WE ALL love to chat on two-way radios, whether it’s with fellow travellers about how they’re travelling, strangers about hazardous road conditions, or station workers about accessing land.
However, one thing is for sure: It’s a damn pain when we can’t hear each other properly. It’s a situation usually caused by one of two things: the UHF is out of range, or it has poor sound quality and volume.
Often, no matter how high we turn up the volume, all we get is louder muffled noise, because the speaker is mounted within the dash or near the footwell. Some radios have an optional remote speaker, but many don’t. The alternative has been a handset with a built-in speaker, which is smaller and therefore easier to attach to the dash or console.
But this still raises the problem of sound quality; by holding the mic and speaker, you’re inadvertently blocking the sound or having to hold a mic that’s too large.
This is not so with the TX3350, which features the trademarked SoundPath speaker microphone. What the engineers at GME have managed to do is project the sound away from your hand to allow clear sound from the in-built speaker.
GME has also managed to produce an ergonomic, full-function LCD handpiece to control all features of the base unit – a top effort in miniaturisation. The head unit can be tucked away under the dash, within the console, under a seat or in any other hidden space. It comes with an extension lead from the head unit to the microphone. The handpiece is mounted on a traditional microphone clip, and extra external speakers aren’t necessary.
The TX3350 also features digital signal processing for pure sound, user-selectable/adjustable open and group scan, squelch, duplex channels and priority channel, plus 104 in-built DCS codes, 50 in-built CTCSS codes, five-digit selcall with quiet mode, and a five-year warranty. It’s Australian designed, engineered and manufactured.
Having used the GME TX3350 for just a few weeks, I reckon it’s the duck’s nuts of UHF radios. I didn’t need the extension lead as I’ve semi-hidden the head unit under the centre dash and hung the microphone where my gangly arm can easily reach it.
Something I’ve found over the years with some ‘loaded’ handheld microphones is the annoying ease of accidently pushing buttons while using the mic. Sometimes I’ve unintentionally changed channels while talking; other times I’ve inadvertently turned the volume way down, leaving me to wonder why no one wanted to talk to me!
Not so with the GME TX3350. The ergonomics of the handpiece negate accidental button-pushing.
I’ve opted for a GME AE4705 antenna that measures 1200mm long and has a 6.6dBi gain. It’s ground independent and came complete with a sturdy spring base. The fibreglass whip is easily removable should I wish to use shorter (for hilly country) or longer (for flat country) whips to suit different terrain.
Same goes for the super-rugged, heavy-duty stainless-steel spring mount; I had the same on my last vehicle and, while it soaks up the stresses of corrugations and pot holes, it doesn’t flop all over the show like a pansy in a gale.
All up, I’ve got a brilliant UHF set-up that’s been designed and manufactured in Australia for our conditions. The compactness of the head unit allayed my fears of squeezing it into my dash, and the handheld unit delivers quality easy-to-hear sound. It’s a beauty! Once I learn which button does what, all I’ll need is someone who’ll listen to me.
Available from: www.gme.net.au
RRP: TX3350 $449.00. AE4705 $249.95.
We say: Compact; easy to use; full-featured.