Need radios for friend moving to countryside... help me select?

Greetings, and sorry in advance for the length…

A friend of mine is moving into a very middle-of-nowhere place, a large property out in the Vermont countryside with a lot of land, bordering a small lake, with trails for snowmobiles, ATVs, etc. Geography has a few rolling hills but nothing huge.
So I want to get them a few good FRS/GMRS radios as a gift. I’ve done my research, but sadly the product docs only get you so far, so I’m hoping those with hands on experience can point me in the right direction.

Here are my requirements:

  1. MUST NOT COOK ITSELF if left in a charger for a long time. IE, the charge controller must detect that it’s done charging and shut off the power or switch to float charge mode. I suspect these radios will be left in the charging bay for weeks, perhaps months at a time. If that will destroy the battery thru overcharging, that’s no good. Ideally it would be okay if left powered on in the base, but that’s not a requirement.

  2. Good transmit power (ideally at least 2 watts in hi power mode). Measuring two-way radio TX range in miles is beyond absurd and borderline dishonest, as I’m glad to see the people in charge of this site/store have figured out. My friend’s place has a few rolling hills, so in a few areas it’s not quite line of sight, thus the desire for better TX power.

  3. It should be relatively durable. These radios will be used in the ‘great outdoors’, I expect them to be dropped in the dirt and snow numerous times. Splash resistance is a plus.

  4. Ideally, NOAA Weather Alert. SAME isn’t important, I just want the alert so if they’re out on a trail they hear if something is going to happen.

  5. Price range keeps it in the consumer end of things, ie <$100 for 2.

Some quick searching narrowed me down to a few choices:

Uniden GMR2872 not available in your store :(. Upside- JIS7 waterproof (submersible 1 meter for 30 mins, and it floats), downside- can’t find RF output spec anywhere. It claims to have a ‘powerboost’ button, but no spec is given for RF power.

Midland GXT1000 full 5 watts of TX power :slight_smile: and JIS4 rated (splash resistant), not as good as JIS7 but still good.
Specs quote ‘28 extra channels’, where are they? Is it something in the 900MHz band or maybe the old 46/49MHz area like the old cordless phones, or am I totally missing something about the FCC’s FRS/GMRS allocation?

Motorola MR350
Upside- I’ve used Motorolas in the past, can charge on mini usb (IE from a midland basecamp unit in an emergency), and has an inbuilt flash light. Also has SAME alerts.
Downside- no quoted water/weather resistance, NO IDEA what the transmit power is.

I’d also planned to get them a midland basecamp radio. However, will this radio cook its NiMH pack if left plugged in indefinitely? While the radios might be rarely used, the basecamp would probably never be unplugged except for a power outage or camping trip…

I’m hoping that some who have some hands on experience with the above units can give some feedback, mainly in how they react to being left in their chargers for long periods. Any other information / recommendations or other radios I should check out would be most welcomed…

Thanks in advance.

We are working at getting those Uniden in stock. We like them as well. :slight_smile:

Another radio to look at is:

They are not as water resistant as the others, but we have them on sale for $39.99. They are 5 watts and are very similar to the GXT1000. In fact I tend to prefer them over the 1000.

We rarely have people burn out a battery from leaving radios on the charger (though it is recommended by the manufacturers to not leave a radio on the charger for a long period of time). For the base camp radio, I would just take the batteries out of the base camp radio when it is plugged into an outlet.

As for the extra channels, we cover this on our blog:

These “extra channels” use a frequency already used by a standard channel, but have a pre-set privacy code that cannot be changed. This provides the illusion of a new channel, but has some side effects that could cause confusion. For example, if you transmit on Midland channel 24 a typical radio left in scan mode would receive your transmission as if it were sent on channel 3.

thanks for the quick reply!

Hmmm, the Midland 740 looks interesting, especially at that price- $20 apiece is low enough to not worry about breaking them too much… might pick up a few of those for skiing this year or as handout xmas presents :smiley:

Extra channels- shoulda seen that one coming. The chart on the linked blog is most helpful, thanks!. I suppose this is useful for moro… er… inexperienced users :slight_smile: who can’t be bothered to read the manual and take 5 minutes to set up a CTCSS tone, but I agree it’s sort of dishonest to call them ‘channels’.

When do you think the Uniden 2872s will be in stock? Any idea what their TX power is (or FCC ID is)?

Also a suggestion- for each radio in your store, list all the available transmit power settings. IE, 5w in HI, 1w in MED, .5w in LO. Or even just the ERP in full power / low(frs) modes. This info is scattered around, some on this forum, but putting it on the product pages would be most helpful…

The 740s are tough little radios as well. They do not break easy.

We have no set date yet for the Uniden radios. We deal with a lot of manufacturers, and they all seem to do things their own way in regards to who gets what and when. :smiley: When we get them, I will probably do a blog post and detail out the specifications.

Picked up a set of the 740s on sale (thanks for the suggestion!), and another dude should be getting them the basecamp…
Hopefully I’ll get a chance to play around with them, and if I do I’ll try to post a review…

also another random question… I use radios when I go skiing and am always looking for a better audio solution. The best setup I’ve found so far is the shoulder clip-on speaker mic, but I’m looking at possibly switching to a throat mic / earbud, IE XLT TM100.
How well do the throat mics cope with outside vibration/rubbing? IE, the throat mic would be under a few layers of clothing which would rub on the outside of it, would the mic pick that noise up?
And does the TM100 throat mic support VOX? I know VOX is tricky at best, but just curious…

Lastly, I have a bunch of Motorola accessories laying around. Is there a Midland-to-Motorola accessory adapter of some kind that I could get? If not, anyone know where to get the raw connectors for the Midland plug (it looks fairly standardish…)
And/or, can you recommend a good Mot radio with high power?

Thanks again…

when do you think the uniden 2872s will be in stock? Any idea what their tx power is (or fcc id is)?

1.4w erp

I asked around in here about whether the throat mics pic up noise from clothing, etc… around the neck. Since the throat mics use vibrations and not microphones to pick up sounds there will be little if any interference.