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February 16, 2020

Over the centuries humans have evolved our communication. From writing on cave walls to mailing letters with the Pony Express to sending instantaneous video messages around the world with cell phones. Many forms of communication have fallen to the wayside as cell phones become more advanced. But our high-tech cell phones and WiFi are unreliable in many environments, especially in the face of severe weather in remote areas. For this reason, CB radios and handheld two-way radios have remained a viable and steadfast form of communication.

The CB radio is a pillar of two-way radio communication, but Midland saw an opportunity to reinvent the traditional CB radio and make it more accessible and powerful. We wanted to grow upon our expertise as the leader in two-way communication since way back when we manufactured the first and best CB radio in the United States.

Say Goodbye to Your CB Radio and Hello to the MicroMobile

MXT115 MicroMobile fits perfectly when mounted in your John Deere combine MXT115 mounted in combine / Image from Werner Farms

The MicroMobile isn’t the CB radio from 70's pop culture. It is the all-new reliable communication solution for farming, overlanding, RVing, off-roading, family trips, and outdoor adventure. It's compact, powerful, and compatible with widely-used FRS/GMRS walkie talkies, and an affordable alternative to CB radio.

History of the CB Radio

U.S. Coast Guardsman with a radio during World War II A U.S. Coast Guardsman carries a radio on beach patrol during World War II / Image from the U.S. Coast Guard

The CB radio--or Citizens band radio--was created by inventor and wireless communication pioneer Al Gross in 1945. Besides the CB radio, Gross also invented walkie talkies and the telephone pager. Gross was a brilliant inventor ahead of his time. Among his many inventions was a two-way wristwatch transmitter which is said to have inspired cartoonist Chester Gould and his crime fighter character, Dick Tracy, began sporting the high-tech watch in 1948.

By age 12, Gross had learned radio code and became a ham operator. By 16, he earned his amateur radio license. In 1938 at the age of 20, Gross had invented and patented his first version of a handheld two-way radio called a walkie talkie. On the brink of World War II, his brilliance with wireless and mobile communication caught the attention of the U.S. government. Gross was recruited to design two-way communication systems for ground troops to communicate with bomber pilots behind enemy lines. After the war, Gross turned to making two-way radios for personal use.

From Military to Civilian Use

After the war in the late 1940’s, Gross formed the Citizens Radio Corporation and received the first approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use his new Citizen’s Band radio equipment for personal use.

In the 1960’s, Midland Radio Corporation became the first CB radio manufacturer in the United States. Through advancements in electronics, these radios reduced in size and cost making them attainable for the general public. CB radios quickly became popular among farmers, truck drivers, and radio hobbyists. CB radio clubs sprang up across the country, and the CB radio craze began.

By the 1970’s, the country was at the beginning of what would become Sammy Hagar’s heartache with 55 mph speed limits. A nationwide speed limit of 55 mph was implemented due to the oil crisis and shortages. Drivers turned to their CB radios to alert each other of police speed traps and gas stations with gas.

The CB radio phenomenon didn’t end there -- it was only getting started. Throughout the 1970's, truckers used CB's to organize massive conveys and stage civil protests of gas prices. By 1977, 40 more channels were opened up to the public to accommodate the excitement and demand. This lead to the CB radio playing a prominent role in pop culture including the Burt Reynolds’ classic Smokey and The Bandit and Cledus Maggard & the Citizen’s Band 1976 hit White Knight.

The Beginning of a New Era: The MicroMobile the CB Radio Alternative

Extreme Tornado Tours trust the Midland MicroMobile for communication during storms Extreme Tornado Tours trust the Midland MicroMobile when it matters most / Image from Extreme Tornado Tours

Continuing our legacy as pioneers in two-way radio technology, the MicroMobile was designed for those who work and play outdoors. This high-powered GMRS radio is small but mighty. It offers up to 10 times the broadcast power of traditional handheld GMRS two-way radios.

MicroMobiles have redefined CB radio communication. The detachable flip-frame bracket lets you choose whether you mount on or under the dash. Plus, the quick release tabs make it even easier to transfer the unit from one rig to the other. Use the unit while plowing the fields during the week and move it to your overlanding rig and hit the Jeep trails on the weekend.

Choose Your Power

Our MicroMobiles come in a variety of watts. Pick your level of power depending on what your range needs are. These powerful GMRS radios do require a license to use, but we’ve got you covered with all you need to know about how to get your GMRS license.

The MXT105 and limited edition MXTTR gives you 5 watts of GMRS power. One watt more than what is allowed by law for CB radios. Plus NOAA Weather Alert radio.

