Author Topic: 'Cheap' Radio  (Read 25335 times)

Offline ChrisFox

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2013, 08:02:53 AM »

Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #31 on: May 02, 2013, 02:06:37 PM »

Offline Bradbn4

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #32 on: June 16, 2013, 07:50:02 PM »
I picked up BaoFeng UV-b5 & B6 - both work "fine" - both are basic same hardware - cheap dual band that seems to work better than you expect considering the low price points. The lowest price I seem to have found is 84 dollars for two with free slow boat shipping form China.

There is after market s/w to allow you to bypass the tedious programming as long as you have the special USB to dual prong adapter.  You will have to hunt up the right adapter, the cheap clones use fake chips in the cable and will require a "special" driver to get Windows 7 to recognize the cable.

The basic differences between the b5/6 is flash flight - versus secondary tuner knob.  If your budget is limited, needed cheap hardware to learn on, based on current reviews I would recommend this h/w worth considering.

Offline NorIDhunter

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #33 on: July 04, 2013, 10:00:16 AM »
Appreciate the info on these radios. I just met a a guy last Sat at a disaster exercise drill and he recommended these Boafeng 5's as a good starter intro,
I'm interested in a BaoFeng UV-5RE Plus @ $39.99 as a way to check out HAM, see if "it's for me", & start the road to "tech" but still have one on hand for a SHTF at a reasonable cost.

While I'm here, the "drill guy" suggested making/buying a backpackable (roll up?) J pole antenna, is that going to be compatible with this radio?

Thanks for the patience w/ the newbie(s)!  ;)

Offline Bradbn4

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #34 on: July 04, 2013, 11:47:31 AM »
Appreciate the info on these radios. I just met a a guy last Sat at a disaster exercise drill and he recommended these Boafeng 5's as a good starter intro,
I'm interested in a BaoFeng UV-5RE Plus @ $39.99 as a way to check out HAM, see if "it's for me", & start the road to "tech" but still have one on hand for a SHTF at a reasonable cost.

While I'm here, the "drill guy" suggested making/buying a backpackable (roll up?) J pole antenna, is that going to be compatible with this radio?

Thanks for the patience w/ the newbie(s)!  ;)

I understand that the new generation of Boafeng uv-b series performs a bit better than the uv-5 series.  Yes, I have seen J pole antenna's that will work, like every thing else - check the fitting type and antenna size for your application.  Antenna fittings differ between radios so you will have to decide on your radio first.

Now if you need to make sure your equipment shares the same battery pack as others in the group; then I would consider something other than the UV-b5/6 radio's. 

If you do a search for "j pole antenna" plus dual band you may find what you are looking for on ebay.  However; I would recommend looking at some of the HAM specific board locations that would have recommended mfg for your intended use.

Also I would recommend looking at the slim Jim antenna.   A Slim Jim antenna is basically similar to a Jpole design, but it exhibits a lower radiation angle in the range of 8-10 degrees on the horizon, compared to 1/2 wave Jpole which exhibits a 20-30 degree angle on the horizon. (ie. more gain)

What sort of cost are we talking about here?  Under 40 dollars even if you decide to enclose the antenna within PVC pipe for home installation.

Offline Special K

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #35 on: July 04, 2013, 02:10:26 PM »
While I'm here, the "drill guy" suggested making/buying a backpackable (roll up?) J pole antenna, is that going to be compatible with this radio?


Sure is...I use a UV-B5 with this: http://www.ccares.net/Assets/roll%20up%20J%20pole.pdf

Offline Special K

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #36 on: July 04, 2013, 02:18:58 PM »
Forgot the lead/adapter:

http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/cable/cable.html

The cable adapter you are looking for is #5690 LMR-100 SO-239 to SMA Female (ARC112) for $18.95. Super thin 50 ohm cable that won't put strain on the delicate connector in the radio.

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #37 on: July 05, 2013, 01:47:35 PM »
N9TAX make/sells one of the nicest Roll-Up antennas avail:

http://www.2wayelectronix.com/
 
Yes, I will admit they are easy to build, I chose to buy :)
http://www.n9tax.com/Slim%20Jim%20Info.html

as mentioned above I also use an "HT saver" to minimize the strain on the antenna connection point on the HT.  When I first got my ticket my Wouxun HT was my Portable/Base/Mobile.  I operated for months using my N9TAX roll-up in base mode.  It hangs now in the corner as a bad weather back-up to my Arrow J-Pole mounted outside to the chimney.

A roll up antenna is a good add-on to put in your 'box' and it will Greatly increase the use of your HT!!!

btw: a friend and new ticket holder purchased a pair of the Baofeng 5B model and with the little testing we've completed, they seem like really nice little radios....kinda of a Mini-Wouxun!

SCW

Offline doublehelix

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #38 on: July 05, 2013, 04:05:11 PM »
Just as a point of info on antennas.

We did extensive testing with our ARES setup here locally in a geographically dispersed city.

It was found that a magnetic mount 1/2 wave dual-band mobile antenna, used with either a mag mount base on a CONEX container, or with a ground plane kit, achieved at least 2x the signal quality of Jpole antennas.

While Jpoles are great for expedient antennas, I would never consciously use one in day-day operations.

My two cents.

The Baoefung radios are impressive for the price, but the Wouxun's are a lot more versatile for the price IMHO.




Offline garysco

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #39 on: July 21, 2013, 10:33:09 PM »
I have been playing with 3 Baofeng UV-B6's  for a couple of weeks now, and for under $40.00 delivered (EBay ) or $43.00 Amazon it is a very good deal.

