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Power

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jk77

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These budget radios seem to be all over the place when it comes to transmit power. In other words, they rarely live up to their specs, at least not from the reviews that I've seen.

Has anyone had a problem where this had become a major issue? I really don't want to waste money on something that won't even hit my local repeater.

On the other hand, I have seen some people say that the power differences don't translate into actual real-life differences. What is the truth?
 

WB4CS

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The difference between 3W or 5W or 8W is really not that noticeable in the "real world." Where you're going to really start seeing a difference is when you go from 5W to 25W or to 50W. In all honesty, I'd worry more about getting a good antenna that can radiate the power effectively, don't rely on the built in "rubber duck" antenna.

Also, for what it's worth, you get what you pay for. The budget radios work, but they are cheap for a reason. Depending on what you're using it for (commercial, public service, amateur radio, etc.) you may be better off in the long run looking for something that's better suited to your needs.
 

jonwienke

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I've tested several of the Baofenng radios, and they run reasonably close to spec. "5W" varied from 4-5.5W on VHF and about 3.5-5W on UHF, depending on the radio and actual frequency. That's a measurable difference, but not really noticeable to the other end of the conversation. Having a good antenna makes more of a difference than a +-25% variation in power. You really need to double power to make a noticeable difference at the other end.
 

jk77

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Thanks for the replies!

The difference between 3W or 5W or 8W is really not that noticeable in the "real world." Where you're going to really start seeing a difference is when you go from 5W to 25W or to 50W. In all honesty, I'd worry more about getting a good antenna that can radiate the power effectively, don't rely on the built in "rubber duck" antenna.

Also, for what it's worth, you get what you pay for. The budget radios work, but they are cheap for a reason. Depending on what you're using it for (commercial, public service, amateur radio, etc.) you may be better off in the long run looking for something that's better suited to your needs.
Do you have a particular antenna that you could recommend? Because all the after-market antennas look the same to me (16 inch whips).

I do realize that I'm getting what I pay for, but I'm not sure that it's worth putting in an additional $100 to get 1 more watt of power. That's kind of why I posted this question. If it is going to really matter then I will have to reconsider getting a cheap radio.
 

jk77

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I've tested several of the Baofenng radios, and they run reasonably close to spec. "5W" varied from 4-5.5W on VHF and about 3.5-5W on UHF, depending on the radio and actual frequency. That's a measurable difference, but not really noticeable to the other end of the conversation. Having a good antenna makes more of a difference than a +-25% variation in power. You really need to double power to make a noticeable difference at the other end.
Thanks, this is good to know.
 

baltimorecs

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I have tested the Wouxun KG-UGD1p, KG-UV6D radios and the Baofeng UV5R, UV-B5, UV6, BF-888s radios and they were all fairly close to listed wattage. I just got the TYT TC-8000 which is supposed to be 10 watts but it tested at 5 watts low power and 6.8 on the 10 watt setting. I was hoping to use a pair of them for a 10 watt briefcase repeater for an overseas job site.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

KC9HI

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These budget radios seem to be all over the place when it comes to transmit power. In other words, they rarely live up to their specs, at least not from the reviews that I've seen.

Has anyone had a problem where this had become a major issue? I really don't want to waste money on something that won't even hit my local repeater.

On the other hand, I have seen some people say that the power differences don't translate into actual real-life differences. What is the truth?
You don't need a lot of power in a radio which only communicates line-of-site distances. One or two watts difference into the stock antenna won't make any noticeable difference. A much bigger difference will be gained by replacing the stock antenna with a better one.

I always program all of my channels at low power (1 watt on my UV-5R). I only bump up to high power as needed (which is practically never). My "go to" radio before the UV-5R was an Icom IC-Q7a with only a single power lever, .3 watts.

Jim KC9HI
 

jonwienke

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Do you have a particular antenna that you could recommend? Because all the after-market antennas look the same to me (16 inch whips).
Amazon.com: Genuine Nagoya NA-771 (Updated) SMA Female 15.6" Dual Band Antenna (144/430Mhz) BaoFeng Tech - BaoFeng, Kenwood, Wouxun Compatible (including UV-82, UV-5R, BF-F8HP, GT-3, BF-F8+, 888s Series): Electronics
The 16-inch whip. Best range of the whip antennas.

Amazon.com : Genuine Nagoya NA-701 (Updated) SMA Female 8" Dual Band Antenna (144/430Mhz) BaoFeng Tech - BaoFeng, Kenwood, Wouxun Compatible (including UV-82, UV-5R, BF-F8HP, GT-3, BF-F8+, 888s Series) : Car Electronics
An 8-inch whip. A little more compact, a little less range.

Amazon.com : Genuine Nagoya NA-810 (NEW) SMA Female 2.5" Dual Band Whip Antenna (144/430Mhz) BaoFeng Tech - BaoFeng, Kenwood, Wouxun Compatible (including UV-82, UV-5R, BF-F8HP, GT-3, BF-F8+, 888s Series) : Car Electronics
A 2.5" mini flexible antenna. Less range than the other antennas, but I've tested it out to 1 mile going between my house and a friend's house, with terrain in-between.

Deluxe Model Roll Up 2M 70cm Roll Up J Pole Slim Jim Antenna with 10ft Coax | eBay
A roll-up mini J-pole antenna. Not suitable for walkabout use, but if you hang it from a tree or other non-conductive structure, it beats all the whip antennas hands-down.
 

KC9HI

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Do you have a particular antenna that you could recommend? Because all the after-market antennas look the same to me (16 inch whips).
A field test was performed between 31 popular antennas.The results can be found here.

Jim KC9HI
 

jk77

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Ohio
Thanks for the replies and the links!

Yeah, it looks like it's coming down to the antenna. I just got my UV-82 by UPS today, and it appears to be receiving worse than my handheld scanner. I've got to move the radio around the room to pick up the local repeater. I have not tried to transmit because I don't feel confident at all that I would be readable. I'm going to try going outdoors tomorrow to see if it gets any better.

jonwienke, when you say that the Nagoya 771 is the best of the whips, do you mean better than the whips you listed or the best of all? Is it better than the Diamond and Comet antennas?

KC9HI, thanks for the link to the file of antenna data. Unfortunately, I just got my license and am new to all this so I don't really know how to interpret that data. The author didn't include any discussion of the results for a guideline. I do appreciate your pointing me to that file though.
 
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