Review of Cobra CXR900 FRS/GMRS Radio.

Review of Cobra CXR900 FRS/GMRS Radio.


Power output: (ERP)
2.24 Watts High-GMRS
.49 Watts Low, FRS

This is an increase in power over comparable 2008 Models.

This model is approved for USA use only.
A GMRS license is required for use on all GMRS channels (15-22) and for high/medium
power on shared FRS/GMRS channels (1-7)

Cobra’s 2009 Top of the line model has some interesting feaures and functions.

CTCSS and DCS Tones/Codes for interference elimination
NOAA Weather Radio
Channel Scan
Channel Memory
Vibrating alert
“Rewind Say Again” function.
Key lock to prevent accidental changes

This top of the line Cobra model includes what you need and want. It is full featured
and fun.

I will just address some important features or unique features not found on other models:

This model has full CTCSS and DCS for interference protection from radios not set to
your specific code.

Operation is fairly easy if you read the manual. The only confusing issues are
memory settings. They are only slightly confusing and are easily figured out.
All functions are menu-driven and listed in order.

You can scan all channels, only memory channels, or CTCSS/DCS on a specific channel.
The scan function does NOT have lockouts. This can be overcome by simply programming
channels you like into memory and just scanning these.

You may program up to 10 memories, which can also contain CTCSS or DCS codes.

“Rewind Say Again”

This is a 20 second digital voice recorder. Use it how you like, in 3 ways.
Record a personal reminder for later playback. Record activity on a channel, or
Record something then have it transmit on the air.

You have 20 seconds to play with. It will record each message in sequence, newest first on playback. Older
messages will “fall” off. Very interesting function. It could be useful.

Performance… THE REVIEW

Battery life: They say 12 hours. I say a minimum of 24 hours. I can guess you could get
2 to 3 DAYS on a charge, depending on use. Cobra uses the highest rated battery
pack on the market, and the only Lithium Ion I am aware of. These radios have
the power behind them.

Transmit power is over 2 watts. My range evaluations again keep them at the top
of the list.

House to car: 1.5 Miles
House to person: 1.75 miles
Person To Person: 2 miles
Car to Car: .75 mile

These test were done in a suburban environment with houses, trees, etc.
The car to car test was done on suburban city streets.

Audio: Volume is good for average use. Noisy areas may require a headset. Received
audio is crisp and clear, considering small speaker size.
Vibrating Page: It could be stronger, but it should work if held close.

Final thoughts:

All in all a great radio. The only improvements I’d make would be to have
the scan mode automatically detect CTCSS/DCS tones in the main scan, and let you lock out
channels “on the fly” during the scan.

Based on my pervious experience with Cobras, they are right on the money
in performance.

I recommend these radios.

Interestingly, these radios have a lesser range than the Cobra LI-7200 reviewed here, even with higher power output. The car to car performance of the 7200 is exceptional

I reviewed the 7200 too. That’s mine. While more or less in the same test area, operation can fluctuate. I attribute this especially the time of year. I believe I reviewed the 7200s before the trees got in full bloom. We’ve got a bit more foliage now to fight through.

The nature of radio… it isn’t always a constant.

Thank you Jwilkers, yes I noticed that you’ve reviewed the 2 sets which is even more of a good comparison. I still think that the 7200 probably has a better receiver circuitry which accounts for the longer range.

Do these 2 models have similar size and functions (yes the CXR900 has a few more facilities, but the rests are mostly similar?). From the photo it seems they have the same size and perhaps weight

They are virtually identical. The only difference is a change in the color scheme and the added vioce recorder function. Physically, they are the same size, weight and shape.

Hi JWilkers. Thanks for the informative review. I picked up a set while on vacation and thought I would add something of interest. The DCS and CTCC squelch codes are not compatible between the LI-7200 and the CXR-900. Cobra actually talks about this incompatibility issue on their FAQ page on their website. You can talk fine using all sub channels and the main channel but the vibration/call tone doesn’t work between these two models.

