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Showing 1-10 of 419 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 460 reviews
TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon February 15, 2010
If you are looking for an Emergency 2 way radio, look no further.

Pros:
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.

Cons:
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.

Summary:
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.

Test equipment:
1. Midland XT511($65)
2. ICOM F21 4 WATT PROFESSIONAL RADIO($200)
3. ICOM F40GT 4 WATT PROFESSIONAL RADIO($500)

Test Scenario:
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.

Test results:
Mile 1:
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.

Mile 2:
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.

Mile 3:
1. Midland - Barely audible. Trails in and out.
2. ICOM - Noticeable static and noise, but I can still communicate without drop of audio.

Summary:
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.
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on April 18, 2017
I really like this radio, it's great to have around the campsite. There are probably better ones, but for the money this works well. Reception is decent, the external mic is nice, and the display is easy to read. My only issue with it is the rechargeable batter doesn't seem to hold a charge for very long when not in use. The optional regular batteries and being able to charge it with the crank helps in this regard.
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on January 19, 2014
Good for campsite and other outdoor recreational activities. May not last under heavy or rough use but its not designed for that. Light weight unit, and shoulder strap. Every time you turn the unit on all of the lights momentarily come on as well including the flashlight. I guess this is a systems check feature but may be worth knowing if you don't want to give away your location at night. To make the unit a little more compact I would have made the handle folding or collapsible, and solar charging capability but overall it's a decent camp radio.
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on July 10, 2014
Had one I purchased 2 years ago. Use it primarily when taking the trailer and going camping. This year I got it out of the closet and it would power up and just buzz. Needed another so ordered this one. I was getting ready to contact Midland because it has a 3 year warranty. Starting checking for a hidden reset button or something. Started just turning in on and off fast several time and it started working just fine again. Only thing I can figure out is that maybe a relay in it stuck from sitting all winter.
So use it often. Now have 2 of them. Absolutely have to have it when camping. Use it in conjunction with a couple of FRS handy talkies. Nice to have a weather band too. The plug in speaker mike looks neat, but its better sound on TX and RX when using the radios built in speaker and mike. AM/FM is so so but that's not what I really bought them for. You can see all the reviews you want on u-tube or other places. Now that I have 2, when not camping I use them as Wireless intercom in house to outside garage or wherever.
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on November 10, 2014
i have a bmw and a ford ranger, i wouldn't expect to drive the ford ranger through the mountains at a hundred miles an hour, nor would i haul trash in my bmw , they are exactly what they are! this radio is not the top of the line radio, it is fairly inexpensive, and it does do what it says it will do ! the critics on here make me laugh,i guess they want thousand dollar performance out of a less than a hundred dollar radio, it is very well suited for a set it on the night stand in case of emergency radio a light in it so you can find your way to the bathroom when the power goes out ,weather report from the people who never sleep, a crank in case you forgot to get batteries, and you can even talk to your friends about whats going on if their not to far away, its not going to replace my home stereo, but it sure was handy this morning when i woke up with the power out, if you want to be prepared for an emergency and you don't have extra money to spend on something like this, its perfect, what you save could even buy you some emergency freeze dried food At the price they want for it,its a good deal ! Well anyway i guess there are more good reviews on it than bad, i just don't understand how anyone who can read could bash this product !
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on March 3, 2014
As someone active in CERT, and a long time amateur radio operator, my expectations would probably be higher than most folks, so take this with a grain of salt. I wanted a portable emergency radio set that included multiple features. The intent was to stick it in one of my CERT go-boxes and have it ready to run. It's compact, well suited for the use, and it definitely has a really sweet combination of features. I especially like the remote mic, so I can move the radio somewhere higher and still use it. The bad is that the reception isn't as good as I had hoped. Others have commented on this, but I took a chance because I'm used to static and mediocre reception. However, it was pretty bad. The weather channel, which comes in strong on every other radio I own, was staticy and faded in and out. FM/AM radio reception was okay, but still just average. I haven't checked the GMRS/FRS radio yet, but I suspect it will be similar. I'm keeping it because, as an overall package, it's great, but I wish it had a better receiver.
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on June 14, 2015
I bought one of these as did a friend of mine over 2 miles away from me. We are not in line of sight, but can talk to each other over the GMRS frequencies with no problem from many weather conditions. This little radio is feature packed. I can sit for about 10 minutes cranking the radio and the battery indicator shows one more bar, so I think with a little more effort you can charge this thing in several 10 minute sessions. I have not found anything I do not like about it. I even charged my phone once any it gave me enough juice to keep the phone on until I got to a car charger. The weather and AM reception is adequate and FM is clear as a bell for the stations I listen to. I was a little put out by having to apply for an FCC license, but that was no big deal.
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on February 10, 2015
This radio was purchased to work with other FRS radios in a neighborhood emergency preparedness network. This network allows FRS equipped neighbors to report emergency information to a ham operator, who then relays that report to the county department of emergency management. The Midland XT511 Base Camp will be used by one of the ham operators. With the external mic, this radio can be placed at a higher location than the operator, thereby extending its coverage. The dual channel scan is a useful function for monitoring two adjacent neighborhoods and help reduce interference and being walked over. As a stand alone radio, it has a number of much appreciated features. Read the description of the radio for those. The dynamo crank, though not an easy way to charge the batteries, is there when needed to put a small charge on the rechargeable pack to power FRS, WX or GMRS radio usage. But it is really nice if one needs to put a bit of charge on a cell phone.

Companion radios to this base station will be Midland GXT1000's. A good reason to stay with Midland for both handhelds and base are they share the same programming procedure and the battery packs are interchangeable. Please read my review of them here on Amazon.
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on January 30, 2014
I bought this because it can be used in situations where AC power may be lost due to power outages or for some unforeseen emergency. It incorporates both an AM/FM radio and a Flashlight into a single package with a rechargeable battery pack. Then fact that it can be charged from it's built in hand cranked charging dynamo was a draw. Honestly, how many times during a power outage have you reached for a flashlight or portable radio. Only to find that the batteries are dead after having been sitting in a drawer or closet for who knows how long. With a few turns of the crank, the rechargeable battery will come to life and provide sufficient power for the built in flashlight and radio. No scrambling around in the dark searching for fresh batteries. An added plus is that it is also a GMRS two way radio. A nice feature since I always keep a couple of them handy for short distance communications. It's not going to transmit far (within 1 mile), but at least you have that option should you need it.
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on December 21, 2013
I think a lot of the negative reviews stem from the poor marketing / name given to this radio. The only thing "base camp" about it is that it's fairly large and not that portable. Oh, and it does come with an AC adapter so you can use it plugged in. But it's no more effective in range than any handheld bubble pack FRS/GMRS radio.

So why get it? Well, the ability to power it via elbow grease tops the list. It also has a USB charger, flashlight, alarm clock, and AM/FM/NOAA channels. And my son thinks talking via the corded mic is more fun than a using handheld radio.

It can be a useful addition to your collection of 2-way radios (seemed perfectly compatible with my Motorola handheld units, although the channel notation is slightly different), and you might want to consider having two on hand if off-grid usage is important to you. But it certainly is specialized and not as handy or cost effective as the ubiquitous handheld bubble pack radios for most situations.
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