For me, a Cobra 18WXSTII review is almost like talking about my favorite hockey team.
For a long time now, it has been my reliable CB radio. Tucked neatly under the dash of my SUV, it helps me figure out the routes with backed up traffic and alternative routes to take.
It has also being a very reliable companion when I need a break from the manic activities downtown. On lonely stretches of the road in the countryside, I get important weather reports and alerts through via the weather channels. And for the times I need to talk with other CB radio users in the area, the transmitters and range are decent enough to serve my purpose.
Basically, if you are thinking of trying out a budget Cobra CB radio for your vehicle, this Cobra 18WXSTII review is all you need to nudge you in the right direction. After all, it is from the dude who has had a long affair with it.
Cobra 18WXSTII Review: A Robust CB Radio for Recreational Purposes
When I got the gadget a couple of years ago, I instantly fell in love with the black, sleek design. Though it was small, I could tell it was a man’s gadget with that solid and rugged look.
The size meant it won’t take up too much space in my vehicle. If you are thinking that’s because an SUV has more than enough space to spare, how about this: the radio’s DIN face and dimensions of just 7 x1.88 × 6.5 inches would allow for easy in-dash mounting in any vehicle with a single DIN radio slot.
In the pack is the heavy duty mic/handset that you’d have to connect to the radio. The controls you’ll need while driving are all on the handset. Though I have to admit that it took a while for my fairly large fingers to get used to the small buttons. If you have slim fingers, the buttons would become a part of you in no time at all.
On the front panel is the speaker. This should be one of the most outstanding features of the set, but as you’ll read later, Cobra didn’t go all the way to ensure it can easily transform the tedium of driving into a real pleasure.
Finally, on the front panel of the radio are the volume and squelch control knobs, dedicated buttons for instant access to channels 9 and 19, a big tuner and another dedicated weather button for instant access to NOAA stations.
Installing the Cobra 18WXSTII shouldn’t pose any problems. It was fairly easy and straightforward for me. But you would need to buy an antenna, the coax cable, Quick Disconnect, antenna spring, etc. for a complete installation though
Also, since there is no in-built SWR meter, you’d need to purchase one to aid you in tuning the radio before you can start using it. The included manual comes in handy here if you are finding it difficult to use the SWR meter
You also could use the ‘U’ shaped mounting bracket to mount it. Basically, a single DIN radio slot would do nicely.
Performance of the Cobra 18WXSTII
Weather stations and alerts – The main reason I have not replaced the Cobra 18WXSTII with a more sophisticated CB radio it does everything I need from a CB radio. To be clear, my needs relative to the set are rather simple.
If you decide to go for a long ride and the weather becomes bad, you’d be glad for the real-time weather updates available to users. The device features the 10 most important NOAA weather channels.
You would be warned early enough if bad weather is expected or you are heading towards one. This is great for planning your itinerary while on the road.
The NOAA stations combined with the Sound Tracker System (STS) ensure you won’t miss any important information due to static or interference.
In city centers with high RF activities, the STS is able to cut down on most of the noise. All you get is very clear communication. The STS also works the same way when you are transmitting messages. The receiving party would hear you loud and clear.
Range – I have to admit the range is one of the things I love most about it. At about 3 miles on most days, I’ve never failed to contact folks with CB radios in the area. I have heard tales that once you get to open, flat areas without interruptions of any sorts, the range goes even further than that. You can try that to see how true that is.
That said, I think an effective range of 3 miles is very impressive for such a basic CB radio. But note that your range could be more or less than that depending on the antenna you purchased and the environment and weather conditions you find yourself in.
Auto scan – The auto-scan is now a common feature in CB radios. The Cobra 18WXSTII can automatically and easily scan all the 40 CB frequencies that came with it.
However, when you get an active signal and want to check out the profile of the frequency (such as signal strength, channel number, power output, etc) on the display, you might find it hard to read what is on the display at times.
A couple of things I don’t like about the Cobra 18WXSTII
Let’s start with the LCD screen. It is obviously an outdated screen and you’d find out very quickly how that affects you. You won’t be able to read the screen unless you are facing it directly and it is shaded from light glare.
With today’s technology, this shouldn’t be hard to upgrade if Cobra are interested in pitching this CB radio as a great unit for casual and recreational uses.
Putting the speaker on the front panel was a wonderful idea. But it too could do with some upgrading to current standards.
The issue is this: you have to raise the volume to a very high level to hear the sound over external noise coming from other vehicles in traffic.
You can fix this problem by installing a good external speaker though.
- Comes with squelch control
- The microphone cord is very long
- It is easy to mount
- It is very durable
- Weather channels and alert
- It is easy to use
- Comes with dual-watch monitor
- No antenna
- Has no in-built SWR meter
- Sound from speaker is sometimes dodgy
This Cobra 18WXSTII review was an attempt to paint a picture of a CB radio that is awesome as a recreational CB radio. The features and functions are too limited for truckers who live on the road most of the time.
Apart from truckers though, the compact, stylishly-designed unit packs enough features for just about anyone to use. It is durable, easy to mount and so compact a space to mount it would never be an issue.
It comes with features such as auto-scan, squelch control, NOAA channels, dedicated channel 19 and 9 buttons, etc. In other words, you won’t have much to complain about if you install it in your vehicle.