Advice on radios for amateur volunteer team

What do you think of the Relm 516A (VHF) or the Relm 416A (UHF) portables from Fast Radios, besides the expense?

Just maybe I could justify spending that kind of money for my personal use for my wife and I in 9-11 type of emergencies since we are both usually just 3miles apart.

For the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) I am recommending radios for, it’ll probably end up being in the under $100 range. There the first two radios I looked at at this site were the Midland GXT-850-VP4 and the 800. The 850 seemed better to me because of the group mode. A review on this forum gave me the impression I may have stumbled on a winner in the 850, but I’d like more advice since I’ve only looked at those two and now Fast Radio recommended the Relm.

It wouldn’t hurt for me to focus on four price ranges–$400, $300, $200, and $100 or less–to show the group what they’d gain as they move up the price range.

Any advice?

I posted asking for advice roughly for the same reasons. Years ago I was a project manager with FEMA for ERT teams and I’m looking for a set of emergency radios for evacuation and other emergency use. It seems to me that going up through the different price ranges the features I’d like to see are increased ranges of operation, actual not necessarily advertised. access to other bands, weather is good but the ability to scan for signals on the shortwave channels, UHF or VHF capability would be nice also.
All my research so far has me leaning towards the Midland GXT-850-VP4 but I was hoping for something with a little more range. The 850 advertises 26 miles under ideal circumstances. in an emergency situation you are as far away from ideal laboratory conditions as you ever will be. during every day normal use of the 850 in the RF spectrum everyone else is using and buildings in an urban setting the 850 really only has a range of MAXIMUM 2 miles and normal around 0.5 to 1 mile. I think I’ll keep looking for something a little more serious.

Thanks for the reply and information. I hope we can keep in touch in this search. I’m tempted to take Fast Radio up on their offer of a free trial use–I just don’t want to abuse their offer since they seem to deal primarily with comapnies that buy a bunch of 2-way radios for their employees. I’ll at least go to some stores and look at the models and keep up my reading and Internet search.


I haven’t heard much about Relm products. I looked at the specs for the models you mentioned, and they seem identical to the BlackBox products that we offer. These radios (BlackBox) have much more power than consumer radios, but the cost is also higher. With a 4-5 watt business class radio, you will typically get 2-3 miles of range and up to 5 in more ideal conditions.

You also mention the Midland GXT800 and Midland GXT850. These models are identical other than the color and a few extra call tones on the 850. Both of them have the group mode/direct call features that you mentioned. They are the most powerful consumer radios that we have available and will typically provide 1-2 miles of range, depending upon conditions.