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29 Comments

    1. Yes, there are better quality radios. Yaesu and Icom come to mind, but they are much more (10x) expensive. In the end it depends on your budget, and if you want to give another chunk to China.
      BigD: I’m not sure what China could gain by putting some kind of spy-chip in these radios but they are known for long-term planning. Even if they hijacked our repeater network they wouldn’t learn much useful intel, just look at how badly they destroy the English language on the direction sheets that come with their products! Without using the repeater network, though, the range on these HTs is very limited, I’ve managed about 7 miles on a similar radio with an upgraded 16″ whip antenna.

    2. sr, You might want to check out Yaesu FT-60 dual-band handheld Ham radio. They are more expensive, but they are a better quality of radio. Icom, Kenwood, Alinco also make excellent handheld radios. The problem with the Baofengs around here and other places is that kids or their parents buy these thinking they are toys and cause interference with repeaters, and public service bands such as law enforcement, fire, and ambulance.

      1. It’s not a problem with the Baofengs, it’s a problem with who has them. Any radio can be misused.

        A lot of hams hate them, for reasons of their own. They’ll bring up a ton of “problems” like spurious emissions, “roger beeps”, etc. You’ll also find those same hams have never held one in their hands, nor tested or used one. These radio are not dirty, I’ve seen the spectral results.

        Signed, 30 year Extra class ham.

        1. Petra, I understand that and that is what I am talking about in my comment and maybe I didn’t make myself clear. By the way, I have 3 of the UV5’s and a QYT KT8900R and I use mine when we do special events and I like the radios. I also have two of the Yaesu VX-5 tri-band HT’s and when I travel, the VX-5 is what I take with me instead of the Baofeng because of the extended coverage the VX-5 has to offer. Here we had a problem in the past with unlicensed bear hunters using the Baofeng’s on one of the local repeaters and they were finally caught.

    3. When JWR first brought this up I thought I might as well get a more powerful radio and looked at the BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-Watt Dual Band (the one with 2887 reviews). Since good reviews speak for themselves I just guessed and clicked the 3 star reviews. About the 3rd or 4th review in (Milken70) it said “Buy the UV-5X3 instead of the BF-F8HP.”

      It convinced me to buy the UV-5X3 which was $59.89. I added two add ons and got the better antenna and programming cable. The cable is the minimum to get started. I hope to get 2 more radios before the end of the year.

      His review sounds honest and this radio appears to be better than other BaoFengs. Tri-band, better sound and tighter “spurious emissions” (love that ham-speak). I signed up for the ham class at my local Ham Outlet in December and am aiming for the Technicians level license.

      The reviewer also owns the Yaesu VX-6R which is highly reviewed by hams. Google Yaesu VX-6R review and go to first …eham.net…and read reviews only by hams. They give it 4.5/5 stars. It’s $239.95 at GigaParts.com. Built like a tank, waterproof and also tri-band like the BaoFeng 5×3.

      I think I will be well served by the 5X3 if I do my part. Two days after I got my package I received an email from BaoFeng asking if I had received all I ordered and that if I had any problems whatsoever to email back. Impressed. If you buy a BaoFeng be sure it’s sold by BTECH or BaoFeng. Anything other than that will be a 3rd party seller and will not have the USA warranty.

      Good luck.

  1. On handheld transceivers (HT’s) for ham radio, you could look at the Yaesu FT-65R. It’s a good unit but you’ll pay 3x the price.
    http://yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=249&encProdID=79E6683CC766565D2CB197C293AB6219&DivisionID=65&isArchived=0

    You might consider a blend of units depending on your budget. Perhaps two higher-quality Yaesu’s, and a few of the Baofengs for emergencies. They won’t be compatible for parts and accessories but it might put more radios into the hands of your family.

  2. This is a follow-up to my posting yesterday concerning the Walter Mittys who fantasize about a Civil War II, no doubt seeing themselves as a hero in the fight against the radical Left in “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

    There are plenty of nut jobs on the Left to cause chaos around the country. For every Antifa whacko that attempts to place a bomb, law enforcement will respond and use violence, if necessary, to arrest the perpetrators.

    For every conservative whacko that attempts to place a bomb, law enforcement will also respond and use violence, if necessary, to arrest the perpetrators.

    For the conservative whackos who fantasize about a Civil War, how many will shoot a cop who is just doing his job?

    About Americans unwillingness to actually engage in a fight, I found on http://www.Quora.com that 16 million Americans served in WWII. 10 million of them were drafted. In the 1960s, American boys flocked to the Air Force and Navy in order to avoid combat. I am confident that this was the case in the 1940s, too. The takeaway? Even when the “forces of light” fought the “forces of darkness,” the “Greatest Generation” needed to be be forced to fight.

    If your grandfather or great grandfather was drafted, he had no real stomach for a fight until someone gave him no choice.

    Given how many young men who continued to sit in front of a TV eating pizza in their mothers’ basements after 9/11 after a direct attack on this country,
    who is it exactly who will actually engage in a fight in “the coming Civil War II?”

    I call BS.

    1. What happens in your world when the “law enforcement” that you are so sure “will respond and use violence, if necessary, to arrest the perpetrators” are ordered to stand down and NOT respond to arrest the perpetrators as has already happened in multiple locations in the US in the last couple of years.?

      As far as “who will engage in a fight in “the coming Civil War II” I expect it to be those who have been backed into a corner, those who want to live free lives unencumbered by the interference of government at any level, those who can no longer suffer the overbearing tyranny of a government that has already demonstrated itself to be completely lawless and corrupt.

