Baofeng UV-5R, Receive Fine from Repeater, But Transmission is Low Volume

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by KD9DXZ, Jun 9, 2015.

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  1. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Many of the UV-5R radios have a problem with the external microphone jack not making proper contact. That was the problem with the UV-5R that I got a few months ago. However, I also got the external speaker / microphone and the radio works fine with that. So, I never went inside to fix the problem with the jack.

    Also, the Nagoya NA-701 is definitely better than the antenna that comes with the unit.

    Glen, K9STH
  2. NQ4T

    NQ4T Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a GT3-TP HT I picked up when I decided I was going to get licensed. I've played around a little bit with it around here recording my output on an SDR.

    The GT3-TP's internal mic is probably more sensitive than anything I've ever heard; key it up, throw a pebble across the room and you'll be able to hear it hit. If anything, it tends to pick up *everything* around. It's got decent fidelity; the later units have improved.

    What was disappointing on mine was the speaker/mic combo. It wasn't a jack issue as much as they just used a very lousy mic element. I enlarged the hole...ran it through an external mic mixer...tried different electret biasing...but no matter what I did it's output was low and muffled...and was barely audible during transmit. The only thing I haven't done is ripped the mic element off and put a new one on.
  3. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    All that I can say is that you are dreaming! My UV-5R was built in 2015 and had problems and I have heard of a fair number of other such units, purchased this year, that have had transmit audio problems.

    Now, I definitely do not rely on my UV-5R. On a whim, I used the Amazon gift cards that my middle daughter gave me for Christmas to pay for the handheld. Although I can "hit" a number of repeaters up to almost 50-miles away, I normally use it on the K5RWK repeater that I can almost "spit" and hit since the repeater location is under 1/2-mile from my house.

    Glen, K9STH
  4. ZL1VSF

    ZL1VSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm a bit late, granted, but here's something you may wish to try - if you haven't yet fixed things - because I've had this very problem and helped a few over here in my country to get over it with their poorly sounding gear, once I found the solution,, although this may not necessarily be your root cause but it's worth a shot... Oh, if this has already been stated, I apologize. I had a quick scan over the replies but didn't see any mention of it, but then again my version of speed reading is not that great- hahahaha...

    Go into the UV-5R's menu and set option No5 to "WIDE".. This little sucker caught me out on both of my UV-5R's as well as my Wouxun KG-UV8D handhled,, AND,, my new (at the time) Wouxun KG-UV950P and finally, the even newer Yaesu FT-8800R (not quite as bad though), all in the past 6 or so months... I had them all set to NARROW by default and noticed some very poor receive quality and got a few reports back saying I sounded very low in audio a couple of times, again, especially with the handheld's. I wondered why,, and even more - "Why was it happening to all my newer radios and NOT the older ones?", so I dared to try one of the UV-5R's set to WIDE and 'Voila', much better - instant cure..!! Both transmit and even receive just got much better, so I checked all my radios and found them all set on NARROW. Of course I changed them all to WIDE and WOW what a difference.. Since then I have heard many others over local repeaters, with the same problem and even though for a few of the older guys who hate menus in radios, it was hard to explain how to change that setting as they mostly initially got their friends to set their gear up by computer and left them set to NARROW, but most of them had now cured their woes by the next time they transmitted.. There are still hoards who have yet to try this and some even can't even be bothered doing it, and they just keep on transmitting so quietly that many just can't hear them at all, despite the advice given to them. Sometimes there are none so deaf as those who don't want to hear.

    It appears to be especially prevalent in the Chinese handheld's... Even though I kind of love my UV-5R's, is that a surprise..??

    I have older dual banders, both in hand held and mobile/desktop models, which are all set to NARROW and they function very well but since I did a massive update of my equipment last/this year, everything VHF and UHF now demands the WIDE setting... I know that now some channel spacings for the commercial world go down to 6.25Khz, so maybe narrow now means VERY narrow and should only be used in those made to handle this...

    Good luck...

    Al (ZL1VSF)
  5. N4OAH

    N4OAH Ham Member QRZ Page

    First off, there seems to be a little bit of Baofeng bashing in this thread. They are not the best radio in creation, but if we make this a hobby with a $400 starting price tag as a nice Yaesu HT certainly could, ham radio WILL die. These entry level radios are an asset to our hobby, period.

    That said, I have heard my fair share of audio problems with Chinese radios. Many of them have been people who simply weren't holding it correctly. I would first give it to a friend and have him try it, might be you just haven't found the right position.

