TriSquare Radios: First Impressions

Last week, Frank and myself took a couple of our new TriSquare radios out for a brief test. We tested a set of TriSquare TSX300 radios, which is their highest end model.

We were very excited about these new radios. They are digital and operate in the 900 Mhz range, which means they can be used legally without purchasing a license from the FCC. They also use “frequency hopping” technology, which means they change frequencies very often, remaining in sync with other radios in the area. This makes them practically eavesdropping-proof.

First the bad news: I was not impressed with the range or voice clarity. The radios lost communications at around half a mile, and after losing communications seemed to fall out of sync. When I returned within range, I had to turn the radio off/on in order to communicate on the channel that we had been using. I found the voice clarity to be as good as typical two ways, but I was expecting even better clarity since the radios are advertised as “digital”.

Now for the good news. I found the TriSquare “unique features” to be quite impressive. They offer the best implementation I’ve seen of “direct call”, by adding a contact list (similar to a cell phone). Each radio is given a name and assigned a unique channel. Once each radio/channel is entered into the phone book, you can call a single person simply by choosing their name from a list. No need to memorize channels. This actually works for group channels or individuals. The radios will show you the name of the person (radio) that is calling (Caller ID). If you are on a call while receiving a new call you see the name of the person that is calling and you can accept or reject the new call (Call Waiting). These models also support text messaging, and they have the ability to store frequently used messages to save you typing. If you are with a business that is buying many radios, you can get one radio setup how you like it and then clone the settings, wirelessly, to all other radios. This makes setup a breeze.

We didn’t test the low end model, the TSX100, but it seems to be a very stripped down model. It supports 1000 channels (instead of 10 billion on the TSX300) and doesn’t seem to offer true direct call functionality.

Bottom line. I believe the TSX300 would be a great choice for the following scenarios:

[li]Smaller office/warehouse (I’d say around 35,000 square feet indoors, or 1/4 mile outdoors).[/li][li]Any location (within the range requirements) where direct call functionality is important. Dentist offices, doctors offices and schools would be great candidates.[/li][li]Any business or individual looking to avoid FCC licensing. If you figure that a GMRS license will add $85 to the cost of a set of radios, the TriSquare radios are a real bargain for those not needing a lot of range.[/li][li]Any business or individual that requires the most private communications. Since the TriSquare’s use frequency hopping technology on the 900 Mhz frequencies, they are the most secure radios in this price range.[/ul]The TSX100’s are more of a basic model, and without the direct call functionality they lack some of the positives of the TSX300’s. They would be good for businesses or individuals that are looking for more secure/private communications than standard two way’s can offer. They would also be good for businesses that already have TSX300’s and need lower cost radios (that are compatible with TSX300’s) to give to employees that do not need extended functionality.[/li]
I hope this was helpful. If anyone has specific questions about these models, I would be happy to answer them.