    2. Yeah,
      The greatest generation did put up. They stepped up in mass numbers. And joining the Army Air Corps or the Navy didn’t remove them, in any small way, from the fight.
      If you didn’t want to fight, you prayed you wouldn’t get a draft notice. And when you did, you quietly fled to Canada, you didn’t stand on the steps of Congress and burn your draft cards. You were genuinely embarrassed at your cowardly ways. Or you tried to achieve 4f, maybe by having a combine accident, if you lived on a farm, or puncturing your eardrum. But you didn’t lie, it definitely was a different time, and they were and still are the greatest generation.

  3. As an amateur radio operator, I will still use my Baofeng radios. The government doesn’t tell me what to do. I use them legally and stay off frequencies I’m not supposed to transmit on.

    However, it is possible the FCC is getting complaints from private services, railroad companies, utility companies, etc. of unathorized transmissions and interference by users using the Baofengs, I get that. But leave us Ham Radio licensed operators alone!

    For Levi’s, don’t purchase their products, period!

  4. Manual programming of the Baofeng UV5R is difficult, but not impossible. There’s a step-by-step guide at

    www,miklor.com

    You must follow each step carefully. When tapping in the 2m repeater offset, use 000.600

  5. Regarding the pulling of the sword from the lake:

    Strange women laying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. You can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ‘cause some watery tart threw a sword at you. If I went ‘round sayin’ I was an emperor, just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they’d put me away. — Monty Python

  6. I ordered a 5 pack from Amazon 2 weeks ago. I have been toying around for a decade or so with getting my license. This I think is the jump into it as these are affordable radio’s. BTW, the programming cable that came with mine was a dude with the drivers. Would not work on Win 10, 7, Vista, XP (tried all w/ 32-bit and 64-bit). It would not read on OS X El Capitan, Sierra, High Sierra, or Mojave. I even downloaded the CHIRP LiveCD and ran updates. The hardware is detected, it sees the serial controller. But the serial port is just a No-Go. I went to Amazon and started a chat. They refunded me $25. I used that to but a Serial programming cable from a seller in Idaho. I also used the rest of the $25 to get an AA battery pack. Hopefully the serial cable will be more reliable and I won’t have to worry about drivers to program my radio. I always have a computer with a hard serial port and not a USB-Serial.

    I have added these to my basic RadioShack scanners, my Kaito emergency Radios, and my Grundig YB450 shortwave listening box.

    While I’m dreaming about radio’s, I keep looking at the Yaesu FT-857d. I have wanted one for years, but they have always been out of my price range. Are there any import type radio’s that are even close to the Tx/Rx and operation modes of the FT-857d, FT-897d or Ft-817 series radios? Something sub-$400 would be ideal.

  7. I’ve got some good scanners but would like to get an outside antenna to receive some freqs. better but what is the right one? Can one antenna receive both analog and digital? Didn’t know there was so much I didn’t know.

  8. Baofeng Dual Ban Transceiver Import Ban

    I have purchased quite a few of these radios over the last few years. They are open transmission within the VHF / UHF range meaning they will transmit and receive outside of the amateur radio bands. I am a licensed ham, so I stay within my range as authorized. The radios DO NOT transmit dirty, that is spurious harmonics, no more so that my Icom and my Yaesu radios do … the prices are beginning to climb so I took JWR’s advice and bought another lot. I don’t give a hoot and a holler about any ban, but I also don’t play in the middle of the expressway expecting not to get run over.

    Purchase the Comet high gain antenna, or the Comet tactical hi gain antenna for them, and the free CHIRP program to program them. They have a very high value in SHTF situation, and are powerful little radios. For the record, using a directional YAGI one can use one of these radios on very long range simplex operation and have very reliable comms.

  9. I use an icom ID-51A as my handie radio, coupled with a decent antenna on the roof of my car I get pretty solid on all of the repeaters around here during my daily commute (around 110 miles round trip). I do switch repeaters about the mid-way poiby. I’d have to use a map to check the line of sight on the repeaters, but it’s a decent distance. That being said, when I’m out backpacking I keep a Baofeng with a decent rubber-duck stashed in my bag just in case I drop my icom or whatever. I mean, that Baofeng is pretty much like a Harbor Freight tool in my mind, certainly not the best and if my budget allowed for a better back up, I’d do it… but it’ll get the job done and is a dang sight better than nothing. (Before I get burned at the stake for being a witch and all… yes I have a decent mobile installed in my truck, both VHF/UHF and an HF, but I drive nearly 600 miles a week to and from work, so I keep the truck for weekends and use a windup toy car to get too and from work, so no crazy radio installs on that guy there.)

  10. My box of 5 arrived last week. $130

    As it happens with the Baofeng Dual Ban Transceivers on amazon, there have been 8 price changes in the last 30 days; they are _not_ back in-stock until Oct 16 2018 and the price has increased to $136 for the set of 5 on Amazon.

    I am new-new-new to HAM technology but each time I lean-in-and-learn I find that these are my kind of people. Curious capable and another c-word here. I’m going to be leading my family on getting our technical HAM license together.

    I’m much more familiar with firearms and to make an analogy, being new-new-new to HAM tech, I find these little radios match up to a pump BB guns on the scale. There is much to be learned about firearms in general from these humble little tools. I don’t shoot round-ball very often, but the principles being taught while sending that little BB down range will, if you let it, reveal the secrets to much longer accuracy using much more powerful calibers.

    So far, I’m hopeful to find real-lessons in these little BaoFeng UV-5R BBs.

  11. “What dual band HT under $40 do you suggest?”

    I suggest you save your money and get a used Yaesu FT-60R. You can get a nice one for about $100, and it’s built like a tank. Take a small pick, pop off one little jumper, and you have out of band transmit if you want that. There are other models out there that work too, but that one is my suggestion. It’s a radio, so there are some out there that go bad like any other piece of electronics, but the reliability factor is a thousand times higher compared to the Baofeng products, and you won’t have a dirty transmitter. Just my 2 cents.

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