Review: Aussie-made GME XRS-660 tested across Nullarbor Plain & other electric car road trip adventures

Tthe following review is written by Stan Gorton, a South Australian EV enthusiast who lives on Kangaroo Island with his dog Twiggy and a MY24 Polestar 2 long-range single motor.

GME’s latest XRS-660 handheld UHF radio has proved to be an excellent addition to my long-distance electric vehicle road trips across Australia.

Grey nomads and truckers came in loud and clear on the new GME XRS-660 handheld UHF radio when used on the Nullarbor Plain.

I am fortunate to have received a brand new, Australian-made GME XRS-660 for testing and have been putting it through its paces on my cross-country trips.

At 337 grams this is a solid, high-quality unit with multi-colour-screen visible even in bright light. This 5-watt radio should give a transmitting distance range somewhere between 10 to 17 kilometres.

Building on the market-leading innovation of GME’s popular range of XRS Connect UHF CB Radios, the Australian Made XRS-660 offers a number of exciting new features.

  • The XRS-660 is the first Handheld UHF CB radio to feature a colour TFT LCD screen, providing the ultimate Handheld radio display for all environmental conditions – even in full sunlight,
  • Bluetooth audio connectivity allows the XRS-660 to wirelessly connect to an extensive range of third-party audio accessories, providing users with new and improved ways to stay connected,
  • Built-in GPS functionality is particularly useful in commercial applications where location tracking of users in remote areas may be required for workplace safety,
  • Rugged IP67 Ingress Protection and a MIL-STD 810G rating, the XRS-660 is GME’s toughest and most advanced handheld radio yet.

Built-in GPS functionality ensures the XRS-660 can provide true location awareness without relying on a smartphone to provide GPS location data.

The XRS-660 has a GPS inside that uses the satellites to confirm its location (much the same as the ones we have in our phones). This location is then transmitted as a small data pack on the end of a UHF transmission, where when received by other XRS radios, it will read that data pack and show said location.

It also seems to run almost forever, lasting up to an amazing 64 hours in power saving mode.

It’s nice to have the little rugged UHF as safety back-up in areas without mobile signal, and this country has vast areas of mobile blackspots.

The new GME XRS-660 handheld UHF radio at an electric vehicle charging station at Yass, NSW.

Of course, nothing can replace a personal locator beacon or a satellite phone for true outback exploring.

Increasingly a lot of remote area travellers in Australia are getting Starlink Roam.

It’s not cheap at $599 for hardware and $174/month for unlimited data but Starlink is a game changer service providing super fast internet, phone calls and more in the middle of nowhere as long as you have clear line of sight to the sky.

The XRS-660 is scanning beast cycling through 50 channels per second with 80 CB plus 400 Receive only channels across eight zones.

Simply placing the UHF into scan mode has allowed to me to listen into all kinds of conversations, ranging from the amusing to the practical, Taxi drivers in Albury, grey nomad caravanners, random CB enthusiasts discussing everything you could imagine, random farmers doing farm thing in the paddocks.

Road workers and road convoy organisers are very active, although actual truckers not so much, other than on the Nullarbor where there was a lot of truck conversation.

Listening to road workers on the XRS-660 handheld UHF radio

I have the radio sitting here on my desk, picking up road workers busy more than 10 kilometres away, as well as the grey nomads pulling into town.

Kangaroo Island which I call home has a strong connection to the GME brand, forged in the wake of the horrific 2019-2020 bushfires.

Handheld UHF radios are a vital bit of kit for farm-fire units, allowing communication between a fleet of farm utes and emergency services.
The Humans of Kangaroo Island project fundraised to supply farmers with safety equipment, including radios, as well as organising farm-fire unit induction days in collaboration with the local CFS.

Humans of KI provided handheld radios to 19 farmers and worked with Jamieson Marine to get discounted GME radios to many KI farmers.


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