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Well, it's been not quite a month now since I received a partial refund* for a brand new BCR-40U I purchased back in February. I received the unit in early March and it was bad out of the box. I contacted Bridgecom who instructed me to 'open a ticket'. In fact, they don't do anything until you go through the process of opening a ticket. Then you wait anywhere from a day to a week for a response. I had my suspicions as to where the problem lay and informed Bridgecom that I could, with their approval, crack the cover and diagnose the problem and, that I am not only qualified to do this, but have state of the art test equipment (if required). However, they basically insisted that I send it in to them (at my cost ~$90 USD) I sent it insured of course, but even if I hadn't, it would have been about $50 to ship it back. It turns out, it was a bad duplexer (as I suspected), and so they sent it back and it worked fine, save for yet another issue (I'll get to that). Less than a day later, it stopped working for no apparent reason. This time I decided to at least look at the programming and found that the repair tech left in a test channel and, after I removed it with the software, the repeater started working again. Now to the next problem... One of the first things I found wrong with this repeater is that if you program in a user with DCS on RX, that is the only user you can have, included the sysop/control user. Tone squelch users, you can have as many as you want up to the limit of 23 users/coded squelch per channel. After reading the manual and all of the sales literature, which makes no mention of this limitation, I Contacted Bridgecom (again), and they basically became forthcoming and stated it was a limitation of one of the chips controlling coded squelch system. It is also important to note, that per the instruction manual, the unit IS CAPABLE of multiple DCS users. Indeed, I think it was me pointing out that fact they agree to refund my money. After that last confession and 2 primary failures, I decided enough is enough. You spend good money for a new repeater you expect better. So I requested and received a refund, well, sort of. The refund appears to have been short the tax I paid for the original purchase. Compound that with the fact that I had to pay to return it twice (once for the repair and once for a refund) at a cost to me of just shy of $200, I am out of pocket about $250 just for 'trying' a (brand new) Bridgecom repeater. I'm really sad to have to write this, but others should be warned. I very much wanted to support a small American vendor/manufacturer, but I've never been so disappointed with any vendor/manufacturer. Between the failures, slow service, basically false advertising (the DCS issue) and, having to pay to return (again twice) a unit that was defective from day one, it was just too much. I'm kicking myself today because what I should have done was purchase a used Motorola repeater for less than what I paid for the 'new' BCR-40U. And I am not talking buying off eBay either, there are plenty of mainstream dealers where you can get a used MTR2000 or even a Quantar for less than the BCR-40U. Bottom, line, I have to call the Bridgecom BCR-40U a 'Don't Buy'. Not just for the defective unit, but also their warranty policies which leaves a customer out of pocket. I had to pay for their problems? WTF?? Indeed, given their service/warranty policies, I don't think I'll ever buy anything from them again. Just my own experience, FWIW!
Well, this is actually a rewrite of round #2 and is technically round #3 now. I am reserving further judgement pending the outcome of my current situation. The (NEW) repeater came back from Bridgecom with a new, now external duplexer, as I had originally intended when I ordered it and, it initially seems to be just fine. Unfortunately that did not last long. Somewhere over the weekend, just days after putting it back on the air, the repeater died completely, no TX or RX. I can still talk to it with the software and it, from that perspective, is fine. However, there is no longer any receive or transmit. I've opened yet another ticket with their system and I am awaiting a response from Bridgecom. I expect I'll have to again shell out another $50 just to send it back. So this post is just a placeholder/heads up for now, based on what Bridgecom does in response. Personally, I am really pissed off and, extremely disappointed. I chose Bridgecom because of their (apparent) reputation and because it is a USA company. Right now, I'm feeling pretty stupid for that choice. However, as I stated previously, I'll reserve judgement after they have a chance to respond. In my nearly 50 years of working and playing in radio communications, I have never experienced such ridiculous repeat failures of a brand new piece of equipment. Stay Tuned.
Anyone have any experience with Bridgecom and/or their Repeater? I have two questions which, I believe I know the answer, but would like confirmation. I tried calling and even leaving a message and 4 days later they have not responded. That leaves me wondering about the company despite their videos and website. Anyway... Q) The BCR-40U is advertised as 400-470 and so, duplexer aside, is the unit programmable across that range? Q) 'Pandemic" shipping issues aside, the website shows they currently have 4 of these repeaters in stock, but also notes call for 'lead time'. Does anyone know what that actually means? Are they talking about configuration time, is the unit being shipped in from Timbuktu, what? Also, if you have one of these units, what was your order to delivery (ballpark)? As noted, I have called them twice now and left messages with contact information and they simply don't return calls, or at least they don't return my calls. Q.) If you are an owner/operator of one of these units, what is your impression of the unit and/or the company? Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks!