New Amatuer KD9AWH needs a radio

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RANDY60164

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Melrose Park, IL
Looking for help in selecting a hand held unit. The instructor recommend a BaoFeng UV-5r. I saw GT3. What would anyone suggest?

Then I stumbled along a new model Wouxum coming out in May 2014.
Wouxun KG-UV8D Two Way Radio (136-174/420-520) COMING SOON!! DUAL BAND!! CROSS-BAND REPEAT!!
It also stated Repeater capable, dont all Ht radios have this??

Please help?
KD9AWH would like to get up and go.
 

WB4CS

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In my humble opinion, anything other than the cheap Chinese junk handhelds.

If you need 2/70cm the Yaesu FT 60R is a great handheld and not very expensive.
If you only need 2 Meters, the Kenwood TH-K20A is an outstanding rock solid radio for around $120.

As for the "repeater capable" yes all handhelds should be capable of working repeaters. I'll bet what that meant was the radio is capable of being a repeater, as in a cross-band repeater.

Also probably a good idea to suggest to the new ham that handhelds are not always the best first or only radio. A mobile radio set up with a power supply and outside antenna will make a great base station and allow for much further and dependable contacts than a handheld. And don't forget HF, even as a Tech they have SSB Voice privileges on part of 10 Meters and CW on a few other HF bands. There's more to ham radio than just VHF/UHF! :)
 

ve3fnd

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Trust me and WB4CS. Do Not Buy A BaoFeng!!! Not only are they cheep junk and will not last more then 6months, from what I seen online you need to computer program them they have no VFO mode and that sucks. I got a Yaesu FT-60R over 7 years ago when I first got In to the hobby and its a great radio very well built as all Yaesus are. I also have a FT-897D and they are built like small tanks. The FT-60 also will be a great scanner as well, it has wide receive from 108 - almost 1000mhz. I picked up a nice speaker mic for mine and used it in the car for years until I bought a FT-1900R for the car. I still use my FT-60 and its still going strong.
 

KC8ESL

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The UV5R does indeed have a VFO.

Its not exactly the most user friendly device but for what I'm doing with the radios, once I have the memories programmed in, I'm done.

My only complaint about that little rig is that the squelch is software controlled, not a hardware knob. More or less the same problem with my BCD-396XT. let me be clear: It is a great backup radio or a starter radio. If you want to stay in the hobby, be sure to buy other (better) radios.
 

k6cpo

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The thing that makes the Baofengs so difficult to manually program, especially for someone with experience with other radios, is that Baofeng DOES NOT automatically enter the repeater offset as does Yaesu and the other Japanese radios. The Baofeng user has to learn how to individually set the offset direction (+ or -) and the offset amount (600kHz for 2 meters.)

This lack of firmware features is one of the things that allows the Baofengs to be sold at such low prices. They are a basic, no-frills radio.
 

PrimeNumber

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Everything KC8ESL and K6CPO said, to which I'll add: the UV-5R isn't so bad, but I don't consider it anything more than a learning tool and cheap backup. If you buy one, don't even bother trying to use it until you first get a programming cable to link it to your computer, and then install chirp software. It's only a little convoluted to program it from there. Just order the cable when you order the radio, and install chirp on your computer while waiting for the Big Brown Truck of Happiness to bring your new radio.

(Then, if you really REALLY like frustrating puzzles, try programming it by hand.)
 

N4KVE

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Buy a Baofeng if you are out on the water fishing all the time. That way when it falls overboard, you won't be out much money. Otherwise, they are difficult to program unless you carry a laptop. There are many fine [easy to program from the keypad] used ht's available for the price of a Baofeng. Until the mfr's of these radios learn to make them program like the big 3 [this could happen one day] I will never own one.
 

KC8ESL

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Its not Chirp that is hard to install. The prolific driver is nearly impossible to find (ever see the 1986 movie "Labyrinth"? ...Yeah...)on the web but once you find it, you'll be overall happy with the outcome.

If I had a link I would post it.

