117 of 130 people found the following review helpful
, October 19, 2011
This review is from: Motorola MS350R 35-Mile Talkabout Waterproof 2-Way Radio (Pair) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
I purchased these for fishing with the guys. To this point we have been using Midland lxt110 radios (I believe thats their number). I didn't mind using them in the water becasue I paid $8 per set. In real world use I feel we got a quarter mile from them and not always clear. One was dropped in the water and even after drying out did not work. They are very small which was nice.
I saw these MS350s on sale and figured I like gagets and it makes our outings more fun. I purchased 2 sets. I have performed a couple test situations so far but have not used them as I intend to. My tests had one in the garage, upright, with a voice recorder aimed at it. I drove with the other and listed off distances as I went comparing the high and low settings. I also did this with my old radios, making sure to pair it with the other old one.
For a base line, the old ones (lxt110) made it a half mile and were pretty shotty. The new ones (MS350r) made it a good mile and a half (they did go farther but you lose a lot of quality). I did not notice any significant difference between high and low power except for slightly less static. When it was out of range it was out of range. That particular run was up hill with about one-third tree cover. My other tests were in different directions from my house. Going south you quickly put a small hill (solid ground) between the units. This limited their usable range to roughly .75 to 1 mile with no tree cover. As I kept driving I did hear a blip from 2 miles away, but past that .75 to 1 mile mark it was so shotty you could not rely on it. I did not test my old ones, I figured they wouldnt keep up very well. On that note, the other day the midlands barely made it from the north to south side of our house (out side walls). I do hear wires and the steel of the car and house etc do have an impact.
I measured on a map where we fish and at most we would be .5 miles a way in dense forest so I have no concerns about these on range.
I had concerns whether I was buying the right radios for a few main reasons you may want to concider. First, you could buy 6 MR350s for the price of 4 MS350s, so even if you drop one in the water who cares. I have to assume they are the same radio in a different shell. I decided I liked the build of the MS350 better(though they are large and chunky but not heavy) and the fact they had the loop for a neckstrap (VERY nice feature). Plus you wouldnt want one to stop working when you are out in the woods. Second, I had concerns if the range of the midland 1050s would be worth it as they are advertised as 5 watt. From my research, that is not much to go on. 5 watts could be "peak" and not "the average". Also, as my tests show, the build of the radio seems to have more impact than the power (both my old midlands and MS350s on low put out the .5 watt or whatever). This could be from how effective the ant radiates etc. As another review pointed out, compare to the output of a cell phone. Again on this one, the power didnt change the range but only the clarity so I would not expect much different with the midland. The ease of use is also a big selling point as is the Ivox and obviously the TRUE waterproofness.
Yes they are expensive but since I dont buy these things much its ok with me. I am sure they will drop in price but once in a while its nice to have the newest product out.
Take home points
adiquate/expected range - .75-1.5 miles solid and clear communication with some trees and terrain (does work farther just not very well)
ring for a neck strap
easy to use
large (but not heavy - concider that this is 3AA betteries and the Midland 1050 is 4AAs)
no body should expect the listed range but still less static would be nice. (A hill or curve of the earth will block most any radio- terrain is important. thats why they have cell phone TOWERS)
I did some checking on the FCC website for some facts and figures. Although I cant remember the numbers perfectly, this radio can pump out roughly 1.92 watts erp (this I believe is about .5 more than the MR250r). THe Midland does radiate about 5 watts.
Most will say 1-2 watts is as much as is realistic as the terrain will become the limiting factor before you need more than that much power. Another thing to point out is that radios rated very close to the same wattage will have different ranges. This is in part due to better circuits and antennas as price increases. These are very important!! also pay mind to how sensitive the squelch is if you are stricktly going for distance.
I had concerns in the first week of using these radios as one would turn off when I tried using the high power mode, low power still worked fine. I WAS USING OLD BATTERIES AND KNEW IT. I figured I better try and put new batteries in and run them down before it was too late to return. Long story short, I have been trying to run these down using the weather reports, scan, standby, and transmitting for some time now and I am getting "frusterated" waiting for the batteries to die! I figure if its taken me this long to kill them, even if they work funny with low batteries, I am sure to get a lot of usable time out of them.
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