Midland 50 Channel Waterproof GMRS Two-Way Radio is a radio that is designed to be resistant to water and other elements. This radio is perfect for use in water scenarios, such as boat racing or fishing. It features an easy-to-read display and comfortable grip, making it a great choice for those who need a radio that can handle any situation.
From the brand
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- ABOUT MIDLAND
- Established in 1959, Midland Radio Corporation has been on the forefront of two-way radio and weather radio technology.
- Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, Midland has led the way in supplying CB, FRS, GMRS, weather alert, and emergency radio technology.
- With its strong reputation well-known amongst the off-road, agriculture, camping, RV, fish and
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- hunt, ski and snowboard, business, and emergency preparation community, Midland provides Reliable Communication for Every Adventure.
- With products sold in leading consumer electronics, sporting goods, specialty outdoor and many other retailers nationwide, Midland Radio Corporation has offices, branches, sister companies across Europe and Asia that sell products worldwide.
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- OUR MISSION
- Our company is committed to providing best in class quality products, strong value and service through continuous improvement in all areas.
- We view ourselves as partners with our customers, employees, our community and environment. We strive to be flexible and understand the needs of those we serve.
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Mary Hood –
The range has been all we’ve needed Jeeping through trails in Colorado. These were recommended by another Jeeper and he was right on. My wife and I also use them to back, park our RV and check the tow Jeep.
I think these have good features for a ‘bubble pack’ FRS/GMRS-only radio, I can’t speak for the long term quality or reliability because I have not owned them long or used them much. I initially got another set that barely transmitted – so I had to return those, but the replacements I got are working good.Unless you have a nice ham HT that you like, I personally think everyone should have a pair of these:*they have the ~highest power that bubble pack radios have*the charger can plug into a house outlet or it can plug into a car 12v plug (if the power went out you could recharge these radios via your car 12v plug and keep them running for about a week or so I figure)*they can plug into a house outlet with the battery removed so you can keep it on listen/scan mode all the time around the clock without worry of overcharging/overheating the battery, great for neighborhood watch/security use*bubble packs in general are so easy to use anyone can use them without any learning curve*they run off 4 AA alkaline batteries as well as the Ni-MH rechargeable battery*they seem to run off 4 AA Ni-MH rechargable batteries as well, I tested it quick but did not do extensive testing so don’t quote me on this*you can use headsets with themThey have 3 power settings (low, med, hi), low is .5 Watt, so I’m assuming med is at least 1 W and hi is at least 1.5 W, but I’m not sure exactly, I think hi might be 2W, it could be more or less than that, I’m just guessing. But it’s probably about the highest power that any of the ‘bubble pack’ FRS/GMRS-only radios offer. The antenna is longer than some other ‘bubble pack’ radios, I think for the FRS/GMRS frequencies it needs about 6-inches minimum, so any radios with those real short antennas are not going to have as much range.It comes with Ni-MH battery packs but they’re only 700 milliamp hours (which only lasts ~14 hours with just listening & no transmitting), but you can use 4 AA alkaline batteries for somewhat longer lasting battery charge time (at least twice based on what I read on the internet). I wish it was designed to work with AA rechargeable batteries, I tried putting 4 AA rechargeable batteries in it and it did work, it transmitted well at least 3/4 mile, but I did not test it extensively so I can’t guarantee anything because the rechargeable batteries put out less voltage than regular Alkaline batteries.The radios will work while simultaneously being recharged on the charger. Also, you can put them on the charger with the battery removed and they still work, they work on AC power alone with no battery installed, so you can leave it on 24/7 plugged into the wall without overcharging the batteries. The charger/docking base is not an “intelligent” charger so it doesn’t automatically know when the batteries are done charging so you have to manually unplug it when you think it’s done charging. I don’t really know how long to charge the batteries for, the AC adapter puts out 300ma & 9 Volts, which the charger base converts to 225ma & 12+ Volts so theoretically it should take about 3 hours to fully charge one (700mah divided by 225mah = 3.11 hours) or 6 hours to fully charge two at the same time, but the instructions say 12 hours (referring to charging two at the same time I’m sure), so I reckon it takes less than the recommended 12 hours. Just thinking, you could plug it into one of those ‘lamp timers’ so you wouldn’t have to remember when to unplug it. It has a battery life indicator on the display and when the battery is low it beeps periodically.These radios have a scan feature but it takes a full 15 seconds for it to scan through all 50 channels, so you might miss a transmission if it were short. It will also scan just 2 channels of your choosing (called “dual watch”). Channels 23-50 are for Midland brand radios only, they really just reuse channels 1-22 but with hard coded ‘privacy’ tones, so they’re not really extra channels per se, as one could use one of the 22 real channels with any chosen ‘privacy’ code and that would be the same functionality. I wish it did not even have these “extra channels” because it makes the scan feature take a long time.I understand why ham operators should have a license – so everyone knows what they’re doing and is not being annoying to others, but as far as GMRS channels (15-22) requiring a license I personally think it’s just another tax. Channels 1-7 are license-free at .5W, but require a license to use up to 5W, these Midland radios will work at hi power on these channels even though you’re supposed to have a license, although I don’t think anyone could technically be able to tell if you were using more than .5W or not. Channels 8-14 are license-free and .5W only, these Midland radios will only work at lo power on these channels. Channels 15-22 require a license and you can use up to 50W with other high powered radios. I do understand why there are low-power-only channels (8-14), so that people that don’t need anymore than .5W will have less traffic/congestion.As far as range goes, on hi power, I tested them to go 1.5 miles, with clear reception, it may have been working further than that but it started to cut out shortly beyond that distance. On low power the only test I did was at 3/4 mile and it did work well but there was some static in the background. I tested them on a winding road with mostly flat terrain and lots of trees & fields. One radio was inside my car while driving, and the other was inside my house at desk level.I recommend either these Midland radios and/or an inexpensive ham HT (handheld transceiver) radio for my neighborhood watch group. I like the idea of a ham HT such as one of the Baofeng or Wouxun models for their higher power (~4 W) and better antennas and better transceiver quality and additional ham frequency bandwidths. I want to be able to have them plugged into an electrical outlet 24/7 around the clock so I’m going to buy a “battery eliminator” accessory and an AC to DC power supply. I wouldn’t simply leave the ham HT radio on the charger with a battery in it, it might eventually overheat.
