The RA26 is Retevis entry-level VHF handheld. It has eight front-panel keys that illuminate when pressed and provide access to all features. The RA26 is internally regulated, meaning there is no charging cradle-you charge it by simply plugging the wall charger directly into the radio. This gives users one less component to worry about as there is no cradle and no exposed, corrosion-prone metal contact points to contend with. A watertight, screw-in cover protects the charging port on the radio.
One-button control is available for selecting transmit power, channel, weather channel, quick channel 16 or 9, all scanning options, and channel group. A designated pushbutton turns the radio on or off. Setting squelch and speaker volume requires users to select squelch or volume, then set the desired level using the arrow keys. To access and adjust other functions, users must drill down into the menu, which includes features such as power save, automatic backlight, weather alert, screen contrast, and additional channel scan options.
The customer liked a number of things about this radio, the first being its size and weight. The RA26 has a small, light radio body. With a belt clip installed, the RA26 weighed in at 220g. Despite its lightweight, the RA26 has a solid heft to it. This, coupled with its ability to float, make it perfect for clipping onto a harness or PFD, or storing in a MOB fanny pack. The RA26 floats face up, immersing its two contacts and activating a flashing red LED. This is the Retevis Floating flash feature, which makes it easier to locate the radio should it go overboard or get lost in a dark cabin or life raft. The LED kicks in even if the RA26 is turned off at the time.
The $119 RA26 performed well overall and at 18 hours of runtime plus 10.5 hours receiving weather, it had the longest battery life of the group. It comes with a charger and belt clip.