Looking for info on VHF radios

Does anyone have any experience or opinions of VHF radios from Uniden or Cobra?

Please limit replies to the two brands I’ve mentioned – I can get a good deal on these two brands but I’d like to find out a bit about them before putting out some hard-earned dollars.




Good Experience with Voyager
I have a Uniden Voyager and it has performed quite well. Has been in the water a fair bit and no problems. It is easy to use and its multichannel/WX monitoring features are selected/used via a logical/easy process. The buttons are smaller than some Icom models and that is not good. The RF performance of the radio is very good and equal to any that I have tried.

Check the Archives
There have been many, many threads on this subject in the last many months.

You do get what you pay for
I consider a VHF a lifesaving device. Any VHF is better than none, unless it cannot deliver when needed, then it is junk. I won’t mention brand names as you requested, but some important considerations to think about are battery life, ruggedness and waterproofness. Using these radios without a dry pouch would be a risk, no matter what the manufacturer says. Drop it? The plastic case could break or crack… Dunk it? Fogettaboutit.

These brands can be had for about $100 or less and are not much more than a souped-up FRS radio. I hope you never need to use it, but if you do, I wish you luck. I paid twice that for a locally based icon in the VHF world. I don’t even think about it as it lives in my pfd… roll after roll.

Go for power
We have two Cobras that are fine within their abilities, but have found that they don’t always have good enough reception to be clearly heard on the water. It’s not that the Cobra brand is an issue, just that they aren’t as powerful as our other one. So, while they are OK to have on the deck for chatting among ourselves, the heavier one is often better for things like weather reports.


– Last Updated: Oct-31-06 10:27 PM EST –

Good experience with the Uniden MHS 350 submersible and only about $150 comes with charger and two batteries. Great reception and has held up to dunking.

Since you’ve chosen only 2 brands…
you’ve severely limited the advice I can give you. These are 2 types of radios that I don’t care for. Uniden is a pretty decent radio, but their customer service in my experience is very bad. There are many radios out there that I consider far better than the 2 you’ve mentioned here IMO. Paddling with a radio in a Marine environment, and hitting the drink with it are far different. And if it’s not in a really great drypouch you’d better hope it performs when you need it most.

I would strongly advise that you don’t base your purchase on price with a VHF radio. Lifesaving gear is one place it’s very unwise to skimp.

However, if you are going to be gone more than a couple of days on a trip, and are not going to be in a position to recharge your rechargable batteries, I strongly recommend choosing a radio that has alkaline battery capability as well.

Also recommend putting it in a waterproof pouch. ALL brands no matter the price have potential to leak, and do not fair well over time in water, and especially the saltwater environment.

Also, even it it’s waterproof doesn’t mean it’ll function when you need it. Speakers flood and won’t work, etc…Use the pouch, or even a drybox if you’re storing it. Have some piece of mind.

Good luck!


I know that Cobra has at least one model that is 1/2 watt and 2 watts – certainly not the model that I’d be considering.

From what I’m finding, most radios are dual power with 1 and 5 watts.

Your reply is most helpful. Thanks.

For the record, I’m not basing my purchase on price – I only wanted opinions of the reliablity and effectiveness of these two brands (as I mentioned, I can get good pricing on these two brands – it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m limiting myself to only purchasing one of them).

Just trying to determine if either of these two brands is worth looking at.



Not sure what to think
Are you saying that the Uniden and Cobra models that are priced in the $200 range are OK but the less expensive models are not worth looking at?

I’d certainly be interested in knowing the brand and model of the VHF radio that lives in your PFD.




I did
I searched for “VHF”, but there was so much that wasn’t related. Do a search for “VHF” and you’ll see what I mean.



Since you said you would consider other brands check out Icom VHF radios. One of the most trouble free radios out there .I got mine at West Marine and got a very good deal on myIcom M2A .


doing a search for “marine radios.” Ton of info there.


– Last Updated: Nov-01-06 9:55 AM EST –

The Voyager is a good radio for the price, but it can be difficult to operate with gloves on. That may or may not be a consideration.

FWIW, I haven't seen anything that Cobra makes that I would bet my life on.

Personally, I don't skimp on safety gear and I'm a big fan of the Icom M88 and M1V, as they've never let me down. The new M72 looks nice, but I haven't had the chance to use one yet. I realize that you don't want to hear that, but price should not be the main consideration when buying safety equipment, function is the only thing that matters. Junk is junk, no matter how little you pay for it and high quality gear inevitably ends up being cheaper in the long run.

Voyager and other
I used a Voyager a bit this summer. It wouldn’t pick up anything when strapped to the deck of my kayak, but it received good reception when held upright. A friend guided with a Voyager for a number of years. He said most of the time is was on the deck of his kayak unprotected. But we’re on Lake Superior and not salt water.

My M72 picks works just as nicely on my deck as it does upright. I’ve been impressed with it. Now if I could figure out a good way to strap it to my Brik, I’d be happy.

What I have
It is the Icom M-88. Small size, BIG lithium Ion batter, AA capable, tough as nails and very, very dependable. They go on sale and often with a rebate. I found the lowest price on the internet and West Marine matched it at retail and still got a $50 rebate. Ended up about $200 after the rebate.