Scooter Gear - Midland GMRS/FRS RadiosI won't get into GMRS and FRS here, but you can visit Wikipedia to see what it's all about. That being said, on with the review...
Being able to talk to each other while riding separate scooters is critical to us. We're the kind of folks that will want to tell the other that we see something cool and we want them to look at it... Honey, look at those cute puppies to the right! Or if we get separated, we wanted a way to quickly find out where the other person is… so we started doing a little research and here is what we found.
We are small budget people so anything fancy was, by default, out of the question. Of course we still wanted something that was of good quality and reliable. Our search brought us to the myriad of simple GMRS/FRS radios that many retailers carry. We strolled down to our local Wal-mart and looked over their selection. Now Midland is a name we are familiar with so we decided to give them a try.
We wanted radios with a decent range and a decent battery life and the option of having handlebar mounted push-to-talk buttons. We settled on the $19.95 LXT328 model (now discontinued, see the Midland site for current models) because it had rechargeable battery packs included, came with 2 radios and a 110v charging station that would charge both radios at the same time. These units also stated they had a range of 16 miles which would be plenty for us. Although the units came with rechargeable battery packs, you can put in regular AAA batteries if you needed to.
It turns out that the 16 mile range is if you are on the open ocean, on a clear day, with no wind, fully charged batteries, Jupiter is lined up 41 degrees east of Uranus, on Tuesday before noon, central time zone and you are wearing Wrangler jeans. OK, so it's not really that restrictive but in real world applications we've never gotten close to the 16 mile range. In fact, under normal riding conditions, we are lucky to get a mile out of them.
But that's OK. We're never more than a mile apart anyway and the price was right. We ordered the PTT kit from Midland as the radios do not come with them. We paid $49.95 for a pair of earphones and microphones for open face helmets and that included the handlebar PTT button, model AVP-H1. Model AVP-H2 is for full-face helmets. Setup couldn't be any easier, just plug it into the radio, affix your ear buds and microphone in your helmet and use the Velcro attachment to affix the PTT button to your handlebar.
Now as we ride, we can instantly talk to one another. We love these radios! The only drawback is the limited range they have but maybe the newer models are an improvement. We definitely recommend these units for anyone needing handlebar mounted PTT capability to another GMRS/FRS radio user.
This model is no longer made but you can click here to see the latest models and accessories.
Overall, we give the Midland GMRS/FRS radios a 4 out of 5.