There are a plethora of great license free FRS two-way radios on the market. However, these radios are limited in the amount of wattage they can use, effectively limiting their range. To enhance the range significantly, the next viable option is a General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) compatible device like the Midland GXT1000VP4 GMRS walkie-talkie.
GMRS radios use the same frequencies as FRS radios. While FRS radios are limited to 2 watts of power, GMRS radios can use up to 50 watts. However, most handhelds are limited to 5 watts due to battery size. GMRS radios can also have removable antennas and can connect to repeaters, things that FRS radios cannot do.
Is the money and time spent in obtaining a license worth the extra range? Let’s find out.
By the way, there are a couple key differences between the Midland GXT1000VP4 and the Midland GXT1050VP4 walkie talkies that tailor the latter for hunters. I cover whether or not the 1050 is a worthy hunting walkie talkie near the end.
Midland GXT1000VP4 and GXT1050VP4 Walkie Talkies at a Glance
Think of the Midland GXT1000VP4 two-way radio more as an FRS radio that’s hopped up on Mtn Dew than a true GMRS radio. It pushes out transmissions at 2.8 watts giving it better range and audio, and is considered a budget GMRS two-way radio. It’s durable, water resistant, but requires an FCC license to use.
- $90 for a 2 pack
- Requires a license
- JIS4 rating which means that it is splash proof (similar to IPX4)
- Recharges with desktop chargers
- 7.4 ounces
- The Midland GXT1050VP4 model is camo and has electronic animal calls built-in
Pros: Better range and audio quality than FRS radios, Excellent clip, lightweight, has animal calls
Cons: Need a license to use, not fully waterproof, lacks some of the functionality of other GMRS Walkie Talkies
Recommended: Best Walkie Talkies Compared
Is the Midland GXT1000VP4 Worth It
If you want a walkie-talkie with the form factor of an FRS radio with better audio quality and better range, then this is a great radio and I would highly recommend it. Just be aware that it does require a license from the FCC to legally use.
On the other hand, if you go to all the trouble of getting a license and want a GMRS radio that you can geek out on, or you don’t want to go through the hassle of getting a license, then you should look elsewhere.
- People that want a little extra range
- Hunters who often forget their calls but remember their radios (the Midland GXT1050VP4 has built in calls)
- People that want full functionality from their GMRS radios
- Anyone going near water
What is the Range of the Midland GXT1000VP4 & GXT1050VP4 Radios
Range and Clarity Score: 5
The stated range of the Midland GXT1000VP4 radio is 35 miles. This, however, is best case scenario, with a direct line of sight, no trees and perfect atmospheric conditions. In real life the range will be significantly worse.
Midland GXT1000VP4 Range in Real Life
I was a little skeptical that the extra 0.8 watts would make much difference so, I set up a test near my house and put the Midland GXT1000VP4 up against the other FRS and GMRS radios that I have been testing.
The Midland GXT1000VP4 and GXT1050VP4 had significantly better range and audio quality than any of the FRS radios that I had. The radio sounded the same at half a mile as it did at 2 miles where the other walkie talkies were either struggling or not working at all.
It is a little like comparing apples to oranges, but I was impressed.
The Midland GXT1000VP4 Was a Bit Confusing to Set Up
Ease of Use Score: 3
The Midland GXT1000VP4 walkie talkie is a little more complicated to use than its FRS cousins. I found the set-up menu confusing and had to use the online user manual to find the privacy code that I needed.
The Midland GXT1000VP4 had one of my favorite clips. It has a spring with the right amount of tension. I didn’t have any problems with it falling off unintentionally. I wish all the other radios that I tested had a clip like the Midland GXT1000VP4.
There is an always on display that is easy to see in direct sunlight and a backlight for when it’s dark.
The display shows you all of the information that you need to know in a quick glance and is easy to read and decipher.
It Feels Sturdy in the Hand
Durability Score: 3.5
During the Midland GXT1000VP4 and Midland GXT1050VP4 reviews, I appreciated the feeling of sturdiness that the radios had. They felt like tools that I would be comfortable taking into the woods to use. I also did not feel like I needed to treat them with kid gloves.
The Midland GXT1000VP4 has a JIS4 rating which means that it is splash proof (similar to IPX4). Although I did not have a chance to test it directly, it should easily withstand a moderate rain shower, just don’t fully submerge it.
If you want a fully waterproof walkie talkie, I recommend the Motorola T600 H2O.
