Saturday, November 16, 2013

Review Baofeng UV-82

The UV-82 by Baofeng comes in a nicely packaged box with manual, battery, battery charger with stand, mike/headset, antenna and belt clip.  This radio does not come with a lanyard.   This radio has some nice features that makes it stand out above the rest of the low cost radios coming into the U.S. from China.

The LCD display is wider then the display on the UV-B5 or UV-B6 and it is uses pixels instead of the old style LED lines so it is much easier to read.

The radio covers:
65Mhz to 108Mhz (RX only commercial FM broadcasts) one station programmable
136Mhz to 174Mhz (RX/TX)
400Mhz to 520Mhz (RX/TX)

The Li-ion battery on the radio has a3000 mAh capacity which allows you to go a much longer time between charges than its popular predecessor the UV-5 and UV-5A.   I have not seen any replacement batteries available for this radio as of yet but that should only be a matter of time.

The radio s larger in size than the UV-5 and UV-B5/6 series radios and it uses the same antenna as the UV-B5/6 so no high gain antenna should be required.  This radio uses the same SMA -Female connector as the UV-5 and UV-B5/6 radios.

A much needed improvement on this radio is that it comes with 128 memory channels, which makes it better than the UV-B5/6 series radios.    Another handy feature is that the programming cable is compatible with the UV-5 and UV-B5/6 series radios.  So if you have one you do not need to buy another.

Programming this radio is a breeze with CHIRP.   Check the daily build for versions that support the UV-82.

What makes this radio stand out is its dual PTT button on both the radio and headset mike.   Users no longer has to worry about which channel they are transmitting on when monitoring on dual watch.   There is a PTT for the A channel and a PTT for the B channel.

If you have ever used a Baofeng or Wouxon radio there is absolutely no learning curve except for one small feature.   There is no button on this radio to switch from VFO mode to memory.   The instructions did not say how to do this but it can be done.   With a little searching I found out how to do it.  By turning the radio on while holding the MENU button you can toggle modes.  The radio will announce what mode you are in when you turn it on.

According to, the support site for Baofeng radios, the radio is Part 97 Compliant but the Part 90 certification for commercial/government use is still pending.

With both the UV-82 and UV-B5/6 series radios there is still one thing that users should be careful when transmitting on this radio.   Because of their size it is easy to have the hand make contact with the battery terminals at the bottom of the radio.   Be careful not to touch them when hitting the PTT to prevent burn.

Technical Specs from the manual 

(subject to change without notice - LOL!)

I have been using this radio for a little over a week and all and all I really like it.    For $50 to $60 it you get a lot of bang for the buck, and in case you are still wondering it still doubles as a flashlight.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

HAMFEST - Lebanon, MO November 8 & 9, 2013

2013 ARRL Midwest Convention
November 8 & 9, 2013

The 2013 ARRL Midwest Division Convention is coming to Lebanon, MO

Click here for website

Monday, October 28, 2013

Testing in the Long Beach - California area

The Associated Radio Amateurs Of Long Beach provides amateur radio testing for $5.00 on the third Saturday of each month at 9:00 AM.

The New testing location is at the Red Cross 3150 East 29th st. Long Beach.

Pre-registration is recommended through Louise Chapman, N6ELK, at   N6ELK@AOL.COM .

Walk-ins are also welcome.

If any special accommodations are needed,  you must register in advance to insure your
needs can be met and the necessary staff is available to assist.

Any questions contact the ARALB VE in charge Steve Snider  KJ6FWQ@ARRL.NET

If your club or group is providing testing on a regular basis please email your notice to

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Largest Amateur Radio Contest this weekend!!! October 26-27, 2013

The weekend of October 26 is expected to be quite radio active depending on the propagation.  According to CQWW Contest  Director Randy Thompson - K5ZD, "the CQ WW is the largest Amateur Radio competition in the world with over 30,000 participants."

Contacts will be made via Single Sideband and/or CW that weekend beginning  0000 UTC Saturday and ending at  2359 UTC Sunday.

The contact exchange will include call call sign and RS report plus CQ Zone number (see map below) of the station location. 

For rules and more details go to:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Where Can I find a class to prepare me for my Amateur Radio License in my area?

Many have asked how to located classes to prepare me for my Amateur Radio License.

For the most part, this is a self study method and students can either enroll in an extended class or a 2 day class over a weekend depending on how local radio clubs prefer to teach.

The American Radio Relay League has a great page to help you find a class in your area.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Say "HI" to Juno as it orbits the Earth today

NASA's Juno spacecraft will fly past Earth on October 9, 2013 to receive a gravity assist from our planet, putting it on course for Jupiter. To celebrate this event, the Juno mission is inviting amateur radio operators around the world to say "HI" to Juno in a coordinated Morse Code message. Juno's radio & plasma wave experiment, called Waves, should be able to detect the message if enough people participate. So please join in, and help spread the word to fellow amateur radio enthusiasts!

