Multicom Control Review


Just received a Multicom from the Delboy Enterprises and Watson hire services competition featured at www.delboys446.co.uk

Must comment on how good the service was from Watson's Hire Services, I was notified by Derek Watson on Tuesday morning of my win, emailed back my address. Wednesday afternoon I was jumping around the room, (much like when I have over done the Guinness) with a shiny new Multicom in my hands. Next day delivery and prompt service, that was the sign of a great company.

Well enough of the sucking up, back to the task at hand: The Review

I opened the box and saw the radio, manual (English only and quite well written), power supply and much to my surprise a set of rechargeable batteries, I do not know if this is standard from Watson Hire, but hey it made my day.

The radio has the following specs on the box:

Desktop/wall mounting
8 Channels/ 38 CTCSS Codes, Vox Mode
Auto Channel Scan, Auto Keypad Lock, Dual Watch
2 Programmable Memory Channels
Dual Power AC/DC, Battery Status Indicator
Switchable Beep Tone, Switchable Roger Beep Tone
5 Call Ringer Tones


The Sharman Multicom is 117 x 172 x 45mm in size and weighs 400g (with batts) it has an adjustable antenna (170mm long) on the left top side of the radio. The Mic/Speaker, Display and eleven buttons are laid out on the front of the unit within easy reach. On the back of the radio is the 12 volt power input connector and a battery charge switch. On the right side of the radio are the 2.5mm and 3.5mm mic/ear connectors, an interesting find with these is that you can remote key from the mic socket which will be great news for keeping it legal for gateway use. The Multicom is a dual voltage beast, it can run on the 12 volt plug in DC supply or the 4 internal rechargeable AA batteries. The radio shows no indication of the power being switched (I turned the external supply off) and continued to run on the internal cells, it is worth noting that if you like me, want to play with the radio and not wait for the batteries to charge, ( the manual gives a time of 20 to 24 hours for a full charge). You should switch the charge switch on the back to the off position, to allow you to use normal AA's.


The specs:


Vox - will allow you to use the radio hands free, when switched on this has 5 settings, 5 being the most sensitive and 1 being the least.

Auto Channel Scan - This will allow you to monitor all the 8 channels, it is worth noting that the radio does not decode CTCSS, it will show a CTCSS code in the display when scanning, but only if you have set one.

Auto Keypad Lock - This will prevent accidental channel changes and when switched on it will also disable the VOX, SCAN, MODE, MEM1 and MEM2 keys.

Dual Watch - This will allow you to monitor a primary and a secondary channel, when activity if found on one of the two channels the scan will stop for 5 seconds and then resume.

2 Programmable Memory Channels - Will allow you to store two favourite channels for easy access by just pressing one of the two buttons.

Dual Power AC/DC - As mentioned before it will run on external DC and internal batteries.

Battery Status Indicator - Will indicate the state of the installed batteries, 3 segments for a full battery and one segment for a low battery.

Switchable Beep Tone - This will make a beep sound when one of the following keys are pressed, up/down, VOX, MODE, SCAN, MON, MEM 1 & 2, and the power button.

Switchable Roger Beep Tone - This will sound a tone when the PTT is released to notify the person you are talking to that you have stopped transmitting.

5 Call Ringer Tones - This provides 5 tones that can be set to work when the call button is pressed to allow another user to know you are calling.


Testing:

Set the radio up on the window sill in the front room (though it only needed switching on), Earned good plus points from the wife because she did not have to pick the radio up to use it? Walked to my local "dog woods" which is just about half a mile away, put a call out to the wife when she answered the audio was good and I had a nice strong sounding signal. She remarked on the quality of my voice (she doesn't make this comment always), whilst walking in the woods I spoke to the wife on a number of occasions and could communicate with ease. I then thought I would give the radio a challenge, I drove about one and a half miles to a spot that I have used in the past, put out  a call to the wife and she answered. The signal and audio was a little bit scratchy but more than acceptable, after all the radio was only on the sill and I had a couple of roads of houses in the way.


Conclusion:

A very good radio that lends itself to being a gateway with ease, it performed well as a base station and the functions were easy to use. The fact that it can be supplied with power and remotely keyed without having to open up the radio is a point that I am sure will keep Ofcom happy. The only negative point I could find was the lack of CTCSS decode on scan, but hay, this radio has a lot going for and I wont let one little point put me off. If I had not won the Multicom I would be putting an order into Watson Hire Services to buy one.

Many thanks to Delboy and Watson's for picking me as the winner of the Multicom, this has allowed me to have a play with it and write this review.

Rope. 09/12/04


www.delboyenterprises.co.uk

www.delboys446.co.uk