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Author Topic: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster  (Read 35301 times)
K6LCS
Member

Posts: 1492


WWW

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« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2013, 07:21:32 AM »

>> ... most of the radios on the market are ludicrously overpriced ...

Really?

I ran across a QST comparison of five then-popular HTs. Classics: the Alinco DJ-580T,
Icom IC-W21a, Kenwood TH-78, Standard C558a (my first dual-band ham HT!) and the
Yaesu FT-530 are long out of production. In their day, they offered ...

-MAXIMUM of 50 memories per band out of the box
-Average battery capacity of stock battery packs? About 750mAH.
-Wide receive out of the box? Not all of 'em
-Street price average? AVERAGE $468.
-Alphanumerics in display? Not all of 'em, if any.
-Computer programming? Hahahahahahah!
-Ease of manual programming? Another laugher ...

Yes, the good old days, indeed. When the '558a with spare battery, memory
chip to DOUBLE capacity to a whopping 200 memories, and a speaker mic
set me back about $700.

What's available today?

How about the Yaesu FT-60R? Since 2004, one of the finest values in the industry.

-1,000 memories - alphanumeric, too
-receives (essentially) 108-to-a-gig
-receives aircraft band in AM, too.
-1400mAH NiMH pack standard
-bulletproof case design*
-strongest belt clip of ANY amateur radio chassis on the market
-easy to manually program
-and its GREAT battery situation - when using the optional FBA-25 AA alkaline/NiMH
case, you have FULL TX POWER available to you (if you really need it)! Try that on,
say, a Kenwood TH-F6a, and you only have one-half of a Watt TX power ...

All that for less than $150.

We have a classic HT available to us right now - at an incredible price.

Clint K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com

(*) - Not literally bulletproof ... but many audiences have seen me toss/roll a
FT-60R across the room to show off its durability. Do not try that at home: it's
a "trick" - it is a controlled rolling of the HT across carpet floors. But there are
MANY HTs in production that I would NEVER try that with!
Logged

Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.k6lcs.com
K5TED
Member

Posts: 676




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« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2013, 12:19:15 PM »

IMO, I got what I paid for with my one and only Baofeng, model BF-666, and the separately purchased programming cable, all for the wallet-buster price of $30.

Why the 666? No display, mono-band.. WTH? Well, first it was a $20 radio. 16 channels, and looks like a mini VX-160. Two knobs. What can go wrong?

First thing was to charge it up. No problem.

Then, try programming cable. Grab BF ZT-V68 software recommended from the internet, not the one on the CD.

Software doesn't see radio.

Problem. Noticed programming cable plug isn't going all the way in. Trim a bit of PVC from the end of the plug so it fits all the way in the radio port. Solved.

Run program again, try to read from radio.. Problem. Software just sits there then times out. Try several times. Start to formulate plan involving placing radio under car wheel....

Stupid. Click the OK button. Config read now. Populate table with new info. Write to radio. Click OK. Done.

Play with radio. Get good reports. Take radio on a few road trips, remembering to program it for the different destinations. Remember to Click OK button.

Notice radio has really nice battery shelf life. It stayed in the glove box for a month, then I took it out and ran it almost all all day.

This is a radio that I probably would not take as my primary on a hiking expedition or space travel, but for $30 it's not bad.

Logged
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #32 on: September 29, 2013, 12:57:12 PM »

>> ... most of the radios on the market are ludicrously overpriced ...

Really?

I ran across a QST comparison of five then-popular HTs. Classics: the Alinco DJ-580T,
Icom IC-W21a, Kenwood TH-78, Standard C558a (my first dual-band ham HT!) and the
Yaesu FT-530 are long out of production. In their day, they offered ...

-MAXIMUM of 50 memories per band out of the box
-Average battery capacity of stock battery packs? About 750mAH.
-Wide receive out of the box? Not all of 'em
-Street price average? AVERAGE $468.
-Alphanumerics in display? Not all of 'em, if any.
-Computer programming? Hahahahahahah!
-Ease of manual programming? Another laugher ...

Yes, the good old days, indeed. When the '558a with spare battery, memory
chip to DOUBLE capacity to a whopping 200 memories, and a speaker mic
set me back about $700.

What's available today?

How about the Yaesu FT-60R? Since 2004, one of the finest values in the industry.

