Gear Review – Communication on the Water

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Cobra MRHH475 VHF Marine Radio with Bluetooth

 

Kayak fishing has it’s obvious hazards, whether it be inshore or open water. For years I went out with a cell phone as my primary means of communication, but having a handheld VHF radio to signal for a rescue, and communicate with other boaters is a no-brainer. I went with the Cobra MRHH475, and at $140 on amazon.com, it was a very reasonable choice. Yes, there are similar radios with GPS which can transmit your exact location to the Coast Guard, but this one has the ability to tether to my iPhone. Once paired to a Bluetooth capable cell phone, I can receive and place calls from the VHF handset, while the cell phone is safely stowed below deck or in a waterproof container. To place calls, your cell phone must have voice command capability; press the Bluetooth button twice, wait for the beep and give your voice commands to dial a contact. A few other cool features are NOAA weather channels, VOX, and the choice to power it from the LiON battery (included) or six AA alkaline batteries. With three different RF output settings (1, 3 and 6 watts), you can moderate power consumption – six AA batteries will power it for 35 hours on 1 watt!

 

Pros:

  • Bluetooth
  • reasonable cost
  • waterproof
  • floats

Cons:

  • Bulky and doesn’t easily stow in my PFD pocket – a minor issue
  • When using the Bluetooth feature, I noted the volume level during cell phone calls was a bit weak, but still audible.

 

Overall, it was a good choice for me. If your debating dealing out the dough for a marine radio, and it’s a choice between a radio or fish finder,  get a VHF handset instead.  It could save your life.