While there are some amateurs who possess portable battery-operated HF stations for operation in emergency situations, most portable transceivers today are extremely compact VHF, UHF or dual-band hand-held units operating from re-chargeable battery-packs or dry-cells.
They generate from 1 to 5 watts and their receivers are extremely sensitive. They are about the same size and weight as a mobile phone.
Shown here are an early Icom 1.5 watt 2-metre hand-held transceiver and a current Kenwood 2-watt unit.
Latest models are even smaller. Radios of this size are widely used for field and pedestrian communications.
Except for short-range contacts, these low-power transceivers rely very heavily on repeater access, but once this is gained their performance is comparable with much larger base units.
Recent models have become very sophisticated, with dual-tone access, multiple memories, instant channel recall and many other features.