide output levels of 50 watts or so, but typically lower on the higher frequency bands.
- Modes: VHF / UHF mobiles typically offer FM operation only. For SSB operation, an all-mode VHF / UHF transceiver would typically need to be bought.
- Sensitivity : The sensitivity of most mobiles is quite adequate for most purposes. As DX operation is not normally the aim, sensitivity is not such an issue as it might be for other applications. However check that the sensitivity of any rig being considered is comparable to any others of a similar nature.
- Frequency coverage: There are two main elements to the frequency coverage of the VHF / UHF mobile rig.
- Transmitter bands covered: Single and dual band rigs covering 2 metres and 70 cms are common. However others may cover other bands. quad band rigs covering 10 metres, 6 metres 2 metres and 70cms are available whereas others may cover up to 23 cms, although these are much less common.
- Receiver coverage: Often the receiver within the VHF / UHF transceiver being bought may extend well beyond the limits of the amateur bands - the transmit capability being inhibited outside the amateur bands.
- CTCSS: CTCSS operation is virtually mandatory for operation with any FM repeater. It is most unlikely that CTCSS will not be built into the transceiver you want to buy.
- Programming: In view of the large number of channels that may be needed to cover the relevant simplex and repeaters channels, virtually all VHF / UHF mobiles and handhelds can be programmed with the required channels and CTCSS tomes where required. Check you have the capability to achieve this otherwise any programming can be long and very tedious.