Most helpful positive review
745 of 754 people found the following review helpful
Best Emergency Radio
on February 16, 2010
If you are looking for an Emergency 2 way radio, look no further.
1. AM/FM - These are not Bose speakers, but they are clear. It works just like portable battery powered radios. This is useful in emergencies when the TV and cable are knocked down so you can get news from stations that are still transmitting. I take it out with me on my patio and just listen to music or news.
2. Multiple power source - Can run on Alkaline, included Rechargeable battery pack, AC socket, DC through the cigarette lighter, or just cranking to recharge the batteries. With all those sources of energy, you will never run out of power.
3. 5 Watt GMRS Radio - It truly is powerful. Just as strong as my professional radios. Excellent as a base station when traveling or trying to look for help in an emergency.
4. Portability - It comes with a strap so that you dont have to hold it when moving about. It also has a handle so you have a firm grip when carrying it.
5. LED flashlight - You will never be in the dark. I have tried leaving it on the whole night and it still had have charge. I just used the crank to fully charge it again.
6. Weather-proof - I actually used it when there was a one week heavy downpour here LA. It got wet in the rain, but it did not fail.
7. VOX - It has 3 levels of sensitivity. At level 1, it is so sensitive that it will transmit if someone in the room speaks.
8. External Speaker Mic - It is very clear and is functional. It uses the same connectors as my Professional Icom handheld radio, so you can even upgrade the Speaker mic if you wish.
1. Durability - As a base station, or if you don't drop it it is perfectly fine. It is not built to withstand a drop on a hard surface like Professional radios. This is an emergency base station so, you aren't expected to treat it like a walkie talkie. They never stated that it is as durable as a professional radio, so I was not expecting it. So it isn't such a big deal.
2. No carrying case - It would have made it more useful if they included a small bag where you can put this and the accessories, as well as some basic emergency supplies. But, again, this was something I knew that was not included so, it is just a nice to have.
It does everything it says it can do, and does it very well. If you were caught after an earthquake, this is the equipment you will need to have with you. It delivers what it promises, and is better than the other Midland Walkie talkies.
*****UPDATE APRIL 2, 2010********
I performed a distance and clarity test.
1. Midland XT511($65)
2. ICOM F21 4 WATT PROFESSIONAL RADIO($200)
3. ICOM F40GT 4 WATT PROFESSIONAL RADIO($500)
1. My wife standing on the balcony of my house. She has both the Midland and the ICOM F40GT.
2. I will stop every 1 mile and get down from the car and I will use the ICOM F21 to talk to her.
3. I will ask her to communicate first with the Midland, then the ICOM.
1. Midland - I can hear her and understand her without static or noise. The audio quality was a little muffled and was not as loud as the ICOM.
2. ICOM - I can hear her and understand her without static or noise. The audio was noticeably louder and clearer than the Midland.
1. Midland - I can still talk to her. There is some static and a little noise. The audio did not drop.
2. ICOM - Just as good as it was at 1 mile. No static or noise.
1. Midland - Barely audible. Trails in and out.
2. ICOM - Noticeable static and noise, but I can still communicate without drop of audio.
The ICOM can reach further and is clearer than the Midland in transmit and receive, but it still does what it was meant to do and it does do it well, standing up to an ICOM. But keep in mind that the ICOM is just a tranceiver, it does not have any of the many functions of the Midland. I still give this 5 stars for function and excellent value.
****UPDATE November 28,2011****
I am very happy to report that it still works fine and I have had no problems with it. I use it as my mobile base station when we go outdoors. Still doing a great job. do not leave batteries inside if you intend to store it so that the battery will not leak or cause corrosion.
****UPDATE October 26, 2012*****
Amazingly, both Emergency GMRS radios are alive and still used daily. I have one under my car seat, and the other one is supposed to be in my Bug Out Bag, but instead of shelling out money, I used it as my patio radio. I listen to my favorite Radio station, 104.3 FM in LA. Of course I switch over to AM and NOAA just to be sure there are no emergencies, or just to find out the weather forecast. I also Kayak, so it helps to know if the waves are high in the beach area.
All consumer radios have limited warranties, usually lasting only a year. So please TEST YOUR RADIOS extensively in the first year so that if there is a problem with it, they will replace it. But, I am so happy with how long these radios have lasted. $65 for 3 years of extensive use as an emergency radio, flashlight, Patio entertainment and weather forecasts. I only had to change the rechargeable battery and bought a spare after 3 years.
Hope to catch you on the air.
****UPDATE January 16,2013*****
Coming up to 4 years and these radios are still working great. The AC Adapter wire got cut because I accidentally ran over it with the Vacuum cleaner(Genius, I know). I called Midland now and told them, no questions asked, they told me they were sending me a brand new adapter for FREE! That is EXCELLENT customer service right there! Kudos to Midland.
Anyway, I am using the Dual channel watch option now since more of my neighbors also got into radio. I have 2 groups talking on different channels so that it does not get crowded. I then use the Dual Channel Monitor feature to monitor 2 channels simultaneously. We have our radios always on so that we can call each other, and I am acting as a repeater/operator since I have the XT511 Basecamp. We make sure to always have someone in the neighborhood monitoring the radios. It does give us peace of mind that we can call for help to the entire neighborhood at a press of a button.