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Midland MXT400


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#21 marcspaz

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Posted 22 April 2019 - 01:04 PM

Please don't take offense, I'm not sure, but that is not my interpretation on how RF technology works.  Especially based on real world testing I have done.  Let me know what you think.

 

Trying to find the best solution for my needs, I used two handheld UHF radios with programmable bandwidth (FM and NFM).  The test and results are...

 

1.) When both radios are utilizing the same bandwidth, the volume is unchanged. 

 

2.) When they are both narrow, they can talk further compared to when they are both wide band, while using the same power.

 

3.) When they are both narrow, there is less noise interference as distance increases or if interfering signals are nearby.

 

4.) When one was wide and the other was narrow,

 - the wide signal was loud on the narrow receiver and had audio distortion when the radios were in close proximity.

 - the narrow signal received by the wide band receiver was quiet due to increase noise (and lack of bandwidth) and eventually undetectable on the wide band receiver as distance increased, due to high noise to signal ratio.  The narrow receiver could still hear the wide band signal because it was not lost in the noise.

 

So, benefits of narrow band comms are less noise, further distance per watt, more "channel" spacing.

The benefit of wide band is the ability to move more data, faster.

 

I think the Midland radio tech is excellent for what it is, but the drawbacks to mixing the two bandwidth types results in pretty poor comms for all parties involved.  :-(  It's not that the radio is poor... people just need to purchase the technology that will support their primary use and accept performance shortcomings in secondary areas.



#22 WRCP828

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Posted 22 April 2019 - 01:34 PM

I continue to be bewildered by Midland.  Have had no further dialogue and moved on to different equipment.  They had said they would loop back to with their current tech guys....never did.  Spoke to a local fella who is extremely knowledgeable (has a successful business that installs and maintains cell towers) and into both GMRS and ham radio. He said there is no prohibition for wide band transceivers and repeaters on GMRS and ham radio.  He articulated that Midland continues to tarnish its brand by not attending to these issues.  Additionally a buddy of mine confronted the same issues, as we all have with the company, well before I got into GMRS.  He gave up with company and moved to other radios...fyi MXT115 has some issues but can handle wide band.



#23 axorlov

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Posted 23 April 2019 - 09:22 PM


2.) When they are both narrow, they can talk further compared to when they are both wide band, while using the same power.

 

Other way around. Wide-band has about 30% more range (on paper). In real life conditions could be anything from about the same distance to 2x of the distance comparing with narrow-band. SNR (signal-to-noise) is actually better on wide-band.


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#24 Elkhunter521

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 11:40 AM

Earlier in this post I described Midlands view of the GMRS demographic. (At least in my opinion).

Their cash cow is the gmrs/frs (now known as FRS radios)bubble packs.

Their bubble packs are narrow band, and single pl input for tx and rx.

That is the way they made their mobiles to insure compatibility.

This would be an expensive modification to change and not necessarily benifical to Midland.
Be vewy vewy quiet.
I'm listening to my wadio!

#25 Corey

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 12:11 PM

Not sure why everybody is still talking about this radio. It is in fact a Midland and Elkhunter pointed out it was built for the masses not the serious GMRS user. I am not sure why people keep contacting them to ask about wide band update, audio issues etc... I would bet 90% of the people that purchase this unit have no clue what a repeater is and are using it out of the box for simplex communications. Personally I think the radio is junk, every one I hear on my repeater has under performing audio and range issues. Again, this radio is not intended for the advanced operator or GMRS enthusiast, its an entry level radio for the masses with basic repeater offsets added for sales reasons.


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Just My $.02

 

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#26 PastorGary

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 01:39 PM

For roughly the same price as this radio, a person can obtain  3  good used Kenwood TK880-1 radios plus a programming cable and software. I am not at all familiar with the Motorola brand, but I'm sure that there are comparable Motorola models out there for way less than the Midland.


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#27 Elkhunter521

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 04:42 PM

The reason people buy Midland is simple. Go to Amazon and search "GMRS mobile radio". The only mobile that comes up is Midland (not counting Bao Feng ham radios.
Be vewy vewy quiet.
I'm listening to my wadio!

#28 Elkhunter521

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 04:58 PM

Corey is 100% correct. I only hope that our dissatisfaction with Midland will prompt other manufacturers to recognize the vacuum in GMRS mobiles and act to fill it.(Bao Feng has the Gmrs-50x1 in the works)
Be vewy vewy quiet.
I'm listening to my wadio!

#29 marcspaz

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 05:12 PM

In my opinion, the last couple of posts made by Corey and Elkhunter521, pretty much wrap up the vast majority of GMRS users. Most people I know are not getting licensed and are thrilled to talk a mile... maybe two.  Purely anecdotal, but there it is.

 

Honestly... I am a Ham guy... prefer HF, but mostly use 2m FM.  I had zero interest in GMRS prior to a few months ago.  I have no interest in getting serious with it. 