These radios just work. Nothing fancy or complicated.I had the chance to use these on a multi day trip with a large group. They worked great while they were alive. With a lot of heavy use and the volume all the way up, each radio only lasts about 6 hours. I purchased the optional charger which charges through the microphone input. This works great, but there is one downside. You can’t reply, but only listen while charging. I found this out after a day of talking into a void.Would highly recommend these for short trips and they work great. Would recommend a different solution for longer needs.
Sofia Aristegui –
I grabbed these for our city events. I wanted to have my own set as I’m responsible for my own dpt. This event was about 2 miles long with structures in between, surrounded by mountains and a lot of people, bands, electrical everything all over. I drove around the event location ahead of time and different times of day to see if they did worse when there was more city traffic. I had no issues. On the day of the event, my battery held up and I was called on A LOT. Our team used a different make/model and mine worked perfectly fine. I needed an extra one so I brought in a cheap older one that I had lying around and that one also worked well with this set. No problems. No regret. Will prob grab another set.
Nickoli Bearsnaresnic –
I went with Midland because they offer a line of mobile gmrs radios also I can talk about 3.5 miles on high power with me at the house on the back deck and my friend inside his car.Range would be farther if one party was up high and had a clear line of sight.This is comparable to any handheld radio [ham, commercial ,marine ] so dont get disappointed if you cant talk 36 miles from your living room to your wife at Walmart. The radio works well and has a nice feel to it.Appears to be of good quality.Has plenty of volume and some nice features like scan,weather channels etc. The receive seems to be pretty good I had it on scan today and it was picking people up on a distant repeater and also some local farmers during the harvest season .This just setting atop my entertainment center inside the house Battery life is typical for a handheld.You can also power it up with AA batteries if you need toSo these fall kinda in the middle.You could get a chinese radio cheap [ Legal? } or move up to a ham handheld more money [can only talk to other hams] On another note looking at the most critical review nimh rechargeable batteries output 1.2 volts where standard alkalines output 1.5 volts .So the radio operates on 6 volts Thats why you only need 4 alkaline batteries. If you use only the amount of power you need you will extend the battery life.Thats normal with any handheld.Your not going to talk 36 miles unless your on top of a very tall building or mountain and your not going to talk forever on high power with the battery capacity you have. There are only 22 shared frs/gmrs channels not 50.The extra channels above 22 are existing channels with a pre programmed privacy code.Which is nice .Not really extra channels tho Folks get led astray .Its possible for hams to talk to the international space station on 5 watts so when they say 36 mile range it is not a false statement but it is not typical. 50 channels well sort of.Midland has done the work for you.Want to use a privacy code go to one of the channels above 22.Already done for you. With realistic expectations whats not to likeRead the directions and take a look online at the frs/gmrs channel guide because each service has different power limits except channels 8 to 14 which are only low power 1/2 watt only. Go online and there are several radio line of sight calculators you can use to estimate your radio rangeI hate to see a bad reviews from folks on something when really its more lack of knowledge and operator error not the products fault Update 6 months later my radios are still going strong.I have had no problems.The 700 mAh battery packs have worked ok .But they are only 700mAh.Typical for AAA batteries.Going to a AA alkaline could get over 2000 mAh and last longer but not rechargable. AA lithium ion rechargeable batteries 1.5 volt are available but they are expensive.Your going to need some spare batteries and packs thats just the nature of handheld battery powered radios whether frs/gmrs ,Ham,Marine ,business or whatever.
