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Friday, July 14, 2017

And Now For Something Completely Different: 70cm FM

So there I was, talking to KE5FV on my scratch-built 17 meter BITX, when in walks my son Billy with this walkie talkie.  "Hey Dad, I'm cleaning out my room -- could you use this?"  I'd seen it before but I thought it was some Family Radio Service device that he had picked up.  But no!  It is one of those very cheap Baofeng UV-5R FM transceivers.  I soon found myself scrolling through menus, trying to figure out how to use the strange new appliance. 

I got it on 70cm and soon established contact with a Bill W3HXF -- that was my first ever UHF contact.  We then switched to 2 meter simplex. 

It works fine.   I've been looking for something different.  This could be fun.  Any suggestions on how to make the most use of this thing?


  1. You'll need to pick your own adventures that your newfound radio will lead you on.

    After I passed my license exam in March, I ordered a Baofeng to allow me to get on the air as soon as my license came. I have used the radio to get on the local SkyWarn net, the local ARES net, the social Sunday night net, and rag chewing with some club members. I've volunteered and helped with communications at one local special event and doing the same at a couple of additional events in August and September.

    On the rag chewing/social communications, I've been fortunate enough to meet some hams that were not club members and some that were just passing through the area. Today several local hams (including myself in the Chattanooga, TN area) shared traffic and weather information with a ham headed to West Virginia.

    The easiest way to program the radio is to use the interface cable and use the program CHIRP. You can program the radio manually but it is no fun. If you don't have the manual, you can download a copy from the Internet. (I'll also email one to you.) Manual programming of duplex operation is a pain.

    Good luck with the new find.

  2. My 2c: follow David's advice, program by CHIRP. At least it'll *be* an adventure, not an ordeal.

  3. Use it with the FM cube satellites.

  4. Find the local WIN repeater and work world wide DX. Careful it is a black appliance box


  5. Suggest you get a higher gain dual band antenna, vs. the standard shipped with the radio--check Amazon while searching for the Baofeng UV-5R. A larger battery pack is also available which is useful on long exercises. 73, John/N6VTS

  6. Don't underestimate the capability of these little radios if you can get up high. I have just returned from a holiday in England's Lake Distict and decided to slip the radio into my rucksack whilst walking in the hills. I had a Q5 contact with another station located in north Wales (a distance of more than 100 miles). All this on the standard rubber duck antenna.

  7. Great little radio packed full of features for a give away price.
    73 Jim G4NWJ

  8. On 2M these radios do not comply with FCC regulations. The first harmonic can be as high as only 10dB down. This harmonic is in the military band.

    1. Not the results I've seen on my specan, citation please?

  9. Climb a mountain with a small 3 element yagi and do some SOTA.

  10. I second the better antenna recommendation. "TNA-771"-type antenna from ebay and aliexpress can be had for as cheap as 2usd shipped, so no real reason not to have one for testing.

  11. Bill,
    I found this manual this is a little more convenient than the one that comes with the radio. http://www.buytwowayradios.com/products/resources/Baofeng/UV-5R-Owners-Manual-2.pdf


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