My review today will be covering the Cobra HH Road Trip 40 Channel Hand Held CB (Citizen Band) Radio Transceiver. This radio also incorporates a built-in 10 NOAA weather band receiver, which allows the user to stay up to date on local and regional weather conditions without any Internet or cellphone coverage. This can really come in handy during natural disasters or other emergencies.
When it comes to going on adventures that take you beyond cellphone coverage, radio communications such as CB radios and FRS (Family Service Radio) radios can become necessary for maintaining communications between individuals in your group. With FRS radios becoming much more widely used, it has in many cases created the problem of trying to find a free/clear FRS channel to utilize. CB radio channels, on the other hand, are relatively clear and unused in many regions.
There are other benefits to using CB radios over FRS. For example, FRS radios are legally limited to 1⁄2 watt of RF output power. CB radios, however, are allowed to output 4 watts of RF output. That’s 8 times the power output compared to FRS radios. To top things off, CB radios are legally allowed to utilize higher performance external antennas. FRS walkie-talkies do not come with the capability to use any kind of external antenna, nor would it be legal to do so.
The 40 Channel Cobra HH Road Trip CB radio has several features that are quite handy. They include the ability to quickly scan through all 40 channels and dual channel watch. I think my favorite feature of this radio is the Soundtracker Noise Reduction, which helps to clean up your received signal. In my testing, I found the Soundtracker feature really worked well at reducing the background white noise. It also seemed to do a reasonable job at improving the clarity of the audio. To my surprise, the Soundtracker feature also works when using the built-in NOAA weather band receiver. The HH Road Trip also has a power saver feature, which gives you the ability to switch between high and low power settings. High Power = 4 Watts Low Power = 1 Watt. Using low power can extend your battery life by roughly 50%.
The HH Road Trip comes with a DC car power cable, a rubber duck antenna, and an external magnet mount antenna. Unfortunately, an AC power adapter is not included, however it and other accessories are available for purchase separately.
The HH Road Trip runs on a whopping 9 AA Alkaline or Nickel Metal Hydride batteries, which are not included (do not attempt to recharge Alkaline batteries), so be prepared for the necessary added expense of buying 9 batteries. This quantity of batteries does have a downside. It adds considerable weight and size to the HH Road Trip, making it nearly twice the size and weight of a typical FRS walkie-talkie.
As for the performance of these CB radios, I found the effective range in many cases to be quite similar to that of a typical FRS radio. I was able to achieve 1- mile max range in an urban neighborhood with mixed terrain and lots of trees. This is to be expected when using the included short rubber duck antenna or the short rubber duck magnetic car roof mount antenna. These handheld CB radios can achieve further communication distances when used in open terrain such as a between mountain peaks, across a valley, prairie, or an open body of water such as a lake or ocean.
Your best bet to increase the effective rage of the HH Road Trip CB radio is to take advantage of its ability to utilize higher performance antennas. I recommend the Cobra HA-TA Telescopic antenna for increased performance while using the radio when hiking. I also recommend replacing the included car mount antenna with the Cobra HG A1500 magnet mount antenna, which can be installed on either your cars roof or trunk lid. These two antennas will greatly increase the effective range of the Cobra HH Road Trip. I have included links to both these antennas at the bottom of this review.
In summary, I found the HH Road Trip to be quite effective. It does exactly what it says it will do. The build quality seems to be quite good and it comes with just about everything you need to get started. If you want a handheld radio that has the potential for greater range then FRS and you don’t want to go through the hassle of studying and taking a test to get a ham radio license, then the Cobra HH Road Trip is one of the best options out there for communications when beyond cellular coverage.
Made in China
Price: $99.95 – $110
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