Chinese mobile Ham radios are certainly not something you would search for in an ideal world, but when you’re tight on budget and do not want to compromise on the functionality, you really don’t have many other options.
However, even Chinese rigs can be a very good option, though you’re required to do a lot of research to find the good ones. But you don’t really have to if you’re reading this, as we have did it all for you and you just need to pick your rig from the 4 best Chinese mobile Ham radios we have reviewed below.
Best Chinese Mobile Ham Radios
Here are our Chinese mobile HAM radio reviews.
AnyTone is one of the most reliable Chinese Ham radio brands on the market. And the AnyTone AT-778UV is their best, most popular offering. Users report how it’s a “real” rig with all the features you need available at a steal price!
It’s a dual band mobile Ham radio with a power output of 25 watts, DTMF and 5Tone function, CTCSS and DCS functions, built-in speaker in mic as well, different types of call features being available and much more. The color screen is amazingly advanced and functional for the price. Both the operation and programming this unit is incredibly easy, especially for a Chinese radio.
The speaker audio is nice and loud. The overall performance is great and it can hit local repeaters surprisingly well.
- Surprisingly functional for the price and for a Chinese rig
- Lots of features with an advanced color display
- Speaker audio is loud and clear
- Hits local repeaters very well
- Using the DTMF functions can get a little tricky
2. QYT KT-8900D
The QYT KT-8900D is another highly functional, surprisingly affordable Chinese mobile Ham radio. It’s a dual band radio with quad standby, 25 watts of power, a free programming cable that’s sure to come in handy when programming the unit, and lots of other useful features like an FM radio, DTMF, PTT ID, repeater, alarm and more.
The LCD is big with lots of details, and the unit is easy to program with the included cable as it supports the CHIRP software. Users mention how they get surprisingly good audio reports every time and in all conditions.
Both the transmitting and receiving capability is beyond what you would expect for the price. The audio reports come out surprisingly good even when hitting repeaters well over 30 miles away. The sound is pretty good too.
- Very functional yet surprisingly affordable
- Lots of useful features
- Easy to program with CHIRP
- Good audio reports in all types of conditions even when hitting faraway local repeaters
- The durability is a bit on the poorer side and you will need to handle it with care
3. QYT KT-8900
If you’re looking for something even cheaper than the KY-8900D we reviewed above but with a similar level of functionality, then the QYT KT-8900 would hit the spot for you. It’s a dual band mobile rig with 25 watts of power that comes with an incredibly cheap price tag.
It boasts many of the features that the KT-8900D offers, as we reviewed above. There’s a small fan in the unit that’s very useful as the radio can get pretty hot in some conditions.
However, for the price, you would be hard-pressed to get anything better. The overall performance is excellent with great audio reports for the price, transmit very well, receives without issues and is easy to program.
- Incredibly cheap price tag for a real, functional mobile rig
- Comes with many useful functions too
- All-round impressive performance for the price
- Easy to program with great audio reports
- The font on the screen are too tiny and can be a little hard to read in some conditions
This is the cheapest option on our list, and also the most basic. It only comes with 10 watts of power so don’t expect a lot in terms of the transmitting ability or hitting very faraway local repeaters, but it does well in a reasonable range. There are many useful functions though, including the CTCSS and DCS, dual display, around 200 alphanumeric memory channels, VOX, DTMF and more.
The build quality is surprisingly good for the price. It’s fairly easy to program with just as easy operation. The display is bright, there’s no noise as its fan-less (but the back of the unit is a heat sink), compact and portable, and requires much less power than other radios.
There are going to be some flaws given the kind of functionality you’re getting at this price point. But they are nothing too big to scare away budget users, so this unit is certainly worth a consideration.
- It performs well overall, though in a fairly limited range
- It does have some of the basic, useful functions
- Build quality is very good for the price
- It’s easy to program and use
- A little buggy
- There are no volume knobs
Advantages of Going for a Chinese Mobile Ham Radio
Although some might wonder why would anyone want to go for a Chinese mobile rig, but they are usually unaware of some of the biggest advantages they offer. The first is definitely the price.
Chinese mobile Ham radios are priced way cheaper than most other comparable radios in terms of functionality, particularly including some of the pricier options like the Kenwood two way radios.
They can do pretty much everything – if not more – than a radio priced more than twice as high, if not more than thrice as high as them. This is a major advantage for budget users.
The second thing is that they are indeed very functional. They often come with more features and functions than their counterparts from other countries, all while being priced way less than them as we explained above.
Another thing is that they make great mobile rigs, as most of them are tiny, compact and lightweight, yet very functional. This makes them easy to carry around.
Disadvantages of Using a Chinese Rig
It goes without saying there are some not-so-things about using Chinese rigs. The biggest one of them is very obvious, and it’s the build quality. Not all of them are like the BaoFeng two way radios, which are a noteworthy exception as a Chinese brand in the handheld Ham radio category, boasting a solid build quality.
However, even some of the mobile Ham radios we reviewed above are surprisingly well-built, though some of the cheaper are certain to have some durability issues over time, not barring some lucky users that would be able to continue using them for years and years.
Another disadvantage with Chinese units is that they are often very hard to program. We did try to save our readers from the programming nightmare by picking only the Chinese rigs that are easy to program or at least not too hard, including those that don’t support the CHIRP software.