Kelly Keefe –
Bought a set of these a little over two years ago for the intended purpose of using them to help herd a pack of Cub Scouts around on various outings. Originally, I needed a set of radios that would work over a mile, mile and a half range of various terrains. Tested when received over the ground I initially needed them for, mostly flat, but the longest range was not line of sight and partially screened by a copse of trees. Radios worked just fine. Since then I’ve used them in more varied terrains from heavily wooded to urban and in ranges of up to three miles (that one urban) with no issues.My original usage intent was at our yearly Cub Scout day camp. Sometime we would need to split off a group of the boys to go to different locations with a set of adult leaders. (Like a trip to the john, nurse or Webelos activity.) One radio would stay with the main group and one would go with the others so we’d have a means of linking up should the main group have to move on to the next activity before the others returned. I’ve also used them on hikes and nature walks with the pack. I’ll put one at the head and one at the rear of the column in case line of sight contact has been broken. (Just try and stay in sight contact in a corn maze – LOL!) If we need to spread out even further, I have an older, cheaper set of FRS/GMS radios with less power which I can distribute through the group and we can relay messages if the lower power units don’t have the juice to transmit all the way. We’ve also used them when spread out over a larger, urban area to co-ordinate during our Scouting for Food Drives. They’ve worked out well. We have an effective means of maintaining contact without resorting to shouting at each other and trying to get the others attention.Battery life has been more then sufficient for a one day outing. Bear in mind though the more you transmit, the faster the batteries are used up. That’s just common sense. I love having the ability of swapping the battery packs out for AA’s if necessary.This brings me to one peccadillo about these radios which is mentioned in another review, but I believe is buried in the comments section, so I’ll bring it up in the actual review. When recharging one of the battery packs, even though the battery is completely recharged, when placed in the radio and switched on, the unit fails to operate. There is an easy fix for this. Simply take the battery pack out of the radio and switch it on for a while. Then replace the battery pack and the radio should function just fine. Not sure why this is, and it’s certainly a bit annoying, but there ya go…In my opinion, most reviews lack a discussion of two things:First, the weather alert function of these radios work extremely well. Living in the Mid-West, weather can blow up, especially in the summer, very quickly. The safety of my Scouts is my primary mission. Being alerted to changing weather is absolutely critical. My MIL lives in a very rural area and I took these radios along when we visited last. A line of tornadoes blew through the area and these radios warned us when we needed to take cover and when it was safe to come out.Secondly, to operate these radios legally in the GRMS band at maximum power (and maximum range) you NEED an FCC license. The current cost of the license is $85.00 (although there is talk about dropping the license requirement) which seems steep when compared to the roughly $59.00 cost of the radios. However, the license is good for 5 years, which breaks the cost down to $17.00 a year. Now, obviously, your chances of getting busted by the FCC is virtually nil, but it would be my luck to be Mr. Nil. (Plus I’m using these with my Scouts, so I feel obligated to be “morally straight” and be licensed.) If you don’t want to spend the money to be licensed, simply use only the FRS bands or throttle down the power on the GRMS bands. At low power you don’t need a license, but be advised that you’re lessening your range doing so.So, I’m pleased with these radios and do recommend them. I’d buy them again in a heartbeat. Just bear in mind the range claim is wishful thinking in the extreme. If you have needs like I outlined above I have every confidence you’ll be happy with them, too.
Bought these to use for stroke/turn judging at swim meets. The local swim organization uses the same model week in and week out and has had great success with them, so it was a no-brainer to choose these for my personal kit. I’ve seen the organization’s radios dropped on the deck more than once and come out without an issue, so I feel like these are reasonably rugged for the price.The menu system is far easier than my older Uniden’s, you are limited to two letters but a quick glance at the manual will sort it out. They support grouping (with other Midlands), and both types of more common privacy codes (CTCSS and DCS) which makes them extremely compatible with other brands of radios (e.g. my older Unidens only support CTCSS) when you need to use the privacy code features.My usage so far has been very short range with these – across a pool, so I can’t give any feedback on the effective range of the higher powered frequencies. Using a lower power FRS frequency, I used the radio heavily for eight straight hours with a “security” earpiece and the rechargeable battery indicator still showed full charge that night. The included headset is fussy (hard to keep it on your ear well with the microphone aligned with the edge of your mouth) but that’s pretty normal for over the ear sets. If you plan to need to use the radio for long periods of time, I’d recommend one of the in-ear so called “security” headsets instead (they’re very cheap here on Amazon – make sure you get one that is compatible with Midland).All in all, a solid radio and a good choice for sports usage.
Brian Olson –
Clear audio across a couple km of hills between base camp and forestry team. All day battery with built-in pack, and option to switch out for AA*4. Feels solidly built but at the sweet spot of not too heavy.
Terry Thomas –
Used them for communication while fishing on the river…worked great.Had issues changing channels, probably because I didn’t read the manual. ?
Amy Caldeira –
Excellent reception. Was able to communicate while in the house, husband drove a mile away – Around hilltops, trees and power lines – perfect reception. Picks ups for miles through open range, haven’t tried mountain sides but that’s our next test.