On the same topic, Randy, what is it you plan on getting into as your first ham radio adventure? If it is ARES or Skywarn, I will recommend you away from Baofeng or Woxwun (sp??) and into a more ruggedized Yaesu or Icom-type radio. If you're just looking to start out and meet the crowds on the repeaters, the Baofeng will do just fine (to start).
 

PrimeNumber

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Better yet, find a FRIEND who's already installed chirp on his computer. You'll be programmed up and ready to go drop it overboard in no time.
 

jaspence

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Radio for new user

Despite all the naysayers, the Baofeng UV-B5 is quite usable and decent quality. I have over 50HTs from high end DMR, P25 and D-Star to some old single frequency thumb wheel models. Every radio has quirks. The UV-B5 is much easier to program from the keyboard that most previous Baofengs and certainly easier than some of the Yaesu VX models. I recently got the UV-82, and so far it is also quite useable. Avoid Windows 8/8.1 if possible and you should not have any big problems with drivers for the software. I use Windows 7 64 bit with most of my newer radios with little trouble. Sometimes Chirp works better, and sometimes the original factory software is my choice. 6 in 1 USB Programming Cable for Motorola HYT Icom BAOFENG Kenwood Yaesu Radios | eBay is a link to a good type of cable that works with many radio brands.
 

teufler

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I've had the Baofeng uv-3 for over two years and its still going strong. I have a yaesu vx-3 and, its more expensive but I use the Baefeng more. I also have Yaesu Vx-10's and vx-7's. Once you program them, you rarely have to mess with changing them. The Baefend, does take alittle more time programming, I do NOT have a cable but just use the built in menus. I'm sure they will be vendors at the Dayton Hamfest that will have Wouxum models. i will way that with the less expensive radios., they are not water proof and water is not your raedio friend. I have noticed that the Wouxum advertised cross band unit. Something that the ICOM w-32 was the only radio that I found that could do that. A feature that was very handy in an emergency.
 

robertmac

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This has been discussed on a number of threads here. But to regurgitate, CCR are cheap. Yes they do work. Without knowing his interests or the number of repeaters in the area it is impossible to give a good answer. For example, if he wants to sit on just one frequency, the CCR will probably do. They make horrible scanners so if he is interested in listening to a number of frequencies within and outside ham bands, CCR are not the way to go. If he travels to other states where he has to frequently input different frequencies, tones CCR are horrendous to do on the front programmable key pad. Even with software it is not that easier in the beginning. As others have said, use them for monitoring, but get a real mobile/base radio if going to rag chew or work public events. Cross band repeat with handhelds may have a place but cannot replace using a mobile with more power output. That is my pennies worth.
 

baayers

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This is the first post that I have made in the amateur forums since I was officially licensed about seven months ago but realizing I was recently in your shoes decided it might be a good time to officially make a post. I live only a couple of miles from a very strong FM radio station and less than a quarter mile from our local PD / FD tower so my area is definitely a work out for HT radios. A friend brought by his 5R and it failed miserably. After doing some Internet research I also came across the B5 and after reading the comparison about how it was night and day compared to the five are decided to order one off of eBay. For about $50 shipped with the cable from a US seller I was able to get the radio into my hands. Once I received the radio and got a chance to try it first hand I found out that the people that had reviewed this radio were correct and that it was deffinetly better. All of the previous issues I experienced with signal overload were now gone. Even hooking it up to a J pole outside of my residents I still received no issues with this radio. As for manually programming it with the keyboard I am now able to program in a new repeater in less than 30 seconds doing everything by hand. On the PC side of things I have been using chirp with no issues on my Windows 8.1 system. Most of these cables that are coming with the radios are using a generic prolific chipset which requires the older drivers to be used instead of the newest. In order to avoid any conflicts it is best to install the correct driver prior to plugging in the cable. Once you have installed the correct driver you will then want to disconnect your access to the Internet so that it does not automatically update to the newer driver while installing. Here is a link to the correct drivers for the generic cables in case anyone happens to need it. Please note when installing it may say Windows Vista but it will work with all versions through 8.1.

