CXR-825 experience

I decided on CXR825’s after narrowing my choices down to CXR825, CXR925, and Trisquare TSX100.

Size eliminated the CXR925 but after having the CXR825 in my back pocket through dozens of rides at Disney World and never noticing it was there, I know now that the 925 (and the Trisquare) might not have been too much different being 1 1/2 inches taller and slightly thinner. I have no way to know but from what I’ve read and experienced, I imagine the 925 would provide slightly better range in some line-of-sight situations. The 825 is shorter but thicker with ?€œpossibly?€? less range and less battery life. These tradeoffs worked for me but others may have different preferences, most noticeably appreciating 1/8" less thickness if they have taller pockets in their clothes.

I didn’t test the radios over very long distances, but they worked very well in all situations indoors & out within 1 block, with one exception. When one was used inside the GM Test Track building (lots of metal barriers, noise, and equipment generating RF inside) and the other was outside about .25 mi (and much less) away, we were unable to understand each other due to break-ups --but the call button ringer worked O.K. I don’t believe any similar radios would have worked any differently. We had them on for 8-12 hours straight each day (but with very light use) and charged them at night. There was never any indication that the batteries were anywhere near depleted.

The Trisquares have so much going for them, it was very difficult to not choose them. I plan on using my radios only occasionally and otherwise keeping them on the shelf. In a few years, whichever radio I chose would be temporarily useless when the proprietary battery finally went out. The Trisquares however also take regular AA batteries unlike the others --which allows using them immediately until replacement batteries are ordered. The Trisquares don’t require an FCC license, they should have better reception in some indoor situations (due to the frequency used and ability for the signal to bounce off of metal), no one else can hear what you are saying because of the way security is implemented, and you will also not hear anyone else talking on your frequency. (One day at Disney World with my CR825’s set to channel 19, CTCSS 19, someone else was using the same. Our call ringer went off and we heard them talking a couple of times until we changed channels).

For the Trisquare TSX100 (smaller than the TSX300 and with less features) however, listening to a comparison on a youtube video --the voice clarity was not as good, the line-of-sight range was less, and the deal breaker for me was that it did not have vibrate-ring. People have also reported ‘syncing issues’? if you have two radios within a few feet of one another and radios that would connect & disconnect constantly while walking around made me a little leary. The TSX300 has vibrate-ring and many other great features such as texting, but it is larger like the CXR925.

I’m happy with my CXR825’s. They took a few minutes to set up, but afterward everything can be locked after turning them on. When locked, you can give them to a child to put in their pocket without worrying about the channel being changed or other settings being disturbed. They also seemed durable enough to not worry that much about being dropped. I don’t believe however that I would be any less happy with the other radios if I would have chosen them.

I originally got the 825 too but wasn’t impressed by their thickness, battery life and range. Returned them and got the 925 instead and can’t be happier. They adressed these three concerns and them some. What’s amazing is that they can stay on for a week at a time!

You’re right about proprietary batteries. I’ll be getting a couple of spares from Cobra, only $10 each I think…although for 2.5x you could get another pair…

We just spent 6 days in DC constantly on the move, mostly at the museums and the 825’s again worked well for us --but we used them differently this time. Every hour or so I would need to press the very loud call ringer and I could easily locate a kid who had wandered off several rooms away (or they could locate me). We didn’t do much talking at long distances. We had them turned on most days from dawn until dusk. I charged them before we left on our trip and the low battery indicator still hasn’t come on yet.

I recently bought a very large Garmin Montana GPS which is like a brick in my pocket. Since the 825 fits completely in a pocket (and kids pockets) it made carrying things more manageable.

For Disney and DC I would prefer the 825. For car-to-car, hunting, or any activity where I would use them heavily I would probably prefer the 925 due to having a larger battery and a thinner/taller profile. Since the 825 and the 925 are so similar, it would still be a difficult decision if I had to decide all over again.

Interesting way to use them :wink: Didn’t think of it when we were in DC recently but it would have given some piece of mind indeed!

Still very happy with the 925 although pressing the PTT button can be hit and miss on one of them. Also the antenna came a bit unstuck, not sure how…was able to glue it back and it seems strong.

To prepare for a trip on a large cruise ship, I bought a pair older Cobra LI6500’s on eBay to add to my pair of Cobra CXR825’s. Comparing the two sets was interesting:

-The LI6500 (2008) is an older version of the CXR825 (2010). There were several updated models released between the LI6500 and CXR825.
-The user manuals are identical except for 121 vs 142 privacy codes.
-Front bezel is black on the LI6500 and silver on the CXR825, but they otherwise look identical.
-The LI6500 is rated at 3 watts & 20 miles, while the CXR825 is rated 5 watts & 30 miles.
-The LI6500 draws 8-36mA in standby mode and the CXR825 draws 5-24 mA. I could not get an average measurement or xmit draw.
-I would estimate the LI6500’s ERP (output power) at around 1W (+/- 25%), and I understand the FCC’s site lists the CXR825 at 1.78W.

