Midland GXT 900 Review
FCC ID: MMAGXT950
** Note: AN FCC GMRS LICENSE IS REQUIRED TO USE MOST FUNCTIONS OF THIS RADIO!
Channels 8-14 and Channels 34-37 are the ONLY channels you may use without a license!!
Midland’s Highly anticipated 2008 Full featured model is certainly that.
**Midland has taken the extra steps to include new frequency/tone squelch options that allow up to
42 channels within the 22 FRS and GMRS frequencies. This review will explain that later.
Features of the GXT 900 include:
High, Medium and Low power settings for flexibility and battery life.
CTCSS and DCS for interference protection.
Group setting and Caller Identification for selective calling within a group.
NOAA weather radio WITH alert function.
Voice-Inversion scrambling for added security.
Increased communications capacity via CTCSS and frequency settings for 42 “virtual channels”
“Vibrate Mode” to allow for silent paging, or calling in noisy areas where you cannot hear.
Dual channel watch function.
This model looks and feels like most of the recent models Midland has released over
the years. It has a hefty look and feel, yet is generally light in weight. It fits easily
in the hand and the controls are easily accessible and functional. The case is
attractive and functional looking. It is definitely not a children’s toy.
With all the functions, the radio is “menu driven”. This means channel selection and
all other functions require the use of the menu system. The “menu” button gives access to
all the FRS/GMRS functions. Weather radio functions are accessed via the same button by
holding down the menu button until the WX function appears.
The CTCSS and DCS tones are combined into one menu and setting, rather than
two separate classifications. This makes it more handy for those not familiar
with these type systems. These fal under the “group” mode settings which can further be
modified to call specific radios by assigning a unique ID for each radio, thus allowing one
radio out of a group to be called, rather than all radios.
You need to read and understand the manual to become familiar with the functions and how to use them.
This radio is a complex and flexible piece of equipment and requires proper study to use properly.
** Explaining the 42 “channels”:
These radios utilize the combined 22 frequencies of the Family Radio Service (FRS) and General
Mobile Radio Service (GMRS). Regardless of channel selection, they are using only the 22 frequencies
authorized in these two services.
A system, known as Continuous Coded Squelch System (CTCSS), also incorrectly
referred to in some cases as “Privacy Codes”, allows these “extra channels”.
On most cases, a user must manually select a CTCSS tone. With the GXT 900/950 series,
these are “hard-coded” into the channel selection. You could be on channel 42, which
is actually the same exact frequency as channel 22. (this is an example only, I have NOT
analyzed the exact frequency/CTCSS tone combination.) The only difference is that the
channel selector automatically assigns a CTCSS tone. This is why you cannot manually assign
a “Privacy code” for any channel above 22. If you were to have the correct frequency/CTCSS tone
set on the first 22 channels, you could exactly match the “extra channels”.
All in all, this does simplify matters. You need not assign a CTCSS tone if the radio does it for you.
It does complicate matters if you only want to use license free channels as mentioned in the
beginning of the review.
Receiver interference from household electronics seems to be above average.
Audio output is typical for consumer radios. If you are in a noisy environment, you need
a headset. Keeping the radio in vibrate mode also helps a great deal if you have no headset.
Just keep the radio where you can feel it vibrate. The included headset works well and should be
sufficient under almost all conditions.
Transmit Ranges: (evaluated with supplied battery packs)
Home to vehicle: .75 mile
Outdoor person to vehicle: 1 mile
Vehicle to vehicle: .75 mile
Home to outoor person: 1 mile
Person to person outdoors: 1.25 miles.
Battery life with the supplied packs is sufficient for normal use. If you use these radios
on High power (GMRS Licensees only), then battery lifetimes will suffer.
The memory channels were eliminated in these models. I don’t consider this a
drawback. I’ve never used the memories, as their use was cumbersome.
The radios are durable and will stand up to some rough handling. Since they are
waterproof, use under wet conditions is acceptable.
You need to read the manual. These radios have alot of features. Once
familiar, they are easy to use.
I really cannot find any fault with these radios. They are designed well. They
are full featured and will serve well for what they are designed for.
As always, you may direct quiestions to me and I can answer them, as well as edit this review to accomodate them.