Testing my new Baofeng UV-5Rs

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by Imasham, Sep 30, 2017.

  1. Imasham

    Imasham Monkey

    I purchased two sets of the Baofeng UV-5R handhelds from Amazon for $25 each. Through eBay I also bought two Nagoya UT-72 and two BL-5L high capacity batteries. I spent the last few days following the handheld manual instructions and did an initial three complete charge/discharge cycles on the stock batteries. Today I did my testing.

    I mounted one of the antennas on the flat roof of my single story house and put the other on the roof of my car. With a frequency of 462.225 dialed in and a transmit power of 5W I drove through my town and had no issues with reception anywhere I went. I headed west on the highway towards the next town over and did comm checks regularly. I was able to clearly hear and be heard even though the landscape is gently rolling hills. As I reached the top of a hill were I could see the next town I then started driving down into the valley and this is where I lost contact. I turned around and headed back and contact was restored as I reached the top of the hill again. According to the measure distance function on Google maps the as the crow flies distance between my house and the lost contact point was 9.88 km.

    I must admit to being fairly pleased with this. Obviously I would have preferred more but the topography wouldn't allow that. I could easily install a taller antenna at my house to increase the transmit range from it but of course that would be just one direction. I would be able to receive messages further away but I would need to determine a better antenna on the other unit in order to respond.

    The entire reason I bought the units was to have portable, longish distance comms in my area of operation so based on that I would say I have accomplished my purpose. If you have a similar matching requirement I definitely recommend these radios, especially for the incredibly low cost. The BF-F8HP is in the same family as the units I bought and uses the same accessories but the tx power is 8W so perhaps that may be a consideration for you to get some additional distance. Those radios however are currently $63 each from Baofeng.

    While browsing through the Baofeng web site I reviewed their latest model the UV-5X3 and saw this cool feature:
    "The UV-5X3 can respond to remote commands. By remotely sending DTMF tones you can both 'Stun' (Transmit Disable) or 'Kill' (Disables all functions) the UV-5X3. You also can 'Revive' a UV-5X3 from its "stunned" or "killed" state. You can also remotely turn on the microphone through 'Monitor'; or ensure the radio is within range by using 'Inspect' (replies with a confirmation tone when it is within range)."

    Anyway, I am happy with my purchase and the subsequent test results.
  2. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    I wasn't aware 462.225 in the business band was open.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
    sec_monkey likes this.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    That is a Manufacture Radio Service Frequency... In the USA, not sure who uses it in Canada....
    sec_monkey likes this.
  4. Imasham

    Imasham Monkey

    This afternoon I performed the exact same test and drove the same route but with the radios at a frequency of 172.750. I didn't get nearly the range I did this morning. Near the cutoff point I did notice that I was able to hear my wife calling but she couldn't hear me. I assume this is because her antenna was the one on the roof of my house so her signal punched through a little more than mine did, mounted on my car roof. I had both radios set to transmit at high power but I don't know if that setting is applicable to both bands or just UHF. I'm reviewing the documentation now to try and determine this. If the high power setting doesn't apply to the lower band then the tx power was only 1W which is probably why my range was so much less.
    hitchcock4 and sec_monkey like this.
  5. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus Site Supporter

    What are you using for an extended feed line and ground plane on your roof? Those antennas only come with a 14' cable.
    hitchcock4 likes this.
  6. Imasham

    Imasham Monkey

    Don't know what those things are. If you're asking about my house roof the antenna is magnetic and is sticking to the edge of the rim that runs around the whole house. The cable is dangling down near my back door and is low enough for me to attach it to the radio and for my wife to hold it during our testing.
  7. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    and the Roof is a Reflector, that screws the Antenna Pattern, significant;y... So Good, Some Bad...
  8. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

  9. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    The same applies to the vehicle mount location. If the mag is as close to the center of the roof as you can get it, the radiation pattern will be as close to a circle as it is possible to get (on that vehicle.) Put it (say) as far aft (on the roof of a van, say) as can be, and the pattern will be heavily biased toward the front, that's to say you can aim the lobe by pointing the vehicle in the direction of the receiving station. All conductive metal will have some effect on the pattern.
    3M-TA3 likes this.
  10. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus Site Supporter

    Feed line is the cable from the antenna itself to the transmitter and/or receiver. The cable that comes with that antenna is 14' long and if not long enough to get to where you are, you'd need extra feed line...basically an extension cable for the antenna.

