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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. KD9DXZ

    KD9DXZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you for such a comprehensive post.

    a) I imported the 2 meter national simplex entry, 146.520, from CHIRP, US Calling Frequencies. The parameters looked like the manual ones I entered that also worked for both receive and transmit. I confirmed the frequency for transmit was the same for both transmit and receive. b) I imported the following 2 meter repeaters into CHIRP from the Repeater Book which are the 2 closest repeaters to my back yard in Dupage County. The parameters looked like the manual ones I entered and behaved the same. I confirmed the TX frequency was 0.6 MHz lower both RX frequencies. They show as associated with channels 1 and 2, respectively. Both have WIDE for menu 5. CTSS tone = 107.2.

    -0.6 MHz 107.2 Downers Grove Dupage IL W9DUP OPEN

    -0.6 MHz 107.2 Wheaton Dupage IL W9CCU OPEN

    c) The battery says 7.4 volt/1800mAh/13.32 wh, Menu 2, HIGH/LOW, Transmit Power, parameter and it says HIGH.

    d) Did that interesting experiment setting up radio 1 to RX frequency and radio 2 for TX frequency, 0.6Mhz less. No transmission was received at all. Even after finding a position where I found a conversation. Same results after swapping them. Did the same experiment with other repeater and swapped. Same results.

    Experiment is helpful and seems to support my thinking. I’m really thinking now this Baofeng UV-5R might be too weak for my purposes. People that have them and recommended them are from rural areas. I'm in a west Chicago suburb, a different situation.

    Here's additional actions which seems to support this thinking. The 2 times I’ve had any success (one before new antenna and one after) is when I hear another Ham on the repeater, turn the radio/walk around, until I hear him well, transmit, and Ham says he hears me but “low volume.” Then I walk around more and he says, I don’t know what you did but I'm hearing you better. In both cases they could read my call sign back to me. Most other cases, HAM moderator of lunch session on W9DUP said heard only static for one radio signing in. When another person and I tried to receive/transmit on quiet repeater using my 2 radios in my backyard, we never heard a thing. I’m guessing because we both didn’t know a good place to stand without receiving another Ham already on the repeater.

    So, in net, this Baofeng UV-5R seems too weak for my purposes. Any recommendations for another handheld radio for these purposes would be appreciated.

    1) Trying to set up communication with people in Neighborhood Watch
    2) Area is about 20 blocks of houses, one side of a street, in a 4 x 5 block area.
    3) Most people would be outside reporting neighborhood issues (like weather damage) across the area. So very portable hand-held radios would be needed.
    4) Handhelds should be able to communicate with each other both outside and inside houses in the area. (If not, might have to get larger radios for people who spend more time to communicate with the outdoor handhelds)
    5) Handhelds should be able to use Simplex and Repeaters especially since anybody might be monitoring weather reports.
    6) Handhelds should geared to short learning curves after passing Technician exam (VHF/UH FM?)
    7) Low technical support solutions would be preferred.

    Once again, any suggests for handheld radios for above use would be appreciated. Thank you.
  2. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do you have the CTCSS tone turned on for transmit? A tone is not required to receive and, for receive, the tone feature needs to be turned off. It is very easy, with the Baofeng handheld units, to get the tone turned off for transmit.

    Glen, K9STH
  3. KD9DXZ

    KD9DXZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes sir, I actually learned that when I first saw CHIRP turn off R-CTS but left T-CTS at 107.2 for Baofeng UV-5R. Made sense since the tone is only needed to initiate CTS transmission, not to receive. Have left it off for manual R-CTS setting since then. Thank you
  4. KD9DXZ

    KD9DXZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, I just saw this after I installed CHIRP and manually made the software entries, Modes had NFM, and Menu 5, W/N = NARROW. But when I imported the same entries from Repeater Book, Modes had FM, and Menu 5, W/N = WIDE. For what it's worth.
  5. ZL1VSF

    ZL1VSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just how far from any of these repeaters are you..??

