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