Friday, October 4, 2013


Great news for Mac users who want to program their radios using CHIRP!!
Looks like you can be up and programming the radios supported by CHIRP in about 20 minutes.

This just in from my friend, Chris Kiouftis.

 I just finished figuring out chirp on mac

Go here and follow CHIRP Instructions for MAC OS 10 Minutes

Then go here and follow instructions for prolific driver 10 Minutes

I do not have anything to personally test this but Chris tells me that it works like a charm!

Versions of CHIRP also run on Windows and Lynux.
CHIRP Website:

 Chirp supports the following radios:

AT-5888UV (in daily builds)


F-11 (in daily builds)
UV-82 (in daily builds)
UV-B5/B6 (in daily builds)
BF-888 (in daily builds)

ID-51A (in daily builds)


TH-G71A (in daily builds)
TK-7102/8102/7108/8108 (in daily builds)


FT-90R (in daily builds)
FTM-350R (in daily builds)
VX-2R (in daily builds)


CALIFORNIA QSO PARTY October 5-6, 2013

48th Running Of The CQP!

October 5-6, 2013

The California QSO Party (CQP) is the premier state QSO party held every year on the first weekend of October.  The Northern California Contest Club (NCCC) has sponsored CQP since 1974.  CQP has traditionally opened the annual contest season by providing an opportunity for contesters to prepare for the ARRL November Sweepstakes since the format is similar.

For all the details and resources check out their website at:  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

PROLIFIC DRIVER GUIDE FOR WIDOWS 7 (not yet personally tested on Windows 8 but they say it works)

PROLIFIC DRIVER GUIDE FOR WIDOWS 7 (not yet tested on Windows 8)

Must USB Programming cables for Wouxon and Boafeng (Kenwood style) come with a driver and software disk.   The drivers may not work on all systems.   Having a number of different systems I have had much success with the PROLIFIC driver.

You can get it at the following site at no charge:

Additional help can be found at:

If you purchase a radio from The Ham Coach a resource disc is included with the driver as well as the latest version of CHIRP programming software.

How to install the Prolific Driver for  MS WINDOWS SYSTEMS

Do not plug programming cable yet.

1 Load Prolific driver on to a folder of your computer.
The driver that seems to work without complications is version

2 Launch driver so it installs in your system by double clicking the icon.  This will take a few minutes.

3 While the driver is loading and doing its thing pick  a USB port for your programming cable and make a note of that.  Putting a little piece of colored tape next to that port will serve as a reminder.   Your programming cable needs to be put in the same USB port every time or else the COM port selection may not work.

Do not go any further until the driver is done loading.

4 Once the driver has loaded insert the programming cable – do not connect to radio yet

5 Allow your computer to configure the driver to the cable.  This takes a few minutes.

Once the computer has finished this process you will probably see a notice on the bottom right corner that it is done.

6 Go to Control panel and  in the System section locate  and open your DEVICE MANAGER

7 Look for PORTS COM & LPT and CLICK it open.


9 Click port Settings
 They should read
Bits per second:  1200
Data Bits          : 8
Parity                : NONE
Stop bits            : 1
Flow Control     : None

10 Click ADANCED
     COM PORT should be set for COM 1     If your system COM 1 is used try to select a low number and make a note of that for when you configure your software for later.

Click OK when done and the ADVANCED window should be closed and you should be back to PROLIFIC PROPERTIES

11 CLICK DRIVER (this is the tricky part)

Driver should read  VERSION

If not click UPDATE DRIVER




CLICK OK until you are back to DEVICE MANAGER Window


12 Load CHIRP and/or Baofeng programming software.

Set COM port to the correct COM PORT, which you have set in your Prolific Driver

Note:  When using your CHIRP or BOAFENG Software always READ FROM THE RADIO first.  That writes the image of the radio onto your hard disc so your computer will recognize it for programming.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Long Beach, CA: Technician License Class

The Association of Radio Amateurs of Long Beach will be hosting a Technician License Class

The class begins Saturday, September 14  from
9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon and runs
 7 weeks with exam on the 8th week.

Class will meet in Classroom 2 at the Long Beach American Red Cross located at

3150 E. 29th St. Long Beach, CA   Click here for map

For more information

Bill Bradley, WD6FON by email:

If your club or organization is having a class or event and you would like to advertise it here at no charge please email me the details at KI6DZV@GMAIL.COM


Thanks to my friend Jason (W6AUX) for this great compilation:

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Ham Nation Celebrates One Hundredth Show

As Ed Sullivan might say, "A really big show!"