Comes with drop in charger, slide on 2000mAh quick change battery, pretty decent 6.5" dual-band antenna and a really nice strong spring-loaded belt clip.  The case material is nice tough plastic and has a 6 second white LED backlit 5 character alpha-numeric display. The audio is excellent (Tx & RX), it does 6.25Kc narrow splinter frequencies well,  and it uses older Kenwood speaker-mic accessories. Beware that it is now using the reverse-SMA antenna connector, and DOES NOT have a  DC ( 7.4v) power jack . If using the 5 watt Tx it will get warm, but loves 1watt all day long. The "dual-watch" works very nice & fast (even on PL/ DPL Rx) and  I am impressed with how quickly and quietly it "looks back"  to monitor my MURS driveway alert while listening to local FM broadcast. The only head scratcher is why did they make a 99 channel scanning radio but forget to provide any channel "lockout" features??? D'oh! IMHO it is the best Baofeng to date.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2013, 10:38:10 PM by garysco »

Offline Greekman

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #40 on: July 22, 2013, 12:53:23 AM »
Quote
Beware that it is now using the reverse-SMA antenna connector, and DOES NOT have a  DC ( 7.4v) power jack

thank you for posting this...yuo saved me some trouble cos these are a deal breaker fo me.

Offline Special K

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #41 on: July 22, 2013, 12:08:00 PM »
The only head scratcher is why did they make a 99 channel scanning radio but forget to provide any channel "lockout" features??? D'oh! IMHO it is the best Baofeng to date.

Channel lockout can only accessed through either the OEM or CHIRP programming software.

This blog post might of interest to individuals on this thread: http://hamgear.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/whats-the-best-chinese-dual-band-ht/

Online iam4liberty

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2013, 08:55:16 PM »
I use both the UV-3R and the UV-5RA.  They are great value rigs.  One of the strengths is that it is easy to find upgrade antennas for them like the Nagoya and Diamond SMA antennas. They greatly improve transmit.  +1 on using chirp.  The UV-3R programming is fairly intuitive.  But the UV-5RA uses a somewhat odd format for storing repeater information.  There is a great FAQ here including flowcharts: http://www.miklor.com/uv5r/

Offline joelevi

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #43 on: August 05, 2013, 03:43:50 PM »
UV-3R BAOFENG136-174/400-470Mhz +USB program NEW!



...

I've got this radio. It's got pretty decent battery life and charges via USB (but it uses a proprietary cable) and works well on both 2M and 70CM. It's small and tough... but since it doesn't have a keypad, you'll be turning that knob a LOT!

Offline vr6isfaster

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #44 on: November 20, 2013, 11:09:52 AM »
I've had the 3r for a couple years now and am very satisfied. It really is a simple, effective and worry-free radio. It is cheap enough that you really don't need to worry about having it everywhere you are, and you aren't filled with anxiety about leaving it in the car. There are a lot of forms online with open source programming instruction manuals that keep things simple. The battery it uses is available very cheap on ebay given that it is also used in a digital camera (I think). The only downfall of this radio is that the battery charging cradle is a joke. It appears to have no logic inside it and relies on the protection circuit in the battery to indicate an overcharge situation and cut off. This really is not ideal for battery life so I just charge the battery in the radio. It appears to take somewhere between two and four hours and will run all day if you're not constantly talking on it. It is excellent to keep in the car (not a hot car... battery life) just as a police receiver, but do be sure that you do not program PL tones in for transmit so that if it falls into the wrong hands or you aren't paying attention to what you're doing. That's right, this radio is able to transmit on all frequencies it receives except for broadcast FM radio. You don't accidentally key a police repeater outside of an emergency situation. The only problem I've had with the radio is that the factory wall wart died after six months or so of use but that really doesn't matter given that it just wants USB power.

Offline SCWolverine

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #45 on: November 20, 2013, 03:32:38 PM »
I just bought 4 UV3's for the kids Christmas....still boxed up right now  ;)

Offline Texas Sawduster

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #46 on: December 09, 2013, 10:41:56 AM »
Dropped my Duet a couple of times.
Cracked the case. Still works but with the hi-gain antenna, it cuts in and out.
Must be loose inside the case at the antenna connection.

I think it's time to go with the Baofeng.
Cheaper and just as good with more accessories.


Offline Greekman

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #47 on: December 09, 2013, 01:56:12 PM »
I think i si tiem to ask how reliable are the Baeofengs.
I ahve seen no bad reports around adn the ony dude i heard comenting on them (that they have the tendency to break down0 is not at all reliable

Offline Gunnywag

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #48 on: March 04, 2015, 10:00:15 PM »
Been putting it off, but not for much longer....  Yay Baofeng

Offline Carl

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #49 on: March 05, 2015, 02:11:46 PM »
I just would not be concerned with power as a line of sight radio about 7 miles on flat ground is your limit and raising power from one watt to eight or ten will not get you another mile. A higher location or more effective antenna will make more improvement than a power increase...all power does is use up your battery.

Offline Sailor

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #50 on: March 05, 2015, 02:25:08 PM »
I just would not be concerned with power as a line of sight radio about 7 miles on flat ground is your limit and raising power from one watt to eight or ten will not get you another mile. A higher location or more effective antenna will make more improvement than a power increase...all power does is use up your battery.


This,

Simply moving to a second story, or transmitting on an overpass or the top of a parking garage can you contacts. 

Offline Gunnywag

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Re: 'Cheap' Radio
« Reply #51 on: July 28, 2015, 10:12:23 AM »
Finally got it, works great!  Can't beat the price :)