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TOPIC: New radio for the shack!

New radio for the shack! 7 years 11 months ago #1

  • KI4SYR (Chris Moser)
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Me and the wife made it down to the Morganton hamfest this past weekend. Seen a couple good deals on IC-706's that I wish I could have came home with, but didn't take near enough money with me. Was plenty of vendors and lots of used gear for sale. I seen about three different vendors that were selling Chinese amateur radio's, all were different brands. One vendor caught my attention with at first sight, were displaying different colored Yaesu VX-3R's (my favorite radio). Upon closer inspection, I found out they were copies of Yaesu's mini-HT. Same case, similar button configuration and nearly comparable features.

I ended up buying two of them (haggled the vendor into a good deal), one each for me and the wife. Also included was a USB program cable and software CD. All for less than I paid for the Yaesu VX-3R three years prior.

Included was a lanyard, belt clip, Li-ion battery, wall-wart and separate battery tray charger. Covers 2m and 70cm with 2 watts output and even receives the FM broadcast band. Only has 99 memories and no alpha tags for the channels which seems to be the only major downfalls. It shows two separate frequencies on the display, but is deceiving, it only receives one at a time. I guess it allows you quick access to a "call" channel.

Battery life is great. On our way home from Charlotte yesterday, Tamarah was driving behind me in another vehicle and we talked all the way. Although neither was setup correctly, they managed to keep us in contact the whole trip without giving much trouble.

Now I've got them programmed and the settings where they need to be, they are doing great. I'll be giving mine a thorough workout this week. We'll see how it goes.

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Re: New radio for the shack! 7 years 11 months ago #2

  • W4DCA-1 (David Arndt)
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Neat looking little radio. Give us a follow up review and let us know how well they work after putting them through some day to day uses.

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Re: New radio for the shack! 7 years 11 months ago #3

  • KI4SYR (Chris Moser)
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1 week later:

Well, it survived a week at work. I mostly kept it in my shirt pocket, opposite my cell, but I also used the belt clip a couple times, especially while weedeating the yard the other day. So far, nothing broken. It fell out of my shirt pocket a few times and whacked the concrete floor and kept on ticking. I got to treat it like all the other HT's, right?

I did have a couple long winded converations on repeaters this week. One with WA4AIW for at least 20 minutes continuious. I admit, the back of the radio did get a little warm running full 2 watts. The wind was blowing, so I couldn't drop the power back to low. It never gave the first hint of cutting out or battery going weak. I actually didn't recharge it until the next night after the chat, even after scanning all the following day.

Just tonight, I gave it its first distance test. While Tamarah was shopping in Elkin, I engaged in a conversation with Richard, KI4WKI on the Wilkesboro 145.820 machine. I guess we talked for a good 15 or 20 minutes, and even moved a half mile away just to make sure it wasn't just a sweet spot. Full 2 watts the whole time and still showing 2/3 battery life.

What I have noticed is the stock rubber duck antenna is excellent on 2m (and VHF public service). It actually has better receive than the Yaesu VX3R on 2m. Where it is not quite so good is UHF. It is useable, but the Yaesu's antenna is somewhat better. The extra watt of output from the Baofeng makes a noticable difference on UHF though.

I have yet to give it a good workout on UHF, so that is yet to come. I figure the current draw will be higher on UHF considering the less optimal antenna match of the rubber duck. So it might stretch the 1500 mah battery.

I'm still sticking to my guns here. Probably the best ~$50 I've spent on an amateur radio yet.

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Re: New radio for the shack! 7 years 10 months ago #4

  • W4DCA-1 (David Arndt)
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Thanks for the follow up report. Sounds like you made a good investment with those little units. With the performance thus far and the price paid, looks like the deal was a good one. Let us know how they perform on the UHF side when you can. Thanks again for the update, as this information should prove helpful for anyone looking at getting such a unit or similar one.

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Re: New radio for the shack! 7 years 10 months ago #5

  • KI4SYR (Chris Moser)
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UHF test:

Although I didn't have a fresh battery charge (had 2/3rd battery when started) the Baofeng lasted for about 20 minutes of conversation with KI4AVS on his 442.325 machine. It was Saturday morning since it's last charge and Saturday night was when I had the conversation with KI4WKI on the Wilkesboro machine. The radio also scanned/monitored for a good part Sunday and all day Monday at work. Not bad for a stock 1500 mAh battery.

At 26 nautical miles, the rig had a S5 receive signal on David's machine, and from what I gathered, I wasn't much better into the machine. Some white noise, but fully readable. I tried to bring up the Dobson 444.525, but it wasn't to be had from my dad's QTH (KI4YCZ). I guess you can say the supplied antenna can talk to anything it can hear on UHF, which is limited. VHF is 300% better. I've got to do some research and try to find an antenna with similar VHF performance and better UHF.

I did try side-by-side comparison with the Yaesu VX-3R on the same UHF machine. The Yaesu WOULD-NOT bring up the machine at all, even when moving around. It seemed to have the same signal strength as the Baofeng, but the lack of that extra watt must be the difference on UHF. Even swapping antennas did not make a difference. SO, plus one for Baofeng!

Not a complete test by no means. I'd like to see how long it would talk on UHF before the battery depleted with a full charge. One thing I did notice was that the back of the radio did not get warm from the 20 minute session on UHF. I need to check the actual output on each band and see where it stands. I would have figured with the miss-match on UHF, the HT would have gotten warmer than on VHF.

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Last edit: by KI4SYR (Chris Moser).

Re: New radio for the shack! 7 years 10 months ago #6

  • KI4QDI (Mickey Chamberlain)
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Nice Chris!

Since a side by side was done with factory antenna, I wonder what it would do on simplex? Did you get a chance to try that? I would be curious how that would turn out. One would think you would have the same result, same as keying up a repeater from a greater distance.

On the heat issue, my Yaesu gets very warm during lengthy conversations on all 4 bands (VX7R). But like you I have done side by side test with fellow hams that have disovered my factory antenna doesnt perform as well as my comet rubber duck.

Just some thoughts, but a good test to see the durability and fuctionality of the radio.

73's

Mickey KI4QDI

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