Congrats to the crew of Ham Nation on your 100 program.    

Thanks for bring great news and informative programming to the Amateur Radio world.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Boat Anchor Radios: Yaesu FT-101 Set Up

Boat Anchor Radios are classic old radios that can be a lot of fun to learn to use.

The Yaesu FT-101

The Yaesu FT-101 series radio is what we would call a hybrid type of amateur radio.   The radio has both tubes and solid state circuits.    These are great HF radios and learning how to set these up properly for operation can be tricky but it is a great educational experience.

There are various models of the FT-101 and each model has improvements to the previous model.  Some some newer models have less features.    For a history of the unit and comparison of models QSL.NET  is a wonderful source.

I personally have an FT-101B and I have communicated all over the world on this radio using a simple dipole antenna over my house and an MFJ-949D tuner.

Manuals for these radios are available free online.
One great source for manuals is FOXTANGO.ORG.  The information is free but they do have a button to send donations.

Digital Display vs Analog display is kind of like horseshoes and hand grenades but external digital displays for this FT-101 series can be still purchased from Electronic Specialty Products.   These digital displays come in very handy to align your radio if your radio is off on receive and transmit frequencies.   Accuracy on these digital displays is about 100hz.

Matching the radio to your antenna is done normally, just like using any radio with an external tuner.   Setting the radio up for operation takes a little practice.

Here are the steps:
Power on Radio and Heater.   Allow a few minutes to warm up.
Check to make sure that your radio is properly connected to your antenna.

Located the MODE dial on the lower front panel of the radio on the left side and set to TUNE.
AF Gain - just so you can hear it, not too loud.
RF Gain - Fully turned to the right.

Above those dial look for the MOX/PTT/VOX switch.   Set for PTT

Meter Switch next to meter should be set for IC
VFO Knob next to that should be set for INT (assuming you are not using an external VFO)

On the right side of the big VFO Dial look for a switch labeled BAND select your operating band.
(I am going to use 20 meter for this exercise)

Above the BAND select switch you will see a dial called PRESELECT.   Turn it to the area of the band you are plan to operate (20) .   Listening to the radio turn the PRESELECT to where you hear the strongest noise level.  

At this time, if you have not yet done so, you might want to turn the radio to a frequency in the middle of the band that is not in use.

To the right of the PRESELECT located MIKE GAIN / CARRIER dials.  
The inner or center dial is is MIKE and that should be turned full to the right.
The outer part of the dial is the CARRIER (RF)  and that should be turned to the left (counter clockwise) all the way.

Locate the Plate dial and set that to the band you are on (20)

Locate the LOAD dial and set that to 5 (half way)

When you key down in TUNE or set the MOX switch you will slowly raise the RF GAIN to where your meter on your SWR meter reads about 10 watts.    Do not key down for more than 10 seconds.

The order that I tune my radio is PRESELECT,  PLATE  and LOAD.   Some people prefer PRESELECT, LOAD and PLATE.

Turn the dials slowly to where you have the strongest power output.  This should always be done in the lowest power setting.

The video demonstration posted on YouTube below is a good example on how to tune up an FT-101.

Other than a sensational reception one more benefit of a tube HF radio is that it is believed that these old boat anchors might survive an electric magnetic pulse (EMP) that would normally knock out solid state equipment.    A good thing to have.

More Boat Anchor Radios can be found at:

NA1SS - Ham Radio on the International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) is equipped with Ham Radio to communicate with radio operators on Earth.

Thanks to the installation of new solar panels the ISS can be very easy to spot in the night sky with the naked eye.    It is the biggest man made object in space orbiting the planet at this time.

To see when the ISS will be passing overhead you can check out this web site:

Here is a tour of the ISS and a demonstration of radio station NA1SS:

Protocols and settings for contacting NA1SS*:

Region 1 = Europe * Middle East * Africa * North-Asia
RXdownlink: 145.800Mhz (FM).
TXuplink:      145.200Mhz (FM).

NA1SS VOICE FREQUENCY! (region 2 & 3).
North and South America * Caribbean * Greenland
South Asia * Australia * New Zealand * Oceania
RXdownlink: 145.800Mhz (FM).
TXuplink:      144.490Mhz (FM).

ISS WORLD WIDE APRS/packet (1200 baud) frequency:
RXdownlink: 145.800Mhz (FM).
TXuplink:      145.990Mhz (FM).
ISS APRS digipeater callsign: RS0ISS-3
ISS packet callsign: RS0ISS-11 (for bbs).

* source: AMSAT.ORG

Ham Nation - Ham Radio Basics

Ham Nation is a weekly Internet TV program that is a wonderful resource to learn about Ham Radio.

