Rick, Thanks for your comments.
I went ahead and bought a pair of the GXT-1000’s to see if they are any better than the GXT-450’s I’ve had for several years now. Last night I ran my first quasi-scientific test on the FRS channels in and around my neighborhood. So I guess this will be my contribution to the product reviews here.
Here in Oregon, there are quite alot of trees. I’m in a moderately populated city, and there is continuous housing in almost any direction. But rather than just driving straight down the road within line of sight, I thought I’d choose a direction that would challenge the radios ability to make the trip, so I opted for a more diagonal approach, with plenty of obstacles between the transmit and receive radios.
I placed one of each model in my van, sitting on a box right next to the window. Since I often use my radios between vehicles, I chose a car-to-person scenario, as it seemed like a good compromise. Beside the radios, I placed a Zoom H2 audio recorder to record everything on the receive end.
On the transmitting side, I used recently charged Eneloop cells. I find these work better than alkaline on high drain devices. The voltage difference between Ni-Mh and alkaline becomes a moot point as alkalines suffer from severe voltage drop when drawing high current.
I set one pair to Channel 10 and the other to Channel 12. I then walked out to incremental distances to test for range.
Conclusion: A mixed bag. To my surprise, the old GXT-450’s had a little better sounding audio - particularly beyond the 1/4 mile point - though not necessarily better signal stability. Neither was very reliable much beyond 1/2 mile, though the GXT-1000’s did do better at that particular distance. Both radios were pretty noise-free up to about 0.3 miles, but started getting noisier after that. At about 0.4 miles the 1000’s were alot noisier with break-ups, while the 450’s maintained a very usable signal with only some added noise. At 0.5 miles, I had the reverse effect - both were still readable - the 450’s had quite a few break-ups but the 1000’s were quite stable (maybe some cars interfered around this time?) At 2/3 mile, the 1000’s signal was very noisy and about as far as I could go with usable understanding. The 450’s were also noisy and had break-ups but were slightly easier to understand. At about 3/4 mile, I could copy the 450’s pretty well when they came through, but that only happened 25 to 50% of the time. The 1000’s were mostly noise at this point with a discernable word or phrase here and there.
It seems that the performance of the Midland radios is really no better than it was about 7 years ago. Keep in mind this is only using the FRS channels at 1/2 watt, but still interesting. Now I just need to test the higher power modes.