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Cobra MR F300 BT

Old 10-13-2008, 10:44 AM
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Default Cobra MR F300 BT

http://www.boatersworld.com/product/...tm?bct=t251412

Does anyone have one of these things yet?? It's a Bluetooth handset that gets hard mounted in your boat.

For now, I have a cheap, generic cell phone that I really don't mind throwing in my leaning post or up in my electronics box, but I'm about to get an IPhone and, as you could imagine, I'll be a lot more careful with that on my boat than some cell phone that I could replace for almost no cost. With the Bluetooth handset, I can keep the IPhone in a dry bag down below and not have to worry about it getting beat up like my cell phones always do.

Just looking for some feedback...thanks.
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Old 11-15-2008, 05:51 AM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

I saw an AD for this in the December issue of Boating. It looks cool. You definitely don't want to be using one of those fancy new Crackberry phones out in the open weather. I was checking it out at the Cobra website. This is going on my Christmas list:
http://www.cobra.com/index.cfm?fusea...category_ID=46
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:32 AM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

Nice SPAM. And the product looks kinda retarded to boot! Ah, Cobra, not sure if you knowothis or not (apparently nOT), cell phones don't work offshore!!

Back to the drawing board.......
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Old 11-15-2008, 07:24 PM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

Birdman - 11/15/2008 9:32 AM
cell phones don't work offshore!!
Back to the drawing board.......
I'm hopeful that is not always the case. I just added a Wilson cell phone amp and antenna on my boat. I've had reasonably good experiences with amps and antennas on my RV so I decided to install the set up on my boat to extend the range some. We will see how it works..

As for that Cobra bluetooth device... That seems like a complete waste. If I were going down the bluetooth route, I would certainly spend a bit extra for a new VHF with Bluetooth.
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Old 11-25-2008, 05:21 AM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

Birdman - 11/16/2008 8:32 AM

Nice SPAM. And the product looks kinda retarded to boot! Ah, Cobra, not sure if you knowothis or not (apparently nOT), cell phones don't work offshore!!

Back to the drawing board.......
Birdman--

I hate to tell you, but my cell phone, the 'ole crackberry" works like 20-25 miles off shore. So, I'm not so sure Cobra is off the mark. I appreciate that someone thought of this device so that now I don't have to worry about my cell getting shorted out with saltwater!
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Old 11-25-2008, 06:12 AM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

Although I am not the biggest panbo fan because of their moderate obsession with things that appeal to the upper 5% of tech-heads/yachties, they do a really good test of the mic in this morning's blog:

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2008/1...udio.html#more

and Birdman, cel phones can and do work quite well offshore, especially if you invest in a cel amplifier like the ones Digital Antenna offers. Just because Icom didn't think of it first doesn't mean it isn't a good idea. Having played with one last week at a show, it feels very solid in your hand, pairs easily, and worked very well filtering out the noise in the expo hall. The panbo test is a bit better for simulating background noise on the boat.
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Old 11-25-2008, 07:03 AM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

Huh, I just posted asking about this last week...

And yes my cell phone works pretty well 5-8 miles offshore... if you don't get it you don't get it, but the product looks pretty interesting to me. My cars have bluetooth integration and after having it, it would be tough to go to a car that does not. I don't need to walk around with something in my ear 24/7.
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Old 11-25-2008, 08:27 AM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

Birdman - 11/15/2008 Nice SPAM. And the product looks kinda retarded to boot! Ah, Cobra, not sure if you knowothis or not (apparently nOT), cell phones don't work offshore!!

Back to the drawing board.......
I think it's back to the drawing board for you!

= you

FYI, my cell phone works 20 miles out depending on the day with no external antenna - and I've used a friends who had a 3w booster with an 8 ft Shakespeare cell antenna mounted on his tower, work 75 miles offshore.

Cell coverage depends on a variety of things including: your provider and the location of his cell towers, your location (ie. along which coastline), a power booster or none, and an external antenna or none.
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Old 11-25-2008, 08:30 AM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

I added a cel amp to my boat along with a cradle. I plan on using bluetooth and a headset. How often do any of us talk on the phone while we are out fishing. For me that is pretty rare. In that case, the idea of having a hands free solution is much more appealing than having a tethered mic to deal with.

