TriSquare TSX300 Review

TriSquare TSX300 Review FINAL Update as of 9/14/2007


Power output: 1 Watt ERP

License Requirements: No license required

Frequency/Mode: 900 Mhz ISM band, Digital Frequency Hopping Spread-Spectrum

Introduction and features:

These radios introduce the general public to the latest generation of two-way radios. Consumers now have at their disposal, a radio that can be used without interference from other persons.

These radios introduce the consumer to a whole new level of communications. We can now designate channels with full customization, such as alphanumeric designations.

These radios are attractive, and large enough to operate easily, while remaining attractive and not bulky. While packed with functions and features, I considered most operational functions easy to access with little to no confusion.

These radios feature 10 billion channels, which are actually frequency hopping schemes. Channels can be accessed either by direct entry or by programming channels into “talkgroups”, which can be accessed easily by menu. With 10 billion channels, you can say, switch to “primary” rather than say go to “10 million, 300 thousand, and forty six”. Get your radios, and set up this easy function.

Business users will appreciate this, as you can program a “warehouse” group, and “office” group, and so forth.

You can set up a “private” channel, unique to each radio, for direct one on one communication. This private channel is constantly monitored, regardless of whatever group channel you are on.

For Nextel users, this is very similar, except it is direct point to point, rather than going through a cell site.

You can send text messages across groups, as well as over private channels.

Radios can be cloned over the air to allow for easy transfer of all configurations between radios. Once you program one radio, you simply send the data to all radios.

There is a VOX function to allow for hands free operation.

These radios are compatible with single jack Motorola accessories and I recommend use of the XLT series of microphones sold here.

Detailed Performance Evaluation:

Ease of operation: Basic functions were immediately easy to understand. More advanced functions required some study. I consider this a very easy radio to program and operate in all respects. Menu functions are easy to understand, and are well laid-out.

Sound quality: Quality of sound is excellent. Volume levels are good in all but the noisiest environments.

Use of XLT series microphones and accessories are fully compatible and perform well. I assume all Motorola GMRS accessories will also work. Such accessories can be found at the website here.

Operational range:

Home to vehicle: .68 miles
Person to person outdoors: 1.25 miles
Vehicle to person (person outdoors): 1.25 miles
Vehicle to vehicle: 1/2 mile

Under my test conditions, these radios performed virtually identical to FRS/GMRS radios I have reviewed for this site.

These radios were not tested in any large indoor environment, although they work perfect in a typical family home. Indoor reviews are possible in the future and will be included at a later date.

Once radios got out of range, they would lose track of one another. Communications became
lost. Once in range, the radios re-acquired one another and communications resumed. I found this
process to occur rather quickly.

Text messages are sent “blind” There is no handshaking or error correction to verify the message was received.

Operational Issues:

When talking on a “private” channel, you must wait a while before re-initiating a private call to the same radio. Switching to a group channel and back can help assist this. Regardless, the radios will re-synch after a few seconds. Typically, this won’t be an issue, and I do not consider it a serious problem.

Sometimes the radios become “confused”. This problem occurred rarely, and only when the radios were either too close to one another, or too far, close to maximum range. After a few seconds they re-synched. This is considered a minor issue and shouldn’t present a problem in most cases.

These radios will interfere with 900 Mhz cordless phones, baby monitors and other 900 Mhz devices at VERY close range. Interference seems to not be a factor at distances of 10 feet or more. This is not a frequency interference issue. Many higher power RF emitting devices can interfere with other devices on the same band.

There is no interference with 802.11 B wireless networks.

Battery life exceeded 5 hours on AA alkalines.
With the supplied battery packs, life exceeded 8 hours. The supplied packs provide 4.8 volts, which exceed 4.5 volts on alkalines and provide a more stable voltage curve.

User Application Recommendations:

In a small business, these radios are ideal. Communications within a small facility should be easy. Each department can be addressed individually, with great flexibility in programming.

