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Sunday, 12 July 2015

Watch out for shopwatchonline.co.uk

If you're a shopwatch scheme manager or are involved in the procurement of a new radio system, you might want to read this before you buy anything from, or sign any contracts with shopwatchonline.co.uk.

Kirisun S780 - a £71 digital radio
Shopwatch Online are selling SCHEMELINK digital and analogue radios which appear to be rebadged radios from low budget Chinese manufacturers. The digital SCHEMELINK radios they sell look to be the same radio as the Kirisun S780 but with a different logo. I have done a series of videos on this radio (Kirisun S780) and owned a pair for quite a while, so I know very well what they are like. I personally don't think they are at all suitable for use by a shopwatch scheme. They can be bought individually, including the radio, antenna, charger and battery for £71 including postage on eBay. The RF performance of this radio is sub par, and can easily be desensitized (which means that they will not receive radio traffic from other users) by strong signals nearby. These radios also had a problem whereby the radio's speaker would permanently stop working on some units, if the volume was turned up too high and a transmission received. I had to send one radio back because of this problem.

The £11 Baofeng BF-888S radio


The analogue SCHEMELINK radios they are selling, currently for £35 each, appear to be even worse.
They look to be rebadged Baofeng BF-888S radios, which are, to put it simply, the cheapest radios you can possibly buy. It is possible to buy them individually for as little as £11 on eBay, which means Shopwatch Online are inflating the price by 318% if my calculations are correct. If you don't believe me, look on eBay for yourself.
Not only are these radios cheap and poor quality, the chargers supplied with these analogue Baofeng BF-888S radios (or at least the last time I bought one*) are dangerous, because the wires are not double insulated. This means they can easily cause electric shocks. I don't know if Shopwatch Online are selling the radios with these chargers, but I really hope not.

These radios are often bought by individuals who are looking for ultra-cheap recreational communications because they are cheaper than the license free PMR446 radios sold in high street shops like Argos.

I have written this post to inform people about the dangers of these radios, and the fact that I believe that they are unsuitable for use in a shopwatch scheme. Compared to the radios used by other shopwatch schemes, the performance of the radios is poor, the radios are not rugged or waterproof,  and the radio dealer is adding a huge markup in my opinion.

* For the record, I sent it back, because it was so dangerous and poor quality.

 Note regarding crossed out information
 On 27/10/15, the following comment was posted in the comments section of this post by the user "tenfourgudbuddy" who claims to be a representative of stopwatchonline.co.uk. He said that the radios they are selling are not rebadged Baofeng BF-888S radios. I have crossed through the information in the post that may no longer be accurate with this updated information. See the comments below if you want to see my response.
"Please correct all of the the misinformation in this post of remove it completely. Shopwatch online does not sell or use Kirisun handsets. The units that you refer to a Baofeng are nothing of the sort. They are Zastone V-180 handsets that are a completely different make, quality, size and product. All the handsets use transformers at the plug and DO NOT use single insulated wires. Steve - Shopwatch Online. Please contact me if you have any questions. contact@shopwatchonline.co.uk"

6 comments:

  1. Please correct all of the the misinformation in this post of remove it completely. Shopwatch online does not sell or use Kirisun handsets. The units that you refer to a Baofeng are nothing of the sort. They are Zastone V-180 handsets that are a completely different make, quality, size and product. All the handsets use transformers at the plug and DO NOT use single insulated wires. Steve - Shopwatch Online. Please contact me if you have any questions. contact@shopwatchonline.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Steve. Thanks for your comment on this post. I apologise for the mistake in saying that you sell what looks like a Baofeng BF-888S. The radios do look incredibly similar to me, but I will put in the post that you have said that the information is not correct.

      The digital SCHEMELINK radios you sell, or at least were selling at the time I looked on your website (I can't now, as you seem to have removed the products) definitely matched the description of the Kirisun S780 and also looked exactly the same as them apart from the logo. Everyone in the radio world knows that you can get your own logo put on Chinese manufactured radios if you buy a big enough batch of them. I am still convinced that the digital SCHEMELINK radios you sell are the same radio as Kirisun sells as the S780, just with a different branding applied. I agree with you that it is not a Kirisun product, because it is now a "SCHEMELINK" product due to the branding.

      Delete
    2. Hi,

      Thanks for the corrections. The analogue handsets I no longer supply as digital is far better audio quality. I have tested Baofeng 888's and they are very basic radios, not recommended for shop watch use. The Zastone V180 is a totally different handset and can be seen in this video compared to 888's https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMWflpfz37o

      The digital handsets are also Zastone (model DP860) and are better quality in my opinion compared to Kirisun 780's. They use the same dPMR protocol but I have not had the issues that you have reported. I have used Kirisun 780s and experienced problems, especially with the audio blowing when a headset was used. It is a design problem with the speaker ground. The Zastone DP860 does not suffer from performance issues and is currently performing very well for shop watch operations and an affordable alternative to brands such as motorola. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnQWiN-7Kfg

      Delete
    3. It is very interesting to hear your point of view on the subject, Steve.
      Do you think that the radios are rugged enough? It looks to me like the Zastone DP860 still has the same build quality as the Kirisun S780. I found the build quality okay, but I wouldn't expect it to last more than a few drops onto a hard floor like the type they use in shopping centers, whereas Motorola's commercial stuff does seem like it would last well with that type of treatment.
      I do dislike the pricing of Motorola products though so in some ways it is good to go for a cheaper system, however I do have concerns about the reliability of low budget chinese equipment. Motorola products are incredibly expensive really for the technology they are. Old mobile phones had technology as good as the latest Motorola DMR radios, but somehow they still sell them for £500+ a radio.
      Just out of interest, do you usually set systems up with encryption, or is the "security through obscurity" enough for these radios? Do you usually use repeaters or just simplex channels? I have played with Chinese dPMR equipment but never had the experience of using a repeater with it. And why did you pick dPMR over DMR? Was it just because of the price difference or maybe because there were no decent cheap DMR radios around at the time you started setting up these systems?
      The name's Ben, by the way.

      Delete
    4. Hi Ben,

      They seem rugged enough for the current application and are cheap enough to replace any damaged units. So far there have been no damages apart from a dud battery and antennas that seem to get chewed. The buttons and keypad are holding up fine. The radio networks are setup using repeaters and encryption. The key has to be disclosed to OFCOM. dPMR is currently the choice due to cost but I see DMR taking the lead at some point. It's still early days with chinese digital but so far some products have surprised and can only get better. The radios I have installed so far are replacing Motorola systems. Cost is a big factor.

      Delete
  2. Please correct all of the the misinformation in this post of remove it completely. Shopwatch online does not sell or use Kirisun handsets. The units that you refer to a Baofeng are nothing of the sort. They are Zastone V-180 handsets that are a completely different make, quality, size and product. All the handsets use transformers at the plug and DO NOT use single insulated wires. Steve - Shopwatch Online. Please contact me if you have any questions. contact@shopwatchonline.co.uk

    ReplyDelete

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