New Baofeng Disappointment

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by KN4SMF, Jul 3, 2021.

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  1. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, I would not threaten a Baofeng either. :D

    The antenna that comes with it works best. A better antenna will overload the frontend really bad.

    It is a HT, Not a base station. But it receives DC to daylight.

    UHF has more traffic here. Works best indoors also.
    US7IGN likes this.
  2. KN4SMF

    KN4SMF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well so far I'm not exactly overwhelmed. I got it all set up on the popular repeater in this town at 146.940 that's 500 feet high, and set up a test with a buddy. I hear him good but he didn't hear me so great. I got my 19.6 inch counterpoise and the radio is set to the 8 watt high power setting, and standing outside on the porch. I do live in a bit of a dip.
    But just sitting here with it on and ready to go, not a soul is out there. I would have thought I'd hear chatter or at least staticy chatter going on all the time, like in the 70's with a CB. Maybe the computer has killed everything and radio is just plain dead. Disappointing. I got a mobile CB radio that works around here. I suppose if I got an antenna for my truck and put it in there, that it would be dead too. Hello... anybody out there?
  3. WB2LBV

    WB2LBV Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's not magic. Activity will vary by location and at different times, and yes it is true that there is less of it today on VHF/UHF FM than there was 30, 20, even 10 years ago. It's also a holiday weekend- some hams who might normally be on the air are probably otherwise occupied with incinerating animal flesh on a grill, ingesting various liquids, and blowing things up.
    That claimed "8 watts" is most likely less (this has been tested and verified in several cases) and anyway you do NOT way to tx with that much power next to your head (in case you are using the supplied antenna). Performance on these bands, especially tx, is greatly affected by line-of-sight so the more that is in between you and the repeater antenna the harder it will be to have a good readable signal into it. And as stated, an external antenna on those HT's may not result in improved rx if there are strong local signals that can overload the front end of the receiver since they do not have any filtering. For fixed operating from your home QTH a good dual-band mobile with an outside antenna will work much better.
    Repeater directories are helpful in finding local machines but bear in mind these are not always accurate/up to date as they are only as good as the information that is provided to them. A machine can be off the air for years and still be listed, or its info can be inaccurate (i.e. PL changed but listing not updated). Try to hook up with more local hams and clubs who can fill you in on what's really active in your 'hood.
  4. KN4SMF

    KN4SMF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nevermind my whining. When I die and go to paradise, I'll get to pick my surroundings. I'll pick 1958. And I'll stay there.
  5. WB2LBV

    WB2LBV Subscriber QRZ Page

    Say hi to Ike. ;)
    You're not whining, just posting concerns and questions about a new-to-you mode. Our answers may not be what you want to hear, but they are sincere and based on years of experience.
    Think about this- your Baofeng would be seen as an incredible device in '58-
  6. KN4SMF

    KN4SMF Ham Member QRZ Page

    So after 2 days of fighting this little radio, studying on the internet, working it, here's what I've discovered. I can hear people a heck of a lot better than they can hear me. In fact one buddy on his UV-5R can't hear me worth a crap with his 4 watt maximum when I have the TP model with 8 watts, and he can barely make me out at all, when I've gone to different locations. But I hear him just fine. I've tried the counterpoise rat tail, which is worthless. And I've read about 15 inch antennas I can order. But I don't believe in any of that snake oil. In fact, the more I study on the internet, the more I feel like a fool.
    Let me explain. I'm a real estate agent. The hardest people to work for are the ones who study how to sell their house on the internet. They go find all these realtors with "guaranteed offers", and "close in 3 weeks". But it's all a big load of baloney. The more "educated" these people are, the harder they are to work with. If they'd just sign the listing agreement and stay the hell off the internet, I could close them with way more money than I can with their "help", and make a fair commission at the same time.
    I'm wondering if this radio is what it is and that's all it will ever be. And not squander my money on the after market antennas, counterpoise voodoo, and all the rest. There are some times when you study on the internet and just become more stupid.
    W9FL likes this.
  7. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    With the Baofeng, I would stay away from bigger antennas. As has been mentioned, they have a wide-open front end and any additional gain vis a vis your antenna will actually harm reception. Does your buddy have a bigger antenna on his Baofeng? A lot of the tricks and tips you read about work great on a "good" HT, but will cause the Baofengs to overload and perform worse.

