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Uniden MHS550 Review

The Uniden MHS550 is a multi-band marine handheld VHF radio capable of transmitting and receiving on the Marine band and the Family Radio Service band. It will also receive on the AM and FM broadcast bands and receive aircraft band traffic as well.

The radio body is constructed from die cast aluminum that is partially covered by protective rubber padding. The unit fits well in hand and weighs exactly 12 ounces.

Uniden MHS550 handheld vhf radio

Uniden MHS550

The MHS550 comes from the factory packaged with an AC fast charger that will bring the issued 1400 mAH lithium ion battery up from empty to full charge in three hours.

You’ll also find a DC charger cord, wrist strap, and AAA battery case included in the box.

Radio Controls

The control layout on this Uniden handheld VHF radio starts with top-mounted volume and squelch control knobs and a jack to connect an external speaker or microphone located along the case centerline. The push-to-talk switch is side-mounted.

The remaining functions are executed by using one or more of the eight front-mounted pushbuttons. One button control is available for transmitter power selection, channel changing, weather channel selection, quick selection of channel 16 or 9, and some scanning options. Transmitter power can be set to one of three levels, 5, 2.5, or 1 watt.

Scanning

Scan modes include dual watch, triple watch, and weather alert mode. You can also memory select various channels and monitor them in numerical order. This radio can use all Canadian, International, and US channels.

Performance

Overall performance of the VHF550 was about average. It earned mostly good ratings for transmitter performance but only managed a fair rating for receive sensitivity. Audio performance was rather average too, with only 88 dBA reading during our output test.

We rated the MHS550 display screen good. The selected band is displayed onscreen in small letters in the top left side. Moderately large block style numbers are used to display the selected channel while smaller letters scroll the channel name across the bottom of the screen.

The selected power level is displayed onscreen in watts while a full battery level is shown with a filled battery shaped icon. As the battery charge drops the battery icon empties too. The word transmitting is displayed across the bottom of the screen when the radio transmits a signal.

Shop for this Uniden handheld VHF radio here.

Battery Testing

This radio lasted for 11 hours of our grueling battery test. It passed both the drop and submersion tests too with no glitches.

Final Thoughts

This radio has the highest level of waterproofing on any marine handheld we’ve ever tested. It carries a JIS8 rating, which means it can be submerged to a depth of 1.5 meters for 30 minutes without sustaining any damage.

The has a 3-year warranty and a 12-month warranty on the battery.