    The advice above about the microphone hole becoming clogged is very probable. If that doesn't work, go to and buy a hand mic. This will set you back about $8 and will significantly improve your audio. People can't tell if I am portable or mobile when I use the hand mic, wheras without it is painfully obvious. Best of luck!
  6. KM3F

    KM3F Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wide band/narrow band what does it mean?
    Narrow band limits the frequency deviation hence volume in the repeater receiver and retransmits it as low volume in a wide band system.
    The receiving radios also receive it as low volume.
    If you were to go simplex one on one in narrow band mode you might not think there is a problem because both sets are switched internally so the deviation/volume is transparent and of normal loudness.
    Only difference is the signal takes up half as much bandwidth and there is a difference in audio fidelity.
    You have to set your radio to the bandwidth of the system you are accessing.
    Good luck.
  7. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    The price of equipment, these days, for the beginning amateur radio operator, is extremely cheap. When compared with, say, a Novice Class operator in 1958, a Chinese handheld unit averaging $34.95 would have cost $4.33. Such a unit is light-years better than the simple CW equipment available to the Novice Class operator in the "goode olde dayes".

    For example, the Heath DX-20, which was a low priced transmitter, sold for $35.95 as a kit in 1957 which would be equivalent to $298.15 today and that is just for a transmitter. The more popular Heath DX-40 sold for $64.95 as a kit in 1958 which equates to $524.51 today!

    A low priced receiver, in 1958, would be something like the Hallicrafters S-38E. Those sold for $54.95 which equates to $443.75 today. The receiver that was often paired with the DX-40 was the Hallicrafters SX-99. In 1958, the SX-99 sold for $149.95 plus $19.95 for the speaker. The total, $169.90, equates to $1372.03 today!

    For a very simple station, the DX-20 and S-38E, today's cost would be $741.90 and for the "typical" Novice Class station, DX-40 and SX-99, today's cost would be $1896.54.

    My 1959 Novice Class station consisted of a Hallicrafters S-107 receiver and a WRL Globe Chief 90A transmitter. The S-107 cost $94.95 and the Globe Chief 90A cost $59.95 as a kit. The total cost was 154.90 in 1959 which equates to $1240.97 today.

    My parents were far from being "rich"! I scrimped and saved to get my Novice Class equipment and at age 15 that took some "doing". There were a lot of other teen age amateur radio operators that were in the same boat as I. Of course, there were a lot of older persons who obtained their amateur radio operator's licenses during the same time period. Frankly, had we been able to obtain equipment that had even 10-percent of the capabilities of a Chinese handheld radio at a cost of $4.33 we would have been in 7th heaven!

    Brand new, today, HRO is selling the IC-718 transceiver for $599.25 which equates to $74.80 in 1959. My WRL Globe Chief 90A was available for $74.50 factory wired and that was for just a CW, crystal controlled, transmitter! The IC-718 has not only a CW transmitter but has USB, LSB, RTTY, and AM capabilities. Then, there is a complete receiver that, when compared to my S-107, makes the S-107 the equivalent of a crystal set in 1959!

    Frankly, today, amateur radio equipment is dirt cheap when compared to the "goode olde dayes"!

    Glen, K9STH
  8. ZL1VSF

    ZL1VSF Ham Member QRZ Page


    I am not sure what the repeaters in your part of the world are set to for FM deviation but here they work best when modern radios tx to them in wide mode and are based on a minimum of 12.5Khz channel spacings...

    Yes, the narrow/wide should be used in the same parameters as the repeater systems or networks you use them in, or some radios and/or their owners may perceive you as having low volume or being a bit distorted if your radios are not all set to the same. I mean, it's strange if you don't understand the difference between wide and narrow deviation and you tx through a repeater and everyone says you have low or poor audio, yet if you talk to your buddies on simplex and you all have your radios set to narrow, you can understand each other perfectly. It's easy to see just how some people can get very confused about it all.. I was fooled for a little while until I realized that the narrow was to cater more for some of the much tighter allocated channel spacings (as low as 6.25Khz) that exist nowadays compared to the 25 or 12.5Khz of the past that I was used to, until earlier this year when I bought a host of new radios and began noticing things were different. For amateur work, at least in this part of the world, it's safe to say that our 2m/70cm are based on 12.5Khz spacing so WIDE is the preferred setting... 20 years ago FM WIDE meant the likes of 88 - 108 Mhz stereo radio or for television audio reception etc, whereas FM NARROW was more for commercial RT, amateur or CB radio work...

