Midland GXT1000VP4 Terrible Range

I bought four GXT1000VP4 radios in hopes to use on a family trip to colorado and when I received the units I was eager to test. I live in houston which is very very flat and I charged up the radios and gave one to our receptionist at our office while I went to lunch. She was sitting right by the window and I drove off in her line of site. I was on high power channel and after .5 mile we could no longer talk to each other. What happened to 36 miles? I saw on the back of the box you pretty much have to be in a flat desert to get 36 miles but come on .5 mile? Of course there were some buildings but I was hoping to get at least 1-2 miles out of the things. I am terribly disappointed. They say you need to get an FCC license because these are sooo powerful but they don’t seem any more powerful than my kids toy radios. Is this to be expected?

Got this from jwilkers review on them,

House to car: .82 miles

Person to person ouitdoor: 1.25 miles

House to person outdors: 1.25 miles

Seems a little short from 36 miles.I guess that’s around his house and I would think it’s a regular subdivision like around here,we got some rolling hills and you don’t have to go far to be blocked by a hill,1/4-1/2 mile around here.

I would expect them to have better range too.I don’t understand all the aspects of how they work,but I know on a Motorola T5710 the high power only gains very little distance compared to the low power.

Yes to me this is VERY false advertising. I’d love to find ad 36 mile flat straight road to prove they only work a mile even in their perfect conditions. I want to send them back but really not the sellers fault that they are a piece of sh$t.

Are there any descent ones that actually work like a mile or two? Would like to bring on a skiing trip but may have to buy my kids cell phones. I figured these had to be too good to be true for the price I paid.

You got burned.

Many people do.

This is pure marketing hype.

I am a licensed amateur radio operator… I use similar frequencies. EVEN base station to base station on UHF frequencies I cannot make the range these folks claim.

The Midlands I reviewed this year have the same FCC ID, and same transmitter specs, yet they advertised higher range claims.

One manufacturer advertises higher range claims, yet lowered power output!!! No technical advances to support higher range claims.

Next year they will probably be in the 40 mile area.

They want to sell radios, pure and simple.

What got me was the part about the fcc license. What a joke, what are the odds of someone have the same piece of junk within a .25 mile. It’s not like your going to interrupt any conversations any further than that with these things. I sent them a nasty letter but won’t do any good, they don’t care.

Ok, lets see if we can help you with this. 1/2 a mile is too short, though if you are in a very dense urban environment (the downtown area of Houston or any major city) all of those buildings/interference will get in the way.

Give this a quick look: http://www.buytwowayradios.com/blog/2006/07/getting_the_most_range_from_your_radio.aspx

You mention you are using the high-power channels but I would double check. It is very easy to be on an FRS one.

Next, battery power may have something to do with this. Many radios ship out with almost depleted batteries. We get a lot of calls due to this. So if the radios are brand new, it may be the reason.

This entire issue is something we try to inform people about. I called out all of the manufacturers not too long ago: http://www.buytwowayradios.com/blog/2009/07/stop_lying_about_range_1.aspx

After all of this, I would take the radios out of the city and then use them. If out in the open they still got 1/2 a mile or less something may be wrong with them. If you bought them from us let us know!

The review jwilkers did is what you should expect from them.

BTW, a bit of trivia. The curvature of the earth starts to have an impact on range. Now radio waves do not travel “flat” but at some point the “living on a sphere” thing will reduce range for those on the surface. So 36 miles without a repeater or from a very tall tower, ahem. :cool:


Bear in mind. use of the high power channels requires a license… so if you are operating those without a license, you are in violation of regulations.

A quarter mile is VERY low in all situations, including the license free FRS channels. This indicates a problem with the radios.

I’ve got more than that indoors with my test radios… honestly. The Midlands outperform last year’s Cobra models indoors.(surprising, since the Cobras have the best outdoor range in my tests) I didn’t give the 2009 Cobras a test in the hotel this time.

I’ll do more testing in the next few days on the legal free channels, cause I wouldn’t want to interrupt a conversation 30 miles away, plus its the law. I signed up on FCC website but thank god I didn’t file the forms and pay the $80. I was so disappointed that I haven’t touched these since. And yes they were fully charged when I tried them.

Never used the GXT 1000 VP4 but I am thinking of getting them for my jungle survival courses.
Have tried Cobras, Motorola and Midlands in the jungles with thick and undulating terrain and Midlands win everytime.#
Most of their models are also water resistant which is great as the thick canopy protects us from the heavy tropical rainstorm and not much water is splashed onto my midlands radio.
Id go for Midlands anytime and I never fail to recharge the batteries at least 12 hours before I leave for teh jungles with loads of spare AA batteries as back ups.

