Author Topic: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread  (Read 74198 times)

Offline scoob

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The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« on: April 07, 2014, 12:13:42 PM »
The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread

DeltaEchoVictor had a good idea:
Perhaps we need a dedicated Baofeng thread?

So, here we go!  Let's chat about all things Baofeng, and other cheap radios.  Let's consolidate what we've learned.  Post useful links, tips, opinions, etc.

Let's start here...
If you
  • have,
  • want,
  • are considering the purchase of,
  • heard about,
  • are interested in learning more about,
  • wonder what the heck is
a Baofeng (or other cheap dual-band) radio, then you absolutely, positively, must go to this website: http://www.miklor.com/
Don't argue with me. :stop: Just go there and check it out. ;)



To start off the list of links, this idea originated is this thread:
What's the maximum power for a hand held?

Here are some Baofeng threads for your reading enjoyment:

'Cheap' Radio

Baofeng UV-5R

Programming a Ham Radio (baofeng UV-5R+)

Baofeng multipacks for BOL? Community Comms

Baofeng question

A FNG to comms and need help

Maximizing with cheap radios...

Good cheap ($43.60 delivered) dual-band 2 watt Handheld

What did I miss?

Offline Qilmorr

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2014, 12:43:53 PM »
Good idea. I'm considering picking up a couple of Baufeng radios after Mr Harris' recommendation. I know very little about them and this would be a good place to learn.
"Do or Do Not, there is no try" - Yoda

Offline LBSurfer

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2014, 01:53:27 PM »
Thanks for this thread.  I bought a Baofeng based upon Mr. Harris' recommendation and have been, up to this point, very happy.  Still need to get a license to get the most out of it, but I am learning a lot by leaving my mouth shut and ears open with the radio on.

Thanks for the links as well.



Offline Paritybit

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2014, 06:27:05 PM »
I purchased a GT-3 and accessories from this vendor about 2 months ago, found it to be an amazingly capable radio for the price. There are a lot of good resources on Youtube for use and programming and the radio works well with the open source CHIRP application for programming.

http://www.radioddity.com/us/top12/baofeng-gt-3-kit-136-174-400-480mhz-orginal-remote-speaker-programming-cable.html

I would recommend this radio to anyone and have enjoyed using it. If you need a flexible and capable radio for a very good price, this is one to place on your short list.


Offline chad

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2014, 06:48:08 PM »
Good thread...


My baofeng should be here Wed...4-9

Offline Ken325

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2014, 07:23:47 PM »
I bought a UV5R about a month ago.  I think this is a lot of capability in a small package.  I am thinking about ordering another one.  I bought a 14 inch antenna based on a recommendation from Greekman. 
I also bought the microphone, spare battery, and the programming cable.  I bought the AARL technician license book and I am working on getting a license. 

I would love to get some help programming this thing.  I would like to put in the GMRS frequencies so I can communicate with my motorola walkabouts, NOAA, Local emergency response, Maybe the MURS frequencies.  ANouther frequenciew that are recomended?  Anyone have step by step instructions or instructions on using the programing cable. 

Thanks for the links.  I will spend some time on this when I can.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2014, 11:32:15 PM »
Scoob is right: miklor.com has what you need.  Got my usb issues sorted out and got a bunch of stuff programed in without much trouble at all.  There was one last port driver that my aging Macintosh needed, there was a link to it at miklor, and now chirp works great.  Thanks for starting this thread Scoob.

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Offline Greekman

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2014, 12:46:25 AM »

A FNG to comms and need help

What did I miss?

Somehow there is no active link for it

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2014, 06:28:55 AM »

Artes sunt magis quam instrumenta.

Offline scoob

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2014, 07:54:22 AM »
Thanks for catching that guys.  I would edit the original post, but I don't seem to be smart enough to find the 'Modify Post' button.   ???

