New GME XRS radio - video review

denmonkey

Well-Known Member
#1
Hi Guys,

I was in touch with GME a little while ago and asked them if I could borrow one of their new GME XRS radios to chuck up a review on my youtube channel.

To my surprise, they agreed and shot me out one of their portable versions, the 330cp.

This is the same as the 330c variant but in a portable pack for moving between vehicles. The ideal unit for a test as it didnt require any permanent moutings to be made

The cp comes in a portable carry case which is nicely padded to keep your new radio in one piece.

Unlike a tent, it packs back in when you're ready to put it away.
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Everything in it's place.
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Included with the radio and mic, is a 12 ciggie plug for power, a windscreen suction mount, bracket and a small magnetic 2db antenna.

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I've had some hands on time with it over the past month and have been pretty impressed with it thus far.

It's relatively still new to market and has a few 'quirks' here and there which should be fixed through firmware updates. Mostly the issues I ran into were related to the applications rather than the radio itself.

So a fix there should be easy enough.


I've never been a fan of CBs for anything other than a tool due to the bozzos that regularly fill the airwaves around town. (such is the shame.)


For fun on the air, I am an amateur radio operator and enjoy that as a hobby.



So this for me, this is a tool and as such it has to perform well enough to justify it's place in the vehicle. I've got a number of handhelds and other radios that can pull CB duty when needed but this one got me interested because of some nifty new features.

First, it has the best screen on a speaker/mic I've ever seen.

It's an OLED Screen and looks the ducks . The little 2w speaker also does a pretty nice job.
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This things is tiny and this Super Compact variant if needed, can be fit just about anywhere.

To keep things small the 330 doesn't have an onboard speaker in the body and uses the fme connector on the back rather than a so239 like the bigger units.

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The bit I really like though is the applications and location services that come with the XRS models.

Connect it to your mobile device via bluetooth and in addition to being able to program and control the radio you can also use the location services to share your location with others with an xrs radio.

Of course you can also see the locations of others sharing their details from their xrs radio.
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I won't go too far into it as the video covers most of it and I'll be puting up some more in the near future, but this is what you will see on your device when it's all up and running

I Just wish I had more time with the radio to really put it through its paces on a weekend away with a few more rigs running the same radio.


Of course if you have any questions let me know and I'll do my best to answer .

for now though, here's the video
No affiliation with GME, just asked the right question at the right time it seems.

cheers Brett
 
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boobook

Well-Known Member
#2
I bought one because of the fantastic scan speed. 50 channels a second. With 80 channels to get through these days that's about 1.5 seconds for a complete sweep. No need for Group Scan, though it has that too. As a comparison the Icom has a scan speed of about 10 channels a second, or 8 seconds for the band. On CTSS it is more like 40 seconds for the band. They 'accidently' leave the scan speed of their spec.

The New XRS are in a differnt leage.
 

Big Rig

4x4 Earth Contributer
#3
It was interesting I came across this. I actually looked at one in the Lismore leasure show. I am in the market for a compact UHF and not sure which way to go at the moment. I have been a fan of the ICOM and was going to get me an ICOM handheld however this new GME got my interest.
So denmonkey, the questions I have are simple,
I'm not interested in location services and my mates aren't about to go and buy one for the gimmick.
1. Is it a 5w unit
2. How good is the antenna from a mounting POV, does it come off at speed, is it suited for highway travel with antenna on the roof (my bonnet is plastic) etc
3. How does the range with this antenna compare with that if a 5w handheld.

There is a marked price difference between the XRS and a good quality handheld so I'm wondering what is better suited for me.
 

denmonkey

Well-Known Member
#4
spots on boobook, it's a ripper from a scan perspective. This can be a good thing or bad thing if there are dickheads on a channel about.
One of my icom amatuer radios has a good scan on it but this thing is scanner quick.
Its terrible on dstar for scanning though.
I might have to check it against one of my scanners but then I'd have to program it for uhf.

