The Uniden MHS125 is the company’s first foray into the floating marine handheld VHF radio market and this radio has all the operational features you’d expect in a handheld.
The radio measures approximately 6-inches high, 2.6-inches wide, and 1.8-inches deep. Overall height including the antenna is 12.5-inches. On my scale, with the 1040 mAH lithium-ion battery pack installed, the MHS125 weighed in at 11.2 ounces.
The MHS125 handheld marine VHF radio package ships with the radio, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, charger tray, AC and DC charger power cords, belt clip, wrist strap, AA battery tray, and owner’s manual.
The drop-in AC charger cradle will hold the radio with the battery installed and complete a charge cycle in about 7 hours. This charger shows an orange light to indicate charge in progress and green light to show a fully charged battery.
This is one a new breed of floating marine handheld VHF radios that incorporate rotary control knobs. On the MHS125 there are two top-mounted knobs, one turns the radio on or off and sets the volume while the other sets the desired squelch point.
As I’ve stated many times before in other handheld reviews, having a rotary volume control is preferable to pushbutton controls.
An optional external speaker/microphone jack also sits atop the radio case. The antenna on this unit is removable and with the proper fitting could be connected to the fixed mount on a vessel to provide backup VHF capabilities.
The remaining radio functions are controlled using seven front-mounted pushbuttons. You’ll also find the standard side mounted push-to-talk switch.
One button control is available to select any one of three levels of transmitter output power, turn the front panel mounted SOS high-intensity LED light on or off, channel up or down, switch to weather channels, quick select channel 16 or 9, as well as several scan features.
Scan modes include memory, dual watch, and triple or 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 MEM key turns on memory scanning. All channels entered into memory will be scanned for a tenth of a second.
If you add dual watch to the mix you’ll also scan channel 16, adding tri-watch adds channel 9 too. The MHS125 can use all Canadian, International, and US marine VHF channels, and NOAA weather channels.
Performance and Battery Life Testing
I tested the Uniden MHS125 using the supplied lithium-ion battery pack. An alkaline battery tray is also supplied too.
This tray holds 4-AAA batteries and can be used as an alternative power source should you find yourself with a depleted battery pack.
I measured 90 dBA during our audio output test and rated the audio performance good.
I rated the MHS125 1.75-inch (measured on the diagonal) display screen excellent and found it quite large for a marine handheld VHF radio. Large segmented numbers are used to display the selected channel. Pressing any key turns on red backlighting for the screen and pushbuttons.
The transmitter power output setting is shown onscreen as 1W, 2.5W, or 5W. A large battery level indicator on the left side of the screen shows a filled battery shaped icon when full. As the battery charge drops the battery icon empties a quarter at a time. Appropriate letter abbreviations below the channel number displays the selected channel group.
This radio lasted a very respectable 10 hours in our battery life test. An aural alarm and empty battery icon and channel number flashing onscreen gives you some warning that the battery is reaching a point of near depletion—this only occurs when you try to transmit. It passed both the drop and submersion tests with no glitches.
This radio is waterproof and carries a IPX8 rating. This means it can be submerged to a depth of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes without sustaining any damage. This Uniden marine handheld VHF radio carries a 3-year warranty.
This is a reasonably priced basic floating radio with the advantage of twist knob volume and squelch controls. I’d rate it a buy.