Offline ChrisFox

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2014, 08:52:39 AM »
http://radiofreeq.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/program-your-vhf-uhf-transceivers-for-disaster-preparedness-with-frs-gmrs-pmr-murs-business-weather-marine-ham-channel-frequencies/

This helped me. Have a nice print out sheet or you can download the CSV file, load it into chirp then into the radio. I've found that if I export from chirp to a CSV file I can load it into excel and work with it there. Working in excel is so much easier than chirp.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA7QeLDGzz-QoFugnqzEGMA/videos

This guy has some great videos that got me started.

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2014, 01:33:50 PM »
DeltaEchoVictor had a good idea:

So, here we go!  Let's chat about all things Baofeng, and other cheap radios.  Let's consolidate what we've learned.  Post useful links, tips, opinions, etc.
I had a good idea...yay :dev:

Pinned to the top.
We live, my dear soul, in an age of trial.  What will be the consequences, I know not.
- John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, 1774
If tyranny & oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.
- James Madison





Heavy G was right. All the threads back here do end up as gay porn.  :o
See...
Okay, just so it is noted, Doc is the one who started the gay porn on this thread.  ;D

Offline scoob

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2014, 04:02:33 PM »
I have a CHIRP file that has MURS/FRS/GMRS frquencies, and all of my local ham repeater (and simplex calling) frequencies, according to the "Coordinated Repeaters" list for the area. (Many thanks to NF7T)  Look around, a local ham may have an up-to-date list posted for your area.
 
Once you get the radio-cable-computer handshake figured out, the hardest part is the naming & numbering of your list.  It's not that bad, it just took me a few tries to get a system I could live with. 

As a side note:  The way our coordinated repeater list is setup makes the vhf part of assigning memory locations easy, because the kHz part of the frequency is unique in the list.  Example:  146.240 would be known as the "24" repeater, and there will not be a 145.240 or a 147.240 in the list.  If that's confusing, I'd be happy to explain it further.

I didn't mention local Police/Fire, etc. in my list because it's still on my to-do list.

Here are the MURS/FRS/GMRS frequencies from Wikipedia:

MURS
MURS1    151.820 MHz
MURS2    151.880 MHz
MURS3    151.940 MHz
MURS4    154.570 MHz
MURS5    154.600 MHz

FRS(/GMRS)
1    462.5625    Shared with GMRS (informally used as a national emergency/calling channel)
2    462.5875    Shared with GMRS (used as a calling channel by geocachers)
3    462.6125    Shared with GMRS
4    462.6375    Shared with GMRS
5    462.6625    Shared with GMRS
6    462.6875    Shared with GMRS
7    462.7125    Shared with GMRS
8    467.5625    FRS use only
9    467.5875    FRS use only
10    467.6125    FRS use only
11    467.6375    FRS use only
12    467.6625    FRS use only (used as a secondary channel by geocachers)
13    467.6875    FRS use only
14    467.7125    FRS use only

GMRS Only
15    462.550    
16    462.575     
17    462.600     
18    462.625    
19    462.650    Use not permitted near the Canadian border.
20    462.675    Often used as emergency and road information calling frequency with tone squelch of 141.3 Hz.
21    462.700    Use not permitted near the Canadian border.
22    462.725

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2014, 04:27:10 PM »
Three gotchas that wasted a bunch of my time:

(1) Thinking I could just program the thing by hand at first.  Go ahead and order the programming cable when you get the radio.

(2) When you download chirp and get it running, make sure you have the right serial port driver.  If you don't, dig around on miklor.com until you find it.  You'll know it's the right one when you have something show up in the "Download from Radio" menu that actually connects through to the radio.  Until you get the correct serial port driver working, you're stuck on zero.  Hey, at least it's free!

(3) After you get the radio programmed up, unplug it from the programming cable to test it.  Mine would unsquelch the FRS radio across the room, but wouldn't transmit voice... until I unplugged the cable.  (This last one had me scratching my head for an hour.)

