on September 23, 2009
All manufacturers exaggerate the range of these little radios. I have used these to hear users on top of a 14,000 foot mountain from 6 miles away, but there were no obstructions between me and them. That's the best distance I've achieved. I had a lower power version of these and they worked well for several years before one of them died. I saved its battery as a spare for these and I can still use the one working with these. Most Midlands use the same rechargeable batteries, although you might carry at least four alkalines along if you expect to be away from the recharger for more than a day. If you're camping out you might want to establish a timetable to use them to extend battery life. They have excellent channel security, either with just two of them or in a group. Hearing other users of the same channel can get very annoying. The numerous privacy choices prevent that almost 100%. Like others, in a city or any enclosed space the range is very limited. The headsets can be handy of you're fishing or hunting. I've used 2-way radios for more than 40 years. The first ones I had were the size and weight of bricks. These are state-of-the-art, light, with good clips and among the best currently available.
on February 25, 2010
I recently purchased these back in January. I have had Motorola and Cobra's before, but not that happy with their range, about 1-1 1/2 miles. I took these out with me on a day hike 2 weeks ago. I live in Idaho and it was cold and snowing a lot. My partner's wife decided to wait in the truck, so we used this to test these radios. Very hilly terrain. Conditions sucked, cold, blowing snow. We got about 3 miles separation is all for the day, but they worked great. I dropped mine in the snow several times, banged it on trees, sat on it. It held up great. For the money these are great radios for in the field. I love them and have since purchased two more. Oh ya the batteries held up great as well, we had them on for about 6 hours.
on May 5, 2011
I am writing this review to save you time and money. I did a side by side real world test with the Midland GXT1000VP4 and the Motorola MR350s. Both good radios, but the Midland is deffinately better. Here is why. The test was done with the radios in town and out of town. My brother was standing in his back yard with one of each of the radios, and I was traveling in my car from location to location to test both range and clarity. The best I did was 2.67 miles with the Motorola. When I mean the best, I actually mean I could hear a word or two, but made out what my brother was saying. The Midland, in the exact same location, same channel, and even used the same hand to talk with, was not struggling at all. The range was not only better, but the clarity of the speaker was like night and day. I also brought along my older 18 mile Cobra radio, with also out performed the Motorolas. Better sound and better range. In four locations, the Midlands could communicate with no problem whereas the Motorolas would not even break the squelch. Before you think anything about it, I had the sensitivity on both radios set correctly and I had both radios on HI power. The Midland, is a bit harder to operate then the Motorola. I give that to the Motorola. I also like the feel of the Motorola better in my hand, but the bottom line is range with clarity, which easily goes to the Midland. The only reason I did not give the Midland an 5 star rating is because I think the user interface is a bit difficult to use. The symbols used to represent the functions of the radio are not the easiest to figure out.
on October 4, 2009
I recently purchased these radios after our 2-year old Motorolas were stolen. We use the radios exclusively for RVing (communicating between driver and spotter when maneuvering). The audio on these radios is MUCH better than the previous Motorolas. Menu functions seem to be a bit more intuitive as well.
The only negative I have found is "range", or lack thereof. Midland advertises 36 miles. (Yeah, I know, that's on a straight shot with nothing in between, but how many of us really use them under those conditions!) In the real world we were able to transmit about 1 mile.
I knew this limitation going in, so I wasn't disappointed.
The radios work well for our purposes.
on October 18, 2009
A great two-way radio for direct or simplex communication for campers, hikers or anyone that requires short distance conversation less than two miles. Remember that the distance marketed by Midland and any 22 channels or greater radios is applicable only when you can see the person 10 miles away without any objects including trees or shrubs in between. Unless you are in a flat desert or ocean, you will not get the range as advertised.
One way to obtain longer distance with a UHF radio is by raising its height. If one of the user is at higher altitude such as hills, tall rocks or building, both can communicate at farther distance.
Don't forget to obtain an FCC license to operate on the GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) frequencies for channel 1-7, and 15-22. These frequencies can operate up to 5 watt and you will be sharing the same frequencies with other GMRS users. It is illegal to operate these frequencies without a license though many operate the radios without knowing that you can receive a hefty fine. The license is very easy to obtain through FCC website for Universal Licensing System (ULS)[...].
The license is for 5 years [...]. No test is required for GMRS but you can operate on any of the GMRS frequencies for your entire family under one license. That is your parents, childrens and any close member of the family.
