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Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Baofeng BF-888 Help

Show all reviews of the Baofeng BF-888

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G6HVY  Rating: 5/5 Jul 28, 2014 10:19  Send this review to a friend!
Yes, they're worth it  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
The consensus on these little 70cm-only rigs is correct: they're much better than toys and do the limited job they're designed for very well indeed.

I bought a pair so I can leave one in a coat pocket and one in my standard shoulderbag for general around-town simplex and repeater working. They're great for both, especially as the proper on-off switch means the Li battery won't discharge too quickly when I'm not using them. You can find the specs and lots of opinion elsewhere on the Web, so here are a couple of things I found that I didn't find beforehand.

CHIRP and the standard Kenwood/Baofeng USB programming cable work fine, except that the current stable version of CHIRP (0.4.0) does not handle the per-channel voice inverter or scanning channel lock-out settings properly. Once set, you can't disable them. However, the bug has been fixed so use the latest daily (beta) version and all is well. I've read various comments about what releases of the radio have speech inversion and how to tell: all I know is mine have the round red K sticker in the battery compartment and do support inversion - contrary to other reports. As far as I'm aware, the one-chip DSP radio in the beast has speech inversion as standard. (It's pointless, at least in the UK, where the radio is only legal to use on the ham band where any form of encryption is forbidden. Of course you can program it for any local service between 400-470 MHz, so if your local laws allow non type-approved radios with scramblers, or if you're an evil pirate scofflaw who doesn't mind drawing attention to yourself, off you go!)

The scanning function is enabled or disabled by selecting channel 16 and holding down the PTT and the Monitor buttons when turning the rig on. However, some commentators have said that it only works if channel 16 is not programmed - not so, in my experience. You can set and use 16 as any other channel; the only difference is that if you select it and scanning is enabled, the rig will then scan. While doing so, the green RX LED will pulse; it also lights dimly when you're on a channel with a signal too weak to break the squelch. The scan function is very limited: it won't stay on a channel even if you blip the PTT, and there's no way of knowing what channel it stops on. But it works for keeping an ear on things, and stops for long enough to keep most conversations together. With only 16 channels, it's adequate.

The channel markings are too small and black for my eyes to read, but the speech annunciator works very well - no loss.

In terms of sensitivity, overload and audio quality/volume, this is easily a match for my Baofeng UV-5R and the stock antenna seems to work better than the UV-5R's (it's single band, so I'd expect that).

I would normally knock a point off because there's no external DC power input and the supplied drop-in charger has a captive mains lead, so no easy way to charge from a car or other power source; also, the torch LED is pretty feeble. But at the price, I won't.

These are easily the cheapest walkie-talkies I've ever bought new, and the quality does not reflect that. If you think you might like one, you most probably will.  
Product is in production.
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