Sunday, December 2, 2012

Disturbing GMRS Trend

Went it Frys to buy some walkie-talkies for the neighborhood kids. My girls often loan theirs out, and since I went high-end for them I wanted something less painful should they get damaged.

Problem is that it seems like most of the radios now don't come with CTCSS/DCS support. You have to go up into the > $50 range to get tone squelch. Midland seems to have more models at the lower range; from what I saw Uniden had almost none. The premium price seems like a lot, given that the code squelch support is likely already in the radio's ASIC. (It would make zero sense for the radio vendors to design more than one radio ASIC.)

I should probably note that I can understand the business motivation behind this. Most people who don't work with radio as amateurs or professionals are likely confused by CTCSS/DCS. The vendors made this problem worse by marketing it as a "privacy code" - customers likely call tech support all the time complaining that people can monitor their "private" transmissions. Eliminate the code, support call rates will go down. That doesn't mean it's a good idea.

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