Explore 5 Watt MicroMobiles | MXT105 | MXTTR

For up to 3 times the range of your GMRS handheld two way radios, the MXT115 boasts 15 watts of power that you can easily mount in most vehicles. The newest additional to the MicroMobile line is the MXT275. This radio also harnesses a full 15 watts of GMRS power but comes with a fully-integrated handheld mic. Plus NOAA Weather Alert radio.

Explore 15 Watt MicroMobiles | MXT115 | MXT275

For the most power and extreme range, then turn to the MXT400 -- Midland’s MOST powerful GMRS radio. Max out your GMRS capabilities with this mighty 40 watt radio with a 65-mile line of sight range!

Explore the 40 Watt MicroMobile | MXT400 | MXT400VP3 Bundle

No matter the power you choose, all of our MicroMobiles are compatible with Midland FRS/ GMRS radios and all other GMRS radios. This compatibility makes the MicroMobile the perfect base station for camping, hiking, snowmobiling, ATVing, and overlanding. Stay in touch with your group even when you can’t rely on cell service.

Explore MicroMobile Bundles | MXT1050 MicroMobile - GXT Bundle | MXT115VP3 MicroMobile Bundle | ORMXT115VP MicroMobile - GXT Bundle | MXT400VP3 MicroMobile Bundle

Features of the MicroMobile

The range of the MicroMobile two-way radios is impressive especially considering its' compact size. The head unit of the first MicroMobile was barely wider than a credit card! Better yet, our newest MicroMobile, the MXT275, has an even smaller head unit and a fully integrated handheld microphone. You can save your dash space by stashing the MXT275’s head unit out of sight and still have full use of all the radio’s features right from the handheld microphone.

What makes our MicroMobile CB radio alternatives so powerful besides their high and low power GMRS channels? After listening to your feedback on our first MicroMobile, we’ve added repeater channels to all of our MicroMobiles 15 watts and higher. Whether you're using the MXT115, MXT275, or MXT400 you have access to 8 GMRS repeater channels to allow you to communicate even further and in rugged obstructed terrain. To make sure you get the most out of your radio and repeater channels, add an external antenna with a magnetic or traditional mount.

Other MicroMobile features include:

    • High grade microphone

    • Privacy codes

    • Silent operation

    • Channel scan

    • Programmable squelch

    • High contrast backlit display for day or night use

    • Monitor mode

    • Keypad lock

    • Keystroke tones

    • Digital volume control

    • External speaker jack

Radio Lingo + Etiquette

MXT275 MicroMobile mounted in Subaru Outback looking out windshield at desert hills MXT275 MicroMobile mounted in Subaru Outback / Image from Ranz Navarro

Besides being able to easily communicate, the next best thing about CB radios and the new MicroMobile is the fun CB jargon and creative handles.

Originally, CB radios required a users to pay a $20 license fee. To avoid paying the fee and remain anonymous, users created handles or nicknames. It is said that Betty Ford often chatted on CB radios during her time in the White House, and her handle was none other than First Mama.

First of all, radio lingo is not weird made out abbreviations like you often see in texting or social media. Two-way radio jargon has been developed over the years to create shorthand messages that allow users to communicate brief, succinct, and clear communication.


Common Two Way Radio Lingo:

    • Affirmative - used in place of "yes"

    • Negative - used in place of "no"

    • Over - you're done speaking but would like a reply

    • Out - you're signing off and terminating the call

    • Over and Out - you're done speaking and the conversation is over

    • Radio Check - the radio equivalent of "can you hear me now?"

    • Read You Loud & Clear - in response to "radio check" meaning your transmission signal is good

    • Roger - confirms you understand what the other person is saying

    • Stand By - you acknowledge receiving transmission, but cannot respond immediately

    • What's Your 20? - asking for the other party's location

    • Wilco - short for "will comply"

Radio Etiquette for Clear Communication

Contrary to the name, two-way radios are really a one-at-a-time communication system. Unlike a cellphone, you cannot speak and listen at the same time. That means if you're pressing the talk button no one else can be heard. If you think of a short, clear, and concise message BEFORE you push the talk button it will help keep the channels open -- plus you'll save your battery life.

To help keep channels open, users have developed their own two way radio lingo to help keep messages brief and avoid confusion of similar sounding words or phrases.

Since multiple people can be on a channel a time, it is important to identify yourself and the intended recipient of your message. It also helps to indicate when your are done speaking. Use the appropriate jargon depending on if you are looking to continue the conversation or sign off.

Do not transmit sensitive or confidential information. Although there are privacy measures that can be used, it should be assumed that others can hear your conversation.


Quick Tips:

    • Be prepared -- know what you're going to say BEFORE you push talk

    • Keep it short, clear, and concise

    • Learn the lingo

    • Identify yourself and the intended recipient

    • Indicate when you're finished speaking or terminating the call

    • Keep it secure by not sharing sensitive or confidential information

Over and Out.

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