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Offline Ken325

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2014, 08:17:28 PM »
I got CHIRP working and I got all the drivers and data cable working.  I am now programmed with FRS, MURS, local NOAA, and GMRS channels. Works great!  One issue is you have to push in hard on the cheap knockoff data cable that I got to get it to work.  I also got 3 local repeaters on the radio.  Any other channels that I should program?  I played around with using it as a scanner but I am not getting anything.  My local PD is trunked and Dallas is to far away. Should I put any air and marine channels on this thing.  What is the max number of channels? 

I need to learn how to use keys to do things.  One would be to turn off the beep and voice.  Another thing is I would like is to see the names of the channels.  All I see is the frequency. If I cannot see names I will need to take a cheat sheet with me. 

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2014, 09:25:19 PM »
I got CHIRP working and I got all the drivers and data cable working.  I am now programmed with FRS, MURS, local NOAA, and GMRS channels. Works great!  One issue is you have to push in hard on the cheap knockoff data cable that I got to get it to work.  I also got 3 local repeaters on the radio.  Any other channels that I should program?  I played around with using it as a scanner but I am not getting anything.  My local PD is trunked and Dallas is to far away. Should I put any air and marine channels on this thing.  What is the max number of channels? 

I need to learn how to use keys to do things.  One would be to turn off the beep and voice.  Another thing is I would like is to see the names of the channels.  All I see is the frequency. If I cannot see names I will need to take a cheat sheet with me.

Yeah it is pretty great!  I used a razor to trim out a little of the plastic on the side of the cable plug that was keeping it from fully seating.  Programmed in much as you did, plus a few local first responders that aren't trunked; found those over at Radio Reference.  Also put in 2m & 70cm simplex calling freqs.  As Ken asked, anybody other useful channels to program?

In the "Duplex" column, you can turn off transmit on a channel-by-channel basis by selecting "off" for that channel.  Probably a good idea for stuff like the local police and fire simplex channels, maybe for the weather channels too.

Max number of channels is 128.  Sound like a lot, but it runs out fast.  There's an "Name" column in the memories editor page (at least in the version I pulled, 20140222), try clicking there.  Using the keys is a bear, and you can't get the alphanumeric names in on just the keys.  You can turn off the beep on the settings page in chirp, which you get to via a tab on the left side (again, at least on the version I have).

For manual programming, this is the only guide I've seen that I can seem to work with: http://www.miklor.com/COM/UV_ProgMem.php  Your mileage may vary.

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Offline Combatmajor

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2014, 10:36:38 PM »
Is amazon the best place to pick these up or are there other places you guys have bought from? (Even though they are already pretty cheap on Amazon as it is. )

Offline Greekman

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2014, 11:21:13 PM »
(2) When you download chirp and get it running, make sure you have the right serial port driver.  If you don't, dig around on miklor.com until you find it.  You'll know it's the right one when you have something show up in the "Download from Radio" menu that actually connects through to the radio.  Until you get the correct serial port driver working, you're stuck on zero.  Hey, at least it's free!

On this.....there is a programm available, "Find Com Port.exe".
Does it do this job for you?

Offline chad

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2014, 08:29:15 AM »
Ok, I'm a complete noob to this ham thing...so, I got the uv5 the other day found my local repeater got it plugged in and it works, ya!!!!

What else can I add, is there a universal weather channel?

My local fire and police are on a different system.

Offline ChrisFox

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2014, 10:58:39 AM »
http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?stid=26

You can drill down to the county. That's where I got a good portion of the ones I use. All kinds they list there, I've got ones from the port, cruise ship terminals, hotels, etc..


Offline radiomacgyver

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2014, 05:09:08 PM »
Here is a link to a csv file containing Connecticut ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) frequencies. Please don't transmit on them if your not a licensed HAM.
 
http://ctares.org/CT_ARES_Top10_CHIRP_ver1.csv

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2014, 06:01:00 PM »
Here's a dose of cold reality from none other than Tim Glance, aka The Old Grouch:
http://survivalcommsblog.com/2014/04/09/is-that-40-baofeng-or-woxun-radio-really-a-good-prepper-radio-not-so-much/

Kind of a harsh read, but worth a read nonetheless.

