Oricom UHF5500-1

By Dean Mellor 20 May 2015
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Never be out of touch with the world with this Oricom UHF radio

You’d be surprised how useful a handheld UHF radio can be when you’re enjoying the great outdoors. As well as the obvious function of vehicle-to-vehicle communications, they’re also handy when you stray from your basecamp on a walk but want to be able to stay in contact with those sitting around the campfire, or for when you want to direct subjects in a photo shoot. They’re not only convenient, but they also fulfil a safety role.

I recently replaced my old handheld Uniden UHF with a new unit from Oricom. The UHF5500-1 is reasonably priced for a 5W handheld, and it has just about all the functions and features you’ll ever need.

The UHF5500-1 is well built with a die cast metal chassis and a tough plastic body. While I haven’t thrown it on the ground, it certainly looks like it’ll cop more abuse than many other handheld UHFs, which is important when you clambering over rocks and through the bush with it hanging of the belt clip.

Despite having more features than I know what to do with, basic operation of the UHF5500-1 is quite simple, with a rotary on/off/volume knob on the top, channel-up, channel-down and scan keys on the front and a traditional thumb-operated transmit button on the side. The small LCD is backlit so you can clearly see what channel you’re on and how much battery life you have left. There’s a 2.5mm jack for an optional headset or speaker mic for hand-free operation.

The Oricom offers 80 narrowband channels and three programmable instant channel buttons. A Duplex function allows you to transmit and receive over longer distances where repeater stations are available.

This is quite a high-powered radio for a handheld and importantly it transmits and receives very clearly, and has a decent range compared to other units with a similar spec. It also has an excellent battery life; I get a couple of days out of the rechargeable Li-ion battery pack (1800mAh). It’s supplied with a desktop charger as well as one that will plug into a car’s 12V outlet.

Finally, the UHF5500-1 is covered by a three-year warranty, which is about the industry standard.

RRP $199 www.oricom.com.au