It is hosted by Bob Heil, Gordon West, Don Wilbanks and George Thomas.   

Their website is located at:

You can watch them live on Wednesday nights or watched the archived programs.

They are informative and a lot of fun.

Here is one of their early programs, which I found very informative for those just started.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Digital Communications - JT-65

Digital communications can go farther than phone (voice) communications with less power and with some digital protocols you can make more contacts.  Digital communications, in its simplest form is CW - continuous wave radio transmissions using Morse code.

For more complex digital communications you need some gear.   Computers can be interfaced to Ham Radio equipment where the serial or USB port can control the transmitter and the audio sound card sends and receives encrypted signals.   Systems currently supported are Windows PC and Linux.   Mac users may have to figure it out and wing it with the help emulation software.

The easiest interface that I have experience with is the Rigblaster by West Mountain Radio.    It is simply a box where you connect the audio out  and the USB or Serial Port of your computer to the microphone input of your radio.   The Rigblaster may be ordered in different configurations depending on your radio.

Information for the Rigblaster Plus 2 can be seen at:

Most HF radios have a VOX switch and if you do not want to use the USB or Serial Port to trigger the transmitter just set the VOX but disconnect the microphone.

That is pretty much the hardware needed the only other thing you need is a tool for the decryption of the signals, which are performed by computer software.

How it works:

JT-65 is one digital protocol where an average conversation over Ham Radio (QSO) can take about 6 to 7 minutes, signals travel a long distance with low power and a Ham can easily contact other Hams in all 50 states as well all over the world.   I learned about JT-65 last January and in a few months logged in over 200 contacts.  Once you get the hang of JT-65 it can be a lot of fun.

The JT-65 signal begins at 2 seconds past the minute and sends a 13 character message for 45 seconds.   The software on the receiving end decodes the message and gives the receiver the option of answering the sender.   The frequency set aside for most operations is at the top of the band and near .076 past the top.
Two bands frequently used in the U.S. are 40 meter  @ 7.076Mhz and 20 meter @ 14.076Mhz.

Where to get it:

A guide to the bands and frequencies for JT-65 can be found at:

 JT-65 is time sensitive and you must coordinate the minutest and seconds of your computer clock to ZULU or Greenwich Mean Time.    A great resource for setting your clocks to Zulu is at:

The software for JT-65 is available free on the Internet at various sites.
I personally use the software found on the Sourceforge site:

Another software package can be found on the Princeton University site:

I found some great videos on YouTube demonstrating JT-65:

There is a website where you can check your propagation called PSK REPORTER.   You can enter your call letters, protocol and send a low powered CQ.  In about 20 seconds you will be able to determine if you are using enough power to get to where you want to contact.    The site is at: 

This is where my 30wt signal went on a morning with poor propagation:

On better days:
The photo above shows the signal report for my Icom IC-740 with a simple dipole antenna.  This was a 30 wt  JT-65 transmission that reached all over the US as well as a station in New Zealand.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Field Day - Start planning to get involved.

Every year Ham Radio enthusiasts gather in parks, beaches, hill tops and remote areas for an event called Field Day.   This year field day is the weekend of June 22nd and 23rd.

This is a weekend set aside in the month of June to practice amateur radio communications skills as well as experiment with different solutions for communications in case of a disaster.  Ham radio operators communicate in CW (Morse Code), Phone (voice) and digital modes.   During Field Day phone modes are usually conducted in single side band along all HF bands except 12, 17, 30 and 60 Meters.

According to the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL), the objective of field day is,  "To work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding the 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions. Field Day is open to all amateurs in the areas covered by the ARRL/RAC Field Organizations and countries within IARU Region 2. DX stations residing in other regions may be contacted for credit, but are not eligible to submit entries."

For all the details check out the ARRL page at:

Local amateur radio clubs are the best resource for those who are new to ham radio.   Some clubs have volunteer examiners assembled to offer testing for Amateur Radio FCC license.

To locate a club in your area check out this page on the ARRL site:

One cool thing about field day is that if you have a Technicians license and attend a field day event you will be permitted to use bands for higher grade licenses as long as the control operator is a General or an Amateur Extra.  This great way for new hams to experience HF communications.

Videos of past Field Days:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Baofeng UV-B5 and UV-B6 Review

Two new radios from Baofeng have just arrived today, the UV-B5 and the UV-B6.

Baofeng UV-B5(left) and UV-B6 (right) 

Both radios sell on the Internet for less than $50 U.S. and have similar features such as 99 channel programmable, UHF/VHF, dual watch with 5 watts of transmit power.  Both units received an excellent audio quality report when I tested them on a couple of local repeaters.

