Cobra 29 LX
Cobra have really given the 29 LTD a lovely face-lift. Their proven and popular 29 circuitry now sits in a great looking radio with even more features.
- Big, clear display with 4 color options
- Automatic scan
- NOAA weather channels
- Radio check function
- Good looking CB
- Buttons / knobs aren’t backlit
- Dual control knobs are a bit fiddly
- Standard mic isn’t great
Cobra are a big name in CB Radio and have been offering quality rigs as far back as the 1960s!
The radio we are reviewing here is the 29 LX and is based on the now legendary 29 LTD radio but with a modern facelift and some useful extra features. What will strike you when you first see the radio is the up-to-date looks and large, clear LCD display.
- NOAA Weather and Emergency Alert
- Four-color LCD Display
- 10 Channel Memory
- Automatic channel scan
- Delta Tune
- Dynamike (mic gain)
- RF Gain
- Built-in SWR meter
Some Features in Detail
Radio Check Function – diagnostics check three things on the radio.
- Battery / power supply is between 10.8V and 15.8V
- RF Power Output is between 3.3W to 4W
- If there is an antenna tuning issue (high SWR)
Built-in SWR Meter – This is handy to have but, like I always say about this feature, is to make sure you also have an external unit. They are much more accurate and I always do my initial setup with one. The one on the radio is then handy to tell me if things have changed since it was first set up.
Auto Scan – I do like the automatic scan on these newer radios as it sure beats the manual “click, click, click” as you turn the channel selector looking for something. Obviously hitting the scan button is so much easier when you are driving. You can also select just to scan the channels you have in memory.
Clock / Alarm – The 29LX does feature a built-in clock and alarm. It is important to note that you need to connect it to a constant 12V supply in order for it to maintain the time. I’ve seen some people complaining that their radio resets every time they get back into their vehicle. This will be the reason why as there is no internal battery.
I really do like the fact you can change the color of the LCD display. You can switch between amber, red, green and blue. For some reason I have never liked red displays. I’m not sure why, it’s just a personal thing. I love the blue of the Cobra and find it very easy to see everything. You’re bound to have your favorite.
The display is also dimmable and you can set, via the menu, the day and night brightness as two separate presets. So, if you like to cut right back on the brightness at night time you can set it appropriately and when you hit the dim button it goes to the level you have set.
Most importantly the LX 29 performs flawlessly in both receive and transmit. I found other stations to be very clear even weaker ones that weren’t much stronger than the current skip levels.
What’s Not So Great
I’m not overly impressed by the supplied microphone. Saying that however, I am rarely a fan of any supplied microphone as they rarely give anything but adequate performance. It’s always best to purchase a decent power mic separately. This really can make a difference to how well you are heard especially when your signal is quite weak with the receiving station.
Other than that the only thing that I don’t particularly like on the LX 29 is the dual control knobs found on Volume / Squelch and the Talkback / SWR calibration. Fortunately the later doesn’t need to be used very often and I’m likely to be stationary when I use it. The volume and squelch however are obviously used frequently and I’ve always prefered separate controls for this.
While I have absolutely no complaints about the LCD screen it’s a pity the knobs and buttons aren’t backlit making hard to find the one you need at night. It becomes less of an issue as you get more familiar with the radio but it’s something worth mentioning.
Verdict / Bottom Line
Personally I love retro CBs but there is no denying that this modern facelift looks fantastic. The LCD is very clear and you can certainly see the S-Meter from further away and from wider angles too. However, I do acknowledge that there are some that much prefer a more traditional analog meter with a needle.
If you are on the road a lot then the NOAA alerts are becoming a must-have feature on modern radios so it’s a blessing that this updated 29 series radio includes it. Turn on the WX alert and you’ll be notified of any important weather warnings even if the radio is turned off!
The Cobra LX 29 is a serious radio with all the features you’d expect of a radio like this. It is relatively big though so if space is at a premium then you’ll need to consider this. Bear in mind though that you can get a smaller radio but it is unlikely to be as feature packed as this one.
Cobra also make a bluetooth version – the 29 LX MAX (check it out on Amazon) which allows you to sync your mobile phone with the radio and use the microphone connected to the 29 LX. It will even read back your text messages / emails so that’s got to be worth a look.