How Long Does the Battery Last
Battery Life: 3
The Midland GXT1000VP4 comes with a 700 mAh Ni-MH rechargeable battery. This is not the biggest battery that can be found in radios but should last a solid day of mild to moderate use. If you plan on heavy use, you can also run it with 4 AA batteries.
The radio can only be charged on a desktop charger, there is no USB charging port on the radio. This makes it a little trickier to charge while away from home.
Just know that it usually takes about 15 hours to charge the radio so prepare ahead of time or have some extra batteries on standby. As a side note, while the radio is charging, the red light comes on, but it does not change colors or go off when the radio is done charging. This is super annoying. How hard would it be to make the light change from red to green?
Gimmicks or Good Extra Features
Features score: 3.5
With the Midland GXT1000VP4 you have the ability to scan through channels or privacy codes within a channel. This is an easy way to find the channel and privacy code that your buddies are on without a lot of work.
The Midland GXT1000VP4 has 10 weather channels that are activated by a button on the front then you can scroll through the 10 channels until you find one that has the weather for your area.
You can set your radio up to receive weather alerts from the NOAA weather channels. I did not get a chance to test this feature, but it is there.
This feature allows you to use your radio hands free. With VOX on it will recognize that you are talking, and it will transmit without pushing the push to talk button. You can also adjust the volume so that it will activate with a whisper or a shout.
Every time that I tried to use the VOX feature it would cut off the first half of my sentence so maybe start with the uninteresting part of the conversation.
The Midland GXT1000VP4 will send out an SOS siren call to other radios that are in range.
Midland GXT1050VP4 Hunting Review
The only difference between the Midland GXT1050VP4 and the GXT10000VP4 is that the 1050 model has a couple extra features designed for hunters.
- Mossy Oak Break-Up Country camouflage print
- Built-in electronic animal calls
The camo aesthetic is cool, but let’s be honest, I doubt a regular black walkie talkie is gonna be the thing that spooks a deer. And while the electronic call feature is nice in theory, I see no practical application where this helps your hunt at all.
The most useful hunting feature of this radio applies to either the camo or the regular black version — it can be operated silently. Both the 1000 and 1050 model radios come with headsets and a quiet mode. This makes them ideal for hunters who don’t want to scare game away with noisy beeps or their buddy calling in randomly to ask, “You seein’ anything?”
With an earpiece in your ear, any transmissions or calls won’t blast out from the main speaker and the quiet mode means you can whisper to send a message. Communication without scaring off game is why the Midland GXT1050VP4 is one of the best walkie talkies for hunting.
The Mossy Oak version of this walkie talkie is called the Midland GXT1050VP4 and it has 5 electronic animal calls programmed into it.
I didn’t play around with this feature that much, but you need two radios to make it work. You transmit the call from the Midland GXT1050VP4 Mossy Oak, and it broadcasts it to any radios that are using the same frequency in the area.
It’s hard to say if the intent is to try and make you and your party “blend in” to the woods as you try and dupe the critters you’re hunting into believing you’re also a wild animal, or if it’s supposed to be a nasty prank where you spook all deer approaching your buddy’s tree stand.
Sure, a crow call might help locate a turkey and in theory a turkey or duck call should lure your target toward you, but I just don’t see this as a practical, realistic, or effective solution. Besides, many states have a ban on electronic calls for hunting, so make sure you check the regs before you get yourself in trouble for no good reason.
And if you were hoping to replace your electronic coyote call, this isn’t the answer.
Quiet Mode/Whisper Mode
You can configure the radio to not have any beeps when used. More importantly for hunters and ninjas is that you can put it into whisper mode. In this mode you whisper into the mic but it transmits like you are talking in a normal voice.
Do you need a license to use the Midland GXT1000VP4 radio?
Yes, you need a GMRS license from the FCC to legally operate either the GXT1000VP4 or the GXT1050VP4 walkie talkies. A GMRS license costs $35, is valid for 10 years, and covers you and your immediate family members.
Can I communicate with FRS radios using the Midland GXT1000VP4 GMRS radio?
Yes, they use the same 22 channels and privacy codes as FRS radios. Even though these GMRS radios can transmit at a higher power on certain channels, they’re capable of sending and receiving transmissions to and from FRS radios on the same frequencies.
The Midland GXT1000VP4 has 50 channels, what are they all for?
Channels 1-22 are the same as any other FRS/GMRS radio. Channels 23-50 are some of the same frequencies as channels 1-22, but with privacy codes already programmed in. You can find what channel and privacy code they are using by scanning with a different radio.