how good is the Cobra MR HH 9 VHF radio?

the local Mal-Wart has the Cobra Marine MR HH 90 VHF radio on sale for $60CDN clearance. we don’t have a VHF radio and the price is ‘right’ but it may not necessarily be a good one. it’s .5 - 2w power but doesn’t speak about any range on the package. I believe it can take both AAA batteries and a battery pack. AAA batteries concerns me, being they don’t hold power for long, electronics with them aren’t really recommended.

Not very powerful…

Typically handheld VHFs have a shorter range than mounted units.

This one has 2 watt output. most handhelds have a 5 or 6 watt output.

This maybe OK for yak to yak com, but I wouldn’t want to call for help on this one.

Check out ICOM … you get what you pay for in VHF…

Taking to buddies on the water
or saving your life.

For mission-critical marine handhelds go Icom.

Water resitance
The Cobra is only rated as JIS4, which means it’s splashproof for 10 minutes and it will die if it gets dunked. That means you have to keep it in a dry bag, which reduces it’s utility dramatically. FWIW, I wouldn’t own any radio for kayaking that’s not submersible (JIS7 or JIS8 rated).

Agree with the others here…

– Last Updated: Oct-02-06 9:09 AM EST –

I have this specific radio, and for it's intended use, it's fine....

It can hit a repeater for the Coast Guard and for use on navigable inland lakes and rivers, it's with large vessels (Mainly barges and power yacht's), calls to local marina's, or to contact Lock Operators at the Dam's on the Tennessee river.

additionally it provides weather reports.

As for the batteries, the Nicad's provided give a decent performance, but buy replacement Lithium cells for backup (DO NOT recharge lithium batteries in the radio...the only rechargeable Lithium cells are Lithium-Ion batteries and they and the specialized charger for them are EXPENSIVE).

Its great for what it is
Actually $60CDN sounds high for that radio. It works quite well and comes with good instructions as I remember. However, it really is not a radio for kayaking since you will want to have it available for use on the water and it is not waterproof. As a spare in a hatch and only to be used on land, its OK.

It’s illegal to use a marine VHF on land
So unless the Cobra has other channels for land use, you can’t use it for land commmunication.

Yes, but…
The point I was making is that due to its lack of waterproofing it is problematic to use it while kayaking on the water. Obviously you could use it to listen to weather broadcasts and to listen to marine channels. As to broadcasting with it on land, it would be illegal except in a true emergency when the rules are essentially suspended.

Keep looking

– Last Updated: Oct-03-06 12:55 PM EST –

I wanted a VHF for use in group paddles. Not planning any major crossings or anything. And a good weather radio, contact with Coast Guard for emergency etc. without forking over a lot of money. We bought the Cobra HH100 two pack from West Marine for $75. Now, I know this will never do if I go off into the middle of nowhere. But for hanging out on the St Johns or the intracoastal around here with paddling clubs it's perfect. Best of all, it came with EVERYTHING. Two radios, two battery packs, two carry cases and two chargers. I was impressed that they didn't try to skimp and include just one charger. Yes, this is a LOW end VHF, but it gives me the same weather info as a $200 ICOM and with two our groups are instantly equipped for under $100. It has suited our purposes nicely. And yes, it is illegal to transmit on land, but I still use it at home (ie during hurricanes) as a weather radio.

If your uses are similar to this, go with the Cobra. The car charger is a nice extra. I've been very happy with the two pack. If your uses are more extreme, then the Cobra is inappropriate and will let you down. No, it is not submersible.
The other posters are right. You get what you pay for. But if your needs are not at the higher levels (ie flat water, good weather, only need VHF as backup and talking to group leaders) then why pay for more than you need.

Good luck and happy paddling-