My thoughts on this bugger of a radio.
Yep. It is buggered up. The buggy firmware makes it very difficult to understand and even harder to obtain the desired results when programming it. No small surprise that so many comments have been made from others to that same effect. I agree with them. When manually programming it; it is fairly easy and straightforward.
This is my first HT
. I bought it because I didn't want to spend a lot of money for an HT
. Mostly, because I don't really need one. I did need the exposure to HT
's and looked at this radio with curiosity. The need to learn to program 2m/440 equipment and have a radio that if destroyed if/when the dog should eat it was my motivation. It may well turn into a toy for the dog. But in the mean time - it works just fine. For those reasons, I am
glad I didn't buy the Kenwood or the Yaesu. I just don't require or need a high-end +$400 HT
. Your own needs may well vary.
It does work well. In fact, for the amount of money you pay for it, it is the best bargain out there - bar none. It transmits and receives well enough and that is why I said it - nothing more. Not saying that Kenwood, Yaesu, or Icom are better nor worse in this regard.
What separates this Baofeng 'turkey' radio from the other name brand radios - is the cost. It has a lot of usable features. Just don't have great expectations about the Baofeng being as refined as the better radios are. Then, you surely won't be disappointed. The 409shop includes the shipping cost with the cost of the radio, which was $55. I also bought the programming cable for an additional $8.50. Total cost to my doorstep was $63.50. Who can argue for an HT
at that price? Not me. Shipping this item from China is probably close to $20 or more.
I purchased the radio from China. The radio was out of stock when I ordered it. It was back in stock a week later, and took another week to be shipped to my home, and then I used it for a week. I now feel somewhat qualified to say something about it.
I tested it on the local repeater with the stock antenna. Got an S-1 report. Bought a Comet SMA-24 antenna and a sma female-to-female to adapt this antenna to this radio. After installing this antenna I re-tested it and got an S-3. I could also hear/tx
better from inside my 'shack' using the Comet. I haven't added a 'tiger tail' to improve the stock duck antenna performance as yet (adding a 1/4 wave length wire to the shield of the antenna jack to ensure a solid ground plane at the frequency being used - so not as to rely on the capacitive ground plane that the human body becomes when using any HT
). But I will use one on the stock antenna and the replacement antenna as well. It can't hurt to use a 'tiger tail; and it can only help it. I will report back with my experiment.
Also used a Diamond X-50A with a sma to SO-239 connector. Got an S-5 report from the repeater when using the radio at 5 watts output using the Diamond base antenna. Not surprising - but nice. Clearly, the stock antenna is an issue with this radio. But I'll bet that the supplied rubber duck antenna is no better or worse than other stock HT
rubber duck antennas on better radios. That is a guess; but a fair one.
When running the radio at 1 watt output, the battery lasted a fair amount of time. The battery it has is a 1.8 amp @ 7.4v LiOn. After TX
for nearly all day long, it required a re-charge. Took almost 2 hours long to re-charge - nearly to the minute. Others have reported that the charger has problems. I had no problem with it yet.
The built-in LED flashlight can be used to detect if the battery is getting low. The LCD battery indicator doesn't seem to be working as it should. Otherwise, the display is easy to read. I like being able to program the name of the repeater in the alphanumeric display instead of the frequency readout. That is kinda cool - to me. The change in the display color when TX
is neat too.
audio reports were positive when used in my car with a Diamond NR-770. Many said that it sounded xlnt. Just so long as you are using an antenna that gets the job done, it performs quite well.
The PTT button won't keep the TX
light lit unless you firmly push the PTT button with enough force. Might be just a glitch with this particular radio that I got. The TX
wasn't intermittent as the indicator light was - though. . .
Physically, its build is pretty stout. Feels very solid in your hand. About the size of pack of cigarettes. Pretty hefty in weight; the extra-powerful battery is a real plus too - IMO. Eight hours on a single change while talking on local repeaters with 1 watt output is more than fair. I just talked intermittently; not continuously.
Programming this radio using the software was a comedy of errors. You can get through it as I did if you are patient and learn from your mistakes and continue. Like I said, this is my first HT
. But I am
also quite certain than ANY HT
can be programmed easier than this one. Because, it simply can't get much worse.
But it works. It is a bargain. Just be patient and hold your nose. If it should have a catastrophic accident and it gets eaten - or worse - I will buy another one. But only if they straighten out the firmware and the software for this radio first. Otherwise, I will get a Wouxun. BTW - did I say that this radio is a turkey? Yes I did; but I like turkey.
Rating it, I will have to give it a 3.5 out of 5. Why so high? The fact that it has a strong battery, it works well enough to get the job done, and it is very inexpensive. IF
the firmware and the software were spot on, I wouldn't think twice about giving it a solid 5 . . .