My son is using the Midland GXT1000 when he is at the mall or at the playground with mommy. I can inline skate in the same park and communicate with him at any time. It's a great tool and less complicated than a cell phone.
on July 7, 2010
I place importance on quality communication, as we spend much time driving off road buggies in the mountains of northern AZ, and I have tried many radios. For the money and stated performance category, I would place these Midland Outfitter Series GXT1050VP4 50-Channel 36-Mile Waterproof 2-Way GMRS at the top of the list. I bought to try, the three radio sets with the highest recommendations and these were by far the best for long distance communication. Now long distance is a relative term. I hope no one really expects to be able to use these at 36 miles. In the mountains with several obstructions we got clear sound both ways at about 3 - 4 miles. About 25% more than the others we tried. To get much better you will need to jump up to radios that cost about $150. -$200. each. My only criticism is that all these radios are just way too complicated these days. Too many options. But then I am certainly old school. I just want to be able to talk when I need to. Good luck.
on November 3, 2009
I purchased these to upgrade from my old Icom FRS radios which were well built (Japan) but not enough range. These have some nice features such as NOAA weather channels, ability to use 4aa batteries when the battery pack depletes, dual channel scan and two types of squelch codes CTCSS and DCS. Some of the features were not very useful to us but nice to know they're there if ever needed. I liked the silent option. I understood that there was no way they would do 36 miles. I just wanted a useful way of calling back to camp. From mtn top to valley we got 7 miles. We even achieved a signal from my lost partner headed up the wrong valley 3/4 miles on the dark side of the mtn. If you understand how radio waves work you can use these to their fullest extent. My old FRS radios worked out to 18 miles hill to hill. So these should work just fine. One con is the squelch crack at the end of transmission, not good if you want stealth.
I would recommend these..
on September 21, 2011
This radio set is probably one of the best I have ever owned. Although there are some downers to this model, its ups outweigh the downs. The complexity of this radio is something I have always liked, and although its features are not much different than any other radio, they do tend to perform better. I go many places with this set, some of which include skiing, flying ultralight airplanes (which is what I use them most for), driving, boundary water canoeing for a week, hiking, and biking. With every situation, they perform exceptionally well in every aspect. In a hilly forest, I can usually get around 1-2 miles (3-4 if I turn the auto squelch off), but while I'm flying, I can stay in contact for around 20 miles (when the weather is good). I would definitely believe that if you could attach an external antenna to these like aviation radios have, that they would go the stated 36 miles in suboptimal conditions. When I am skiing, I can communicate with people all the way down the mountain while I am on the summit (as long as they too have 5 watt radios, not the 5mw FRS radios). The batteries will last an entire day (9-12 hours).
There are some things I don't like, however. Compared to the GMRS Cobra radios, the squelch is not as good on these. I was hiking along with some friends a couple of months ago; two were Cobra radios, one at base camp and one with the hiker, and two Midland radios, one mine and the other my buddy's. The guy at base camp made a call to us and only the squelch on the Cobra radio was opened. The Midland radio's squelches stayed sealed. Yes, we were on the same channel and CTCSS code, I am not stupid. When we made a call to the guy at the base camp, we always heard him respond through the Cobra radio and not ours.
Another thing I don't like is the fact that it has "50" channels. In fact, every channel above 21 (or 22?) is just one of the lower channels with a privacy code. This gives people a false belief that their radio is better than others because it has 50 channels and theirs only has 21. It also is very frustrating when you are trying to scan the spectrum because it will also scan all of the false channels with the different codes, taking it a long times just to scan the true 21 channels. On top of that, it scans the channels like fat lady trying to run to the grocery store without her Hover round scooter to get the 80% off sale for a 48 pack of Twinkies. It is as slow as heck. That makes the scan feature almost useless because by the time it scans one channel, it will take it another 30 seconds to scan the same one again. Like on the Cobra radios I had (I sold them to the hiker friend), it would scan them like lighting and since it didn't have 50 channels, it scanned each one about every 4 seconds.
Those are mainly the huge factors of this radio, but here are some other pros and cons:
CONS: Not repeater capable, 28 fake channels, slow scan, not water proof (only resistant to splashes and rain), squelch is insensitive, battery charger keeps charging not matter what which can damage the life span of your batteries, customer service of the company sucks (I liked Cobra customer service better), doesn't have Rewind-Say-Again® (a feature of the Cobra which I loved so much).
