Family business radios? Midland GXT1000 VS Motorola DTR550 VS Kenwood TK3402

Hi! I know that you might think that this guy has really no idea… indeed. jaja But you know, I need them to be in touch with my family at a big mall, at a theme park and we don’t want the battery to drop down or the range problem. We have the Midlands now and I want an upgrade. Do you think I’m doing right to think about Kenwood’s 3402 or even the Digital Motorola? Thanks!!!

Are you located in the US?

While you will likely get more battery life with a business radio than a consumer FRS/GMRS radio such as the Midland GXT1000, it will still depend somewhat on how much you transmit. Most business radios rate battery life based on a 5/5/90 duty cycle (90 being idle or standby). Depending on how much you transmit, your mileage may vary.

The range of a handheld transceiver is going to be limited, no matter what radio you use. Most handhelds are limited to a maximum of 5 watts, but that isn’t the largest factor anyway. Range depends on several factors, including terrain, the number and type of obstructions, weather conditions, and the type of radio (UHF or VHF). Technically speaking, the antenna itself one of the most important factors in determining range, and is often more important than the wattage of the radio.

The Kenwood TK-3402 is designed and FCC approved for business use only and is not Part 95 type accepted for use on FRS or GMRS radio services in the United States. If you are licensed for an assigned business frequency and use it for business, the TK-3402 is a solid radio that will provide good performance overall.

The Motorola DTR550 is a better choice as a “family business radio”. It’s a digital radio, so audio quality will be much higher than the Midland GXT1000 or the Kenwood TK-3402, the range will be just as good as the other radios and perhaps a little better, since digital reception is “all or nothing”, it uses FHSS (Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum) technology, which means the chances of anyone else listening in on your conversations is very low, and best of all, it’s license free, which means anyone in your family can operate it for business or personal use.

We have a few discussions in the forum devoted to to the DTR radios, and these devices have a lot of fans. The DTR550 operates on 900MHz, so it won’t talk to FRS/GMRS radios. It’s a little pricier than a consumer radio, but if cost is not an issue, it’s well worth the price.

Here are some resources that may help.
Radio 101 - The truth about FRS / GMRS two way radio range
TWRS-45 - The Truth About GMRS Radio Range