MR355R vrs GXT1050VP4

I’m looking at radios to use in addition to cell phones while hiking and have pretty much narrowed it down to the Midland GXT 1050VP4, the Motorola MR355R or the T9650 in that order. The Midland seems to be getting better reveiws and overall distance performance. I like some of the features on the MR355 which I have some questions about that may put it as #1. I’ve called Moto about some of them but would like to confirm or would like more info on them from a user of the radios.
#1 Dose the watts for the GXT1050 = FRS .42 and GMRS 5.33 ?
#2 Dose the watts for the MR355R = FRS .380 GMRS 1.32 ?
#3 Motorola says they don’t list watts anymore because it confused consumers in that they looked at that as the determining factor in performance. I Was told some radios may not be getting listed watts due to battery or other issues and that affects performance. Is this true that I shouldn’t focus as much on watts to determine performance ?
#4 Is the mini USB charging port on the MR355 propriety to that radio or could I use the USB charger that my Motorola cell phone uses ?
#5 In a emergency life or death situation and I don’t have a FCC GMRS liscense and if there was a open to the public repeater available. Would the repeter option work to possible extend the MR355s range.
#6 How well dose the led light and alarm work on the MR355. I like these features for the wife and daughter.
#7 MR355 is 3 battery cell with battery life listed as approx 9hr Nimh and 27 hrs for Alkaline. Real world time = what ?
#8 GXT 1050 is 4 battery cell. Haven’t found approx battery life of them. Any ideas.
#9 Would the AA lithium batterys extend the time much for the radios as backups ? Are they worth the price.
Thank you for your time.

  1. The effect of power on range is microscopic, once you reach 1 watt or so. Increased power mostly just destroys your battery life, without helping range at all.

  2. This depends on whether there is a repeater around. There aren’t that many, and there are far fewer ‘open’ repeaters, given that in fact, the GMRS rules prohibit the traditional ‘open’ repeater, that is, ‘anyone is allowed to use this system without permission’, since the rules require a shared station (repeater) to have written records of all stations permitted to share the station. Repeaters tend to be ‘closed’ by use of multiple/obscure CTCSS/DCS tones, sometimes different tones for input and output.

I would never, ever, consider it a practical idea to think you will be able to use a repeater without prior knowlege of the repeater’s setup and permission as an emergency thing.

I’d also mention that the FCC takes a dim view of this sort of use, with one person who tried claiming ‘emergency’ having the radio confiscated, and being told that ‘they better have a boat on fire and sinking’ as a level of emergency to even think about trying such claims. ‘I’m lost’ isn’t going to cut it. Carrying an unsubscribed cell phone (which can always use 911, even if you have no subscription to a service) is a more useful idea.

Thanks for the reply Skip. This repeater is one of the options that could sway me into getting the MR355. This is new to me and a little confusing. Since my post I’ve done a some research. Found there are repeaters in my area. Northgeorgiagmrs. Site says “open to transient users” whatever that means. I’m going to try to contact them by email and ask for a # to call someone with my questions as I don’t like typing and such all that much. If you have to enter a special code or what ever into the radio every time in each and every location we would be in it would be to much of a hassle and a mute point. The wife dosen’t do very well in high stressfull situations and wouldn’t be able to figure out the code thing. When hiking,mtn biking and such we do currently carry two cell phones from diff carriers as a precautionary measure. But quite often we do not get cell service here in Western NC. Was hoping the GMRS repeater feature would give us one more option in as I said “a life or death situation” Sorry I’m just very fond of my wife and daughter. Due to the activities we do I just want to take all precautions available to us nowadays. I’m torn between the GXT1050 and the MR355. I really want the dual channel monitor the 1050 has. But want the GMRS repeater feature of the 355 if it worked out for us. The 1050 comes with a car charger and boom mic earsets which I want over the 355s earbuds. The 355 cost more. Plus additional cost for the car charger and to upgrade the earsets. If funds weren’t so tight I’d get a set of both

I have a gxt900 and I get 5-7 days on 2900 mAh Accu rechargeable Nimh batteries at 8 to 16 hours per day!! The gxt900 is supposed to be similar to the 1050 but improved. As to Lithium, I’ve found poorer performance than Nimh, but it’s been a long time since I used any.