PROS: Rugged, durable, dependable, AA battery capable, great reception, NOAA weather radio (with WX automatic alert), the group feature which might or might not come in handy, the cool camouflage design, the animal calls, whisper mode, wide range of VOX sensitivity, big screen, great backlight, lightweight, good belt clips, bundled with average-quality headsets which were good enough to use in an open cockpit with a loud engine in the back.
So, it has about as many cons as it does pros, about as much as any radio would have. I could make another review about the Cobra radios that would have the same amount of both too. But all in all, this radio is best for those who are outdoors a lot, and because of its overall orientation towards outdoorsmen, I would highly recommend these for just that type of person. Trust me, do not get any other type of radio if you have an outdoor lifestyle. I have two pair and I have not encountered any problem for over a year now. Although one of my radio's PPT button doesn't work but that was my fault since I shouldn't have opened it... so don't open it. But I have a tactical throat mic with a separate PPT so it still works fine.
If you are wondering how each radio company ranks for this type of use, here it is:
1. Midland Radio
4. Cobra (however it would rank close to #1 in any other situation)
As for the other companies, I am unfamiliar with their products. But there you have it, a somewhat good review for the Midland GXT1050VP4.
I bought this set because I hike in places where there is no cell coverage. So, what would I do if I fell down a ravine and broke my leg? I can only holler so loud. Now, with one of these guys with me, I am free to fall down ravines without fear of never being found.
▲ This is a easy, cheap way to buy protection. I advise all my hiking friends to always carry a full-charged unit like these. My experience has been good. The units have worked as advertised.
▲ The exact steps to start the scan, and select a particular channel, are a little confusing, so I always carry the little instruction booklet with the unit--both in a waterproof pouch. However, it's not that complicated.
▲ I sometimes just put them in "scan" mode whilst I'm hiking, to listen to what the other folks around me are doing. One can sometimes hear the other users using "repeaters" in the area.
▲ The construction is solid; these are not little dainty units. On the other hand, they are not exactly MIL-standard either. They are designed for consumer use, not for heavy duty use, or for getting wet. So, keep that in mind, and you will not be disappointed.
▲ The charging system works well. I keep both units in the platform, so I'm always ready to go.
▲ Great value! I cannot imagine someone balking at the incredibly cheap price that buys so much.
▼ Like everyone knows, the range claim is meaningless--especially if you are hiking down in a valley. (Hence, the 4-* Rating.) ** There is absolutely no way you will achieve 30+ mile range.** Nevertheless, for hikers like myself, I am confident that I can also get hold of a rescuer (channel 20), should the need arise.
√ All in all, a very good, trouble free product. Recommend!
♫ A Review by Chris Lawson
First: as of right now in September, 2012, keep in mind that using the GMRS channels requires an FCC license. There is an effort to change that, and you'll want to make sure you're clear on that.
That's relevant because the GMRS channels appear, based on experimenting with these radios, to have better range and clarity than the FRS channels do.
Second: rechargeable batteries: this is good, but the recharge unit should be configured differently than it is. The only way to charge the batteries is in the radios in the base. That precludes getting extra batteries or using standard AA batteries while you charge your battery packs. That's a nuisance.
Third: 36 miles? Really? Maybe across open water. However, they worked from the house to the farm, about 3.5 miles away, with buildings and power lines in between. The range also covered from one deer stand to another and back to the truck. So, the range is really what you are going to expect. Keep in mind, range ratings are like dealership miles-per-gallon ratings: based on the ideal conditions in all ways.
Fourth: sound quality: this was surprisingly good. It went from clear to gone when out of range, rather than those annoying last few minutes of "did you get that?" Which always comes through like "Di__ ___u __et___ tha?" That's better: no doubts about whether or not the message got through.
Fifth: the Weather feature: good, but I have a beef with the NWS around here. I'll put it this way: the radio was picking up just fine, but the tornado warning didn't get broadcast on the nearest station, because, well, no one knows why. So, the feature works and picks up what is being broadcast.
Sixth: call feature on the radio: makes an irritating racket on the receiving end. Which works quite well to get someone's attention rather than having that person in the other room and not knowing you're on the radio.
Seventh: headset: these are ok, but I am either too dense to make them work with the VOX function on the radio or they don't support it. All in all, not bad though.
These are going in the survival kit and out to the woods this fall.