I bought my set for snowmobiling in the mountains, so I’m sure they will work pretty good transmitting from high up in a bowl to the people down in the valley. The midland’s definitely have the most “pro” look to them too. I don’t like the toy look of some of the others. While the range claims are ridiculous and should be subject to companies having to back them up, I would never rely on this type of device for emergencies. I bought a SPOT last winter and it is piece of equipment everyone should have going in the back country. :slight_smile:

We have talked a bit at the office about carrying personal locator beacons (such as SPOT, ACR, McMurdo). When we were doing research on them, one thing that we did find is that the quality can vary. So any of you shopping for one may want to look at a few consumer reviews first.

That aside, anyone that is going out hiking or camping, especially in more remote regions, should think about getting one. Some outdoor supply stores even rent them.

Interesting read. I was considering these radios for hunting this year.

My max range I’m really concerned about radio to radio is just about .6 mile. some variation of altitude from bottom of swamp to hardwood ridges. generally rolling terrain in 160 acres of forest and swamp.

How well do the 1000’s work in the trees?

I guess their range is the same as the 72mhz stuff since most companies probably use the same circuit for both the 72 and 75 Mhz radios and just retune them. But unless you plan on running your airboat across lake superior, I doubt it would be an issue.

The Midlands use the FRS/GMRS bands in the 462 Mhz range.

As a basic troubleshoot pointer. I had to read the instructions to become clear on this. Channels 15+ seem to allow you to set the output power to the 3 different settings. I trialled the radios, and on my basic test it managed 9.25km through 2 substantial hills, 2 built up areas (army camp and a village) and about 8 dense woods (each of about 500m long each).

I think all your whines about that it can only cover 1/2 a mile are ludicrious. You need to set the channel so it can output in High Power, and not just the license-free channels!

The only problem I can find with them is the volume level, however it does have a whisper function, which may increase the microphone input, and result in louder output?

I use Midland GMRS radios 8 to 16 hours A Day with NiMh AA batteries(2900 mAh ACCU currently). Out of 8 units, over the years, I’ve only had 1 returned. Even with the gxt 400’s I would get at least 2 miles. With the GXT 900 I currently have I’m getting around 5 miles. I usually get 3+ years of performance until they start looking too beat up, or fizzil out. The 700’s I didn’t like because they were battery hogs and very loud when the speaker was on, as in listening to the weather. The units would actually get hot from the power drain. The 900’s are much better, but lack high enough volume, suspect mike problems. The biggest improvement has been in battery usage and to an extent range, and clarity. In the 400’s I’d get 3 days, 500’s Id get 3 days, 700’s Id get 2-3 days, 900’s I’m getting 5-7 days–WOW. Range - wise 400’s 2-miles, 500’s 4.5 miles, 700’s 5 miles, 900’s 5.5 miles. However, I have one gxt 400 that has range equal to a gxt700, so go figure!! Each series has become more clear in hearing quality. I am getting ready to order the gxt 1000 because my mike on one of the 900’s is going dead. 700’s way too loud, 900’s not quite loud enough(IMHO). I don’t use a cell phone and ride a bus everywhere(or I bike) here in town, El Paso, Texas. I assume the 900’s fixed the loudness problem and slightly overshot the mark and the battery problem. I have used other radios(cobra) but they fizziled out after a year, or less. IMHO- Midland is the best, period. My big problem with Midland isn’t the performance, its the buttons!!! My radios don’t die from electronic failure, I ware the darn buttons out!!!

If you can only legally use the low power channels (GMRS requires a lkicense rmrmember!) then that is their complaint.

Anyhow… The “whisper” function is a “microphone gain” function, which should correct this issue.

You morons out there!!! The distance is the marketing trick. There are too many variables to take into account in 2-way radios. First of all, it has to be direct line of sight. If there’s a hill, the signal does not magically goes around the hill or over to the satellite and down to you. The hill or a building completely blocks the radio signal and that’s about it. Kapish?

What is more important is the power in Watts the radio is generating. GXT1000 is generating 5 Watts, which is actually more than the law permits. If I’m not mistaken, US allows up to 4, Canada up to 2 Watts. For comparison, Cobra with same advertised distance of 35 miles produces only 3.5 Watts of energy.

You’ve got top of the line radio and you ***** about it. How about you getting a sell phone and pay $40-50 bucks each month. How about that? You have the money to **** your secretary, why can’t you afford a ******* cell phone, prick?