The Uniden MHS155UV dual band VHF/UHF hand-held radio is the first dual band radio available in Australia and, having a background in boating, I often wondered when one would appear.
It has various power levels, between 1-5W in VHF (marine) mode and 0.5-2.5W in UHF (land) mode. The set provides 80 UHF channels (including duplex) and the usual US and International VHF marine channels plus dual watch facility.
It floats and is waterproof up to 1m for 30 minutes. The large LCD display is easy to read and you can lock in any channel. A memory scan mode allows you to lock channels to memory and there is a range extender (duplex) capability. Operating time is a claimed 12 hours before needing to recharge and a battery save feature lowers usage when on standby.
There are too many features to list here, but I particularly liked the extra battery tray attachment which allows you to use four AAA batteries if the rechargeable 1100mAh Li-Ion battery is flat.
Our first test was for waterproofing, so I held it under water to about a metre for a few minutes. When I released it, it floated. I dried it off and switched it on to call Denyse who was holding our other 5W hand-held set about 200m away, and both worked fine.
Our second test was to check reception on UHF, so I jumped in the car and checked out distances, while Denyse called me on the reviewed set from home. Using the UHF installed in our vehicle, I could hear her quite clearly up to 4km away in our city, and she could hear me until I was about 8km from home, but the MHS155UV radio with 2.5W power could not transmit that far. On the highway, clear of buildings and city traffic, the range was about 12km. I considered this quite acceptable.
It is an easy click of a button to change the radio to VHF mode (a license is required for marine use). I called the local sea rescue in Mackay on their VHF channel (21) from a launching ramp about 30km south, and we could hear each other loud and clear. I also called a boat at sea, several nautical miles out, and broadcast and reception was very good.
The MHS155UV radio is a similar size to any hand-held UHF set, with many very good features, and is easy to operate. The manual describes, in simple terms, how to use all features, including the squelch – often a vexed issue. The radio is white, easily seen if dropped overboard.
This is a very impressive radio for communication on both land and sea, although I would like to see the next model have the full allowable wattage (5) on UHF. I think this combined UHF/VHF set will be of great interest to caravanners who travel with their own tinnie for fishing and exploring waterways, or boaties who also have a 4WD.