The Cobra HH330 is the company’s entry level floating marine handheld VHF radio. It has all the needed operational features you’d expect in a handheld plus a maximum power output of 6-watts.
Its grey and orange case is solidly constructed from UV stable ABS plastic. The radio measures approximately 5-inches high, 2.6-inches wide, and 1.5-inches deep. Overall height including the antenna is 11.5-inches. On my scale, with the 1000 mAH lithium-ion battery pack installed, the HH330 weighed in at 9.4 ounces.
The HH330 handheld marine VHF radio package ships with the radio, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, AC and DC chargers, belt clip, wrist strap, and owners manual. The drop-in AC charger cradle will hold the radio with the battery installed or the battery alone and complete a charge cycle in about 5 hours. This charger shows a red light to indicate charging and green light to indicate a fully charged battery. There is an optional AA battery tray available for this radio.
This is only the second floating handheld marine VHF radio I’ve seen with a rotary control knob, the other was the Cobra HH475. On the HH330 the top mounted knob turns the radio on or off and sets the volume level. As I’ve stated in other reviews, having a rotary volume control is preferable to up/down arrow buttons. An optional external speaker/microphone jack also sits atop the radio case. The antenna on this radio is not removable.
The majority of radio functions are controlled using eight front-mounted pushbuttons. You’ll also find the standard side mounted push-to-talk button and just below that is the display backlight on/off and key lock pushbutton. 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.
One button control is available to select any one of three levels of transmitter output power, send a call tone, channel up or down, switch to weather channels, quick select channel 16 or 9, as well as some scan features.
Six functions are set using the setup menu. Here is where youd access the squelch setting and choose your channel group. You can also set a number of tones, beeps, and alerts.
Scan modes include all-channel, memory, and tri-watch. In the tri-watch mode channel 16 will always be one of the scanned channels with the other two being user selectable. A single press of the scan key turns on all-channel scanning. The HH330 can use all Canadian, International, and US marine VHF channels, and NOAA weather channels.
This radio is able to send a call tone to other VHF radios that are capable of receiving it. We tried it using another Cobra handheld VHF and found it worked well to alert the user that an incoming radio call is about to happen.
The HH330 has what Cobra calls a “Burp” function. The idea here is to use a loud tone to clear water from the speaking after a dunking. Pressing the 16 and Scan buttons at the same time burps the radio for eight seconds.
Performance and Battery Life Testing
I tested the Cobra HH330 using the supplied lithium-ion battery pack. An alkaline battery tray is optional; it holds 6-AA batteries and can be used as an alternative power source. Depending the batteries used the radio may or may not float.
With a measured 90 dBA during our audio output test we rated the audio performance good.
I rated the HH330 1.75-inch (measured on the diagonal) display screen excellent and found it quite large for a marine handheld VHF radio. Large block style numbers are used to display the selected channel.
Transmitter power output is shown onscreen as Hi, Med, or Lo. Battery level is on the bottom right and shows a filled battery shaped icon when full. As the battery charge drops the battery icon empties too. Signal strength is shown using a bar meter form either a transmitted or a received signal. A single letter below the channel number displays the selected channel group.
This radio lasted 8 hours in our battery life test and passed both the drop and submersion tests with no glitches.
The Cobra HH330 marine handheld VHF radio is waterproof and carries a IPX7 rating. This means it can be submerged to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes without sustaining any damage. This Cobra marine handheld VHF radio carries a 3-year warranty.
This Cobra handheld VHF radio has all the basic features you’d need, it floats, and its priced right. I’d rate this one a best buy.