Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Mountain View, CA, USA
Re: Autocom compatible GPRS/FRS recommendations?
Followup to my own thread... we got a pair of Midland GMRS/FRS radios, supposedly 30 mile range with high power GMRS, and the right Autocom cables for Icom, etc. radios going to the DIN connector.
They do work, but we're quite disappointed, for several reasons.
My buddy has the Autocom push-to-talk switch, and as far as we can tell it does absolutely nothing. It could be a defective switch, he bought the Autocom unit used and the switch came with it, but it seems like the switch is just a pass-through, it doesn't matter what position the mode selector is in, or whether he presses the PTT button, the mic is always live.
So we tried using the VOX feature of the radios, which works OK, but even on the least sensitive setting we were still getting a lot of unwanted broadcasts, both from wind noise and stuff like opening or closing the visor. The VOX keeps the mic live for a long time once enabled as well, which makes conversations difficult. After a couple of hours we abandoned VOX and are just using the push to talk buttons on the radios directly.
The biggest problem however is the volume. Even with the volume knob on the radios turned all the way up, they're still very quiet relative to e.g. music, GPS, or phone conversations coming through the Autocom. We have to be moving pretty slowly to hear anything at all. It might be microphone problems too, we didn't experiment e.g. with talking into one radio directly and listening with the Autocom, worth a try I suppose.
But we also both have cell phones, bluetooth modules, and GPSs. So when there's cell service, we can just call each other and have a decent conversation, full duplex, and loud enough to hear at speed. Unfortunately where we're going there's not a lot of cell coverage, so we'll have to make do with the radios.
Any suggestions on increasing the loudness with a setup like this?