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Sunday 12 June 2011

Midland Base Camp446, the “Swiss army knife” radio

Now I just added a new radio to my motley collection of radios, the Midland Base Camp446, which is a “Swiss army knife” radio, or so I think anyway.  What makes this radio different from most PMR446 radios is that it is equipped with a flashlight, USB charging port, medium wave and VHF broadcast reception, VHF marine band reception, and a dynamo charging system to charge the radio or anything connected to the USB charger port.  It also features an alarm clock and Morse code function to send signals using the flashlight. It comes with both a home charger and car charger, a shoulder strap, and a Midland branded speaker/mic for ease of use, I tested the speaker/mic with my other radios with a 2-pin standard connector, it worked with my Intek MT-5050 but it did NOT work with my Intek H-520 (the transmit was jammed on with the mic connected), the radio features a high and low power setting so as to save on the battery if you are only communicating over a short distance, it is simple to operate, the volume and power control is rotary, which I like in a radio, the tuning/channel change control is a momentary rotary control, turn right to increase channel, left to decrease, a 4 position switch selects the band, a 2 position switch below that selects the battery type, and a 2 position switch below that turns the light on and off, on the right hand side is the dynamo crank, this can be turned clockwise or counter-clockwise to recharge the batteries or phones, MP3 players, iPods, GPS systems, and PDAs that may be connected to the USB socket in the left hand side, the left hand side also features the flashlight, the speaker/mic socket (2-pin), and the charger socket, the rear has the antenna, which folds down, a very large battery box for both the supplied rechargeable battery pack and normal AA sized batteries, all in all a good radio.

Note, For information only, I do not recommend or encourage modifying PMR446 radios, you do so at your own risk
This radio can be modified for increased power output (3 watts), and increased channels (LPD433 on the PMR446 only model), or locked to LPD433 only, or PMR446 only
Inside the unit you need to locate 3 jumpers, these are JS4, JS17, and JS16, the settings are as follows
JS4 JS17 JS16 PMR446 settings LPD433 settings
0 0 0 500mW H/10mW L disabled
0 0 1 3W H/500mW L 3W H/500mW L
0 1 0 500mW H/10mW L 500mW H/10mW L
0 1 1 3W H/500mW L disabled
1 0 0 500mW H/10mW L 10mW
1 0 1 500mW H/10mW L disabled
1 1 0 disabled 10mW
1 1 1 disabled 3W H/500mW L
EDIT: I discovered a service door (it’s an unmarked piece of thin black plastic) in the rechargeable battery pack compartment during a routine security mark, all 3 jumpers, plus a cut 4th jumper were present, the 3 jumpers were closed, in the above diagram, 0 means do NOT cut, 1 means cut, the order is unknown jumper (already cut by Midland), js4, js17, and js16, don’t touch the first jumper.
The picture below shows the location of the jumpers behind the service door
The 4 loops apear to be steel wire, so you may need some very sharp cutters to cut them, to put the radio back how it was just reclose the 3 loops, leaving the left-most one as is

I will make a short video demonstration of this radio in the coming weeks, stay tuned