The Uniden MHS50 is by far the least expensive floating marine handheld VHF radio on the market today. Uniden packages and ships this radio in a two-pack priced under $100.
The radio is housed in a case that measures 2.5 inches wide by 5.3 inches tall and is 1.4 inches deep. The antenna is not detachable and increases the total height of the radio to right at 9-inches.
On my scale this Uniden handheld VHF radio weighed in at 8.4 ounces without the included belt clip attached. The radio carries a 3-year warranty.
The Uniden MHS50-2 package contains two radios, two rechargeable Ni-MH battery packs, a dual radio charger tray, AC charger power cord, two belt clips, one owner’s manual, and two carbiners.
The MHS50 floats as long as the carbiner is not attached. It carries a JIS8 waterproof rating which means it can stand submersion to a depth of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes without sustaining any damage.
The owner’s manual goes on to state the radio is safe to be submerged for up to 1 hour in water up to 5 feet deep.
All controls on this radio are pushbutton, with 9 on the front panel and two on the left side. The push-to-talk switch is dual action with a power boost option on the lower half of the switch.
Below this switch you will find the Monitor button which lets you listen to a single channel with an open squelch.
One button control is available to select high or low transmitter output power, channel up or down, quick select channel 16 or 9, set the listening volume up or down as desired, and control a couple scan features.
Transmitter output power on the MHS50 can be set to 2.5 or 1 watt. This radio is capable of using all U.S., International, and Canadian marine channels, however, it will not receive the 10 US weather channels.
Performance and Battery Life Testing
I tested the Uniden MHS50 using the supplied Ni-MH battery pack. The MHS50 will only function with the supplied battery pack and cannot use alkaline batteries.
I measured a rather weak 75 dBA during our audio output test and rated the audio performance fair. Still the radio worked well and would prove useful in all but the loudest environments.
The Uniden MHS50 features a 1-inch square display screen. Segmented numbers are used to display the selected channel with symbol icons for battery level, channel group, scan, transmitter power setting, and when the radio is transmitting. Pressing any key turns on red backlighting for the screen and pushbuttons.
Uniden claims the radio will has a typical battery life cycle of 12 hours on a single charge, however that claim is made with the stipulation that only low power is used for voice transmissions.
I tested using a high power transmission of three minutes every hour and five minutes of receive time using the monitor function to break the squelch. Normally I would use a weather channel to accomplish the receive portion of the test but that is not on option on this radio since it does not receive weather channels. This radio lasted 7 hours in my battery life test. An aural alarm and flashing empty battery icon signal battery level is nearing empty. It passed both the drop and submersion tests with no glitches.
The accompanying DC charger brings the 700 mAH Ni-MH battery pack up to full charge in 13 hours.
With a price tag under $100 for not one, but two floating handheld marine VHF radios the Uniden MHS50-2 package is definitely a bargain