I think a cel amp and cradle is a much more sound investment than a Bluetooth Cobra unit. Especially when the corba unit
will likely be obsolete in a year when the manufacturers realize that adding this feature to a VHF radio makes more sense for this application than a stand alone unit.
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Old 11-25-2008, 09:01 AM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

the cobra will work as a hands fee VOX, but the noise cancelling drops by about 20% they said at the booth
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Old 11-25-2008, 11:59 AM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

slief - 11/25/2008 11:30 AM
I added a cel amp to my boat along with a cradle. I plan on using bluetooth and a headset. How often do any of us talk on the phone while we are out fishing. For me that is pretty rare. In that case, the idea of having a hands free solution is much more appealing than having a tethered mic to deal with.
I probably make 2-3 phone calls a trip - either to tell somebody when I'm coming home, find out if someone on land is coming out for the day, or occasionally even to call another boat. Oh and then there are the 6 am calls to wake somebody up who overslept and missed out on the big fish.

VHF is pretty dated technology. If a buddy in his boat is 200' away - I would much rather make a phone call to him then hail him on a pre-arranged channel, and have everyone within ten miles listen to our conversation. I don't see a lot of cars on the road these days with 8' CB antennas sticking off the bumper.

I think a cel amp and cradle is a much more sound investment than a Bluetooth Cobra unit. Especially when the corba unit will likely be obsolete in a year when the manufacturers realize that adding this feature to a VHF radio makes more sense for this application than a stand alone unit.
Sure it is if your goal is to improve your range. I can get a cell signal miles out - to about 1000 feet of depth which is good enough for 90% of my boating. It is nice to say that this should be incorporated into a VHF radio, and I think that would be great, but the tricky part will be getting the user interface correct. My guess is that the lawyers will stop it from happening, can you imagine the lawsuits if people are trying to make emergency VHF hails and can't because the radio is set to tie in to their cell phone instead?

VHF is an excellent tool but 90% of its use is for idle chatter that is directed between 2 parties that know each other. Why not use a cell phone for this instead, in those situations where coverage is not an issue?

I haven't decided if I'll buy one or not, but I do think it's a good idea. Still would like to hear some more real world feedback on it.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:27 PM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

I think that many people are confused about what the Cobra handset is.

It is NOT a VHF radio. It has nothing to do with VHF radios. It is a bluetooth device for cell phones.

It will not be obsolete in a year, no matter what new VHF radios come out. Because - and this is very important - VHF radios are not cell phones. Cell phones did not replace the VHF radio, why think VHF will replace the cell phone? They are two completely different communication devices.

Just like you would not want your cell phone to cut off so you can hear a call on channel 16, you do not want a cell phone call - which more than likely is not important - to interrupt a distress call on 16. So even if I had a radio that would pair to my phone - I would keep that feature off.

Right now there is only one option if you want a fully waterproof bluetooth cell phone device. The Cobra. Standard Horizon already makes bluetooth VHF radios. But the VHF radio will not pair to a phone.

I do not think any of the bluetooth headsets for the radios are waterproof. But lets say that they are. They will not allow you to store multiple numbers in memory. The Cobra will.

The Cobra device is powered directly from the boat 12v source. This means there is no internal battery to recharge. As long as the boat has 12v, the device has power.

The USB connection to allow for updates means Cobra has already thought about future upgrades. Otherwise - why even have the USB connection?

I bought one and installed it on my boat. My land tests indicate it works just like it says it does. I also hooked it up in my truck and it worked. Initial reports indicated that it was hard to hear me, as the audio was low. But then again the person I was talking to does not hear very well. So more tests are needed.

I do not think the device will be something everyone gets. It is not being marketed as a replacement for the VHF radio. But if you want to be able to send and receive phone calls - out on the water - in any conditions - even when you are taking bow spray and/or it is raining or whatever - the Cobra bluetooth device will work. Your phone stays nice and safe and dry. That is what is is intended for. That is what it does.
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Old 11-25-2008, 12:39 PM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

Lazy_Iguana - 11/25/2008 12:27 PM

I think that many people are confused about what the Cobra handset is.

It is NOT a VHF radio. It has nothing to do with VHF radios. It is a bluetooth device for cell phones.

It will not be obsolete in a year, no matter what new VHF radios come out. Because - and this is very important - VHF radios are not cell phones. Cell phones did not replace the VHF radio, why think VHF will replace the cell phone? They are two completely different communication devices.

Just like you would not want your cell phone to cut off so you can hear a call on channel 16, you do not want a cell phone call - which more than likely is not important - to interrupt a distress call on 16. So even if I had a radio that would pair to my phone - I would keep that feature off.