 

The only reason why I bought a few MXT400's is to toss in my off-road trucks so I can talk to my friends while wheeling, who use bubble pack FRS and GMRS radios.  It's new, has a warranty and I didn't have to do anything to make it work.  Realistically, for me anyway, It will be used 5 or 6 days a year and wanted to put as little effort into setting it up and using it as possible.  I bought a mobile so I could hear better (I have hearing issues) and I don't have to worry about batteries dying.  The radio is perfect for a person in my position.

 

Even though I am not serious about GMRS, I'm glad you guys are and on here to help people.  I've stuck around after asking a question or two because I am learning a lot from you guys.  That said... in my opinion, people complaining about the MXT400 didn't buy a bad radio; they bought the wrong radio.  You really need to make sure you buy the right tool for the job.  If you need a wheel puller and buy a ball joint fork... the ball joint fork isn't junk because it won't yank a pulley off a shaft; you bought the wrong tool.


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#30 RickW

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 07:54 PM

Even though I have been a licensed amateur radio operator for most of my life (first licensed in 1963), I recommended GMRS to my daughter's family. When she was younger she had a ham license but let it expire some time back. No one else in her family has the slightest interest in the technical side of radio but are not opposed to having back up RF communications in case their "regular" transceivers are not in range of the cellular telephone network.

 

My wife has retained her Extra Class ham license since it was quite an accomplishment, but now we both have GMRS rigs in our vehicles. To be sure, our main transceivers are cellphones, HI.

 

I am somewhat technical, having run an AV repair facility for a few decades and have a GROL, but I don't consider myself an expert in all things RF. But, the  reason that GMRS users like us purchase the Midland MXT400's, MXT 115's, B-Tech GMRS-V1's, etc., is due to the off the shelf availability of a new product with a warranty and with a moderate price tag from a reputable company that has been around a long time and is making an attempt to meet the GMRS market.

 

Now consider the typical non-technical GMRS user. Would they purchase used equipment that requires additional equipment to program? I find it extremely un

likely. Even if they knew that this was possible, which few would have that knowledge. 

 

What other moderately priced new products are there that have been Part 95E certified and operate legally without any additional programming?


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#31 Corey

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Posted Yesterday, 07:01 AM

 I would think most of us agree this is a great entry level radio, easy to set up and operate for the non technical user. The thing that gets me is the people complaining about it being narrow banded and not including split PL/DPL abilities. If one that purchases these radios knows enough about its modulation and offset capabilities that person is already outside of this equipment's intended consumers. I have to agree with marcspaz its not the equipment's fault but rather the wrong tool for the job. Calling Midland and complaining in hopes they will re engineer a radio for what I am guessing is less then 1% of the intended market is a waste of time. Midland has been the leader in consumer GMRS / FRS for years and builds radios that appeal to the largest group of consumers. Including things like split PL and changeable bandwidth would only complicate the unit causing way more support calls, complaints and a higher price tag. Again my gripe is the people that blindly buy the equipment and complain about the lack of features, modulation after the fact. If people would do a little research before purchasing it would save them disappointment in the long run.

 

The other unintended fall out of Midlands simple, cheap and mass marketed high power radios is the growing number of non licensed users popping up claiming they bought it on Amazon. The amount of truckers using 40W GMRS radios is climbing now that Midland is marketing them in truck stops as well. Sorry to say but most truckers are not going to get a license. I live 2 miles from Interstate 94 between Chicago and Milwaukee in Wisconsin and monitor the GMRS repeater outputs. I am starting to hear more and more CB handles and lingo on the GMRS repeater outputs and never hear them ID. Its no secret truckers did and still do run illegal amplifiers far above the 4W allowed on a CB, so whats stopping them from buying and installing these radios without a license? Midland and its Marketing team opened Pandora's box...


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Just My $.02

 

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#32 n4gix

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Posted Yesterday, 12:52 PM

So, benefits of narrow band comms are less noise, further distance per watt, more "channel" spacing.
The benefit of wide band is the ability to move more data, faster.
 
I think the Midland radio tech is excellent for what it is, but the drawbacks to mixing the two bandwidth types results in pretty poor comms for all parties involved.  :-(  It's not that the radio is poor... people just need to purchase the technology that will support their primary use and accept performance shortcomings in secondary areas.

 

I agree fully with your last paragraph. The main point I was attempting to convey is that given the existing GMRS repeater infrastructure, it may well be many decades (if ever) before any narrow-band repeaters replace the extant wide-band repeaters. ;)


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#33 Corey

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Posted Yesterday, 01:44 PM

I do have to disagree on the statement that narrow band gives more distance per watt as we saw a 15% decrease in coverage on the part 90 service after narrow banding on analog. That loss was mitigated with the move to DMR as we saw a 25 increase in coverage with digital. Some of this was due to the SN ratios having less effect with digital modes vs analog.


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Just My $.02

 

Corey

 

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