Customer Reviews: MIDLAND WR300 Weather Radio
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on April 20, 2005
After having tried just about every SAME technology weatheradio out there, I found the WR-300 to be one of the better ones, and definitely the best of the Midland weatheradios to date.

One of the best features it has is that it allows you to disable the audiable alerts for every watch/warning except life threatening ones like tornado warning, or biological hazard warning, etc. Other brands and models will only allow you to disable the most harmless events. I do not wish to be alerted at 3am because of a severe thunderstorm warning, or tornado watch. With the WR-300, I won't be alerted unless there is actually a tornado warning.

The blue LED backlit LCD display is pretty sharp looking, too! There is a menu feature that allows you to continuously keep the blue backlighting on, although I think it would be too bright in a bedroom at night, especially if the WR-300 is right next to the bed on a nightstand.

Some people have complained about the beeps for every keypress, and I did not find that to bother me. Maybe a softer "click" sound for every keypress would be better. Also, others have reported that their WR-300 leaked audio when the WX is muted. I did not have this problem at all; it worked fine for me.

Things I really liked about the WR-300:

1) Extensive audiable alert disable ability

2) Form factor and relatively small size

3) Blue backlit display

4) 4-AA battery backup (instead of 9v transistor batt)

5) Am/Fm/clock/alarm features

6) Menu flexibility (although not that intuitive)

I gave the WR-300 a 4 instead of 5 star rating because of the following minor issues:

1) No display of event(s) remaining time(s)

2) Menu navigation and master alert disable/enable operation was not intuitive.

3) No visual indication as to whether or not the master audible alert is enabled or disabled.
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on September 3, 2005
I purchased this unit 6 months ago with the fear of "tornado season" coming. I live in an area where a tornado is likely with almost every storm. In past years, Easter weekend has been ruined by the destruction of houses in the path of a tornado.

We hear the alarm and listen to the weather service warning BEFORE the news stations can announce the warning on t.v.

The WR-300 has been great. The alarm is clearly heard by everyone throughout the house and the display gives a read out of the alert while the alarm is sounding. You can hear the local weather service with the touch of a button or press the AM/FM button and listen to local radio stations of your choice. The use of this radio is very simple. My kids know how to turn off the siren and how to press the weather radio button to listen to the verbal warning from the National Weather Service. The alarm is a great asset to have during night time hours.

The radio can be plugged in for everyday use and then when power is out for whatever reason, the backup batteries take over so that you can hear announcements and further weather warnings.

Many people have complained about the beeping while pressing the buttons. Yes, there is a beep but it is not that annoying. We do not do very much button pushing in the middle of the night and it has not bothered us.

There is a weekly test that can be a little annoying if you are asleep during the day. My husband is military and his schedule changes regularly, sometimes causing him to work mid-shift. When he is sleeping during the daytime hours, the alarm sounding during the weekly test can be disturbing but it is a small price to pay for safety. On the other side, the weekly test is a nice option. Each week we are assured that the radio is working and the alert will come through during an emergency.

This is a great item and wonderful purchase to make for yourself or a loved one. You really can not put a price on safety.
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VINE VOICEon August 16, 2004
I purchased 2 of these to replace the Midlands I lost in a tornado on July 13, 2004. The old radio saved the lives of myself, our 5 yr old and 3 of our grandchildren. If the radio had not been gone off, we would likely be dead. I never would have looked out the back door in time to get us all in the basement before an F4 hit our home. We live in the country and I have always had a weather radio. I tell everyone I know to get weather radio .
This is a nice model and I like the AM/FM feature. The problem I continually have had with every radio is that we live in the middle of the coverage areas and don't get the best signal at times. I have solved this by putting a Chore Boy stainless steel scrub pad on the antenna. It definitely improves the reception and seems to do better that foil. Other than that I think this is the best one I have had.
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on April 12, 2008
For several years, the National Weather Service weather radio network has been delivering warnings using two sets of technologies - a very old school single tone burst, which some older weather radios are trained to respond to, and the newer SAME codes, which deliver three sets of short data bursts which contain information about the county/counties the warning applies to, the type of warning issued, and the duration of the warning event.

SAME technology has allowed weather radios to respond with alerts intended only for your specific county. No more 3:00am weather warnings for an event three counties and 60+ miles away that will never impact you. Assuming you program these radios correctly, they will respond only to the warning criteria you set.

The Midland WR-300 conforms to the very basics of the SAME standard, but, like many of its competitors, has never implemented the full standard, which makes the radio obnoxious to deal with, particularly with its complete lack of support for the End of Message (EOM) standard. If you listen to a weather warning or test, you'll notice at the end of the message, three short data bursts are sent. That is the SAME standard method to tell weather radios that the warning message has concluded.