    Over here, (southern edge of Auckland city, New Zealand), there are quite a few guys with UV-5R's and one in particular goes walkabouts and/or drives around most mornings and uses his (he also has many other radios, not just Baofengs) and he accesses our local 2m repeater anywhere from about 10 miles to about 15 miles without any difficulty at all,, from hill tops (although not really a good distance test here is it..??) to walking down the main street of his town and it does as well under all of these conditions as his Yaesu H/T's. I live even further away than he does. I am easily 20+ miles away, as the crow flies, from that repeater and my two UV-5R's are on low power, less than 1 watt in true output I think, and I have no trouble hitting the same repeater with standard antenna. The other day I went right over the other side of Auckland city and I figure I was about 30 - 35 miles away in a straight line in a open area (as opposed to built up) and I could easily open both the 2m and 70cm repeaters from there, so to me, there is little doubt on the ability of these radios to get the same distance that any other 2m/70cm hand held radio can get, and on low power to boot...

    Either you have fluked it and got two defective units, or, it must be in your geographical location or something in your settings. If you can open a repeater and hold it open, there is automatically enough output power there. Generally a radio right on the jagged edge in distance might cut in and out and the repeater will open then close then open and close etc etc. I'm sure we've all heard this before.. If it stays open then there is definitely enough carrier there to hold it. The remaining part of this equation points towards something in your radios audio.
    Further trials...

    1. Make sure you ARE speaking into the radio's mic, located just above the blue A/B button and below the green LED and to the left of the speaker,, yes that tiny little hole there. I try not to speak directly into it because these tiny little mic holes are easily blocked (with spit and all sorts of yucky stuff). I speak across the hole, but with my mouth about 2 - 4 inches away, max...
    2. Even though you are operating from programmed memory channels (I assume), try setting one or both radios up for that repeater from VFO mode. Set to your -600Khz split and your CTCSS tone and your repeater output frequency and now try it. It certainly can't hurt..

    Al (ZL1VSF)
  6. K4VLF

    K4VLF Ham Member 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."

    Of the dozen or so UV5's that I have dealt with, only one has low TX audio. I can always tell when that owner is using his older UV5.

    Dreaming? Yep, dreaming of cooler wx!
  7. KC9UDX

    KC9UDX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    I can always tell when someone on a repeater is using a Pofung.

    The guy he's talking to always makes me scramble to turn the AF gain down.
  8. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    A 4x5 block area is something I'd consider within the range of FRS radios, pretty much. Any 5W VHF or UHF radio with a reasonable antenna should have no trouble making simplex contacts in that kind of an area.

    My guess is that you have a bad sample or two of the UV-5R. They aren't known for their stunning quality control. But a properly working UV-5R should be up to the task you describe, at least until it stops working properly.

    My standard recommendation for a step up would be for a Yaesu FT-60. It's well above the Baofeng build quality, and it has good quality control. It's easy to program from the front panel, though it can also be programmed via CHIRP. The obvious downside is the cost -- several times that of the Baofeng. Some people would prefer to buy multiple Baofengs.

    If both radios are working properly, the Yaesu FT-60 transmitter shouldn't outperform the Baofeng UV-5R by much, if anything. In my experience, the advantage to the Yaesu is that it's more likely to consistently work properly over time.
  9. KD9DXZ

    KD9DXZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Both repeaters are 10 miles away. Yes, my geographic setting, suburb 30 miles west of Chicago, might be more challenging than most. But I do receive well from both of antenna's especially with the new Diamond antennas. As you know, my problem is transmitting to both repeaters with both Baofeng UV-5R's.

    Thank you for the tips about using the microphone. It's fussy. I started out too far from the mic but learned to use it on simplex which transmits fine especially with new Diamond antenna's.

    Yes, I believe you also suggested this test earlier: "try setting one or both radios up for that repeater from VFO mode. Set to your -600Khz split and your CTCSS tone and your repeater output frequency and now try it." It didn't work in this case but it's great test that I'll remember for the future.

    Thank you for taking time to help me. A person from my club suggested I try some of the 70cm repeaters. I'll do that next.

    Gus KD9DXZ
  10. KD9DXZ

    KD9DXZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    You know, I haven't pushed the limit on the simplex. If it can cover the 4x5 block area that would be an accomplishment. Of course, it would still be important neighborhood people could get to repeaters to communicate with the outside world (I'm going to try with some 70cm repeaters) but if simple covers the neighborhood, great. Thanks also for the perspective on quality differences.

    Gus KD9DXZ

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