SMALL TALK

A MUFFLED TWO-WAY RADIO CAN BE DANGEROUS. GME HAS A FIX, WITH ITS TX3350 OFFERING CLEAR SOUND, 80 CHANNELS AND FULL-FUNCTION LCD CONTROLLER.

WORDS AND PHOTOS MARK ALLEN

WE ALL love to chat on two-way radios, whether itís with fellow travellers about how theyíre travelling, strangers about hazardous road conditions, or station workers about accessing land. However, one thing is for sure: Itís a damn pain when we canít hear each other properly.

Itís 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 donít. 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, youíre inadvertently blocking the sound or having to hold a mic thatís 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 Ė 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 arenít 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. Itís Australian designed, engineered and manufactured.

Having used the GME TX3350 for just a few weeks, I reckon itís the duckís nuts of UHF radios. I didnít need the extension lead as Iíve semi-hidden the head unit under the centre dash and hung the microphone where my gangly arm can easily reach it. Something Iíve found over the years with some Ďloadedí handheld microphones is the annoying ease of accidently pushing buttons while using the mic. Sometimes Iíve unintentionally changed channels while talking; other times Iíve 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.

Iíve opted for a GME AE4705 antenna that measures 1200mm long and has a 6.6dBi gain. Itís 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, heavyduty 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 doesnít flop all over the show like a pansy in a gale.

All up, Iíve got a brilliant UHF set-up thatís 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-tohear sound. Itís a beauty! Once I learn which button does what, all Iíll need is someone whoíll listen to me.