These radios are RECOMMENDED for commercial applications.


The average home can use these with great ease. You will have excellent coverage and flexibility within your property, and your neighborhood. These radios are fully comparable with FRS/GMRS radios in range.

These radios are RECOMMENDED for consumer use.

Assests of these radios:

1: Flexible channel programming with plain text channel group assignments.
2: good volume and sound quality.
3: Reliable communications within operational range.
4: Advanced radios, yet very easy to operate.
5: good look and feel with well laid out controls and menus.
6: Text messaging.
7: Programming of several radios immediately via on-air data communication.
8: Zero interference from other radios due to channel combinations.
9: Secure communications, impossible to monitor on a scanner.

Final thoughts:

Good application of first generation technology. While there were some bugs, I enjoyed my experience with these radios and can see myself using them extensively. A lot of the functions could be considered overkill for consumers. Nonetheless, consumers will appreciate the great flexibility of these radios. Accessory compatibility with easily available Motorola microphones and such add to usefulness.

Understanding digital technology and how it works helps explain some of the delay issues and loss of synch. If you are in range, you will never see this happen. Essentially, it is the same as any other radio going out of range. My tests entailed very rapid switching of functions… something most people will never do, when in a real world environment.

Communications security and freedom from interference are great assets.
I’d buy these radios and recommend them to friends.

I give them a 9 out of 10.


These radios were given a very intense workout at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. All areas of use allowed us to remain in constant contact.
There were some areas when we got close to range limits, where there would be some scratchiness.
We never lost synchronization between units.

We began operation around noon, and the batteries finally gave up around 10 PM. This is the stock pack. We had a low duty cycle, but still not bad.

VERY good “real world” example of the effectiveness of these radios.

I am looking at trying to use these in a 7 story building. It sounds like the range wouldn’t work well for that, did you test these on multiple floors of a building?

Haven’t tried that yet. That’s something that is probably needed for these radios, since they have great potential for commercil use. This is a definite planned future addition to the review. I wanted to get my review out as soon as possible, and dragging the wife away from home with the kids is a bit hard to do. When we have the opportunity, the radios will come with.

I’m going to re-review the radios and hopefully get some new data. A possibility of a potentially defective unit or units may have skewed my data somewhat. In addition, further technical information I was provided may explain some of the bugs I found.

As in all new technology, certain functions require special handling in order for proper operation.


We appreciate the time you have spent on your review of TriSquare’s TSX300 eXRS two-way radios. Your discussion on the features and functions of the product demonstrate that you have a good understanding of their operation. We are proud of the advanced features and performance of out products.

We would like to clarify a couple of points with you:

  1. Synchronization - eXRS utilizes frequency hopping spread spectrum technology and therefore the transmitters and receivers operate synchronously. When radios are outside of the usable range, synchronization may be lost (for example, if one radio transmits and the other can’t ‘hear’ it). However, re-establishing synchronization is actually an automatic process without the need for cycling power (cycling power has no affect on the synchronization system). Re-establishing synchronization may take from zero to twenty seconds of non-activity to be accomplished properly. As you correctly pointed out, this is not a user issue as the radios are out of usable range anyway. When they are within range, they synchronize automatically.

  2. Operational Range - The usable range of eXRS radios is equivalent or greater than that of other portable UHF (including FRS/GMRS) two-way radios. This statement is not only backed by physical science, but also many independently performed head-to-head tests of complete market samplings of UHF portables and eXRS. Usable range of UHF radios varies significantly with the conditions of use. For example with large or many obstructions between users, range could be less than a mile, and with clear (line-of-sight) between users, range could extend to more than one hundred miles. A very good rule of thumb for all hand-held UHF two-way radios is to expect a few blocks to several miles of normal coverage. That being said, your report of 100 ft car to car and other range tests, under any conditions, indicates the possibility of a defective unit. We have spoken to this site administrator and offer you a replacement set at no cost for your head-to-head performance comparison with other UHF portables (since we have seen that you do many reviews of two-way radios).

