Top 3 Best APRS Mobile Ham Radios


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Searching for the best APRS mobile ham radios?

Today, we’re going to delve into the details of three premium APRS mobile ham radios that have been making a splash in the amateur radio community. We’ll dissect their features, pros, and cons, and explore why they might be the next big thing in your radio shack.

So, strap in and get ready for an in-depth exploration of these three APRS mobile ham radios. Whether you’re a seasoned ham or a newbie, there’s something here for everyone.

Our Top Picks

  1. AnyTone AT-D578UVIII Plus Tri-Band – Our Top Choice
  2. Yaesu FTM-500DR – Best Premium APRS Mobile Ham Radio
  3. Yaesu FTM-200DR – Best Budget APRS Mobile Ham Radio

Why Should You Trust Us?

At WhollyOutdoor, we’re not just reviewers; we’re enthusiasts. Our founder and editor, Paul Dudley, is a passionate ham radio operator and outdoor enthusiast. 

His love for ham radios and fishing led him to create this platform, where we share our honest and objective reviews. We’ve been in the game since 2018, and our dedication to providing the best reviews and opinions has only grown stronger.

We understand that trust is earned, not given. That’s why we go the extra mile to ensure that our reviews are not only informative but also accurate and reliable. We test the products ourselves, delve into their features, and weigh their pros and cons. 

We’re not here to sell you anything; we’re here to help you make informed decisions. So, when we recommend a product, you can be sure it’s because we believe in its quality and performance.

Best APRS 
Ham Radios

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How We Choose the Best APRS Mobile Ham Radios

Choosing the best APRS mobile ham radios is no small task. It involves a meticulous process that ensures we only recommend the top performers in the market. Here’s a glimpse into our selection process:

  1. Research: Our journey begins with extensive research. We scour the market, keeping an eye out for the latest releases and popular models. We also dive into ham radio forums, discussions, and user reviews to understand what the community is saying about these radios.
  2. Features: We pay close attention to the features of each radio. This includes the frequency range, power output, APRS capabilities, and additional features like Bluetooth connectivity and crossband compatibility. We also consider the ease of use, programming software, and the quality of the manual.
  3. Build Quality: A good radio needs to be sturdy and reliable. We look at the build quality, focusing on the materials used, the durability, and the overall design of the radio.
  4. Value for Money: We understand that price is a significant factor for many of our readers. That’s why we consider the value for money of each radio. We weigh the features and performance against the price to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
  5. Testing: Whenever possible, we get our hands on the radios for some real-world testing. This allows us to assess the performance, ease of use, and overall experience of using the radio.
  6. User Reviews: We also take into account the experiences of other users. We read through user reviews and ratings to get a sense of the common issues, praises, and overall satisfaction of the users.
  7. Ratings: Finally, we rate each radio based on its features, reliability, value for money, and audio clarity. These ratings help us determine the overall score and ranking of the radios.

This rigorous process ensures that when we say a radio is one of the best APRS mobile ham radios of 2023, it’s because it has passed our stringent selection criteria. We’re committed to helping you make an informed decision, and we believe this transparent approach is a step in the right direction.

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Comparison Table

Feature/Specification1. AnyTone AT-D578UVIII Plus Tri-Band2. Yaesu FTM-500DR3. Yaesu FTM-200DR
Our Top ChoiceBest PremiumBest Budget
ProsLocation-based APRS, Sturdy build, Bluetooth connectivity, DMR repeater roaming, Crossband and crossmode compatibility, Three bands Tx and Rx plus AirBand Rx, Decent Tx and Rx quality, Hefty contact list, Smooth transition between analog and digital modes.Intuitive interface, Superb speakers, Outstanding digital and APRS capabilities, Solid build quality, Bluetooth connectivity, MicroSD card slot, User-friendly interface.Sturdy build, MicroSD slot, Recording and snapshot functions, Removable faceplate, Smooth switching between analog and digital.
ConsProgramming software not user-friendly, Inadequate manual, Limited installation options.Pricier, Issues with DTMF decoding, Difficult to switch to crossband mode.Lacks true dual-band, Bluetooth optional, Difficult to switch to crossband mode.
APRS CapabilityLocation-basedFull APRS communication capability at 1200/9600 bps.Full APRS in both digital and analog modes.
Tx and Rx Bands144-148 MHz, 420-450 MHz, 222-225 MHz.144 MHz and 430 MHz.VHF and UHF.
Bluetooth ConnectivityYesYesOptional Accessory
AirBand ReceptionYesYesYes
Digital Mode CompatibilityDMR Tier I and Tier IIYaesu’s C4FM digital mode.C4FM digital mode.
Memory and Contact Storage4,000 memory channels, 10,000 talk groups, 500,000 contacts.
Removable FaceplateNoYesYes
MicroSD SlotNoYesYes
Additional FeaturesDMR repeater roaming, Transition between analog and digital.Touchscreen, Large VFO knob, PMG function.66-channel GPS receiver, 1200/9600 bps APRS data communication, 50W output.
Overall Rating9/109/108.5/10
Features Rating9/109.5/108.5/10
Reliability Rating9/109/109/10
Value for Money Rating9/108/108/10
Audio Clarity Rating8/109/108/10