Well built weather radios recognize this EOM signal, and will immediately mute themselves.

The Midland series of radios, as a way of cutting engineering costs, ignore the EOM and simply have a five minute timer, which will eventually mute the radio.

After your third or fourth middle-of-the-night weather warning, you'll start to curse Midland for ignoring this important specification, as you either lie awake forced to listen to the radio blare for five minutes or you get up to go and shut it off.

In 2008, with the cost of producing a SAME chipset for weather radios costing next to nothing, any weather radio that does not respond to EOM is unacceptable in my opinion, and upon learning this one does not, I returned it.

And if this function did not irritate you before, wait.

In 2008, the National Weather Service is rolling out a new system to deliver weather warnings over the weather radio network. Soon, weather warnings will be issued for specific towns or sections within your county, and an entire new set of SAME codes will be issued (starting with a 1 or 2 instead of the usual 0). Many weather radios expect SAME codes to only start with 0 and will not work with the new codes.

Those that don't (or more commonly the individual owner won't realize the new codes exist and simply leave the county code programmed) will still respond to warnings, but now the radio will sound alerts repeatedly for warnings issued specifically to different parts of your county. For a severe thunderstorm or tornado, this can easily result in three to five warnings per event, coming every few minutes as a storm progresses through your county. And this means your weather radio will sound for every last one of them.

With a five minute timer on this unit, that means a thunderstorm will likely leave your weather radio audio on for 15-20 minutes minimum, unless you get up and turn the thing off each time it sounds.

The NOAA Weather Radio network will also shortly begin sending warnings including Amber Alerts, 911 outages, public safety warnings and advisories issued by the Department of Homeland Security, and other public safety agencies, which will sound the siren for each warning.

To not have EOM enabled is the equivalent to owning a smoke detector that goes off when you put something in the microwave. Eventually, you're going to start turning it off or unplugging it, which is exactly contrary to why we need weather radios.

At this point, you should only consider weather radio models that fully implement the SAME standard (including the new forthcoming SAME codes) and fully supports the EOM standard. You'll be far happier with products that do.

UPDATE 12/2013:

I still have this radio and it now serves as the source for the 24/7 streaming I provide of our local NOAA Weather Radio station for Rochester, N.Y. on Weather Underground. I have not used it for anything else for the reasons described above, but the radio is still working fine after several years of continuous operation.

Several people asked me my recommendation for an alternative to this radio. My primary workhorse top recommendation is the Reecom R-1650, which is a bit expensive, but has full support for SAME including EOM (which silences the radio after the alert). The only problem I have ever had with the 1650 is back to back weather alerts confuse the radio occasionally and will not mute the audio after the warning. I am concerned about Reecom's apparently poor customer service mentioned in reviews, so if you buy one new and it is a dud, return it to Amazon, not to Reecom.

Also worthy of consideration is the Sangean CL-100 which has EOM support and good reviews.
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on May 24, 2006
I got one of these back in early April of this year. We had a couple of days of severe weather in the area. The unit would not alert when the NWS sent out alerts. I changed back and forth from "multi" county to "all" counties, but no alerts. I was listening to the alerts on another weather radio I have, and I don't believe they were broadcasting the data burst with the SAME info contained in the burst. I was only hearing the 1050khz tone. I contacted Midland via email to ask them if the unit responds to both the tone, and data burst. They replied without answering the question, and asked me to return the unit since they thought it was faulty. I contacted Amazaon about returning the unit, and had no problem. In fact they automatically shipped out another unit. However when I received the new unit and set it up, it would not respond to alerts either. I sent an email to the NWS office here in Louisville to see if someone there had the same unit and could give me some advice. I heard back from them today, and they said they had two of same units in their office which they could never get to alert! They did not say anything about the data burst and the tone signal, but I'm GUESSING that this unit does not respond to the 1050khz tone only, but needs the data burst also. I'm going to contact Midland again about this and see what they say.

Update...I contacted Midland and they said the unit does not respond to the 1050hz tone, but to the SAME data burst. I can only assume the NWS office wasn't transmitting the SAME info. We have had an outbreak of numerous severe thunderstorms today, along with tornado watches...the unit has worked flawlessly. So sorry for the low rating, but if for some reason your NWS office doesn't transmit the SAME data the unit won't alert you.
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VINE VOICEon February 6, 2007
We bought this radio after the Tornadoes hit Florida in February in the middle of the night. That event was a serious reminder that a Hazards Radio can be as important to saving your life as a good smoke detector.