BigRig,

1. yep 5w
2. excellent. I was really surprised how the little bugger held on. I did a fair section of track with it on the bonnet only to realise when I went to move it that the bonnet is aluminium and not magnetic :confused: . Its so strong I reckon you could stick it sideways on your door and be fine.
Since it's so small, it doesnt have much wind resistence. so no probs there.
3. all over it mate. Providing you stick it up on the roof or in the clear, it's always going to beat using a HT in the car. No contest.
I have a mate who used his handheld last time out from in the car and all he did was complain that he couldn't hear half of the stuff I could.
It's also super handy for moving between cars. I have a bigger uhf antenna on the front that I am using it with now.

If you're close range and think you will use it for spotting or outside of the car. the HT is more versitile.
If it's staying in the car for car use only, you'll see much better performance out of the GME but that goes for any radio with an outside antenna.
You could always run an external antenna outside of the car and plug it into your handheld, providing it has a removable antenna.
 

Big Rig

4x4 Earth Contributer
#5
Thanks so much for the feedback. I think I'll go handheld. After a lot of deliberation - I will only be using the radio from car to car and I will be doing a lot of spotting..
 

discomatt

Well-Known Member
#6
Nothing to do with there radio but I have one of there aerials on the D4, the only failure I had on the GRR was the aerial mount, its a big aerial with the spring mount and was bolted to the bull bar. 2 days into the GRR it snapped the mounting bolt/nut so the aerial spent the next 6 weeks taped and cable ties across the front of the bar.
When I got home I emailed my supplier and sent them photos of the broken mount, they were surprised as it was the first failure they had seen and told me to contact GME directly. I sent GME an email that night after the close of business, the next morning at 10 am I got a phone call and a massive apology for the failure and my inconvenience with offers of what ever I needed to replace, the new mount arrived the next day in express post.
There customer was absolutely second to none and I couldn't have asked for more
 

denmonkey

Well-Known Member
#8
@discomatt They have been excellent with me also.
Even though they lent me the radio as a tester, so I'm not a paying customer, they've been nothing but helpful with regards to my questions etc.
I like that they're an Aussie company too, something I didn't realise when I first got in touch.
 

mac_man_luke

Well-Known Member
#11
I like the look of them but they are too dear for me.
Most of the fancy features will never even get used and a good solid radio like the ICOM IC450 (or one of the lower end GMEs) is half the price.
Do like the location idea but the fact everyone needs a $500 radio makes it unlikely to be useful.
 

Ditch

Well-Known Member
#12
Nice looking rig with some great features but I`d rather spend that sort of coin on Amateur Radio gear. Hardly use CB much anyway, mainly just monitor for oncoming traffic out on the tracks.
 

denmonkey

Well-Known Member
#13
The biggest challenge is needing someone else to have one to get the most out of it using the location services.
Having 2 of these in a club run would be handy.
After being running TEC (tail end charlie) a few weeks back in a group of 8 it would have been excellent to have the front vehicle with one of these too.
Comms were good to keep me informed where we were heading but having it right on the map would have been even better.
At a glance I could have seen how separated we were and known where the lead was when he was calling out an obstacle.

I'm going to have to suss out if it can export your track one you're done. i don't think it can but that would make it that bit more useful at the end of the day.
 

Ditch

Well-Known Member
#14
The biggest challenge is needing someone else to have one to get the most out of it using the location services.
Was going to ask you if you had seen any other users on the app while you have had the unit. Seems to be a lot of different apps out there at the moment with location services for 4wders. Maybe if there was one system like APRS that hams use it would make these services more usable. A mate I travel with is also a ham. I can see how far he (or other hams) is away from me & what frequency or repeater he is on using APRSdroid when we are going to meet up.

Good point about having the lead & sweep running the same rig, especially for a large group, at least you could tell if the lead was on the right track or not.