Baofeng UV-B5 with channel selector knob and alarm button

Baofeng UV-B6 with LED Flashlight

The slight differences between the two radios can almost immediately be spotted.
The UV-B5 has a channel select knob at the top of the radio where the UV-B6 has an LED flashlight.  The radio must be on to use the flashlight.  

The UV-B5 has an red alarm button just below the antenna where the UV-B6 has none.  The instructions on the B6 claims to have the button on the microphone/earpiece/programming jack but we have not found it yet.
Both radios use the same USB Prolific programming cable as the Baofeng UV-5R series as well as any microphone / head set systems.  The programming software is unique, which can be downloaded from the Baofeng website:

Chirp software has a daily build for the UV-B5 & UV-B6:

The Belt Clip on both radios have extra firm springs.   The chance of losing this radio from your belt or vest is slight as it has a very strong grip.

One very cool feature about this radio is the volume knob.   When you turn on the radio the volume knob appears to stick around the first quarter of the volume control.   I thought that this was a defect on the first radio until I noticed the same thing with the second radio.   I think it is intentional.  When you turn on the radio and set it for a desired volume around the first quarter turn of the knob there is less of a chance of that being identically turned down to zero should the radio be attached to your belt or vest and you brush up on something.  For someone using this radio with a headset in a security job setting this could prove a valuable feature.

LED read out on both radios is not as big as the UV-5R series but it is legible.  You can also turn off the back light on the LED to conserve battery.

The Battery on the radios charge up in about 5 hours, according to the manual.  The charger cradle has an LED that will turn green when it is fully charged.

The important thing to know about these radios is that you should not allow your hand to make contact with the battery charging terminals on the back of the radio while you are transmitting.   I noticed that they tend to generate some heat, which could result in a mild burn.   It may have been the humidity adding to the factor here in Long Beach when noticed this.

It's all Chinese to me!!

Programming the radio with the Baofeng software is pain free except when you load the software in from the site it is defaulted to Chinese.   When you run this software for the first time it literally is all Chinese to you.
To switch to English simply press ALT S to get to the Settings Menu. then  L, select English with your mouse and hit Enter.   

Switching the software to English

You can also use mouse controls by selecting the second pull down menu from the right (or second to the last menu) and selected the bottom option on the menu.

There is also a red short cut on the menu to switch languages.

All in all, both radio are super, easy to use and put out a great signal.  They will remind you of another popular radio that comes from China.   The only thing I really did not like about these radios is that they took about 4 weeks to get here from China.   Best have patience if you order this from a vendor overseas or pay a little extra and get one sooner from a US vendor who might stock these.

I still prefer the Baofeng UV-5R series but will keep these radios in the to go bag for back up.


1) Output : 5W/2W
2) Frequency Range: 136.00-174.00 MHz
400.00-470.00 MHz
3) PC or Manual Program
4) Radio Function
5) Voice Prompt
6) DTMF Code
7) 50 CTCSS and 104 DCS Codes
8) Time-out Timer (TOT)
9) Step Frequency(5,6.25,10,12.5,20,25KHz)
10) Battery Saving
11) VOX Function
12) Busy Channel Lock Function
13) Low Battery Warning
14) Dual Band, Dual Display and Dual Standby
15) Auto Back Light
16) 3 Scanning Ways (Time, Carrier wave, Search )
17) PTT-ID (Press PTT to transmit code, release PTT to transmit code, or both can transmit
18) Frequency Difference Setting
19) Keypad Number directly choose the Menu Function
20) Reverse Frequency Function
21) Emergency Alarm
22) High &Low Power Switchover
23) Priory Scanning Function
24) Wide/Narrow Band Selection
25) ANI Code Edition
26) Relay Forwarding Confirmed (1750 HZ)
27) Noise Reduction
28) U/V Cross Band Dual Watch
29) Dimension: 116x58x36mm
30) Packing Details; 30 Units/CTN, Carton Size: 52.5x33x67 cm
N. W: 16 KGS G.W: 17 KGS
Technical Index:
Unity Section:
Frequency Range: 136.00-174.00 MHz
400.00- 470.00MHz
Storage Channel 99
Step Frequency 2.5/5/6.25/10/12.5/20/25KHz
Rated voltage DC 7.4 V
Battery Capacity H-1800 mAh
Battery Life About 10 Hours
Frequency Stability ±2.5ppm
Work Temperature -20 ℃ to +60℃
Frequency Combination PLL frequency synthesis
Antenna Impedance 50 Ω
Wok Mode Same Frequency simplex Operation or Different
Frequency simplex Operation
Dimension 116x58x 36 mm (Excluded Antenna)
Output Power 5W/ 2W
Modulation Mode(W/N Band) FM (F3E)
Maximum Frequency Deviation (W/N Band) <5KHz(W), <2.5KHz(N)
Spurious Power ≤7.5 μW
Adjacent channel power 65dB (W) ,55dB (N)
Spurious Radiation <-60 dB
Audio Distortion <5%
SNR 45dB(W), 40dB(N)
CTSCC/DCS Frequency Deviation(W/N Band) 0.7±0.1KHz (W), 0.4±0.1KHz (N)
Modulation Sensitivity 8-12mV
Transmitting Current ≤1200mA
Sensitivity <0.20 μ V (12dB SINAD)
Audio Power 1W
Inter modulation
Interference Resistance
≥65dB (W), ≥55dB (N)
Adjacent channel Sensitivity (W/N Band) ≥65dB (W), ≥55dB (N)
Audio Distortion <5 %
Receiving Current ≤400mA