    Are there any high points, tall hills, etc near you? Go there and call CQ on 146.52 and see what happens. With VHF, height is might. I've made contacts out to 50-60 miles with a 5w 2m HT and it's factory antenna (no counterpoise) from mountain tops or to people on mountain tops. I've gone as far as 110 miles, but the other end had a beam. :)

    Point is, lots of folks look at HTs as a "repeater-only" or "down the street comms" device, but they can do much more. I use HTs a lot for hunting, camping, SOTA, in VHF contests, etc. They can get the job done, but you have to understand their limitations as well as the limitations of the band. VHF, especially FM via an HT, is different than HF. I don't mean to sound patronizing, just pointing out how the approach and tactics have to change.

    Also, it's entirely possible there is a problem with your radio. I'd try operating from elevation first and if that doesn't improve things, consider returning the radio (easy if you bought it from Amazon).

    G0CIQ and US7IGN like this.
  8. WA4SIX

    WA4SIX Ham Member QRZ Page

    It could be that you just have a lemon. See if you can return it for a refund. I have a few of them & have never used any additional wires or stuff & they all work well.

  9. KY4GD

    KY4GD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you bought the Baofeng from a place that accepts returns, you could send it back, and replace it will a much better radio that costs about the same. Something like a TYT UV88 costs about $30, and works much better. That model is billed as a Baofeng killer, and it is a slightly better toy. Add a $20 Nagoya antenna, or build a little folding dipole, and you should have no trouble hitting local repeaters.

    The UV88 used to be priced identically to the UV5R, but it has become more expensive in most places. I just bought another one on eBay for a newly licensed Tech friend. Just find the lowest priced seller with new units, and select Make Offer and offer $30. It ships *with* the programming cable, so you can use Chirp to program it. It does not ship with the cable from Amazon or Buytwowayradio.

    If you find that you enjoy chatting locally, you could add a cheap antenna, an external speaker mic, and even a cheap amp. I picked up a used Mirage VHF amp for around $50 that pushes 35 watts through a folding dipole. That easily hits Danbury repeaters in Danbury, NC where we often spend weekends.

    I am in Charlotte too, and there is a fair amount of repeater traffic here. I follow your philosophy of listening more than talking (on radio, anyway, I am a motormouth here...) but there is usually a conversation to be had, if you want one. Lots of fun people to listen to locally - there is a (licensed) 10 year old girl, and a 103 year old Advanced class gentleman, and everything in between. It is a tiny bit reminiscent of 70s era CB, where you start to almost feel like you know all these people personally, even if you rarely talk.

    Good luck, mate, hope to chat with you one day.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2021
  10. KN4SMF

    KN4SMF Ham Member QRZ Page

    It looks like I've wasted a lot of you guys' time. I just spoke to my testing buddy on the phone. In yesterdays testing he was using a Yaesu, which I didn't know he had. I thought he was using his UV5R and I was using my UV5R-TP. No wonder he was doing so much better. It looks like my only reasonable remedy is to just get a cheap 15 inch antenna and put the rubber ducky one in the car in case I run into a signal that overloads me. But sitting here in my living room or out on the porch with this apartment in a low spot next to a creek, the longer antenna might make enough difference to at least be heard off the repeater, which is the W4BFB one at 146.940. No, I can't return it. It is what it is. You get what you pay for. All I can do is just let it sit on the table tuned to that repeater, in case someone hits it. But it sure doesn't seem there's much of anybody out there in the first place. In the 70's on a CB there was so much action you couldn't hear any one person. Not that way any more, for sure. But at least its professional. None of that "catch you on the flip flop" nonsense. KN4SMF
    G0CIQ and VE7LRV like this.

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