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on April 28, 2011
I have been dreading purchasing a weather radio for some time because they all seem too expensive for just a radio that receives the weather band. But, I figured out that it is time to take this out of the "family" budget. I literally looked at every single weather radio on Amazon. I found out that I want a radio with SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) so it will alert for inclement weather. (tornadoes at night are an issue where I live) Most other radios seem to have issues with reliability, reception, or construction--issues I want to avoid. So, I narrowed it down to the Midland radios: WR-100, WR-120, and WR-300.

I was leery of purchasing this at first because of the limited review at the time. I found at that this is just the updated model of the WR-100, which seems to be one of the more popular weather radios. I went to Midland's website(to lookup the WR-120) and saw that the item was just released, hence the limited info.

I would consider this a great standard/staple alert weather radio. The SAME technology lets you setup your county, or multiple counties. You can find your county codes online at NOAA (search: national weather service radio codes to be taken there directly).

I really like the backlight on the display--a nice cool blue with easy to read lettering. The interface itself is great, it lets me flip through all current alerts with the up/down buttons, so I don't even have to listen to the radio to get the most up to date status. It is simple enough that my 4 year old could easily figure it out.

The alarm has 3 settings-tone, voice, and display.
-The tone alarm is loud! -- Which is great, not an annoying sound, just loud. It will wake you up. We can hear it all through our house.

-The voice alarm plays the loud tone for about 5 seconds and then goes into the radio broadcast(at the volume you set). I wish that the voice setting played just the radio, as I am used to a clock-radio alarm clock. The loud alert startles me out of sleep! I want the alarm to wake me, not scare me.

-The display just illuminates the backlight. Not useful for me at night, as I would not wake up to a soft blue, glowing light. I am sure this is plenty useful for some, and I will probably change the radio to this once we are out of tornado season.

Personally, I have not seen the multiple alert lights (5 for each-alert, watch and warning) to be all that useful because every message that my local weather service puts out does not code to the varying degree levels. I am sure this is useful for some, but I live right next to the NOAA station and they do not take advantage of this feature.(more a complaint against my local NOAA than the radio) -- ps the reception is great....because I live right next to the NOAA station, so my review of that is biased. :)

The radio runs on three AA batteries for backup. Not sure how long they last. There was no difference in reception, backlight, and radio functions when I unplugged it. This seems like this might be a great radio to do some light traveling.

I could not justify spending the extra on the WR-300 to get any additional features. (Maybe Midland can include a tone volume option in the next release model that lets you choose between several volume levels for any alert? Then the radio would be perfect.) I would have rated this 4.5 stars because the voice alert is not pure voice, but half stars are not an option, so I rounded up. Midland's Research and Product Development team seems to listen to customer reviews, so maybe the voice alarm can be fixed.

Definitely a must have family radio for safety, and the best value out there--I am glad I purchased it.
Phew! What a lengthy review! :)
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on March 30, 2013
***Buyer beware- Make sure you check your item if buying thru this link! We were looking for the WR120EZ model and Amazon sent the WR120 model. There is a key difference between the two that we needed (ability to choose which alerts we want). Now we have to go thru the return process to try and get the right one: From the Mfgr- The WR120 acts like a monitor, much like a smoke detector. It sits silently until an alert signal is sent out by the National Weather Service. When received, the radio will automatically "wake-up" and sound a loud alert tone to let you know that a serious weather event is heading your way. The button you are pressing is an extra function that allows you to listen to the NWS broadcast anytime you want to and not necessary to the actual alert function of the radio.
The WR120EZ has a special feature that allows you to set which alerts you want the radio to respond to, with many of the "Advisory" and "Watch" alert tones turned off as not to unduly alarm you. The radio will still respond to these alerts, providing the text in the display, but not the loud tone. You can view the entire list of alerts thru the radios menu and set which ones you want the alert tone on or off, but please note that some tones such as for "Tornado Warning" can not be turned off to insure you get this very important alert.
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on June 2, 2011
This model is quite similar to the older WR-100, with a few exceptions. The new model has a shorter antenna and it automatically starts the setup when it's first plugged in. All of these are nice minor improvements, but Midland also made one change that's a HUGE step backwards: You cannot disable certain alarm types. ALL alerts will sound and there is no way to disable, for instance, winter weather advisories. I REALLY don't want the damn thing going off at 2 in the morning to alert me to something I don't really need to know about until I get up.

