John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Motorola FRS MC series review

Years (seems like another life) ago I use to play with CB radios. The walkie talkies were ok but they were bulky. A long while back the FRS or family radio service took the CB radio idea and added additional channels. It consists of 22 channels.

When you look into the radios they are all rated based on range. I have to admit it, I don’t get it. They all transmit the same amount of power so I don’t understand the different ranges.

When I did some looking there were features I was looking for. I wanted them to be durable. Doing outdoor stuff means they need to be at least water resistant. Given they may be used in the cold they need to be able to be operated with gloves on. Having the option of attaching some kind of a headset is a must. A rechargeable battery is nice, but the unit must be able to take a standard AA or AAA battery. That was about it.

These ones seemed to fit the bill. I bought them at The Soruce. Frankly the only reason I bought them there was I ran out of time. There are plenty of them around on ebay. The headsets for these units are proprietary. I had hoped that they would take a standard cell phone headset. No joy. And to top it off they are stupid expensive. There are some on ebay including ones that are like cop radios. Oddly enough Motorla has not standardized even within their product line so be sure you get EXACTLY the one for your unit.

The screen on this unit is terrible. Back lighting is almost useless. It is so small and hard to read it is truly a bad design. That said none of the ones I looked at are much better. The push to talk button is large enough to be pressed with gloves and the volume control is also nice and big.

The unit allows you to set a privacy number. This allows you to block out anyone else that might be using the same channel. This is a nice feature but it will hide the fact that the channel could be busy when you are trying to transmit which will absolutely not work. I have no idea how inter-operable this feature is.

In addition to push to talk the unit also includes a page mode that sends a loud alert signal to the other radio!

These come with a nice rechargable battery and a nice docking station. You can remove the rechargeable and insert standard AA batteries.

All in all there is not much to these. There’s not a lot to figure out. They just work. It would have been nice if they had added some simple features like maybe a clock, or a compass, or a thermometer. Of the ones I checked out, none of them had anything but the basics. Now if your willing to spend more money there are ones with build in GPS that even share the location with other …


February 2, 2012 - Posted by | Electronic gadget reviews

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