Best APRS Mobile Ham Radios Reviews

1. AnyTone AT-D578UVIII Plus Tri-Band – Our Top Choice


  • Location-based APRS
  • Sturdy build 
  • Bluetooth connectivity 
  • DMR repeater roaming
  • Crossband and crossmode compatibility
  • Three bands Tx and Rx plus AirBand Rx
  • Decent Tx and Rx quality
  • Hefty contact list
  • Smooth transition between analog and digital modes.


  • The programming software could be a little user-friendlier
  • The included manual leaves much to be desired, 
  • Installation options are a bit limited.

Now time to dive into our top pick for APRS-capable mobile ham radios, the AnyTone AT-D578UVIII Plus Tri-Band. This bad boy is riding the waves of radio greatness, especially in the realm of DMR. But man, don’t get me started on AnyTone’s confusing naming convention; talk about muddy waters!

This sturdy piece of tech can Tx and Rx on 144-148 MHz, 420-450 MHz, and even 222-225 MHz bands. It’s like a band ninja, and guess what? It’s got AirBand reception too. Compatibility with DMR Tier I and Tier II means this device is ready to take you on a serious listening journey.

Let’s not forget its crossmode and crossband compatibility, with a max transmit power of 50W. Its DMR game is strong, folks. I’m talking up to 4,000 memory channels, 10,000 talk groups, and a whopping 500,000 contacts. It even has a taste for DMR roaming. It’s not as smooth as Motorola’s patented tech, but it’s up there, trust me.

anytone at d578UVIII pro

One of my favorite features is the Bluetooth compatibility. The device comes with a Bluetooth PTT button and can work with AnyTone’s Bluetooth remote for extended functions. The remote can increase your options for installing the radio and handle most functions, including APRS. Speaking of installation, though, the lack of a removable faceplate does limit your options a bit.

The radio can Tx and Rx APRS data in digital and analog modes, but it’s limited to location data services only. Still, setting up and programming the radio for APRS and general use is pretty straightforward. It connects to your computer via a micro-USB cable and can be programmed using the company’s free software.

However, a word of caution: AnyTone’s documentation isn’t exactly a walk in the park. If you’re new to DMR radios and AnyTone’s interface, you might need to hit the books. Some sellers like BridgeCom include a setup course, which could be a real lifesaver.

Our Ratings:

  • Features: 9/10
  • Reliability: 9/10
  • Value for money: 9/10
  • Audio Clarity: 8/10
  • Overall Rating: 9/10

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2. Yaesu FTM-500DR – Best Premium APRS Mobile Ham Radio


  • Intuitive interface
  • Superb speakers
  • Outstanding digital and APRS capabilities
  • Solid build quality
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • A microSD card slot
  • User-friendly interface.


  • It is on the pricier side
  • Issues with DTMF decoding
  • Switching the radio into crossband mode can be a bit of a task.

Yaesu FTM-500DR is the company’s new mobile radio with digital features, launched in April 2023. Though relatively new, it is already making waves and is amongst the best APRS-capable mobile transceivers available at the moment.


It’s certainly no slouch when it comes to APRS, sporting full APRS communication capability at 1200/9600 bps. What’s more, the APRS setup is pretty straightforward and can be handled directly from the radio. Although, as you’d expect with APRS, there are a few steps involved, but I assure you, it remains easy.

Now let’s talk about this unit’s interface, because it’s got a little something for everyone. Prefer touchscreens? It’s got one that can handle a host of functions. More of a buttons-and-knobs person?

Yaesu’s got you covered there too. In fact, the large dial on this radio is a visual treat and a tactile delight to use, while the four other dials at the corners are conveniently placed for volume, squelch, func, and sub dial adjustments.


Installation-wise, Yaesu’s done their homework. They’ve made the faceplate detachable, which really gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of mounting options. It’s not a compact radio, but with the faceplate removed, the body is decently sized, allowing you to get creative with installation. And check this out – it’s got RJ45 mic connectors on both the faceplate and the body, so you can choose whichever suits your needs.


Being part of Yaesu’s fusion series, it can Tx and Rx on both 144 MHz and 430 MHz, and has AirBand Rx. Plus, it’s compatible with Yaesu’s C4FM digital mode.

Now, some of you might remember the now-discontinued Yaesu FTM-400. The FTM-500DR is its successor, and although the FTM-400 had a larger touchscreen and a fab grid menu, the FTM-500DR makes up for it with a still great looking display, and the added charm of the large VFO knob. Plus, its PMG or Primary Memory Group function is super smooth.

