After hosting several Hummer off-road events (see the write-up on our latest outing), we’ve used several different types of radios. The last few we’ve used two-way handheld radios that we experienced little success. And by little, I mean completely worthless outside of 50 feet. We needed something to communicate clearly between lead trucks, customer vehicles, and our home base, while keeping an eye on our pocketbook as well. We liked the idea of the Cobra “HH Road Trip” CB radio, which was a handheld unit that could also run on 12 volt power, and has an optional external antenna for added range.
The first test was on the way down when our 20 Hummer convoy was headed to College Station from Dallas. We had the lead and follow trucks equipped with the Cobra handheld, and they performed very well. If you’ve ever made the trip to College Station, you know it involves some back country roads that can create challenges for a large convoy. It also involved a lot of strange looks from the neighborhood locals who rarely see one Hummer let alone 20 at once! The first test, the road test, passed with flying colors at the 1 to 2 mile range.
Once on the trails we were more concerned with communication within our group – which way we were headed, tips on how to approach an obstacle, etc., were all topic of discussion on the CBs. Since we announced we were going to use CBs on our trip, we had a few customers that came prepared and had insightful questions to the trail guides like “when are we getting muddy?” and “What’s for lunch?” Kidding aside, it was an amusing time being able to communicate to several people at once clearly – at our next event, we expect more people will have their own CB setups. One of the customers that used the Cobra HH Road trip went by “Gunner” on the radio, and gave us some of his thoughts on the unit:
I had a chance to use the HH-38WXST on a recent Hummer outing and was quite surprised with it’s quality and performance. I needed something that was highly portable and that had no cumbersome wires to get in the way on our various trail rides. This little unit tucked very nicely into the space between the grab handle and inner door panel of my H3, allowing for handy retrieval and keeping the antenna as close to the window as possible for optimum signal reception. I opted to forgo usage of the external antenna and 12vdc power cable just to see what the unit would do on battery power alone. Nine generic drug store batteries yielded a full day’s operation with moderate talking. The audio remained crisp and clear while TX/RX distances stayed effective out to .75 miles line of sight. While more permanent CB options may have a better range, using the external power and antenna would at least double the unit’s effective range making it a low cost, less invasive alternative.
If you are looking for a communications solution that is highly portable and does not require a hard mount, I’d recommend this Unit.
Small, highly portable, easy to use.
Works well as a talkie.
Works even better with an external antenna and running off of vehicle power.
Controls are intuitive.
Weather channels are quite handy.
Easy to read LCD display and useful battery life meter.
“Dual Channel Watch” feature proved helpful for monitoring our travel channel as well as channel 19.
-Takes nine AA batteries for complete portability.
-Magnetic mount external antenna could use more substantial rubber padding at the base to protect the vehicle’s finish.
For extra range, try upgrading to a larger antenna.