A decent set of radios – range not what it should be.
Even though mobile phones have permeated the communication device market there is still a call for a portable radio – a.k.a walkie talkie. I’ve been in positions where there were so many people that mobile phones just weren’t reliable because systems were clogged due to overuse. Therefore, having a portable radio available can be very beneficial. The Cobra PX500 BC business radio is ideal for moderate use within a certain radius of a specified area.
The Cobra PX500 Pro Business Radios are designed to cover up to 250,000 square feet and 20 floors. They feature a powerful 1 watt TX output. They are license-free and there is no programming necessary. The radios are full-featured with VOX hands-free operation available and are even water-resistant. When the radios are fully charged, they will last for approximately 12 hours. The radios ship with a 360-degree swivel holster, dual drop-in charger, USB wall adapter, and charging cable.
- UHF/FM: Ultra-clear long distance reception.
- 121 Privacy Code: 38 CTCSS (Continuous Tone Coded Squelch System) codes and 83 DCS (Digitally Coded Squelch) codes provide a total of 121 privacy codes. 2662 privacy combinations are possible when the 22 channels are combined with the 121 privacy codes.
- VOX (Voice Activated Transmission): 5 VOX sensitivity levels allow the user to select at which point the radio will detect their voice.
- Call Alert: Provides an easily recognizable alert for incoming calls.
- Roger Beep Tone: Confirmation tone indicates the completion of the user’s transmission, and signals others it is clear to talk.
- Key Lock: When activated, provides key pad security eliminating accidental channel changes.
- Power Saver: A unique circuit extends the life of your batteries. If there are no transmissions within 10 seconds, the unit will automatically switch to battery save mode.
- Auto Squelch: Automatically shuts off weak transmissions or unwanted noise due to terrain or range constraints.
- LCD Display: Easy to view display provides the radio’s status at a glance.
I remember playing with walkie-talkies when I was younger and getting the biggest kick out of making the static sound when responding to calls on it. These Cobra walkie talkies are nothing like that. They are the real deal. They are rechargeable, easy to use, and very lightweight. They arrived in an easy-open plastic blister package with lots of information included on the outside. The one thing that I noticed right off the bat was the range wasn’t listed on the package. The printed info states “Up to 250,000 square feet/20 floors” but not a mile range. I have been able to find online places where the walkie talkies are given a 23-mile range. I didn’t find that was quite the case. I tested them out a couple of different ways. First, I had my fiancé take one of the units to the back of our house, which is only 1500 sqft and we talked back and forth. While there were several walls between us, it worked very well. Next, I sent my daughter down our street with one of them. She was about half a mile away and we still had a clear signal. Finally, my fiancé took one to work with her, which is only 2.2 miles away. We were unable to get a signal to one another even though we were on the same channel. So, even though we discovered that 23 miles was not the maximum range for these radios, I was very happy to have a method of communication to depend on aside from our mobile phones. When we get into areas that are congested with people and cell signal becomes an issue, we can start relying on these a bit more.
Set-up and use of the radios are very simple. You actually only have to unscrew the battery door, insert the battery (provided), connect the battery wire, and then replace the battery door. At this point, the charging station only has to be plugged into a wall outlet and the walkie-talkies placed in the charging cradle. This is one of the features I appreciate the most about these radios — the fact that they are rechargeable.
There are 22 channels to choose from and both radios have to be on the same channel in order to communicate with each other. It’s important to note that channels 8-14 are designated as ‘low’ power output while the others are ‘high’. This can be problematic for the range so if you are trying to communicate with someone a farther distance away, make sure you’re on one of the other channels.
Overall, I really like these walkie talkies. They are much better than ‘consumer-grade’ models and as long as you keep the expectation where it should be, then you will certainly be happy with these radios. The only thing I think Cobra should be more precise about is the range. It should state what it is on the package and be the same thing you can find online about it.