The National Geographic Channel has a new show called 'Doomsday Preppers' that airs on Tuesdays at 9:00pm EST. This show takes a closer look at people who are going to great lengths to prepare for hard times. Each episode features several 'preppers', and shows you how each is preparing for a specific crisis scenario. The show doesn't look at the more common disasters, but instead focuses on major to catastrophic events, as unlikely as they may be to occur. Examples of such events include an EMP detonation, a major oil crisis, hyperinflation, financial collapse, and more.
In this past Tuesday's episode one segment focuses on Jason Charles, a New York City fireman, and details his preparations for a supervolcano eruption. As he was demonstrating how he would prepare himself to go from his apartment to a storage facility for more supplies, he was shown carrying a Midland GXT1050VP4 two way radio. Is this radio a good choice for a crisis scenario?
Advantages of the Midland GXT1050VP4
There is no doubt that the Midland GXT1050 is a fantastic consumer grade GMRS radio. It has a lot of power and great range (typically 1-2 miles), is somewhat waterproof, (meets JIS4 specifications), will operate on standard AA batteries if you aren't able to recharge the included NiMH battery pack, and it will allow you to listen to NOAA weather channels. This is essentially the same radio as the very popular and very well reviewed Midland GXT1000VP4, only in camo.
As you can see the GXT1050VP4 offers a lot of what a 'prepper' may be looking for, and it would be tough to make a case that it is a bad choice. As always seems to be the case, however, there is not a product that is completely perfect for this scenario so I'll point out a few other things that could be considered.
Other Things To Consider
First, while the GXT1050VP4 is packed with features, durability isn't really one of them. At $80/pair you really can't expect it to be, and this is going to be the case for any consumer grade radios. A business grade radio is going to be considerably more expensive, but far more durable. In a true disaster scenario, it would be difficult to find replacement radios so this has to be a consideration. Another option would be to purchase a backup set of the same or even lower cost consumer radios. This would provide a backup option and would still cost less than a typical single business radio.
The Midland GXT-1050 operates on FRS and GMRS frequencies, which are very popular and are used by most consumer grade radios. A high powered GMRS radio can usually be counted on for a mile or so of communication range. GMRS, however, also allows for the use of repeaters. Repeaters are high powered devices that essentially re-broadcast a transmission at a much higher power and over a great distance. In a crisis situation it may be helpful to be able to communicate with others that are more than a mile from you, but to do this you would need a repeater in your area as well as a radio that supports the GMRS repeater frequencies.
Unfortunately the GXT1050 does not support repeater frequencies. If you decide that you need this ability, Motorola has a couple of good options. The Motorola MR355R and MR356R are priced similarly to the Midland, but are repeater capable. The Motorola MS350R is repeater capable as well as fully waterproof. The Garmin Rino series is also repeater capable, but these devices are far more than just two way radios and that is reflective in the cost.
Basic Emergency Kits
Remember that we also offer some basic emergency kits. While these kits will get you nowhere close to the level of preparedness of those featured on the show, they are a small start and could make a big difference if you find yourself without power or clean water during a bad storm or other emergency.