    In its absolutely simplest terms, ground plane is a surface, connected to ground (from the standpoint of the radio) that the radio signal can reflect off of. It should be "larger" in size than a significant fraction of the radio wave being reflected. For example, a 2m wave ideally needs a ground plane at least 49.2126 inches on a side (5/8 of the wave lengthy at least, with a meter being 39.37 inches and the wave being approximately 2 meters).

    Height helps. A properly grounded installation helps, but an HT (handheld) doesn't have a traditional ground. Having a surface that is more conducive to reflection such as moist earth or a metal plate roughly 4 ft on a side could have a dramatic increase on your distances.

    I use a "sleeve dipole" that I built out of CPVC pipe, aluminum tape and RG-58 cable on both my Wouxun KG-UV5D and my Baofeng BF-F9, and can hit multiple repeaters 12 and 15 miles away on 5w with good, clear signal. I've hit a repeater almost 20 miles away a couple of times but it was spotty. The antenna is about 5 ft tall and stands on the ground. With some height I'm sure I could get better signal over more distance.

    This is the antenna I made.
    2-Meter Sleeve Dipole | KV5R.COM
    hitchcock4 likes this.
  11. Imasham

    Imasham Monkey

    Interesting. I put the antenna on car right at the back of the roof but I was driving away from my house in both tests.

    Be that as it may, I appreciate that a number of you have ultra superior technical knowledge on the matter and years ago when I took my antenna theory course as part of my electronics diploma I found it a lot more interesting than I do now. For me the radio is just a tool to talk with. If I buy a claw hammer at Home Depot I have no interest in learning about metallurgy or leverage or moment arm in order to make the hammer work better. I just like to open the box and use the tool! Under ideal circumstances it would have been nice to get a range of 15 klicks but I did get 10 right out of the box and I'm quite happy with that, especially as I spent less than $95 to do it.

    My brother on the east coast is getting into ham big time and he's buying all sorts of stuff to do so. He told me recently that he listened in on a conversation between two guys who were comparing how "far" they could shoot a stream of pee!!! I just thought to myself..."and how much did you spend so you could hear that?!!!" As DarkLight mentions I know there are a number of things I could do to improve my equipment however for now I just want to be able to talk over some distance and what I got will work for me. The main use of my radios would probably be me calling the house while I'm on foot but having the necessary stuff to increase the range would, I feel, substantially reduce portability. According to some repeater maps I checked there are none within 35-40 miles of me but then again for what I want to do I don't need them. I will only use the radios a few times a year during tests and, of course, during any incidents that may arise. I must say that my little girl loves doing "con tecks" - her version of "com check" and saying loud and clear! Over!
  12. Andy the Aussie

    Andy the Aussie Monkey+++ Founding Member

    I think I have six or more of the uv5rs, great little radios for the $s
    Dunerunner likes this.
  13. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    "Ham" = "have alotta money" And, no matter how much you spend, there's another widget you just GOTTA have.
    techsar and BTPost like this.
  14. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    Had alotta money ;)

    In truth, you can get going pretty inexpensively. My first hf rig cost $40 and worked well. Newest one was $150. Bargains are out there, just have to find 'em.
    Dunerunner likes this.
  15. T. Riley

    T. Riley Monkey+++

    I assume anyone can use this frequency to test radios without a license, correct?
  16. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    And, as always, there is a time equivalence with money. You can go ready made, or make your own for the price of parts and time.
  17. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    The 462.225 is often used for low power, short range data...think wireless weather station for example. 172 is for govt IIRC.
  18. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Nope last time i checked CFR47Part90 This was a Licensed Radio Service, in the USA, and available to ANY Business that “Manufactures a Product... Mostly low power Comms for use on the Manufaturing Floor... Some used to supply Comms for InHouse Overhead Crane Operations, above the Floor...
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