Panbo

Cobra F80 #2, in the lab

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on May 9, 2007

Cobra_F80_2_cPanbo

I’ve got to say that this VHF, also seen yesterday,  is pretty darn impressive, especially for the money (under $150 from some sources). Of course I love the Rewind feature, and, unlike the handheld 425, it does work on the weather channels. But more important, really, it sounds good and scans well, and that’s compared to two pricier units I have down in the “lab”, a Uniden 625c and an Icom M504. I must say I like the bigger knobs on both those units, plus the separate squelch, but the F80 is more compact. Still it has a large display, seen above and bigger here. Note the somewhat odd Lat/Long display (and, yes, I was feeding it an odd location from the laptop), but I think that high precision means that the set has taken care of the M.821 gotcha (though I haven’t yet tested it’s ability to plot a DSC call).
   Note too the two soft keys, used here for fast favorite channel selection, but also useful when you move through the well thought out menu system. I don’t think any other VHF, aside from the high end Ray218, uses soft keys. I find the screen almost as readable as the Icom, but the Uniden remains my favorite, even though its screen is the smallest of the bunch (color counts!). And how about that basement lab, bigger here? Yes, friends, the test Garmin 545s may have gone missing for a couple of weeks—glitches happen—but now it’s joined by a 430s, and a GXM 31 antenna. More on those tomorrow.

Panbo Lab2 copy

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