Right now there is only one option if you want a fully waterproof bluetooth cell phone device. The Cobra. Standard Horizon already makes bluetooth VHF radios. But the VHF radio will not pair to a phone.

I do not think any of the bluetooth headsets for the radios are waterproof. But lets say that they are. They will not allow you to store multiple numbers in memory. The Cobra will.

The Cobra device is powered directly from the boat 12v source. This means there is no internal battery to recharge. As long as the boat has 12v, the device has power.

The USB connection to allow for updates means Cobra has already thought about future upgrades. Otherwise - why even have the USB connection?

I bought one and installed it on my boat. My land tests indicate it works just like it says it does. I also hooked it up in my truck and it worked. Initial reports indicated that it was hard to hear me, as the audio was low. But then again the person I was talking to does not hear very well. So more tests are needed.

I do not think the device will be something everyone gets. It is not being marketed as a replacement for the VHF radio. But if you want to be able to send and receive phone calls - out on the water - in any conditions - even when you are taking bow spray and/or it is raining or whatever - the Cobra bluetooth device will work. Your phone stays nice and safe and dry. That is what is is intended for. That is what it does.
Mr 'Lizard',
You have a very compelling argument.. You almost make me want one now! I have to admit, I do love gadgets... Once you get more time on it, let us know your thoughts! Did you ever figure out the 10 digit dialing issue? Also, regarding the volume, did you try to turn the volume up from your phone? I know my cel phone has adjustable head set volume control.
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Old 11-25-2008, 02:41 PM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

Trust me - the speaker on the handset is plenty loud. If you can't hear it then there is too much noise for a normal conversation. You can plug it into the marine stereo, which could then be plugged into some large amp - but I do not think that it is necessary.

I did go out and place some more test calls.

The 10 digit thing I mentioned at first is a non issue. Apparently, I was just doing something wrong. I was able to add a name to the phone book in the device, along with the 10 digit phone number - and it dialed out. No problem.

I also called someone without adding them to the phone book - again no problem. It worked just fine. 10 digits and all. I figured I was just doing something wrong the first test.

The person I called reported that they could hear me just fine on VOX. I was not as loud as normal, but the other person could hear.

The noise canceling feature works VERY well. I cranked my stereo up as loud as I could get it without distortion. I do not have an amp, but with 4 speakers and no engine noise at all (boat is on a trailer) it is loud. The person I was talking to reported not hearing ANY crappy music.

For whatever reason, Barry Manilow was on the satellite radio. Can't get much crappier than that. The noise canceling microphone took it right out however. Not even a little bit of crappy music was heard on the other end of the phone.

That was the best test I could do - without running the engine. And I can't run the engine because I am an idiot and lost the boat keys. But even then, all I could do is run the engine at fast idle on the hose. To really gun it I need to be in the water. So crappy music was the best I could do.

I think the thing is going to work very well on the boat. Once I find the keys. Or replace the ignition. Or (most likely) replace the ignition THEN find the keys.
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Old 11-30-2008, 01:38 PM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

I just ordered one. It looks pretty cool, but it would be a lot more convenient if it synced with the phone's address book. Maybe they'll do it in a software update.
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Old 12-01-2008, 04:22 AM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

Let us know how you like it. I am in the market as well.....
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

saltyric - 12/1/2008 1:22 AM

Let us know how you like it.
No problem-I'll probably install it this weekend.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:38 AM
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Default Re: Cobra MR F300 BT

Just got it-the build quality is solid. One thing is that the usb is only on the cable that is wired into the boat, so you have to bring your laptop to the boat to do updates. It would have been nice to have a usb port on the detachable handset.
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Old 03-14-2012, 06:58 PM
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This is a great idea. There are countless times my wife has called and I never heard the call (second thought, maybe that is not so bad!)

I found this now for $50 now on eBay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/110740867536...S:3160&vxp=mtr

Plus now they offer a cigarette lighter adaptor ($20) so its portable:
http://www.marineengine.com/products...php?in=1420140

Yes, I know its not a replacement for a fixed mounted VHF. I have one of those to, but use the cell mostly to talk to friends and family. Most places on Lake Erie where I go has coverage.

Last edited by kunzman; 03-17-2012 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:07 PM
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Default Cobra Blue Tooth

I been using mine for the past three seasons. It works just as advertised. I like keeping my phone in a drybox and taking calls with my fishy hands on the Cobra.
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