Prolific FTDI Windows Cable Drivers

My only gripe with the radio is that it cannot automatically detect the CTCSS tone that is being used by the repeater if you're scanning through frequencies in VFO mode. For finding new repeaters that are not listed on this site or in RepeaterBook I personally find it easier to use my police scanner so that I can find out the correct tone.

I've been using this radio for the last seven months and have used it on a couple of trips going cross country. One trip to Florida and another trip to Wisconsin. In all my travels this radio has done me well. I do find myself starting to eyeball the fancier units that are out there but I will say I am definitely glad at least from my own needs that I chose this radio as my starter.

On a sidenote I have also found this radio to actually be better than my police scanner when it comes to railfanning. I have been using chirp to input the railroad frequencies in to my radio for the areas I travel and have been very impressed. Since I am the kind of person that will watch trains any chance he gets this was a major added plus.

Hope this helps
Benjamin KK6GPX
 
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i use the YAESU FT60R great HT and i have had it 5 years and just got 2 new batteries from Ebay only $18 each.I did buy the radio new i think it was like $200
 

baayers

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Please excuse any spelling errors in my last message. I was using my iPhone to type it and AutoCorrect made changes that I did not catch until just now being too late. Also the driver I linked to above also works for the Wouxun branded cables as well.

Lastly I forgot to mention that the VFO A and B on the Baofeng UV-B5 are separate. For example I keep the shift on A at 0.600 and B is 5.0. Once you type in the repeater frequency all you have to do is set the shift direction and the CTCSS tone and save by holding the star key until the channel number starts flashing. Select a channel and you're all done. No more having to go back and manually set the transmitting frequency like you had to do with previous Baofengs.
 

LtDoc

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I've never had a BaoFeng so can't say anything about them. I do have a couple of another Chinese brand HTs and they do exactly what they are supposed to do. They are not easy to program, but there are a number of free programs available that make it much simpler. Yes, it requires a computer and cable, but that cable isn't all that rare. Are they the best things around? Nope, but they do work fine and are 'cheap'.
One thing that I certainly agree with is that an HT is not a very good 'beginner' radio, they are just too limiting. An HT was made for short range communications and convenience. They are not 'performers' of any sort. I don't know of any 'new' hams that started with an HT and didn't wish they had gotten a 'real' radio to start with.
Best advice I can think of is to go see what others are using. Get your hands on them and see how they 'suit' you. Factor in the ease of use, simplicity, features, and cost (that last one is a biggy!), then decide what you want.
Good luck.
- 'Doc
 

n4yek

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In my humble opinion, anything other than the cheap Chinese junk handhelds........
If you only need 2 Meters, the Kenwood TH-K20A is an outstanding rock solid radio for around $120.
Sorry to show you this: (pay special attention to the lower right corner). I don't own one of these radios so I don't know for sure what is under the battery compartment.

http://www.cqdx.ru/ham/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/knwd.png
 
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N4KVE

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Sorry to show you this: (pay special attention to the lower right corner). I don't own one of these radios so I don't know for sure what is under the battery compartment.

http://www.cqdx.ru/ham/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/knwd.png
Yes, while that radio is made in China, & so are some of the other big 3 radios, they are still made to the specs of the parent company in Japan, meaning they are easy to program, and they also have customer support here. When you buy one of these throw away radios from a Hong Kong seller, & it's DOA, who in the States is going to repair it under warranty?
 

KC8ESL

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Moonboots, you contradicted yourself right there.

"throwaway" and "repair" do not belong in the same sentence. Unless it is a simple fix you can do yourself, it isn't worth your time on a tech support hotline to repair or send the unit away to get repaired. Shipping will probably be $15-20 round trip. A new Baofeng on amazon is $34, shipped 2 day.
 

N4KVE

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My statement was about brand new radios that are DOA. In other words they never worked. Icom, Kenwood, & Yaesu HT's can be sent in a priority box for $5 something. Sure, if you get a year out of a HK radio, & it breaks, you chuck it. But a new radio you want fixed for free, & that's where the postage to HK will kill you. Like I said before, if I was a fisherman, I'd own one of these radios. Just trying to show the OP the good, & bad with owning one of these HK radios.
 
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