P.S. Regarding the inquiry from Ifudenna about the 7-story structure, eXRS and a complete market sampling of UHF portables (including FRS/GMRS) were recently tested within a twenty-eight story building in downtown Kansas City, MO. All radios performed equivalently well within this building (all floors to the lobby), so we would expect that eXRS would work well within a 7-story structure.

Best Regards,

Thanks for the clarification. A suggestion: Perhaps this info should be included in the manual. Regardless, it appears then that any loss of synch will be automatically corrected. Good information.

With any new technology, there are bound to be some functions that can confuse.

My test environment is in a suburban environment with houses, trees, apartments, etc. The car to car range wasn’t surprising as UHF inside a minivan and SUV is a rough environmant. The vehicles act as a “faraday cage” trapping the RF. With 900 Mhz at ground level, I figure this effect is much greater.

3/4 of a mile is typical for an FRS radio. Still, using the same test run I did for my earlier reviews, I made it over a mile. My earlier tests provide a good benchmark of performance.

There are plenty of obstructions, which make my environment ideal for the “average” consumer.

I deliberately make it rough. That way people can get an idea as to how far they can reliably communicate under about any conditions.

I’ll put the new set to the test… We’ll see what happens.

This technology is super and will definitely solve the overcrowding on FRS/GMRS. If it takes off, it will be the ultimate short range communication tool for the public. Interference will be a thing of the past.

All the best…


New Radios Received. Charging now. Will have a new review done within a few days.

Final review submitted… enjoy!

We got your radios back from your first review. After checking them out, found them to be functionally OK and within spec, but both batteries were effectively dead. Not sure if that was the issue, as that certainly could affect range. Anyways, thanks for revising your test data review above. Regards,

It is possible the battery levels affected the test. The supplied NiMh packs seemed to work far better than alkalines in that the battery meter never changed. The higher voltage of these packs also may have helped. Typically, my reviews have all been done with supplied battery packs. I prefer Nimh batteries for their stable voltage curves. I didn’t test these with my own Nimh cells, since I had none avalable at the time. Battery life with the supplied packs exceeds that of alkalines.

I have the following preconception: the lower the frequency, the better the range. I understood that higher frequencies are absorbed/attenuated faster, especially in outdoor environment, so in theory a 900MHz radio should have a lower range than a 450MHz one with the same power (at least in outdoor conditions, which is what I’m interested in). Is this incorrect?

You aren’t too far from the truth. The higher you go in frequency, the more the “line of sight” rule comes into play. As such, you need a better antenna system or higher one to overcome obscructions.

UHF does have a tendancy to “bounce” off metal, and find its way around buildings and such. As such, it is great for use inside buildings, and in dense urban areas.

VHF is better suited to outdoor, suburban environments, as it can penetrate some obstructions better; but doesn’t have the ability to bounce, like UHF does.

Public safety has in the past used VHF for rural areas, and UHF for larger cities. This has been effective.

Each band has its good and bad.

Greeting All,

Sounds like a very nice review of the TSX300s. I have a pair on the way now. I was curious as to if anyone has yet tested these units head to head against the Motorola DTR410s, the only other FHSS handhelds I’m aware of.

I found some info/reviews here:

(Pertaining to the DTR410s: In this review the user purports to have gotten a 2 mile max range out of the DTR410s, along with some other interesting information regarding range.)

and here:

Some very interesting information. Spectrum analyzer displays of both the TSX300 and DTR410 RF output and banwidth along with some other interesting tidbits. The TSX300 seems to spread its bandwidth out over an approximate ~6.5MHz bandwidth whereas with the DTR410 it is approximately ~8.5MHz. A synchronization carrier can also clearly be seen with the TSX300, just adjacent to the upper-most hop frequency (more susceptible to CC jamming?)

It would be nice to know the precise hop time of both radios, although neither manufacturer seems to provide this information. But from what I’ve discovered thus far, it would seem to be in the neighborhood of 2-3Hz (@ a 300-400 mS hop time).