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Baofeng UV-5RA

The Baofeng UV-5RA is a dual band UHF/VHF hand held radio from China.  It has an output of 4 watts but with an optional high gain antenna I have no problem making contact on any of the local repeaters in my area.   The radio can be programmed from the keypad but it is much easier to program it from either the Baofeng software that comes with the programming cable or CHIRP software.  RT Systems also sells a cable and programming software for this radio.

The radio is well supported by a Yahoo Group:  Baofeng_uv5r

The radio has a large LCD display and it is very easy to read.  You can also set the display to three different colors, orange, blue and purple.

The radio can be set for single watch or dual watch, which allows you to monitor up to 2 different frequencies at a time.   The display can show text (name), frequency or channel number.   It does not have a VFO button to switch you to the frequency display but one way around that is to set the A band to NAME option and set the B band to FREQUENCY.  If you need to know what frequency you are on simply look at the A band that you are talking on for the channel number. Then hit the A/B button, dial it in on the B band and read the frequency.  That is much faster than figuring it out using the menu function.

The radio can also be used as a marine band VHF radio.  The CHIRP software has a an auto setting in the programming options.  If you are a boater you can move the VHF Marine frequencies to the corresponding channel numbers where you would normally find them on a Marine VHF radio.  That way if you need to get to Marine VHF 16 you just enter 016 on the keypad and you are there.

The radio comes with  SMA-J flexible antenna, 7.4 volt 1800mAh Li-ion battery, belt clip, wrist strap, wall wart AC adapter  and drop-in charging tray.   Average chart time is 4 hours.

This radio FCC Part 90 acceptable, dual watch, and can support up to 128 different programmed channels. I have been using this radio for about 6 months and it has proven to be a great tool for my various needs.

There have been some chip set upgrades to this unit which have improved ease of use, voice menu and performance.   Turning on the power while pressing the 3 key will display which chip set the radio has in it.  Version 293 and above are preferred by most users.

I suggest the UV-5RA to be purchased with the following accessories:
* High Gain Antenna
* External Speaker Mike
* Car lighter adapter
* Programming Cable and software

For my local Long Beach Hams I can sell and configure this radio for your needs, load software and drivers on your lap top, test it, and include a CD Rom of resources for $100.  I will also be happy to run you through the operation of the radio as well as the software.

How to order: 

Email me at  KI6DZV@GMAIL.COM  for more information.

Specifications of UV-5RA found on the Internet:


Frequency Range: 136-174 / 400-480MHz
Dual-Band Display, Dual Freq. Display, Dual-Standby
Output Power: 4 /1Watts
128 Channels
50 CTCSS and 104 CDCSS
Built-in VOX Function
1750Hz Brust Tone
FM Radio (65.0MHz-108.0MHz)
LED Flashlight
Large LCD Display
Hight /Low RF Power Switchable
25KHz/12.5KHz Switchable
Emergency Alert
Low Battery Alert
Battery Saver
Time-out Timer
Keypad Lock
Monitor Channel
Channel Step: 2.5/5/6.25/10/12.5/25KHz
Roger Set

■  Dual band, dual display, dual standby
■  A/B band independent operation
■  128 groups channels storage
■  Shortcut menu operation mode
■  VFO & Memory channels scan
■  Emergency Alarm
■  Tri-color background light selectable
■  0~9 grades VOX selectable
■  FM radio and 25 stations storage
■  Voice companding
■  CTCSS/DCS coder & tone searching
■  PC programmable
■  Wide/Narrow Band(25kHz/12.5kHz)
■  Transmitter time-out timer(TOT)
■  High/Low TX power selectable
■  Busy channel lock-out(BCLO)