-1,000 memories - alphanumeric, too
-receives (essentially) 108-to-a-gig
-receives aircraft band in AM, too.
-1400mAH NiMH pack standard
-bulletproof case design*
-strongest belt clip of ANY amateur radio chassis on the market
-easy to manually program
-and its GREAT battery situation - when using the optional FBA-25 AA alkaline/NiMH
case, you have FULL TX POWER available to you (if you really need it)! Try that on,
say, a Kenwood TH-F6a, and you only have one-half of a Watt TX power ...

All that for less than $150.

We have a classic HT available to us right now - at an incredible price.

Clint K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com

(*) - Not literally bulletproof ... but many audiences have seen me toss/roll a
FT-60R across the room to show off its durability. Do not try that at home: it's
a "trick" - it is a controlled rolling of the HT across carpet floors. But there are
MANY HTs in production that I would NEVER try that with!

I was referring to ham radio equipment in general, not just HTs.  I know there are some fairly priced HT's.  It's relative anyway.  When you compare the costs of electronics outside of ham radio, things are much, much cheaper.    I've seen people around here wonder why newly licensed hams often drop off shortly after getting into it.  Well, I can tell you as a brand new ham, that getting into HF is pretty daunting from a cost perspective, especially if you have other places you need to spend discretionary money. 

My point was that I would like to see more companies come out and offer good bang for the buck gear that gets the job done at a lower price point, even if it's not perfect. I like the idea of companies like YouKits selling HF equipment for much less than the big brands who are, in my opinion, a little bit too comfortable with their current pricing.

Keeping an eye on things like HackRF too, where they will be adding expansion boards for the HF bands in the near future.
Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2013, 12:58:56 PM »

My second UV-5RA came today, and it works great.  I now have a working charger, and a second (backup) HT and battery all for less than $100.

I'm going to end up with a tri-band HT here for local use eventually, but I need to invest money in my HF setup before I spend any more on uhf/vhf.  I'm glad I was able to buy the Baofengs to get me up and running, allowing me to put more money towards my first HF transceiver.

From disaster to happy in 2 days.

Yeah, I try not to sit around and live in constant misery like a lot of people do.  I still consider the experience with these devices as completely unacceptable from a commercial standpoint.  I surely wouldn't direct anyone non-technical to get one.  That being said, I have solved my issues and am moving on with my life.
Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
WB8VLC
Member

Posts: 116




Ignore
« Reply #34 on: September 29, 2013, 01:24:04 PM »

It's good that you are an itpro but your complaints leave a lot to be desired, mainly because there are so many more issues with this radio than a poor software interface and poorly written programming software.

For instance everything you mention is software related; however, I see no mention of any rf performance test that you have performed.

Did you not perforn any receiver dynamic range, adjacent channel, audio distortion test or transmitter harmonic, spurious or frequency stability measurements either?

If you had performed any rf test then i can tell you that would be more than dissapointed with the radios rf performance, in fact more so than with only the software issues that you are focusing on.

To complain about poor software issues only is not acceptable, especially considering that this is also a poorly performing rf device.
Logged
KJ6ZOL
Member

Posts: 314




Ignore
« Reply #35 on: September 29, 2013, 03:20:36 PM »

I was referring to ham radio equipment in general, not just HTs.  I know there are some fairly priced HT's.  It's relative anyway.  When you compare the costs of electronics outside of ham radio, things are much, much cheaper.    I've seen people around here wonder why newly licensed hams often drop off shortly after getting into it.  Well, I can tell you as a brand new ham, that getting into HF is pretty daunting from a cost perspective, especially if you have other places you need to spend discretionary money. 

My point was that I would like to see more companies come out and offer good bang for the buck gear that gets the job done at a lower price point, even if it's not perfect. I like the idea of companies like YouKits selling HF equipment for much less than the big brands who are, in my opinion, a little bit too comfortable with their current pricing.

Keeping an eye on things like HackRF too, where they will be adding expansion boards for the HF bands in the near future.

That may be why guys get their Tech, then balk at General. You can find some fairly priced HF transceivers out there, even on Ebay, but you have to know what to search for. The average Joe will search Ebay for "HF transceiver" and up pops a bunch of outrageously priced, barely functional tube gear. He doesn't know that you can get an early all-transistor rig for $150. All he sees is people asking $500 for some beat up Drake TR-4.

