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Cheap Radios

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RFI-EMI-GUY

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I will start with my rant about Midland GMRS radios. Just as I was admiring their mobile radio line up, I realized they are Narrow Band only, not Wide Band +/- 5 KHZ like permitted on GMRS. So you are throwing away a big chunk of audio and signal performance. Yucch!

Then those Pesky Baofeng BF888s. Take a moment and look up the FCC certification grant for those. Turns out, they are also narrow band, and worse yet, the deviation so constrained that they barely produce a third of the occupied bandwidth permitted for even narrow band operations.

Baofeng is selling those radios cheap because they are crap.

I heard one of these on a GMRS repeater last week and it sounded like a whisper. The CTCSS can't be very good, so if the radio doesn't open up the repeater, no surprise.

Save your money and buy real radios.

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swen_out_west

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Yes, I got a pair of Midland MXT-115's when I first decided to move up from Handhelds.

I wouldn't say they were a waste of $300<150 each>, they aren't a bad entry level 'legal' repeater capable radio. But I could have spent my money a little more wisely.

I still use one in her truck and they are 'cute' little radios which perform adequately in the valley between my repeater and 2 base stations. They did not meet expectations at any distance before I got my system up. (Looking to see how the 14.1 collinear I bought for the repeater works to increase my footprint.)

They did help me teach my girlfriend what picket fencing is. They flutter really bad if you are at your range limit and moving fast. The funny part is my girlfriend learned to read that flutter on the highway to my house and pretty much knew how fast I was driving. One day she said 'you've got to be going way over the speed limit of 65MPH', I was doing 75+.

But now that I have the repeater up and running with her base having a 10db Yagi pointed right at my house with the repeater, they work ok for the 14 mile corridor between us.

I wish they had a single button Talkaround though. I have designated spots to stop so I can scroll through to switch between repeater and not.
 
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alcahuete

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I agree to an extent. I realize this is in the GMRS/FRS Forum, but to add from the amateur radio perspective, is it better to have a cheap radio than nothing at all? We have priced a lot of people out of the hobby, to be honest. When I first got into ham radio 24-ish years ago, the only reasonably-priced radio was the HTX-202, and even that wasn't cheap, at $200. CBs could be had for $20. At my age, a jobless high school freshman, I had to ask for it as a Christmas present or such. An HF radio, or mobile VHF or UHF radio? Forget about it! They were super expensive at the time.

So from that perspective, I would almost rather have these radios available (even with the questionable quality) to at least get young folks on the air, and rejuvenate the hobby. If it's going to be a Baofeng or nothing, I'll take the Baofeng.

As far as GMRS/FRS, I doubt anybody is going to use these radios for anything serious, any more than they would the bubble pack radios from WalMart with the exaggerated 50+ mile range. They are cheap throw-away radios for close-range communications. And they work well for that. Chances are I'm not going to take my $800 Motorola or Hytera radios out boating or off-roading or what have you. But I'll sure as heck take a few of these along for comms. with other people, because I don't care what happens to them. If they go overboard or get loose and smash into a rock, I'll just buy new ones for $10. Am I going to use them to talk across town and get on repeaters? Probably not.
 

jaspence

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Cheap radio

It is amazing how many people complain when they they don't do their homework. My first 2 DMR radios are Hyteras, and they cost a bundle and are well built and reliable. I recently ordered a GD-77, knowing that it won't be up to the same standards. I don't expect it to be even up to the quality of my CS 750, but having the dual band capability in one radio and close repeaters should serve my portable wants at a very reasonable price.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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There are some decent cheap radios out there that meet the wide band specs on GMRS. You are not going to get them for $22, unless it is a surplus commercial radio on ebay and then you will have to know what you are buying and add a new battery and programming. But ask around and you will get help meeting you budget.

I am just tired of shills pushing cheap crap on folks who are new to radio when it is obvious that most of these radios have deficient transmit and receive performance.

Nothing will frustrate a newbie more than to be hearing multipath all the time from a poorly designed receiver, or not being heard through the repeater.

There are minimum specs for land mobile radios listed in EIA/TIA 603D. These cheap Chinese manufacturers might TEST to 603 to satisfy FCC interference, but they are totally ignoring the minimum performance section of the document which dictates how good or awful the radio will communicate.

Buyers need to be aware and research the relevant specs. I would never recommend these radios for any purpose.



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KC4RAF

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Davenport,Fl.- home to me and the gators and the s
RFI...GUY, I agree with you. I purchased 2 baofengs and they aren't good. What do people expect for 25 bucks?!
As people can see in my sig line, there is the baofengs, but then you can see where I saved and spent money on decent transceivers. THOSE are the ones that I rely on.
A person can spend the 25 dollars on the CCRs and see if radio comms is for them or not, (don't forget the licenses for testing, etc.), but then save and buy the quality radios later.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Dec 22, 2013
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It rankles me when newbies ask for a recommendation for a radio and these CCR's are the first things mentioned without any qualification that they might do better to spend a bit more for a used commercial or public safety grade radio with better specs. In my opinion these radios are little better than an LED flashlight with a half assed radio attached.

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spongella

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W. NJ
Not complaining here, just one man's experience. After programming a few Baofengs for a ham friend and then trying to troubleshoot problems she had (one was a faultyspeaker/mic plug) my advice was to go for a new or used Japanese VHF/UHF radio. She had three Baofengs, two of which proved to be more of a headache than they were worth. The remaining one was fine.
 

jonwienke

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I have had a dozen or so Baofengs for several years, and haven't had any problems with them, other than a hand mic going bad.

They aren't top shelf, but make great loaner radios, and are handy for situations where a $1000 radio would be overkill or inappropriate, such as a kid's starter radio. Not everyone drives a Cadillac, even if they can afford one. Sometimes people want a beater truck to go mudbogging.
 
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