I looked at the WR-100 and the WR-300 and went with this unit. I believe the WR-300 is definitely worth the extra $$. Both have county-specific set-up which keeps you from getting woken up for alerts two counties away, but the WR-300 goes one step further and adds the capability to disable the audio alarm individually for some 30 or so specific alerts. For example, we diabled the Winter Weather items (since these are of little consequence in North Texas), as well as the Flood items since we live nowhere near a creak or other body of water. But we left the Tornado, Severe Thunderstorm, and Boil Water (?!) items audible-enabled.

This unit also has a Clock Radio with AM/FM (3 memory presets each) and a 9-minute snooze button.

These NOAA radios have come a long way, and this one is worth more than the price we paid for it.

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on September 2, 2006
Not certain why folks are having difficulty entering SAME codes. They are more than readily available. The only thing you need to remember is that "0" is the first number. My work includes supporting NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and the National Weather Service, this radio is perfect. Reception is excellent. Glad I read the reviews here first - did NOT waste my money on the Eton/Grundig radio. In fairness, Grundig makes good radios - shortwave at least. Midland WR-300 and the quick start are excellent. For those wanted more info on SAME codes, a better link is [...] as this is NOAA's Weather Radio site.

Do not confuse the requirement for SAME vs. FIPS. SAME uses the three digit state code and then the remainder of the code IS the FIPS code. Makes things easier to remember and enter. It's nice that Midland added a page in the back so you can write in all of the SAME codes and what they mean right in the manual.

Enjoy this radio. I know people working in the National Weather Service who have this on their desk, at work!

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on August 6, 2005
I really like the WR-300. It has a decent user interface, a very clear audio system, and lots of useful features. This is the unit to have by your bedside to wake you up in a crisis. It has a siren, plus blinking lights, plus a very loud and clear speaker for listening to voice announcements. You can't ignore warnings from this unit.

As another reviewer notes, the WR-300 is not really designed as a bedside entertainment radio. Buy something else for that function. The loud beep on every keypress is deliberate and important -- it is to help you work the unit in noisy conditions, as you might have to in a storm. That's appropriate design, in my opinion.

I bought one of these after Oxnard had a tidal wave warning that I only learned about hours after it had expired. I live on the flood plain, so tsunamis would be destructive. But with just a few minutes warning I could easily get into the high hills surrounding the basin. This box will give me that warning.
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on February 27, 2007
This weather-alert radio is one of the best purchases I've made in a long time. It's attractive, functions exactly as advertised and is a good value.

The complaints of other reviewers have ranged from the radio being difficult to program, the quality of the speakers, the unit not functioning very well as a clock-radio, and the loud beep that sounds every time a button is pressed.

I found programming the radio wasn't difficult at all. To be sure, you have to carefully read the instruction manual, but the instructions are clear and concise and take you through the process step-by-step. Not including the time it took to read the manual, I had the radio programmed in about 5 minutes.

As for the quality of the speakers, well, it's a small clock-radio. We're not talking stereo surround sound here, but we're not expecting that, either. Bottom line, the speakers are just fine and deliver more-than acceptable sound.

I have no complaints with the unit functioning as a clock-radio, either. The time display isn't terribly large, but that's because most of the clock-face real estate is taken up by whatever warning message is being displayed. The main function of the radio, after all, is to alert you to approaching danger. At night, you can choose to have the display backlit continuously so you can see the time.

The radio has three memory presets for FM stations and three more for AM stations. When you set an alarm time, the radio turns on at the assigned time, just as you'd expect. There's also a snooze button. There aren't any bells and whistles, but again, it's a weather-alert radio that doubles as a clock-radio -- not vice versa.

Yes, the unit does beep every time a key is pressed. I don't find it particularly bothersome, but if you do, you can silence the beeps when you're programming it by turning off the volume/power switch on the side of the radio. You can then program to your heart's content without a single beep. Just remember to turn the switch back on when you're done so the weather-alert function will work.

Finding the S.A.M.E. county codes on the Internet was easy and it was simple to program the ones into the unit that I'm interested in. Sure enough, each time there's been a weather event, the unit has gone off and displayed what's happening. The radio also turns on and broadcasts the appropriate NOAA warning. You can filter the types of warnings you receive in various manners and you can also choose whether or not to have the radio's siren alert you, as well. There are even two volume levels for the siren.

All in all, this is a great product. If you're concerned about the weather and your safety, you won't regret this purchase.
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on January 11, 2007
After thorough research, I decided on this Midland. Extremely happy with the purchase. I set it up after aquiring the codes online, I plugged it in, added the codes, picked out the weather channel with the best reception and good to go! It worked great the first time a storm came thru! Wow...Had a tornado watch and severe thunderstorm warning after that and the unit performed well.

One word of advice....I added 6 county codes for use.....depending on where you live in your county, I would limit my county codes to the immediate counties that effect you......if you don't, trust me you could be up all night!
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