I'd rather be sailing
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: The state of s/v/ Pelican
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Rep Power: 10
Why I won't buy Uniden again
I don't know if other radio manufacturers are this way, but I was seriously disappointed at my experience with Uniden support this morning.
We have a Uniden 625c. It's interfaced with our Chartplotter NMEA0183 output so that we can send and receive DSC signals. We can see our position on the unit, and we can receive DSC calls without an issue, but when we go to send a DSC call we get to the point where we can select a channel, but then the screen quick flips back to standard operation before we can actually select the channel. From what I understand from the vessel we tested with, they actually receive the DSC call, but then it "goes away".
Here's my call with Uniden this morning.
I called them and described the problem, including the fact that we were receiving the GPS signal on the unit.
Uniden: "Do you have a GPS device hooked up? DSC will not work without a GPS device hooked up."
Me: "Again, yes, we do, and we're seeing the GPS location on the screen."
Uniden: "Are you sure it's an NMEA0183 connection?"
Me: "Yes, I have other devices that use the same output, and they only read NMEA0183. Plus, you only support NMEA0183, and I can see the GPS coordinates."
Uniden: "Is it NMEA0183 3.01? DSC only works with 3.01."
Me: "I'm not sure. It's coming from my Raymarine chartplotter which has the latest software, and your system is showing the GPS coordinates. How do I tell?"
Uniden: "You just have to know. We will only work with 3.01."
Me: "There's no function on your system to tell if you are receiving 3.01 or a compatible signal?"
Uniden: "No. You just have to know."
This banter went on for 30 seconds. I can't see that their unit would display the GPS coordinates, but not work otherwise if it wasn't receiving this specific version of NMEA0183.
Me: "OK. Then it's 3.01."
Uniden: "Then there's a problem with the unit. You'll have to send it in."
Me: "OK, I can do that. Can you cross ship me a new one so I have a fixed VHF?"
Uniden: "No. We don't do that."
Me: "Well, I'm leaving for the Bahamas next week. There's no way I can get a functional unit by then?"
Uniden: "You have to send it in."
Me: "How long does it take to turn around?"
Uniden: "One to two weeks."
Me: "One to two weeks? Is there any way to shorten that?"
Uniden: "No. We intake the unit and then bench test it. We may then need to order parts to fix it, and then we'll send it back to you."
Me: "Are there any other options?"
Uniden: "If you've bought the unit within the past few days you could probably swap it out at the place you bought it."
Me: "Well, I bought the unit two years ago, so that won't work. OK... thanks."
Uniden: "Thank you for calling Uniden."
By the way, I was sickingly nice on the call. This was my second bad experience with them. I also owned a Mystic handheld combo GPS/VHF a few years ago, and it had a problem with the charger unit overheating, melting and possibly causing a fire. My unit melted down and burned the counter under it. I called them up to swap it out then, and they tried to make me send it in to "check it out" before they would send me a new unit. I finally got to a high level person, and when I asked them what the press would think about the fact that their units may cause fires on boats, I was able to get a cross-ship. I had already bought this fixed unit at the time, otherwise I definitely would have gone a different direction.
Do other VHF vendors have the same policies?
s/v "Pelican" Passport 40 #076- Finished Cruising - for the moment -
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