The Motorola DTR410 clearly has a better “ruggedness” to it, but as for me, I am more interested in communication performance/range than durability of the unit.

And last but not least, is the rather significant difference in price. The lowest price I have found for just one DTR410 is ~$239, whereas two TSX300s can be purchased for around ~$80-$90. It begs the question, would the performance justify the price?


(02/18/08 - Please see my corrections and review below)

Word is Trisquare is planning on a “ruggedized model”. Both radios use different, proprietary schemes. They both get the job done and probably perform in a comparable fashion.

It would be interesting to see what frequency the synch signal is on.

I have now used these for two conferences that my company produces. We were using anywhere from 8 to 12 at a time in both a 7 story building and a 2 story building.

I would have to say that I am not overly impressed as far as reliability goes. It seems like between 2 and 4 of them do not work very consistently with the rest. I have had a couple users complain that they don’t hear transmissions sent to them, while they can hear someone else’s radio nearby. I have tried multiple channels but it does not seem to make a difference. I am happy with the range of them and glad to read that they are supposed to automatically reset themselves if they lose frequency (I was resetting the channel hoping that would help).

Battery life has been pretty good and I will continue to use them (since I have invested in 12 of them). The ones that did work, performed well in the 7 story building. I haven’t used the text message feature much because we are just too busy at our conferences to play with that feature.

I am happy to give more details to anyone interested in buying these in the future.

I would like to correct the misconception from the Nov. 2008 PopComm article about FHSS. It stated that the TriSquare eXRS radio used a ‘sync’ signal (showing a analyzer plot). The TriSquare eXRS radios do not use a seperate sync signal. The “sync” signal shown in the plot is not a sync signal, but is actually just one of the hopping frequencies within the particular 50 frequency hopset. Hope this clears up any misconception.

On another note to lfudenna, TriSquare would be very willing to replace the 2 to 4 units that do not seem to be operating correctly. lfudenna should contact TriSquare’s service department at for replacements.

Mark at TriSquare

Thanks for clearing that up. I kind of was scratching my head when there was evidence of a separate signal… that would mean dual transmitters, not to mention the fact this could defeat the whole interference rejection benefit of FHSS.


I just want to say thank you for being a member of the forum and listening to your customers concerns. :slight_smile: The level of service that TriSquare is providing is exceptional and one that I wish many companies would follow. Just to let everyone here know you have always been available for any questions that pop up that my limited knowledge has no clue about.

Take Mark up on his offer on the returns. I know that when they are getting returns back they are trying to figure out the issue instead of just saying its a bad unit and chunking it. This way they will improve on future generations. If you get a chance post a review of the TriSquares on the forum. People love to hear “real world” reviews.

I now have both the TSX300 and Motorola DTR410 FHSS radios. I’ll do a complete vs. review with ranges, etc, including spectrum analyzer plots if I ever get the time. As for now there is NO sync signal with the TSX300s. The dwell time is approximately 300 milliseconds or so giving it a hop rate of about 2.5-3 hps. Both radios hop a total of 50 channels. The DTRs hop at around 5 or 6 hps and actually utilize the entire ISM band from 902 to 928MHz whereas the 300s are more squeezed in around 907 to 923, give or take.

Here are some spectrum analyzer plots for both the TriSquare TSX300 radio and the Motorola DTR410. The RBWs were first set at 1Mhz, 280KHz, and then 15KHz respectively. The spectrum analyzer in each case was set for Peak Hold and each capture is an average of transmission over a period of 15 seconds.

TriSquare TSX300

TSX300 - 1MHz RBW - Peak Hold - 15 sec.

TSX300 - 280KHz RBW - Peak Hold - 15 sec.

TSX300 - 15KHz RBW - Peak Hold - 15 sec.

Motorola DTR410

DTR410 - 1MHz RBW - Peak Hold - 15 sec.