I got my HF rig free from a guy who had rigs donated to him for a high school amateur radio program, when he was a teacher. He lost his house and needed to get rid of rigs NOW, so he put an ad in the local swap section of a local club's online newsletter, and was offering used rigs cheap. I got my TS130 AND a nonworking Heathkit SB-102, with power supply. When he moved to Texas, and I realized the amount of work the Heathkit would need, I put it on Ebay. He thought it was worth $50, but I sold it for $270! That's simply stupid, although I was glad to have the cash. People are paying dumb prices for old gear, simply to relive their childhoods. Some people have so little common sense, it makes you wonder where their money comes from.
Logged
KJ6ZOL
Member

Posts: 314




Ignore
« Reply #36 on: September 29, 2013, 03:24:10 PM »

It's good that you are an itpro but your complaints leave a lot to be desired, mainly because there are so many more issues with this radio than a poor software interface and poorly written programming software.

For instance everything you mention is software related; however, I see no mention of any rf performance test that you have performed.

Did you not perforn any receiver dynamic range, adjacent channel, audio distortion test or transmitter harmonic, spurious or frequency stability measurements either?

If you had performed any rf test then i can tell you that would be more than dissapointed with the radios rf performance, in fact more so than with only the software issues that you are focusing on.

To complain about poor software issues only is not acceptable, especially considering that this is also a poorly performing rf device.

When I first got my UV-5R, I could easily hit the River City ARCS 2m repeater. It's a ways away. The range between two HT's will NEVER go past a mile or so, due to geography. That holds true for FRS or licensed HT's. I didn't do much testing of the Baofeng, but it seemed to be acceptable for a $45 radio. You want better, shell out $400 for a VX series Yaesu.
Logged
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #37 on: September 29, 2013, 08:21:58 PM »

It's good that you are an itpro but your complaints leave a lot to be desired, mainly because there are so many more issues with this radio than a poor software interface and poorly written programming software.

For instance everything you mention is software related; however, I see no mention of any rf performance test that you have performed.

Did you not perforn any receiver dynamic range, adjacent channel, audio distortion test or transmitter harmonic, spurious or frequency stability measurements either?

If you had performed any rf test then i can tell you that would be more than dissapointed with the radios rf performance, in fact more so than with only the software issues that you are focusing on.

To complain about poor software issues only is not acceptable, especially considering that this is also a poorly performing rf device.

Seriously?  It's a $35 HT.  Here's my performance test:  I'm able to hear my local repeaters, and they can hear me.  Sound quality is great (in my opinion).

Not really sure what you are expecting here.  I'm a brand new ham.  I have no bench test equipment for the minutia of 2m/70cm RF quality, and frankly, as long as it works for my desired uses, and it's not splattering all over the place, I'm happy.  None of the locals mentioned any negatives about my signal.  Your mileage may vary.

I"m well aware this is basically a cheaply made HT, though the handheld itself feels pretty stout in my hands, for the price.  I bought it to satisfy my uhf/vhf needs locally while I get ready to spend a bunch of money on HF gear.  My near future plans include adding a Kenwood tri-band HT and a Yaesu mobile dual bander.  Some people have multiple thousands of dollars to spend on ham gear.  I have several other personal hobbies and activities to spend money on, so I balance that out as I can.

As far as me being an IT pro, if you want to talk about the finer points of computer technology, let's go.  As a brand new ham, I don't expect to be able to satisfy your apparent need for an in depth review of cheap Chinese gear.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2013, 08:27:02 PM by KK6GNP » Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #38 on: September 29, 2013, 08:25:34 PM »

I was referring to ham radio equipment in general, not just HTs.  I know there are some fairly priced HT's.  It's relative anyway.  When you compare the costs of electronics outside of ham radio, things are much, much cheaper.    I've seen people around here wonder why newly licensed hams often drop off shortly after getting into it.  Well, I can tell you as a brand new ham, that getting into HF is pretty daunting from a cost perspective, especially if you have other places you need to spend discretionary money. 

My point was that I would like to see more companies come out and offer good bang for the buck gear that gets the job done at a lower price point, even if it's not perfect. I like the idea of companies like YouKits selling HF equipment for much less than the big brands who are, in my opinion, a little bit too comfortable with their current pricing.

Keeping an eye on things like HackRF too, where they will be adding expansion boards for the HF bands in the near future.