So there you have it – the Yaesu FTM-500DR: a premium package for those who want the very best in their mobile ham radio experience.

Our Ratings:

  • Features: 9.5/10
  • Reliability: 9/10
  • Value for money: 8/10
  • Audio Clarity: 9/10
  • Overall Rating: 9/10

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3. Yaesu FTM-200DR – Best Budget APRS Mobile Ham Radio


  • Sturdy build
  • A microSD slot
  • Recording and snapshot functions
  • Removable faceplate for easy installation
  • Smooth switching between analog and digital modes.


  • It lacks a true dual-band due to a single receiver
  • Bluetooth is only available through an optional accessory. 
  • A bit of a task to switch the radio into crossband mode.

Alright, let’s dive into number 3 on our list, the Yaesu FTM-200DR. I’ve dubbed this one as the Best Budget APRS Mobile Ham Radio. Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s clarify that by “budget”, I’m specifically referring to its stellar APRS capabilities. This isn’t a cheap transceiver by any means, but when it comes to bang for your buck in the APRS department, it shines brightly.

Yaesu FTM-200DR is a versatile radio, handling full APRS in both digital and analog modes, armed with a built-in 66-channel GPS receiver for top-notch location accuracy. With its 1200/9600 bps APRS data communication, this radio is a robust tool for all your APRS needs.

And guess what? Being a part of Yaesu’s fusion series, it comfortably supports the C4FM digital mode and communication.  Switching from conventional analog to digital mode is fairly easy and seamless. When working as a conventional mobile radio in analog mode, it’s a power player with a true 50W output for Tx on both VHF and UHF.

Yaesu FTM-200DR

While it doesn’t flaunt a true dual band feature, it grants you the ability to scan both bands, which some might argue feels pretty close to the real deal. Plus, it can receive AirBand, so it’s definitely wearing a lot of hats and wearing them well.

Installation? A breeze, my friends. Yaesu smartly designed the faceplate to be removable, offering greater flexibility in where you can mount the unit. It also conveniently houses the controls, complete with a bright central screen and easy-access menu items.

Audio quality is a thumbs up, thanks to the 3W speaker that delivers crystal clear sound. If you’re longing for wireless freedom, the Bluetooth connection comes to your rescue, although you’ll need to shell out some extra for a Bluetooth access unit.

Now, it’s inevitable to compare the FTM-200DR with its sibling, the FTM-300DR. They’re similar in many ways, but the FTM-300DR boasts a true dual-band receive and two VFOs for simultaneous position transmission while engaged in a conversation channel.

Still, the Yaesu FTM-200DR is a standout radio. Full APRS, crisp audio and 

easy handling of various settings make it a formidable contender. So overall Yaesu FTM-200DR is a solid APRS performer that won’t break the bank.

Our Ratings:

  • Features: 8.5/10
  • Reliability: 9/10
  • Value for money: 8/10
  • Audio Clarity: 8/10
  • Overall Rating: 8.5/10

Check out our review of Best Long Range Two Way Radios

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is APRS in ham radio?

APRS stands for Automatic Packet Reporting System. It’s a digital communication mode that allows ham radios to transmit data, including location information, weather reports, and short text messages.

Why is APRS important in a mobile ham radio?

APRS enhances the functionality of a mobile ham radio. It allows for real-time tracking, weather reporting, and messaging, making it a valuable tool for emergency communication, event coordination, and even casual use.

Do all ham radios have APRS?

No, not all ham radios have APRS. It’s a feature found in certain models. When choosing a ham radio, ensure to check if it includes APRS if this is a feature you require.

What should I look for in an APRS mobile ham radio?

Key features to look for include frequency range, power output, build quality, ease of use, and additional features like Bluetooth connectivity. Also, consider the quality of the APRS functionality, such as the ease of setup and the types of data it can transmit.

Is a higher price always indicative of better quality?

Not necessarily. While more expensive radios often have more features or better build quality, this isn’t always the case. It’s important to consider the value for money, not just the price tag.

Can I use an APRS mobile ham radio without a license?

No, you need a license to transmit on ham radio frequencies, including using APRS. However, you can listen (receive) without a license.

How do I get a ham radio license?

In the U.S., you need to pass an FCC exam to get a ham radio license. The exam covers basic regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory.

Can I use my APRS mobile ham radio for regular communication?

Yes, you can use it for regular voice communication, in addition to APRS and other digital modes.

What is crossband compatibility in a ham radio?

Crossband compatibility allows a radio to operate on more than one frequency band. This can be useful for communicating with different types of radios or accessing different parts of the radio spectrum.

  • August 11, 2023
Paul Dudley

Paul is the owner and founder of . His passion for ham radios and fishing lead him to create this site. He loves playing with his radios and doing many other outdoor activities