Frequency Range  65-108MHz(FM Receive only)
            136-174MHZ and 400-480HZ (TX/RX)         
Channel No.   128
Frequency Stability  ±2.5ppm
Antenna    High gain DualBand Antenna
Antenna    SMA - Female
Antenna Impedance  50Ω
Operating Voltage  DC 7.4V
Mode of operation   Simple or semi-duplex
Dimension(W x H x D)100 x 52 x 32 mm
Weight    250g (including battery, antenna)
Output power   4W / 1W (Max 5W)
Modulation Mode  16kΦF3E / 11kΦF3E
Maximum deviation  <5kHz(Wide) / <2.5kHz(Narrow)
Spurious Radiation  <7μW
Adjacent Ch. power   ≤-65dB(Wide) / ≤-60dB(Narrow)
Pre-emphasis characteristics 6dB
Current    ≤1.6A(5W)
CTCSS/DCS deviation 0.5±0.1kHz(Wide) / 0.3±0.1kHz(Narrow)
Intermediation sensitivity 8-12mv
Intermediation distortion <10%
Earpiece / mic type    Kenwood Plug type

Baofeng UV-3R

The Baofeng UV-3R is a small 2 watt hand held radio that is made in China.  This model offers a good low price introduction to dual band listening and if you live in a major metropolitan area with lots of repeaters nearby it could provide a decent communication range.

The radio is UHF/VHF dual band, has a large LCD display but only shows the frequencies.   It stores 99 programming channels in memory and the battery and charging system has some nice features.   Audio fidelity is quite good and loud.  I made a contact on a local repeater without an external microphone and my signal and audio report was excellent    Some radio users have noted that covering the speaker with gorilla tape seems to reduce the volume for sensitive listeners.   This might be a good radio to use for working marathons or events where the ambient noise level is louder than normal.

My wife loves to listen to LBPD and she really liked listening to the UV-3 today in the car.   It is small and a lot less bulky than the bigger UV-5 line.

The battery is a small li-ion 3.7 Volt and should run about 12 hours between charges.   Charge time is about 6 to 8 hours.  I charged up my radio about midnight last night and woke up at 7 and it was fully charged.

The charger has a feature that I really like and wish regular Ham Radios had.   It is a 5V USB type converter charger.  You can remove the battery and put it in a cradle or you can plug the charger into the unit.   You can remove the transformer from the charge cable and plug that cable into any USB port on your laptop or a 12V car lighter adapter / USB device.

The box is packed with:
Charger cable
Charger cradle
Belt Clip
Earphone / Lapel Mike
Owner's Manual

The radio is well supported by a Yahoo User group at:

Here are the specs, which I found online:

Baofeng UV-3R: The Specs
Functions and Features
- LCD Menu Operations
- 50 CTCSS, 104 CDCSS
- 99 Channels (1 Emergency Channel)
- Time-out Timer (Off/30/60/90/120/150/180 secs)
- Key Tone/Keypad Beep (Off, On)
- FM Radio Built-in (87.0 - 108.0 MHz)
- Shift Frequency
- VOX (Off/1-9 Levels)
- Call Tone (1750 KHz)
- Squelch Set (1-9 Levels)
- Electronic Volume Adjusting (8 Levels)
- Keypad Lock
- Backlight (On/Off/Key)
- Tail Tone Elimination
- Battery Save
- Monitor
- Power Capacity Display (Off, On)
- Low Battery Alert
- Restore to Factory Default
- PC Programming
- FM Radio Channel Storage

Technical Specification - General
Frequency Range | 136-174/400-470 MHz
Channel Capacity | 99
Channel Spacing | 5/6.25/12.5/25 KHz
Operated Voltage | 3.8V
Standard Battery | 1500 mAh
Battery Life | 10 hours
Frequency Stability | 2.5ppm (-20°C to 60%degC)
Operating Tempature | -30°C to 60%degC
Antenna Impedance | 50 Ω
Dimensions | 1.9" x 3.2" X .9" (Approximate)
Weight | 140g

Technical Specification - Transmitter
RF Power Output | 2W
Modulation | F3E
Spurious Emission | 65 dB
FM Noise | 45 dB (N)/42 dB (W)
Audio Distortion | 5.00%
Adjacent Channel Power | 60 dB
Max Frequency Deviation | <= 2.5 KHz (N)/ <= 5.0 KHz (W)
Frequency Error | 500 Hz
Modulation Distortion | 0.1 KHz (300 - 3000 KHz)
Transmitting Current | <= 1.4 A

Technical Specification - Receiver
Sensitivity (12 dB SINAD) | 0.2 uV
Squelch Selectivity | 0.15 uV
Adjacent Channel Selectivity | >= 65 dB
Background Noice | <= 50 mV
Spurious Response Rejection | -60 dB
FM Ham and Noise | 48 dB (N) /48 dB (W)
Audio Power Output at 8 Ω | <= 1.7 V
Audio Distortion | <= 10%
Receiver Current | <= 400 mA
Standby Current | <= 75 mA

What I did not like was the belt clip screw was too short so I had to run to Ace Hardware for a slightly longer screw.   No Alpha display - I am spoiled by my other radios.  Accessories are not compatible with other Baofeng products.

