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Don't know your capabilities but if it were me I would open the phone and check the contacts for transmit button. Sometimes contacts get corroded and need cleaning or it just may be no connection at all and a adjustment of the contacts will resolve the issue.
If the stations are just "gone" chances are that they've moved to digital and/or trunked systems. Without knowing your exact location and the frequencies/services that you "lost" a more specific answer isn't possible. But yes, technology is changing and a lot of metropolitan area services are moving to improve the reliability and security of their communications.
Did the radios previously work together? If so, you have one radio in need of repair.
If the radios are new to you, and you do not know if they previously worked together, it could be a simple programming problem. Take it to your local Motorola dealer to check the programming.
One simple test to see if you have one with PL and one CSQ, is to press the monitor button and see if the two radios can communicate when they are in open squelch mode. (The monitor button will be one of the side buttons near the PTT.)
It's also possible that the noise is being caused by local interence. You could try using a different channel. Disable your interference eliminator function and try listening to the various channels to find a quiet one. The interference codes don't actually eliminate interference they just keep you from hearing activity on the channel that can still interfere with your communications.
As long as there isn't other activity on the channel your radios should be able to communcate. Are the radios able to communicate with each other when you are in the same room? Does the problem occur when your son gets further away? Or when he is outside and you are inside? If so, the issue may be one of range.
These kinds of two-way radios are very good for communiations when the users are within line-of-sight of each other. However communications can become blocked by tall trees and buildings, if one user is inside a building or automobile, etc. The 8-mile range that Motorola lists is really only practical when one user has some altitude over the other and clear line-of-sight, such as being on top of a tall hill outdoors with no nearby buildings. For typical communications over relatively flat ground with no obstructions, I would expect a more typical range of less then one mile. Obstructions can lower this effective communications range even more.
What kind of radio? Portables? Mobile? Need a lot more info. Otherwise, based on what you have said, and only that little bit of info, it sounds like you have a portable with a battery that will not hold sufficient charge to transmit. Quite common.
First,we call this transciever as SRRS (Short Range Radio Service), it can communicate within 500 meters open range or no obstruction,now if the unit can't communicate each other within the range ,i would suggest to sent it to uniden service center......