Our customers in California provided us with feedback on the RT76 and Midland GXT1000 reviews, which were done at Madrone Canyon in Larkspur, with the addition of a Retevis RT97 relay, if your ranch is in hilly or difficult terrain, The results of the evaluation feedback have great practical guiding significance for you.
A radio test today demonstrated that in difficult terrain the 5 watt repeater (Duplex) capable Retevis RT76 ($37) is far superior to the Midland GXT 1000 ($35) handheld radio and may be as good as the much more expensive repeater capable icom F4001 ($160). To perform this test we relied upon previous test results using both the Midland GXT1000, a non-repeater capable “simplex” radio, and the icom F4001 which was tested using simplex and “duplex” via the Retevis RT97S radio repeater setup at the back of Madrone Canyon in Larkspur. Three types of terrain with challenges were tested:
Open areas with no obstructions, but with bad line of sight to the Dolliver Park trailer. Even using a Yagi directional antenna at the Dolliver Park 15 watt base station radios some comm to these areas has been marginal to none.
Challenging areas upside canyon where “duplex” comm via the repeater is good but simplex 5 watt comm is poor to none with the Midland GXT1000s and acceptable with the icom F4001, and
Lastly, locations where have no simplex comm was possible on both the Midland GXTs and the icom F4001, but comm is good using the icom F4001 on duplex to the Dolliver Park trailer via the repeater. For this last group we were also successful testing comm to the Dolliver Park trailer via the repeater from Corte Madera Town Center and the Bon Air Shopping Center.
The Retevis RT76 performed as well as the icom F4001 under all three conditions. What I believe we have learned after these years of radio testing is that a repeater like the 5 watt output Retevis RT97S, at $305, vastly improves communication. Provided the install site has either solar or generator, this repeater, plus about $125 for a duplex antenna and antenna mount should be standard equipment for NRG sites around Marin with challenging terrain. Subject to further testing, I would recommend we discontinue using the Midland GXT1000s handhelds for Block Captains in favor of the Retevis RT76 radios. The 15 watt Midland base station MXT115 or MXT275 continue to be good reliable low cost radios.
For outdoor and farm users, this review can bring you a clearer product understanding. Whether it is Retevis RT76 or Midland GXT1000 GMRS two way radio, you can make a better choice according to the application scenario.
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