The only alerts I care about are for tornadoes or severe thunderstorms. Flood warnings don't affect me, I'm in a 500+ year flood plain and 150 feet above the nearest river. Warnings about snow or high winds don't really affect me until I head out, and I can check the internet for that. And I live far enough out in the country that Amber alerts are totally useless. I want to disable all of these, which I could with the WR-100, but this new model lacks that capability.
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on April 28, 2011
I ordered the Midland WR-120 weather radio April 24 and received it on April the 27. It took me about 5 mintutes to set it up, the manual was very easy to follow. As I was looking on line to see if I did every thing right, and how to tell if the radio was working, the alarm when off telling me my county was under a tornadoes warning. I could not believe this, the TV had just told us we were in the clear. Because of this radio my family and I when to the basement of our home and was safe. I awoke this morning to find others was not so lucking.
I believe all home should have a Midland weather radio, I am glad we did.
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on March 24, 2011
This is a really nice radio, with a great deal at Amazon.com! My home's household current glitches the radio on a 6-plug extender, but I fixed that by unplugging my iPad charger and the radio's power adapter, and plugging those into the regular outlet. When the 6-plug adapter was used, the antenna had to be in a certain position (even though it's by a window!) and now - any antenna position I want, it works like my WR-100 did - like a charm. It hasn't sounded yet, so I don't have a full review. (It came on test day, but wasn't opened until quarter of 3 PM. I'd recommend this radio to anyone who needs a radio and is WORTH EVERY PENNY!
This is a new version of the WR-100.
New features:
-Button Beeps On/Off Menu Option
-Weekly Test Siren On/Off Menu Option
-3 Languages (English, Spanish, French)
-Larger Screen
-5 alert lights per alert (5 lights per alert X 3 alerts = 15 lights), formerly 1 light per alert (1 light per alert X 3 alerts = 3 lights)
-New Warning Siren (Same as WR-100 and WR-300 except louder and slower)
Full review once I SEE an alert.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon May 4, 2011
great weather radio very easy to set up weather channel comes in clear alert is very loud no way a person could sleep though that when going off well worth the money. I can now sleep better knowing this radio will wake us when storm is near and give us extra time to take cover. will update later on this radio it did go off when NOAA did there weekly test so that works.

update 5/21/11 we just had our first storms of the season radio worked great. we knew of storm before it was on TV and before it came over police scanner.

update 7/1/11 still works GREAT went off 4 times today once for thunderstorm watch, twice for tornado warnings that missed us by 10 miles, and once for thunderstorm warming, I've been reading other reviews some not good that's
to bad this radio works great for us.

UPDATE 6/16/12 well we have had this radio just over year now and it still works GREAT. I only had to replace the batteries once.

UPDATE 11/28/14 still works great
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on June 26, 2013
I bought this item in August, 2010. It worked very well for 18 months. Then, it stopped its SAME function. I thought, "Well, maybe they're having trouble at NWS." So, I let it go for a month, (we weren't in hurricane season at that time). When I clicked the snooze button, the NWS forecasts would come on. So, I waited for Wednesdays to come. This is the day when they have the test broadcasts around here, (Wilmington, NC). No alerts were coming in.

So, here I was in the state of denial. After all, it's a Midland - a quality product - which just can't fail this fast. WRONG WRONG WRONG,

What does Midland mean to me now? Invincible at sales, Invisible at service. Eventually, I discovered (via Google searches) that this happens a lot with their products.

I've been looking for other weather alert radios. Many have success stories; many don't. I'd buy another with a "plug and pray attitude". Buy it when the tornado/hurricane seasons start; plug it in, program it, and pray that it lasts for 6 months. At this point, we haven't bought another Midland. Why reward them for a poor product?

For now, we'll just watch the weather channel when storms are brewing, and stay awake if trouble is imminent. Why go to sleep when there's a probability that the radio won't alert us. I'm sending this in now because after reading ongoing poor ratings for these products 2 years after we purchased ours, I think unsuspecting buyers ought to be aware.
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on May 25, 2011
UPDATE 12/14/13: I've now had the unit for a couple of years. With the unit plugged into an outlet free of interference from other electrical/electronic devices it has (to the best of my knowledge) never failed to issue an alert during severe weather. I like this unit. Again, I'm only trying to make everyone aware of the reception issues that can occur with improper placement. Thanks.

