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Baofeng UV-3R = Satellite Capable

Discussion in 'Satellite and Space Communications' started by W5PFG, Nov 4, 2011.

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  1. W5PFG

    W5PFG Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm not a fan of using semi-duplex on satellites, but I decided to give my Baofeng UV-3R a try this afternoon. It is very easy to work the current "easy sats" with this radio if your split memory channels are configured properly. I made 3 contacts on SO-50 and 1 contact on a semi-busy AO-51 pass.

    Here's a "screen shot:"

    Here's a video:
  2. KO4MA

    KO4MA Ham Member QRZ Page

    A pair would be pretty cheap, less than $100, to get full duplex. These radios really work pretty well considering the price.
  3. W5PFG

    W5PFG Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was thinking about coming back to add your suggestion. If someone currently has a dual-bander that cannot do full-duplex, this is an excellent route. I found the receiver to be more than adequate for receiving SO-50, AO-51, ARISSAT, and CO-66. I almost felt "guilty" making a semi-duplex contact on the birds...You get spoiled.

    People, I know you "can" run semi-duplex (it is done daily,) but the reality is you get stepped on and you step on or interfere with other people's conversations on a REGULAR basis. Once you get a taste for making contacts, invest in something like one of these Baofeng and your satellite life will be much happier.
  4. AC2GK

    AC2GK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yea, I have been running semi-duplex the entire time I've been on the satellites, it can be a pain in the arse. I went and invested in a full duplex radio just for satellite work (Alinco DJ-G7 which is a great radio), but you then have to go buy a special adapter for a headset, there's no option to use just headphones and the built in mic. One of these days when I have the money to invest in the adapter (they use some darn proprietary adapter) and a headset to match it...

    Regardless it's cool to see a good cheap option for getting onto the birds!

    Tim - VE5/AC2GK
  5. KO4MA

    KO4MA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I hate to be the one to tell you this, but the G7 is really poor at full duplex. I bought one of the first 100 at Dayton a few years ago, and have yet to make it work on full duplex on a satellite, as it desenses itself something wicked. The good news is you can use the speaker mike from the Yaesu VX-7? series just fine, and it has a normal 1/8 headphone jack on it. Still have the other HT? You can use them together for Full Duplex just fine, AND get rid of the losses in the Arrow diplexer.

    73, Drew KO4MA
  6. AC2GK

    AC2GK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yea, I have read some not great reviews of the full duplex on that radio, figured I'll at least give it a try one of these days for the heck of it. Good to know about the speaker mic, I'll have to see if I can find a cheap one. I am an Elk person so setting up duplex probably wouldn't be that easy. Though partial duplex seems to be treating me OK so far (except for when the satellite is down over your end of the world I can never seem to get in since it's busy)

    Tim - VE5/AC2GK
  7. KO4MA

    KO4MA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just put a diplexer at the end of the feedline from the elk, and feed each radio into that. It's sort of like the Arrow diplexer setup in reverse. It's true that full duplex really makes itself most useful in crowded conditions (or on SO-50).
  8. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    While I was at the AMSAT Symposium in San Jose last weekend, I saw one of these radios. It is essentially a clone of the VX-3R. I had a VX-3R before, and it was OK as a half-duplex satellite radio. I ordered one of the camouflage versions from Hawaii Radio Sales on Friday, and it arrived today. It was $45, shipping included, and the camouflage was not as bright as on that link. It is basically a black case with some low-visibility olive drab on it. Not really "camo", but for $45 I won't complain. The battery is on the charger now, and I'll have to dig up the VX-3R instruction manual PDF to see if I can program the memories for the UV-3R just like I did with a VX-3R. I also ordered the USB programming cable and downloaded the programming software for the UV-3R. I can go that way if necessary to get the memories set for satellites.

    The "Mark I" models from Hawaii Radio Sales come with separate VHF and UHF antennas. The "Mark II" version includes a dual-band antenna. I have lots of 2m/70cm duckie-type antennas at home, and brought one with me today knowing the radio was on its way. Now I won't have to swap antennas when trying both 2m and 70cm.

    Assuming it isn't dead on arrival, I should be able to work satellites just like I did with my previous VX-3R. Not only can I recreate what was my smallest FM satellite station (VX-3R), I'll probably be able to say it will be the most inexpensive station at $45 for the radio - new. Maybe it can be my CW transmitter, working with an FT-817ND or my TH-F6A for CW via satellite. Hmmm....


    Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK
  9. W5PFG

    W5PFG Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Buyer beware: There are SEVERAL variations of his radio available. I have a UV-3R that came with a single antenna but it is not the "dual-display" model that a friend of mine just acquired. Even the "dual-display" is not a full-duplex and that might be deceiving to some people.

    I do not think these are high-quality radios but they might serve a purpose for a backup rig or perhaps an APRS tracker. I opened the thread not to RECOMMEND people run out and buy these for satellites, unless they are looking for an extra receive or transmit radio to complete a full-duplex setup.

    I wouldn't go so far as to say the Baofeng compare much to the VX2/VX3 other than size. The menu system, memory banks, etc do not add up in my opinion. I briefly owned a VX-3R but sold it because my VX-2R works perfectly fine and I decided I liked it better. I still have a VX-1R in a drawer somewhere with the original "AA" battery case.

    On a budget, 2 of the UV-3R's, a diplexer, and a tape measure beam, Arrow, or Elk would make a ~$200 FM satellite station.

    FYI, there is a UV-3R Yahoo group full of information on these radios.... (like most others)
  10. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, this is true. The UV-3R Yahoo! group has mentioned there are some differences on the inside of the Mark II version, and I'm not hurrying to get another one anytime soon. Even if it has two frequency displays on the screen (which look very similar to the UV-3R, but have a model number like UV-X4). I have a Kenwood TH-D72A 2m/70cm FM HT that is my preferred HT for FM satellite work. The UV-3R was an impulse buy, after seeing it in San Jose. The $45 price was the selling point for me, nothing more than that.

    Probably a fair bit of advice. I can't say that the "Baofeng" name (or whatever name is on the radio - yours shows MTC where mine has BAOFENG) represents quality. Time will tell if these radios are good and cheap, or just cheap. These small radios not capable of full-duplex operation are not the best starting points for someone looking to work FM satellites anyway.

    Then again, your comment:

    might actually be taken as an endorsement for these radios, at least as a very cost-effective way to have a 2W FM satellite station. If using the Arrow 2m/70cm Yagi, you would not need the diplexer as that is actually two antennas sharing a common boom. Just run coax between each radio and the corresponding feedpoint. For the Elk and some of the other options (including simply using a 2m Yagi, without a corresponding 70cm antenna), the diplexer is needed for a two-radio setup. WA5VJB even has a document that explains building a "cheap Yagi" for 2m and 70cm, as well as a "band splitter" that does what a diplexer would do. Use it in reverse, when going from an antenna with one feedpoint like the Elk to two radios.

    Almost time to go home and start playing around with the little radio...


    Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK
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