-The used LI6500’s were approx 5 years old. The battery on one LI6500 would last about 24 hours.
-The battery on the 2nd LI6500 had been dead one full year when I received it, and it would last 7 hours after charging.
-During storage I have maintained a charge of 40-60% in the CXR825’s batteries over the past 2 ½ years and can still get 3 days out of them.

-The LI6500’s front buttons must be pressed much harder to operate, (too hard), but the LI6500’s are just as indestructible as the CXR825’s.
-The call tone (ringer) heard through the LI6500’s speaker is less than half as loud as what is heard through the CXR825’s speaker.
-Voices are heard just as loud on both sets and there is no obvious difference in transmission power through obstacles.
-The CXR825 however increases treble and removes some noise so voices (especially deep voices) are clearer through its speaker.
-The LI6500’s squelch is set lower than the CXR825’s. When I had the two right next to one another while a 3rd (distant) radio was transmitting a weak signal, the CXR825’s squelch cut the incoming transmission off & on while the LI6500 let the transmitted signal through without squelching any spoken words out.
-A few times during the week however, the LI6500 would randomly turn on for a second with RF static generated by an unknown source, so I imagine this is why Cobra increased the squelch.

-I placed radios inside houses one block apart through brush around a corner. I was able talk and listen to the broadcast of both radios using a remote internet camera/microphone.
I believe I was probably at the point where the signal was starting to degrade and any more obstacles would make it noticeable.
-I found no difference in the transmission power reception, broadcasting or receiving using any combination of the radios.
-I think over long “line of sight” distances that the CXR825 would broadcast farther but this would not affect my uses most of the time.
-The radios worked well 90% of the time throughout the 20-story, 950-foot long cruise ship.
-We used the radios for about 30 seconds every 5 hours during our weeklong trip along with 3,400 passengers and never heard anyone else speak during our transmissions.
-Even separated by 15 stories, if two radios were BOTH being used on the PORT side or BOTH were being used on the STARBOARD side they seemed to work well.
-If one was on the ship’s PORT side 2 or 3 stories below the other on the STARBOARD side, there were times (not very often) when communication was not possible.
-If the ship was parked in port the signals did well bouncing (off walls & houses) in port, so reception was better in port than on the open seas.

Despite several improvements and a significant power increase, the newer radios worked about the same as the older ones.
Exceptions are improved “ring” volume, clarity of voice, easier to press buttons, and likely a slightly improved battery life due to lower current draw.

On our next trip we were constantly on the move in Manhattan for a week using the CXR-825s and LI6500?s. We were rarely separated more than a block and almost always were in the same building, so they worked well. We never heard anyone else talking.

Our 6th floor hotel room was on the backside of a solid, very old 20-story brick building. It was completely surrounded by other tall brick buildings (near the Empire State building). The signal out our window (on the backside of the building) had to bounce off other brick buildings and travel down a blocked alley several hundred feet to get to the street. Due to this isolation, radio communication to the hotel room became choppy with static and almost unusable walking down 5th Ave 1? blocks away. Communication within the hotel however, even down to the front lobby was good.

We traveled together all over the city so we only used the radios occasionally, but whenever we did in stores, museums, and stadiums they always worked well. We never used our cell phones but did notice that solid rock walls in the Museum of Natural History prevented ANY cell phone signal from working in several sections. I believe we might have been underground. Walkies worked O.K. except through different stretches of rooms that were like a maze when we were only 200 ft apart! We could not even receive broadcasts with static intermittently. Of course other FRS/GMRS radios would experience similar performance in the same situations due to the frequency.

Sorry about replying to a 4-year old thread, but some tips about lithium spares …

It is generally better not to stockpile them, since they age whether you use them or not. Better to get them fresh (from a reliable source of course) a few years later down the road when you need them.

That being said, I just picked up a pair of 825’s (and 925’s as well), and the batteries seemed to be dated to less than 6 months old. That’s great.

Still, If I wanted to just have maybe ONE extra pair, I’d charge them fully, and then purposely discharge them for a few hours listening to NOAA WX in a pillow. Li-ion batteries don’t like to sit around fully charged for long periods of time, and in fact are never fully charged from the factory for retail storage or shipping coming to you near 40-60% charge.

Discharging your spare from full with a bit of usage will get them off the top, and then ready for storage in a cool place. Ideally, use them once a year or so and again store them NOT fully charged for longest longevity.