Other than that, all in all, a fun little radio to add to your collection.

I can get these and program them for your area as well as train you on how to program them radios with your lap top. To order your UV-3R please contact me for pricing. KI6DZV@GMAIL.COM


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Solar Report A Great Tool

When it comes to transmission and reception on the high frequency (HF) bands of Amateur Radio there is an important thing to remember, some days are better then others.    Also, some times are better than others and some bands will perform differently than the last time you used them.   This is all because of the Sun, the Earth and their effect on radio waves.  

The above tool is called a Propagation Report and comes in different formats for you and you can even put them on your own website.   If you don't have a website, or you don't want to put this on your website you can go to QRZ.COM to check out the on their front page.

You can get your own tool at:

Thanks to Paul Herrman of Sierra Vista, Arizona for providing such a wonderful utility.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

How to get started with a Technician Class License

In Amateur Radio you have to start somewhere and that is at the Technician level.

Looking at the chart below, a Technician operator may work all VHF (2 meter)  and UHF (1.25 meter, 70cm, 33cm and 23cm)  bands with no restrictions. The 6 meter band (50 MHz) is open at this class and there are other areas in the HF bands where they my operate with limitations.    If the Technicians know Morse code they may work CW on 80, 40 15 and 10 meters in the HF bands.   Technicians may also communicate by single side band phone (voice) from 28.300 to 28.500MHz on the 10 meter band.

 Here are some valuable resources to help you prepare for your Amateur Radio License:

Start at the Element 2 or the Technician Level.  This will get you on the air on VHF, UHF, 6 meter and a small portion of the 10 meter band. You can also work some other bands in CW (Morse Code) and RTTY (Data) with limitations.

The good news is that you do not need to lean Morse Code to get a Ham License.

Technician Class 2010-2014 by Gordon West -Click here
Technician Class 2010-2014 Audio Theory Course [Audio CD] by Gordon West - Click here
Once you have gone through the material go to HAM TEST ONLINE and practice taking your test.

The test consist of 35 questions from a pool of 394 questions.
Click here for HAM TEST ONLINE

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice, practice practice!!

Do your mock ham tests online until you feel confident with at least 90% of the material.  You can subscribe to that site and keep track of your progress.

Once you are ready to take your Element 2 test go to the ARRL - Amateur Radio Relay League website to fine a group of volunteer examiners conducting a test  in your area.

Click here to find a test in your area.

Need more help?   Try the instructional videos posted on the Ham Whisperer website.

Study hard, pass your test and I hope to hear you on the air in the near future.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Who's your Elmer?

Congratulations on passing your exam and getting your Amateur Radio license.  
Welcome to the world of Amateur Radio, now what?   

This is what I will be discussing in this blog, as well as various product reviews, resources for learning more about Amateur Radio as well as tips that you can use to improve your radio skills.  

I am relatively new to Amateur Radio but I have been involved with radio most of my life. So much so that my friends say that my voice fades when we drive through a tunnel.   Seriously, in 1963, when I was 7 years old,  I visited radio station KRLA on an outing with my Cub Scout pack.   From that day I thought that working in a radio station would really be fun.   When I grew up, I went to Long Beach City College to study Radio/TV production and have worked in some capacity in the industry from 1976 to 2011.  

It was not until 2006 that I decided to get my Technician's Amateur license.   I studied all the material to pass my test but really didn't have a clue as to all of the cool stuff that I could do until many years later. 

I thought that I was really happy with my 2 meter hand held transceiver, which I manually programmed to work on a few local repeaters.   It wasn't until a friend invited me up to the wireless room at the Queen Mary (W6RO) that I realized that HF was the coolest thing since sliced bread.  I studied for my General and passed my test in less than two months and then set my goal to pass my Amateur Extra class by my next birthday.   Amazingly, I found a Volunteer Examiner team that conducted the test on my birthday and within days I was granted the status of Amateur Extra.

So far I have made contact with other ham radio operators around the world from my home station using a simple HF 100 watt radio.  I have also seen the same radio send  5 or 10 watt digital communication on the 20 meter band half way around the world. 

In the blogs to come I will be writing about some of the new dual bands radios from China and how to have fun with JT-65 digital communications.
If this is the sort of stuff that interests you I hope you will come back.