One question - Would I be right in assuming that there’s virtually no distinguishable difference in range between the LI-7200 and CXR-900 under the same conditions?

Interesting on the compatibility… I didn’t test that, even though I have both… I need to evaluate that and edit my review… This is VERY odd, an inconsistency from what I experienced in the past.

My range comparisons differed between the 2 models as expressed in my reviews… considering the new info you posted, this may not be surprising…

Outside appearances may be similar, but that may be it.

VERY interesting.

Thanks for your observations.

jwilkers, on your reviews with all these GMRS/FRS radio,when you do the range test,I assume all are done on the highest wattage setting for those distances.

When you test a GMRS/FRS radio,do you ever use both GMRS and FRS from the same location on the radio to compare which FRS radio’s do better.
Like these have .49 watts while some others only have .2 - .3The CRX900’s should reach farther,but without the numbers there,you don’t know.
Some people like me don’t have a FCC license and don’t want to pay for one,so we are restricted to the FRS only.
It would be nice to see which radio’s do best set on FRS channels.

But of course,this puts more work on you and who ever is helping you,but none the less,I think it would be interesting.

I say this because I have a set of Motorola’s and Cobra’s,The Moto’s out do the Cobra’s.

Very good suggestion! Do range tests for BOTH FRS rules and GMRS rules. Since I am licensed, I do the high power tests.
I can do both from now on.

I can add to my existing reviews later.

Thanks for the suggestion

My guess is you don’t even have to change channels as I think most have high/low button for channels 1-7.My Moto’s,you have to change channels for high/low,but the Cobra’s is just a press of a button.

Thanks for taking this in consideration and for all the hard work you do to give us this info.That little bit I did for the TSX300 was time consuming and harder than I thought.And then putting it down in words is even harder,you got to know your stuff.

It can be rough… consider you have to explain it in terms everyone will understand, then getting results that seem to be consistent. Plus I need a partner, usually my wife, who will help. My results this year, with the Cobras were surprising. Again, I attribute it to terrain, based on the time of year I did these tests, as compared to last year. Although you need to consider… is this a design change, or simply terrain.

There is no clear cut definite performance evaluation. Each person and each situation is different. One person may love a radio and another is disgusted. It is all relative.

That makes it all the more difficult.

I love testing radios. I love even more helping forlks out by giving them the best information to make an informed decision.

As always… I love suggestions to make my reviews better.


Looking at getting the most compact powerful radio and that seems to be the CRX825 right now, have you had a chance to test it to see if it performs as well as the CXR900?

It’s rated at “30 miles” vs 35 so I suppose it transmits with a bit less power.

EDIT - just found this on the internet: “For the purists, the 925 and 825 have three transmit power levels (5, 2, 0.5 watts) while the 725 has only two (5, 0.5 watts)” that probably rules out the 725 as 2w seems to be the “sweet” point for GMRS.

No… no reviews… But I have noticed a couple miles is all you will get, regardless of brand, power, etc… the Cobras have been the best of the group so far in range.

Did some digging up on the FCC’s site and found this for the CXR825 :

“OUTPUT POWER: GMRS: 1.78 FRS: 0.38”

Not sure how the LO/MED/HI (0.5/2/5) power settings fit in though…

Also found :

“Rule Part No.: 2.1033 ©(8) DC Input into the final amplifier
GMRS: (7.4V)(.60A) = 4.44 Watts
FRS: (7.4V)(.20A) = 1.48 Watts”

Maybe that’s how they come up with the 5 watts transmission…

The CXR700/725 turned in a weak : “OUTPUT POWER: GMRS: .61 W ERP FRS: .22 W ERP” !

A tad less powerful than the CXR900/CXR925 but oddly enough quite a bit heavier at 107g vs 68g, that seems odd especially since the battery is 1500mAh vs 950mAh…

Have been using the CXR-925 for 6 months now and I’m most happy with them. Excellent battery life (they can stay on for a week !) and good range.