    In short for those who don't understand...
    NARROW for 6.25 Khz spacings
    WIDE for 12.5 and higher

    I suppose its like the difference between a garden hose vs a fire hose. The garden hose lets a smaller volume of water through so could be seen to be "NARROW". The fire hose lets a huge volume through so could be seen to be "WIDE". While you can hook up a fire hose to you house water outlet, it would only trickle out because this size can't take advantage of the pressure needed by household mains water systems, and you can get several house owners able to water their gardens with the volume needed to operate one fire hose. At the end of the day, it's all governed by the systems needs,, besides,, who needs a fire hose to water the garden..??

    Al (ZL1VSF)
  9. KD9DXZ

    KD9DXZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ok, replaced the rubber duck antenna on the 2 Baofeng UV-5R’s with " Diamond (Original) SRJ77CA 144/440 MHz. Dual-Band High Gain Handheld Antenna Rx: 120~900 MHz. (Gain: 440 Mhz. 2.15 dBi, Max Power: 10 Watts, Length: 15") Reverse SM"
    Reception and transmission on Simplex was ok before but improved significantly. Reception on Repeaters was ok before and it improved significantly. But transmission to repeaters is still not working. When people can hear anything, it is only static. One Ham said I had low volume but when I moved around he could hear my call sign. But I'm wondering if the microphone hardware is the problem since transmission is so good in Simplex.
    I'm suspecting settings at this point. Instead of manually putting in parameters, I installed CHIRP and imported 2 repeaters' parameters. Parameters look good. But can't get my 2 radios to do anything with repeaters without the receiving the presence of another Ham on the repeaters. I'll try to get help with a repeater test tomorrow when Hams are on to see if there's any difference with imported Repeater Book parameters.
    Maybe these radios just can’t transmit to those repeaters even with the Diamond antennas.
  10. ZL1VSF

    ZL1VSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    This really IS beginning to look like one of those annoying menace types of, ah, I suppose - annoyances,, completely solvable one way or another but you just have to find the cause... If it was just one of your 5R's not working, you could suspect it being faulty,, but both acting in the exact same manner suggests that both are programmed or set up the same but incorrectly somewhere along the straight and narrow.

    Simplex is OK but repeater is bad, or not heard by the others. Hmmmm..!! I mean, if it works well on simplex, then it SHOULD be ok over repeaters. There are no big secrets to repeater splits. When set up in your radio, they are just two simplex frequencies - one for tx'ing and the other for rx'ing,, just both stored in the same memory channel. Sometimes they are governed by two separate entries in the same memory channel, eg... RX = 146.600 & TX = 146.000,, and other times they are controlled by a split amount eg... RX = 146.600 & TX = -600Khz (giving the same TX freq of 146.000),, and that's it - nothing very hi tech about it, is there..??

    The only other factor which may influence it may be a CTCSS tone to either open or tx through the repeater,, and that's about it for the "normal" 2m repeaters.. No big deal... So here's my rundown on what SHOULD have been done to get the UV-5R going - properly...
    1. Did you program each repeater memory channel properly - RX freq / TX freq OR split and split direction / CTCSS tone (if needed)..??
    2. Did you allow enough tx power to properly activate the repeater..??
    3. Did you set the WIDE option in menu number 5..?? This should definitely give more ooomph into that TX audio..

    I have learned that quite a few people have a bit of trouble programming the UV-5R radio's, regardless of whether they're programmed manually or via PC. Just that they don't understand the process properly. I was caught out by the WIDE/NARROW option, and setting it to WIDE made one heck of an audio difference for me...

    Before entering any info to memory channels, you should set up the menu options first (you probably DID, but it needs to be said just in case), then started on memories...

    Here's something you can try... You say you have two UV-5R's, right..?? On BOTH of them, go into VFO mode or "Frequency Mode" as the little lady in the radio says.. Set one radio to the repeater input or TX freq (no split) and the other radio to the output or RX freq. With the one set to input freq, transmit into that repeater and you of course, should hear your own transmission on the other one.. Now reverse that on each radio and do the same, transmit into the repeater again. Now you should hear on the other radio, right..!! If this works, you have a set up problem or incorrect info stored into the memories. If it doesn't work on both radios and you cannot hear your own transmissions then you have maybe an external factor affecting your ability to hit that repeater eg, maybe distance... Just because you can hear a repeater with a hand held radio, it doesn't mean that you can activate it...

    Al (ZL1VSF)

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