Author Topic: A FNG to comms and need help  (Read 7521 times)

Offline Woof09

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A FNG to comms and need help
« on: March 08, 2014, 11:51:58 AM »
I just picked up a Baofeng 5re plus and have zero idea what to do with it.  I admit I am a new born when it comes to this stuff.  I have looked on line and can't seem to find anything that can help.  I live out here in Arizona.  Anyone out here that can help me program this thing so I can start listening I would appreciate it.  Any idea where a complete FNG can go to get educated would also be great. 

Woof09

Offline Comms_Tech

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Re: A FNG to comms and need help
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2014, 05:15:54 PM »
Unfortunately you picked up a radio that isnt exactly user friendly.

I guess my first couple questions are:

1. Who do you want to talk to?
2. Who/What do you want to listen to?
3. What frequencies do you plan on operating on?
4. Are you planning on getting your ham license?

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: A FNG to comms and need help
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2014, 05:55:20 PM »
Woof, the two best zero-to-basic-knowledge guides I know of are "Two-Way Radios and Scanners for Dummies" and "Ham Radio for Dummies."  These will give you the broad background you need, they'll get you to the point where you know the overall lay of the land.

Pretty much what you have in your hand is the most frustrating but too good to pass up device known to hamkind.  Those Baofings are hard to program from just the keypad.  I understand that they're not so bad with the right software – CHIRP is frequently recommended – but even then you need the right kind of programming cable.  (FWIW, I haven't had any success to date on this front.)  If you can get it on frequency mode (press the top orange key on the front) and type in 146520 or 446000, you might be able to listen in on two of the common simplex (i.e., no repeater, just radio-to-radio) frequencies.  To legally talk on it, you will need a Technician ham license, so don't try to butt in if you do hear something.

After that... it really comes down to Comms_Tech's questions.  Where do you want to go with this thing, or for that matter with two-way radio in general?

Offline SCWolverine

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Offline radiomacgyver

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Re: A FNG to comms and need help
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2014, 11:38:06 AM »

Offline Jack Crabb

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Re: A FNG to comms and need help
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2014, 12:07:24 PM »
Do a Google search for repeater frequencies in your area. Tune the radio to the frequency. That will at least get you listening to some local operators.

After that, it is like eating an elephant. Just go one bite at a time. There is the whole license issue to deal with (study, testing, etc.)

To talk on the repeaters, you will need to program the offset into your radio. Duplex repeaters send and receive on two different frequencies that usually follow an accepted standard deviation. Some club or private repeaters may also require a tone to access or activate.

And just goes on as far as you want to go with antennas, power sources, contests, etc.

It is a process, not an event.

Offline Saint-TyR

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Re: A FNG to comms and need help
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2014, 12:21:32 PM »
"I'll echo my brethren above....A Good Programming Cable (and the correct drivers) are the KEY to the radio you just purchased!"

I would agree! I have four of these UV5r+'s and had a rough time at first programming them but there is a lot of dyi's to help out. Now they are the best 29- dollar radios I have! