Scout Troop comparing radios

I am looking to select a series of radios for a Scout Troop. We had been using the 5000 series Talkabout radios, but lost two over the summer at our National Jamboree as they were caught in the rain. (I am a guilty party for one of them :o ) From our experiences the radios we had did work well, but we did feel they were underpowered on certain occation. There were times when one vehicle got separated from the rest of the convoy and we lost radio contact almost immediately.

With a sought after increase in power and waterproofing, our attention was brought to the Midland GXT800’s. For camparison sake this also brought in the Motorola T9500XLR’s, save the waterproofing.

Because costs are a factor for a Troop (we need six radios), I took a look down the Midland line of radios. The Midland GXT700 appears to be the same radio as the GXT800, only missing certain features. We could probably live without the privacy codes, vibrate alert, direct call, call tones and channel scan for certain. Even the NOAA weather channels we never had before, but it is the claimed WATERPROOF ability of the Midland GXT800 that remains in that range.

My question since it appears to be the sole remaining feature of the Midland GXT800 radios, has anyone tested and confirmed Midland’s claim as being fully WATERPROOF? Cost wise the 800’s are already pushing the budget. The 700’s have an appealing price point, although we would make the choice of running them on batteries as a battery pack is not included. There is a $35 spread, times three between the two. Thoughts?

The GXT800’s are waterproof, but there are several levels of waterproofing. These radios meet JIS4 specs, which means: “Splashing water from any direction shall have no harmful effect (Splash resistant)”. This is basically a step above “rain resistant”. I can see this being a benefit to you if you are using the radio while outdoors, but it is hard to say if it is worth the cost.

All other radios are water resistant, which means they are usually OK in a light rain. Damage from water/rain however will void the warranty.


Thank-you Danny…I have viewed the Midland Radio waterproof demonstration on youtube. We can at least determine that the radio’s are not submersible. High expectations for that user. I would expect the radio to withstand at least a heavy rain.

Going back in the features of the GXT-700 am I interpreting the specs correctly in that there are only 22 channels? No subchannels? (Assuming that is what the privacy codes are used for in the higher models?)

They aren’t really “subchannels” You still have the 22 channels, no matter what. All these “codes” do is prevent you from hearing other users on the channel, as long as they aren’t set to the same channel/code combination you are using. If someone has their “privacy codes” off, they can hear what you are saying. You wouldn’t hear them if they talk, but they’d hear you.

They advertise these as privacy codes; but they give no privacy at all.

If you want real privacy, the TriSquare eXRS radios sold here will give that protection. They are digital with 10 billion “channels”. Additionally, no FCC license is required, so you don’t have the expense of getting a license, but I assume you’ve already got your licenses as you are already using GMRS radios.

ok, then I mistook that information. We had been using two different models of talkabouts (T5320, T5725). Our older ones (T5320) only have 14 channels and no subchannels. Our other talkabouts had 14 channels and 38 subchannels. When using the radios all together we were restricted to using only 14 channels as the T5320’s could not receive the T5725’s subchannels.

So either I am mixing up the two features, or the GXT700’s only have 22 channels options. Is this correct?

I was confused, as I didn’t think anyone still used the 14 channel units :slight_smile:

Take my above post and substitute 14 for 22. Same deal, just a different number of primary channels.

ok, then that makes a big difference. If I can set 22 channels with sub channel options with the GXT700’s then I think we might have something. It doesn’t matter to me if someone is listening in. Just as long as we have more than the essential 22 primary channels. The waterproofing feature of the GXT800’s becomes less attractive as I can replace an entire radio if it gets damaged for the extra cost of the GXT800.

I read your comments about the GXT800’s; I like the look and feel of the T9500R’s but you mentioned durability (which I need!) Although twice the weight is a big difference!

jwilkers, we decided to go with the T9500’s afterall. After dropping the need for waterproof, which the GXT800s may or may not perform (If it were raining all day we would still need to cover them up), the look/feel and functionality won. This over the slight lead in range that you mentioned in your review. Too marginal to say that the Midland’s far outweigh the Motorola’s. Thanks for the posts they were helpful.

Glad I could be of help. I think you will find they are good radios.