ORIGINAL REVIEW: The purpose behind purchasing this type of radio is to provide a reliable early warning in the event of severe weather.

The city of Joplin, MO - which is about thirty minutes to our southwest - was destroyed this last Sunday by an EF-5 tornado with 200+ mph winds. 122 people have died and 1500 are still listed as missing. I've narrowly avoided being in several tornadoes merely by dumb luck. I don't intend to be unprepared again, particularly in the event that my family is sound asleep when one of these monsters comes rolling through.

All that said, the key word here is 'Reliable'.

Despite the glowing reviews, the Midland WR-120 DOES HAVE SOME LIMITATIONS. Maybe all weather radios have these same limitations, but I'm somewhat disappointed and wanted to share my concerns with anyone who may be considering a purchase.

It took me AN HOUR - even with the unit next to a window - to find a spot where I did not experience from moderate to severe radio interference - severe meaning that it completely lost the channel the WR-120 was set on. I tried different extension cords, no extension cords, etc.

Why? Was it due to a weak signal or poor antenna placement? No. I live five miles from the NOAA broadcast station and even closer to the National Weather Service's local office.

The problem is the effect that certain other devices plugged in to the same electrical outlet have on the unit's reception. Three seconds after plugging my laptop into the same outlet, the reception went from CRYSTAL CLEAR to LOST!. Initially, I plugged the WR-120 in to the surge strip that powers my Mac and experienced an even more disturbing issue. Upon plugged the unit in the reception was fine, but upon silencing the unit with the weather/snooze button and then activating it again the unit had completely lost reception - COMPLETELY!

While running the unit strictly on battery power - with the exact same physical placement of both the unit and the antenna - I experienced NONE of these issues. Running the unit off of batteries alone is not an option. As stated by the manufacturer:

"Batteries provide approximately 5 hours of emergency power or 75 hours of standby power for the radio in case of a power outage".

I have my WR120 installed in my office. Needless to say, all three available outlets have other items plugged in to them. If I had left my unit plugged in to the outlet I had used initially, I would have NEVER received ANY WARNING of an impending weather event as the item completely lost reception after the original setup. I'm pretty sure that NO RECEPTION = NO WARNING. I discovered this by accident. Given our recent history in this part of the country I'm very glad that I did.

My recommendation is this: Wherever you decide to plug in your unit, make certain to test it under all of the different electrical usage conditions of the outlet in question.

Additionally, one minor gripe for those considering mounting the item to a wall: This unit is designed with the input for the AC cord on the top (or back for those laying the unit flat). This means that if you mount the WR-120 to a wall the cord obtrusively juts up into the air out of the top of the unit and then loops back down to the ground. It looks bad. This could have very easily been remedied. The manufacturer should have moved this input onto the left side of the unit (opposite the on/off switch) and provided an AC adapter with an 'L' shaped prong rather than the 'sticks-straight-up-in-the-air' prong that results in the obtrusive two inch piece of black cord jutting out the top.

On the positive side, when the unit finds a good outlet it seems to function well. It's easy to use and set up. It's a nice looking piece of equipment. Unfortunately, my only option is to mount mine to a wall with it's appearance marred by the poor cord placement.
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on July 29, 2011
This radio is awesome. Yea it's loud but it's a weather radio it is supposed to be loud, I haven't seen one that is not, and I've had a few. Well, it is very easy to set up just follow the instructions they are very clear. I had a problem with reception, and after calling Midland they advised that I move the radio around the house that helped some but I had a metal roof that caused interference. I bought their antenna for $21.00, and once again it was easy to install, that solved my problem. If you live in area that is known for tornados, flooding or any emergencies this it's worth it.

ADDENDUM:

It has been a couple of months since I bought this radio, you must have an antenna if you live in areas that are low or surrounded by mountains. This radio warned us 30 minutes before the news of pending problems, like flash floods, or tornados. It was really helpful during Hurricane Irene.
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on May 11, 2011
This is my second Midland weather radio with SAME and I purchased it to replace the original. While I used the original for many years it either was set up wrong or never worked as the new one does? After setting the new one for "voice" it works as I had thought the original should have, announcing the alert and then giving out the information. The older one continuously placed the alert until turned off. This is much better!
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