GMRS Options?

PVCsnorkel

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I'm ready to pull the trigger on a GMRS radio for the 60, I've been looking at a couple options but reviews seem to be all over the place.
I'd like a mounted radio but I'm not opposed to hand helds if there's a good option, as poor battery life seems to be a common theme with them. What would you all recommend?
I was looking at a Midland MXT275 or a Rugged GMR25, but I'm not sure if I'm sold on either. I'd like to keep it below $200 if possible.
Thoughts?
 

PVCsnorkel

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If anyone has a radio they don't need I don't mind used equipment.
 

AimCOTaco

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With a mobile type you'll get better performance overall but I'd not up-spend for more power or the premium features.
Get a 15-25 watt rig and be done if going mobile. This lets you run a better performing external antenna which is the biggest advantage over a handheld.

I've been pleasantly surprised by the battery life of the Midland X handhelds I have. (the cm giveaway from a couple years ago).
 

Notyourmomslx450

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PVCsnorkel

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The 275 was the one I was leaning towards. Did you upgrade the antenna at all? The one that comes with it seems weak.
 

DaveInDenver

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The little magnetic mount subby antenna they include with the standard $165 MXT275 kit isn't going to last long. That's a worthwhile upgrade. Either look for a kit with something better or just plan on doing something on your own.

FWIW the MXT115 I think is a slightly better radio, although less convenient user interface being a traditional radio body with a plain mic. It's usually a bit cheaper, too.

For example, this kit is $220 and has a reasonably good antenna that is low profile. It uses a lip mount.


I'd personally just get the radio and come up with an antenna solution on my own using a roof rack or maybe one of @nakman's brackets with a decent commercial grade antenna.
 
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Notyourmomslx450

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The 275 was the one I was leaning towards. Did you upgrade the antenna at all? The one that comes with it seems weak.
I did. I got one of these

 

PVCsnorkel

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So it seems like by the time I get a radio and upgrade the antenna I might as well just get the 115.
I don't mind the plain mics, less buttons to bump when holding the mic over rough terrain.
 

PVCsnorkel

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Does a lip mount just slid over a flat surface on a vehicle? I tried finding pictures but it wasn't very clear.
 

AimCOTaco

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Yep, a lip is a clamp for the edge of your trunk, hood, or gate doors. Lip and magnet mounts are okay but all will collect sand and dirt and erode your finishes.
I have Gamiviti fender mounts for my ham and GMRS antennas that are great, I can see my antennas so they don't get destroyed, good performance, durable. I have the MXT275 and the stub antenna has been fine for me so far.
 

Inukshuk

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MXT275 with the Ghost antenna on a mag mount has been excellent to me for many years and easy to move among trucks with option of having multiple slide in mounts. Ghost mag is low enough not to hit trees and being lower gain gives great trail performance and benefits from center of metal on a roof mount. Low enough power to use cig lighter. Plenty to communicate. Way better than just an HT given we are heavy users. That said, T71 HT is great.
MXT115 is basically same as you mention - less buttons on the Mic. I also like that 275 speaker is mic.
 

DaveInDenver

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Does a lip mount just slid over a flat surface on a vehicle? I tried finding pictures but it wasn't very clear.
It's a pretty standard antenna sheet metal lip mount. You see them more often in ham and commercial radios as alternatives to mag mounts. The reason is it's slightly more secure and better for RF.

All mounts can damage something. Mag mounts can put small scratches if something abrasive gets between it and the paint. These use set screws to make them snug which puts a small dimple in the paint.

The mount @AimCOTaco mentions: https://www.gamiviti.com/antenna-brackets


MXTA27UniversalLipMount_1720X1000_866f3ba2-12ec-4b15-b9ee-3e6b64d1bbce_5000x.png

midlandlipmount.png
 
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DaveInDenver

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FWIW, this will give you an idea of the range of GMRS antenna options. Cheap whips, high gain, super high gain, various colors, spring bases (these are awesome on the roof). Ones that might even grow hair back on your head!


Both Laird and Larsen sell a version of the phantom antenna that are a bit cheaper than the Midland and give you options in white and ones that look like shark fins if you prefer that.
 

PVCsnorkel

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Thank you everyone for the help! I think I'm going to go with the Midland MXT115, it sounds like the best all around package. I just found some aluminum angle at work so I got a good base to make a better antenna mount as well.
 
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nakman

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Anyone know what the power cord situation is with the MXT-275? I'm less worried about the longevity of the mag mount, more interested in an upgrade to the handhelds, that I can swap over to different rigs. If this is the radio platform we're sticking with, I may as well upgrade as it's been a little bit of a pain to live off of the tiny handhelds leading trails. But I only want to get one radio, then swap between 3 trucks. Curious how the power is going to work in each... is it a cig lighter?
 

Cruisertrash

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Anyone know what the power cord situation is with the MXT-275? I'm less worried about the longevity of the mag mount, more interested in an upgrade to the handhelds, that I can swap over to different rigs. If this is the radio platform we're sticking with, I may as well upgrade as it's been a little bit of a pain to live off of the tiny handhelds leading trails. But I only want to get one radio, then swap between 3 trucks. Curious how the power is going to work in each... is it a cig lighter?
My MXT-115 is a cig lighter plug. Very similar to the 275. Screen is on the head unit of the 115 and on the handheld of the 275. I’d bet my last dollar the 275 plugs into a cig lighter. You could also cut the end off and wire it up to whatever plug you have in common on all three vehicles. It’s just positive and ground wires.
 

Notyourmomslx450

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Anyone know what the power cord situation is with the MXT-275? I'm less worried about the longevity of the mag mount, more interested in an upgrade to the handhelds, that I can swap over to different rigs. If this is the radio platform we're sticking with, I may as well upgrade as it's been a little bit of a pain to live off of the tiny handhelds leading trails. But I only want to get one radio, then swap between 3 trucks. Curious how the power is going to work in each... is it a cig lighter?
mine came with a cig liter plug. i cut it off and hard wired it since it lives in the 80
1718208820389.png
 

AimCOTaco

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Yep, I chopped the cig plug off in favor of a power pole, it's a versatile radio for sure.

My favorite part of the 275 is the option to switch between the speaker on the unit, or the speaker on the mic, or both speakers... really helps manage the noise and readability in different situations. My least favorite is the lack of finer control on volume and squelch, volume could go lower AND higher, same for squelch. Solid rig overall I think.
 

Inukshuk

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My favorite part of the 275 is the option to switch between the speaker on the unit, or the speaker on the mic, or both speakers...
Nice! I did not know
 
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