The Cobra HH125 is the company’s marine division bare bones entry-level marine handheld VHF radio. It has a basic feature set and a maximum power output of 3-watts.
The black case is constructed from UV stable ABS plastic. The radio is very compact as far as marine handheld radios go and measures approximately 4-inches high, 2.4-inches wide and a tad over 1-inches deep.
Overall height including the antenna is a little under 9-inches. On my scale, with the 5 accompanying AAA NiMH batteries installed, the HH125 weighed in at very svelte 6.6 ounces.
The HH125 handheld marine VHF radio package ships with the radio, 5 rechargeable AAA NiMH batteries, DC chargers, belt clip, wrist strap, and owner’s manual. Using the cigar lighter type DC charger the unit takes about 15 hours to fully recharge the AAA battery set. This radio can also be used with Alkaline AAA batteries.
On the HH125 you will find a top-mounted rotary knob that turns the radio on or off and sets the volume level. As I’ve stated previously, having a rotary volume control is much preferable to other methods of control like up/down arrow buttons.
An optional external speaker/microphone jack also sits atop the radio case. The antenna on this radio is not removable.
Radio functions are controlled using seven front-mounted pushbuttons. You’ll also find the standard side mounted push-to-talk button with the display backlight on/off and key lock pushbutton just below. This button makes it easy and simple to turn the backlight on or off as desired. The key lock function allows the user to lock certain radio settings. The bottom button on the side is an automatic squelch release.
One button control is available to select high or low transmitter output power, channel up or down, switch to weather channels, quick select channel 16, as well as some scan features.
Going into the marine standby mode and using the marine VHF setup menu lets you change the channel group, roger beep, key tone and weather alert mode. With the roger beep mode selected on, anyone you are communicating with will hear a tone when the push-to-talk is released.
Scan modes include all-channel, dual scan and memory. In the dual scan mode channel 16 will always be one of the scanned channels while the second channel is user selectable. A single press of the scan key turns on all-channel scanning. The HH125 can use all Canadian, International, and US marine VHF channels, and NOAA weather channels.
Performance and Battery Life Testing
I accomplished all tests of the Cobra HH125 using the five supplied AAA-sized nickel metal hydride batteries.
With a measured sound output of 91 dBA while listening to a weather channel broadcast I rated the radio’s audio performance good.
The display screen on the HH125 front panel was more than adequate in size at 1.6-inches as measured on the diagonal. I rated it good. Large segmented numbers are used to display the selected channel.
The battery level is located on screen’s right and shows a filled battery shaped icon when full. As the battery charge drops the battery icon is supposed to empty too, however for my testing the battery seemed to die out without much of an indication from the level meter. One minute it showed full and the next it was dead.
Signal strength is shown using a bar meter for both the transmitter and receiver signal. A single letter in the lower left displays the selected channel group. Transmitter power output is shown onscreen as Hi or Lo. Other icons indicate transmit or receive, weather alert mode and scan mode.
This radio lasted 7 hours in our battery life test. It passed both the drop test with no glitches. During the dunk test the radio took on water both inside the battery case and internally.
This marine VHF radio is fairly inexpensive and did perform well in our testing. However, you should note that it did not survive our dunk test. This Cobra marine handheld VHF radio carries a 1-year warranty.