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.