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Offline Greekman

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2014, 11:20:55 PM »
Put he missed one BIG point.....

The Baofeng put a real radio in the hands of people that -else- would spent the same amount on GMRS radios.

BIG point 1.1.....Half of them proceeded to getting a HAM license

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2014, 06:27:02 AM »
True Greekman.  I feel like Tim went way over the top one way, and Steve did a little bit the other way, and the truth is somewhere in between.  Both opened my eyes on these little radios, in the sense of "look at all the great stuff they can do!" as well as "yeah, but don't trust your life to this ONE radio."  I'd recommend to anyone interested to listen to what both of these smart guys have to say, then go buy the damn radio because it's the most bang for the buck out there.

Also, thanks for the suggestion on the comm port finder.  I'm wrangling an old Macintosh and finally got the job done, but maybe it'll help some of the windows people.  (All bets are off if you're trying to do this on a VAX however. ;))

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Offline lowwattliving

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2014, 02:34:35 PM »
I have 3 of these UV-SRE's. I've programed all the FRS/GMRS, local weather, and 2 of my local repeaters on all 3 by hand. The thing that took the longest to figure out is that you have to delete a channel before you can save another frequency over that same channel. Menu #28 to delete then #27 to save. If you input a frequency into an already used channel, it will not save over the old frequency with the new one. After that everything went very smoothly with these radios. I also purchased a 9 inch and a 12 inch antenna for them.   
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Offline chad

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2014, 07:16:54 PM »
I have 3 of these UV-SRE's. I've programed all the FRS/GMRS, local weather, and 2 of my local repeaters on all 3 by hand. The thing that took the longest to figure out is that you have to delete a channel before you can save another frequency over that same channel. Menu #28 to delete then #27 to save. If you input a frequency into an already used channel, it will not save over the old frequency with the new one. After that everything went very smoothly with these radios. I also purchased a 9 inch and a 12 inch antenna for them.   


What is FRS/GMRS? How do I program it/them?

I've tried what others have said about local weather with no luck..any help?

I also "hand" programmed my local repeaters.

I know how to program this radio, what I need help with is "what" too program this radio with..

Offline chad

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #26 on: April 16, 2014, 07:22:26 PM »
Please...keep your response at/too a noob level.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #27 on: April 16, 2014, 07:40:17 PM »
Please...keep your response at/too a noob level.
Everything you need to know (at first) about these two radio services:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Radio_Service
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Mobile_Radio_Service

NB: It is not generally legal to talk on these two bands using a Baofeng or any other programmable ham radio.  To do it legally, you'll need a pre-packaged ready-to-use FRS/GMRS radio.  They're not very expensive, in multipacks they can be had for down around $15 each.  Perhaps at first this the way to go.  OTOH as Steve Harris pointed out, if you program things right and stick to the low power setting it is unlikely you'll show up on any FCC Most Wanted posters.

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Offline Alan Georges

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #28 on: April 16, 2014, 08:21:37 PM »
Programmed in the list of 2m/15kHz step simplex frequencies last night.  Here's the list: http://www.n5lxi.com/ham/2meter_simplex.html  (note: most western states go for the 20kHz step between simplex frequencies)

Did this while listening to a blues show on 31m shortwave, with the receiver across the living room.  Every time I'd key the mic, even on low power, the shortwave radio would about jump out of its skin.  Checked, and it's throwing spurs on the broadcast FM band too.  I swear, there are times it seems like "Baofeng" is Cantonese for "hot mess."

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Offline chad

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Re: The Dedicated Baofeng Radio Thread
« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2014, 06:54:07 AM »
Thanks Alan, that helped.