If you've ever shopped for a two-way radio, you'll know that handheld and mobile are two of the most common categories. Handheld radios are — you guessed it — battery-powered devices small enough to hold in your hand or wear on a belt. Mobile radios, on the other hand, are generally larger and heavier units used in vehicles, drawing power from the vehicle's battery. Mobile radios in the GMRS category can transmit at up to 50 watts, while handhelds are limited to 5 watts. (You may recall our previous article showing how we installed a 50W mobile radio in our 4Runner.) Today, Midland announced a new MXPW radio base station series that offers more portability for these powerful mobile radios.

The new Midland MXPW series takes existing Midland mobile GMRS radios and integrates them into portable metal ammo cans. Each can includes a mounting slot for the radio, a built-in battery pack, volt and amp meters, a fan to keep the unit cool, and storage for the hand mic, magnetic antenna, and cables. The removable can lid is waterproof and acts as a metal ground plane for the antenna, maximizing its range.

We were also pleased to learn that both of these units are made in the USA.

Two models will be available initially:

  • MXPW115 — surplus 7.62mm ammo can with 4Ah LiFePo4 battery, compatible with the MXT115 (15W), $425 MSRP
  • MXPW500 — surplus 5.56mm ammo can with 10Ah LiFePo4 battery, compatible with Midland's MXT500 (50W), $600 MSRP

Above: The MXPW115 (top) is designed for the MXT115 radio, and the MXPW500 is designed for the MXT500. Radios are not included with these units, so you'll need to purchase those separately.

As you can see in the images above, the laser-engraved panels inside these portable base stations provide useful reference info, including menu flowcharts, channel and repeater frequencies, and a quick-reference guide for the NATO phonetic alphabet.

Both of these MXPW units include rechargeable LiFePo4 batteries, which are said to only lose 2% charge per month when not in use. This makes them well-suited to long-term storage for emergencies. For off-grid charging, Midland will also offer the MXPW01 40-Watt Foldable Solar Panel for an additional $150 MSRP.

For more information about the new Midland MXPW series, go to MidlandUSA.com.

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