Midland USA GMRS MXT-400 Communications Radio

Midland Radio is Expedition Team Overland’s first sponsor.  They are outfitting the Expedition Team Overland’s Jeeps with all the communications gear the we need on the trail and at camp.  TJ and I chose the MXT-400 and Dee chose with the smaller MXT-275; we all have the 6DB Gain Whip Antenna’s with antenna cable; we also got 2 sets of the X-Talker handheld radios.  The handhelds are great for spotters, use around camp or when not in the jeeps. All the Micro Mobile radios that are in the Midland lineup will do great for Jeep-to-Jeep/convoy communications. 

I chose the 40 watt radio, MXT-400 so I have the best range possible, and with the 40 watts I should have no problems getting through foliage and forests of the Appalachian Mountains.  I have been using Midland Radios for about 5 years and have been very happy.  It was great to see that Jeep Jamboree is moving away from CB radio to Midland FRS/GMRS.  It is my opinion that GMRS/FRS is far superior from CB, and HAM/Amateur is one step up.  Having HAM radio requires written test, more expensive gear, but with that you get more power and further range. For where we are going to be traveling and communicating with GMRS/FRS is the best option.. You do need to get a license from sth FCC to transmit on GMRS frequencies, but this is just a form and fee to be paid.  The GMRS license cover you and your entire family for 10 years.  

Installing the MXT-400 in the Jeep is fairy simply.   Because the radio is 40 watts of power, you need to power it directly to the battery, or a fuse box like I have or an S_Pod like electrical organization device.  You can not power this from the “cigarette lighter”. That just does not give enough power that the radio needs.  

Where do you put your antenna? Antenna options and locations are endless.  You can use a magnet mount or “hard wire” it to a more permeant location.  Take into account “ground plane” which give the antenna the best advantage to get the most range.  I had a smaller antenna on the tire carrier, it was above the Jeep (for the most part) and was out of the way with tress and other trail obstructions.  When I went with the 6DB antenna from Midland, its much taller and having it on the tire carrier would run into daily issue with garages and bridges.  The hood of the Jeep is a great “Ground Plane” and I used a stainless steel bracket that goes above the funder and under the hood.  Stainless steel is great as it will not rust or corroded with water and winter road salt.  Having a properly grounded antenna is also important so you do not damage your radio.  I check that it is grounded regularly.

The MXT-400 is a large radio, I chose to install it on the passenger side of the center console.  This give the driver easy access to it, and it dose not take that much space from the passenger.  You can mount it above the rear view mirror, that is not a look that I like, TJ has done that and he is very happy with that location.

The MXT-400 is a great radio and I am very happy with its performance.  We get realistically  6-8 miles of range, that is straight line stance through trees, hills and valleys.  I have been working with the people at midland on future radios. And I look forward to new radios hitting the market in the upcoming years. I think with these radios (GMRS/FRS) are gaining traction in the Overland/off-read community we are going to see them more on the trail

Published by Expedition Team. Overland

As a Boy Scout Eagle Scout, camping, camp fires and maps have always been a passion. After getting my professional carrier established as a Boeing 737 Captain for a Major US Airline, I was able to get back to my routes of playing in the woods, mud and building things. I got my first Jeep in 2012. It was a 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ, I did not modify it, and it had many mechanical problems, as I was a novice, and not mechanical, I sold it for a new 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport Unlimited. In 2014 I installed an American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) 2.5" lift with Kelly Safari 35" tires. In 2015 I continued my build with AEV front and rear bumpers, snorkel, skid plates, and off road lights. Up until now, I did off-roading at the local Southington Off Road Park, Rausch Creek in Pennsylvania, and Badlands Park in Indiana. JKFreaks.com was an outstanding resource and I was able to make life-long friendship. In 2015 I did my first big trip with the jeep, first we stopped in Ouray, Colorado. We had two days of trails and did Imogene & Engineer Passes. I left part of myself in the San Juan Mountains and my want to return has been strong since. After Ouray, we went to Moab, Utah for Jeep Jamboree. Moab is "Jeepers Paradise". Endless miles of trails, from dirt roads to the most extreme, Moab offers endless possibilities for the Jeeper, hiker, mountain biker, everyone. Since 2015 I have returned to Moab in 2017 & 2019. In 2018, I traded in my 2013 JKU Sport for a 2018 JKU Rubicon Recon. I did this drastic move, because I was at the point in my build where I needed to upgrade my axels. I made the very difficult decision and striped as much as I could from my 2013 Jeep to move to the new jeep, as they were both the same style of jeeps; JKU's. I spent the spring and summer of 2018 to build my jeep. I once again installed an AEV 3.5" lift, 35" BFGoodrich KO2's and AEV front and rear bumpers. With this build I wanted to move from the "Rock Crawler" to an Overland build. I can still do all the difficult trail of Moab, Rubicon Trail, but also the fire roads and cover many miles full of camping and off road gear. With Overlanding in mind, I have build a cargo platform for my ARB 50q Fridge, and specific loading of the camping gear. Where is the Future? Buying an Earth Roamer and exploring as much of the country as possible? Thats a goal, but I hope in the coming years to get a roof rack, roof top tent, and then doing more Expeditions though Appalachian, Rocky Mountains, desert of New Mexico and Arizona, and the National Parks west of the Rocky Mountains.

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