Cobra MR HH600 DSC Floating VHF Marine Radio Review
The Cobra Marine DSC Floating VHF Radio (MR HH600) is a very intriguing piece of outdoor equipment. It’s packed full of useful features, and even sports a GPS. That I paid $450 for a Garmin InReach Explorer+ when I could’ve had something like this makes my previous purchase a bit shortsighted.
But that works out to your benefit, since I’ll be able to compare the two products a bit, and hopefully offer some insight on why this Cobra Marine DSC Radio is something you need in your recreation arsenal.
It’s light, has Bluetooth connectivity so you can use it via your phone, it floats, has multiple transmission power options, and features Digital Selective Calling (DSC) for immediate placement of distress calls to rescue personnel. That the Cobra Marine Radio is available for just a hair over $200 is a steal, when you take into account all its features.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at some of the features that really caught my eye.
Digital Selective Calling
This is a feature I didn’t know much about until I started playing around with this radio. Living in a landlocked state, I don’t spend much time on the ocean, but I appreciate the usefulness of DSC technology.
With DSC, you can automatically send distress signals to the Coast Guard, or other rescue personnel, in the event of a true maritime emergency. That you don’t have to fumble around for a specific channel, since Cobra built the DSC toggle to be as simple as possible, is a huge win in my book. Having been in situations where we needed help before, I know that the simpler tools like this are to use, the more likely it is that they’ll be used when push comes to shove.
I’ve been consistently impressed with the build quality of all the Cobra products I’ve used recently. This marine radio is no different. It’s a solid piece of gear that doesn’t feel flimsy or cheap in the hand. I also love the bright orange backplate that the company used, because that helps you see it better when it gets dropped in the water.
Speaking of water exposure, this radio does float as well as advertised. It’s a bit odd, to tell you the truth, seeing a vhf radio float like this. But it’s a feature that makes obvious sense to include in a marine radio.
This radio packs a lot of features, but the GPS ones are the most important, I think. While you won’t get the same functionality out of this when used as a GPS as you would with something like the aforementioned Garmin InReach Explorer+, you do get the benefit of having your GPS coordinates attached to every DSC call. That’s huge for getting help and rescue crews to you quickly enough to make a difference.
The GPS also plays a huge role in the Man Overboard (MOB) system on this radio. When you press the dedicated MOB key, the GPS unit automatically memorizes and marks the position where you pressed the MOB key. That gives you an almost exact location of where someone fell off the boat, which can prove critical for any kind of rescue operation.
Something else worth noting here is the Bluetooth connectivity built into the radio. Through the Bluetooth connection, you can actually make and receive phone calls from your cell phone. That means you can leave your phone in a dry bag or compartment – making sure it doesn’t get wet – but still stay connected on cellular networks. That, to me, is a huge point in favor of this Cobra radio.
The Bluetooth ability to send and receive texts on my Garmin InReach Explorer+ is one of the reasons I bought it. Add the ability to make and receive calls to it, and I’m hooked for life.
6 Watt VHF
Lastly, no review of this radio would be complete without mentioning the transmission bands. Cobra built it to have an easy time switching between low, medium, and high frequencies, depending on the distance of the transmission you need to make. On this radio, you can switch between 1, 3, and 6 watt frequencies.
In addition, you have access to all USA, Canadian, and international channels, as well as the newer 4-digit channels. Put simply, you’ll be able to get ahold of someone in the event of a real emergency.
The Cobra Marine DSC Floating VHF Radio is a great piece of gear for those who spend a lot of time in marine environments. With the ability to send direct reports to Coast Guard and other rescue personnel – complete with your exact GPS locations – to its floatability and waterproof design, this radio is worth its price tag.