Ham Radio Gear – Part 2

Here are some example mobile transceiver options. Each of these is a dual band radio (2m and 70cm). Also each of these has a detachable, or detached, control head. I’ll add a note next to each with additional features.

Kenwood, Icom, and Yaesu are regularly referred to as “The Big Three.” They are the ham radio equivalent of Ford, GM, and Chrysler. There are other brands, but if we’re focusing on high quality, reliable equipment, these are the brands that are going to receive all of my attention.


  • IC-2730a – Dual Receiver / Cross Band Repeater
  • IC-880H – D-Star Digital Mode Ready
  • IC-5100A – Dual Receiver / Cross Band Repeater / APRS capable / D-Star Digital


  • TM-V71A – Dual Receiver / Cross Band Repeater
  • TM-D710GA – Dual Receiver / Cross Band Repeater / APRS capable


  • FT-7900R – Dual Band
  • FT-8800R – Dual Receiver / Cross Band Repeater
  • FTM-100DR – Yaesu Fusion Digital / APRS Capable
  • FTM-400DR – Dual Receiver / Cross Band Repeater / APRS capable / Yaesu Fusion Digital

Digital Modes
On the topic of Digital Modes. There are currently three competing standards. (Think VHS vs Betamax) or for you youngsters (BluRay vs HD DVD)

Yaesu has developed and released a system called Fusion. It’s based on C4FM.
Icom has had a system called D-Star for the last 10 years.
Motorola Has a system referred to as DMR, or MotoTRBO.

If my Crystal Ball is tuned properly, I think Yaesu’s Fusion system is going to end up being the winning technology for most average hams. I make no promises that this is correct. However looking at how unsuccessful Icom has appeared to be with D-Star, I think it’s unlikely they’re going to win the battle.

I think the EMCOM (Emergency Communication) crowd is going to flock to MotoTRBO/DMR. In large part because many of the ARES/RACES Emergency Communications types also work with Police/Fire/Search & Rescue Teams and are carrying Motorola radios already.

I didn’t mention Motorola radios above in my list. Motorola builds some exceptionally high quality equipment. However it’s all designed for use as Business Band Radios. They work fine in the Amateur Radio Service, and it’s legal for a Ham to use them as such. However I think anyone leaning toward a Motorola, is already experienced enough that they’re not looking for any advice from me. 🙂

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