That may be why guys get their Tech, then balk at General. You can find some fairly priced HF transceivers out there, even on Ebay, but you have to know what to search for. The average Joe will search Ebay for "HF transceiver" and up pops a bunch of outrageously priced, barely functional tube gear. He doesn't know that you can get an early all-transistor rig for $150. All he sees is people asking $500 for some beat up Drake TR-4.

I got my HF rig free from a guy who had rigs donated to him for a high school amateur radio program, when he was a teacher. He lost his house and needed to get rid of rigs NOW, so he put an ad in the local swap section of a local club's online newsletter, and was offering used rigs cheap. I got my TS130 AND a nonworking Heathkit SB-102, with power supply. When he moved to Texas, and I realized the amount of work the Heathkit would need, I put it on Ebay. He thought it was worth $50, but I sold it for $270! That's simply stupid, although I was glad to have the cash. People are paying dumb prices for old gear, simply to relive their childhoods. Some people have so little common sense, it makes you wonder where their money comes from.

I won't buy tech used unless I know the owner personally.  That's just a rule I have about electronics, and it has served me well over two decades in computers. My HF gear will be new, though going that route is more expensive.
Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
N5INP
Member

Posts: 711




Ignore
« Reply #39 on: September 30, 2013, 05:13:17 AM »

Did you not perforn any receiver dynamic range, adjacent channel, audio distortion test or transmitter harmonic, spurious or frequency stability measurements either ...

Seriously?  It's a $35 HT.  Here's my performance test:  I'm able to hear my local repeaters, and they can hear me.  Sound quality is great (in my opinion).

Not really sure what you are expecting here.  I'm a brand new ham.  I have no bench test equipment for the minutia of 2m/70cm RF quality, and frankly, as long as it works for my desired uses, and it's not splattering all over the place, I'm happy.  None of the locals mentioned any negatives about my signal.  

It's a good radio, technically speaking.

Here's a technical review of the UV-5R.



435MHz High Power: 57dB down



other data here -

http://hamgear.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/review-baofeng-uv-5r-part-ii/

Logged

K1DA
Member

Posts: 460




Ignore
« Reply #40 on: September 30, 2013, 06:58:56 AM »

  I've had one for 6  months but I don't need every frequency under the sun in it and have had NO problem with manual programming.  I've seen a LOT more expensive things than a 40 dollar HT not live up to expectations. 
Logged
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #41 on: October 03, 2013, 08:02:41 AM »

Update:

My primary UV-5RA stopped receiving yesterday.  I've been leaving it on one of our active local repeaters, and yesterday / this morning I didn't hear a peep on it, including the beacon transmission.  I decided to fire up the new one still in the box and see if the main one was dead.  Sure enough, the new one was receiving the repeater, but not the main one.

I decided to try reloading the config using Chirp in the main radio, and that fixed the issue.

Has anyone seen this problem before?
Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
KE4JOY
Member

Posts: 1308




Ignore
« Reply #42 on: October 03, 2013, 02:06:53 PM »

Ive heard a few complaints about "self discharge" of the battery while off but haven heard of the memory getting scrambled. Maybe you changed something by accident. /shrug

I just noticed that its real easy to hit the 'scan' button but only briefly and that sets the offset to reverse. Easy to do. (Its the */scan button) It requires to be pressed for a few seconds and china gal will announce "Scanning Begins".  Wink
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 02:20:03 PM by KE4JOY » Logged
KK6GNP
Member

Posts: 158




Ignore
« Reply #43 on: October 03, 2013, 07:48:32 PM »

Ive heard a few complaints about "self discharge" of the battery while off but haven heard of the memory getting scrambled. Maybe you changed something by accident. /shrug

I just noticed that its real easy to hit the 'scan' button but only briefly and that sets the offset to reverse. Easy to do. (Its the */scan button) It requires to be pressed for a few seconds and china gal will announce "Scanning Begins".  Wink

That's probably what happened.  Reloading the config would have set that back to my defaults.
Logged

73 ~ Cory (JeepEscape)
KK6GNP
KF8SJ
Member

Posts: 14




Ignore
« Reply #44 on: December 10, 2013, 09:35:04 AM »

sorry you have had so many problems with this unit.
i use the vip programming software and have no problems
now have 12 of these units under my wing.  for  ema  and vol fire dept use.  all working well.
did have one charger bad out of the box.  replacement unit worked fine.
only problem was with mounting clips popping off.  a few drops of jb weld cured the problem.

73 jim kf8sj
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