Does it display what channel you are using on the app?. Not much use if another user can see you on the app but don`t know how to contact you if needed. Track recording would be good as well if it does that.

All this tech is only as good as the network that it uses. Although the APRS network has better coverage than mobile phones it still has limitations.
 

denmonkey

Well-Known Member
#15
Yes a fellow ham had one but we didn't get enough time to put it through its paces before he headed away on a 13 week trip of Aus. Bastard.
Unfortunately, I have to send it back before he returns.
So sitting in his driveway whilst he was packing was as good as it got .

I have gotten the APRS bug again thanks to this but let go of my aprs radio a while back, so have resorted to aprsdroid on the phone whilst around town.
I'm part way through a icom 7100 install in the rig and was considering trying in on HF. I'll need to buy a TNC to get it to work.

The GME variant works point to point though, so doesn't require the network or gateway. So how good it is depends on your antenna and environment.
This can either be a good thing or bad thing depending on your application.

It does display your channel, your username and distance away on the mic itself, plus the devices PIN but you need to both be on the same channel for it to work. The data packet is sent on the end of your voice transmission.
You can set 'contacts' to filter your display by.

Interesting question though.
You've made me think now, what if you could see multiple users on differing channels on your map but still maintain a single voice channel.
Great for a group where you could all see where each other is but maintain separate channels for voice.
I'll query them about that though, but I'm pretty confident its same channel only is likely a requirement of the class licence for CB.

amateur radio is getting a bit silly with the digital market at the moment, dstar, c4, dmr and so on and doesn't look like settling down anytime soon.
I love options but sometimes too many just stops you from making a choice at all.
 

boobook

Well-Known Member
#16
Hey Brett. Thank you very much for your review and highlighting the GPS mapping capability of the XRS. It's very rare that you get a great surprise after you buy a product.

The location thing even works off line.

Bloody nice. Now I have to talk my mates in it. Especially the trip leader or tail end Charlie.

 

denmonkey

Well-Known Member
#17
hey Book,

One other things I stumbled on but gets little mention is the netscan option . I haven't been able to test i though, so my instructions may be a little off.
Basically you can set some channels into scan group c, say 5. get the rest of the group to do it to.
Set your scan group to c.
When you are operating on a frequency, if it gets busy with other no xrs traffic, your radio will choose another 'non busy' channel and switch the whole group over to that channel.
Its almost like trunking in a way.
This will keep your group on a quiet channel and have all their radios follow at the same time automatically.
How good is that :D
 

boobook

Well-Known Member
#18
Bloody nice features.

I love that stuff. The problem is most of the people I tour with think the UHF is a nucence, or a toy for chatter, or just a necessary grudge purchase to get on a trip. That is main reason I usually end up as leader or tail end charlie most days. Many are annoyed that they have to spend $250 for a cheapie, or use a hand held which are bloody frustrating for everyone else. No one understands GS, OS CTCSS etc. I've given up. Maybe an App will be different. Peple will love it.

Unfortunately the more you care about this stuff, the more there is an obligation to keep the internal / external comms going for the group. That's why I bought a second UHF. Turns out it was a good investment. Now if there was a TX3800 XRS I'd be in heaven. :)

IMHO the GME could do a 4x4 earth audio. It woudl be a plug, but an interesting game changer one.
 

denmonkey

Well-Known Member
#19
If only the repeaters around town weren't full of those clowns, cb could be a much more useful tool and people might be inclined to keep it on more often.
I'd love to see the amca come in and clean them up, but realistically its never gonna happen.

I definitely understand the annoyance for spending money on something that gets so little use. I guess that's a good enough reason to get out on the tracks more often :D

I don't know how people can get buy on a run without one in the car to communicate. I actually prefer them when spotting too.
Like you, as a bit of a tech nerd, I rock up to most outings with an extra 2-3 radios in the car just in case.

What is it you like about the TX3800 in particular ?

also what's an audio ?

cheers Brett
 
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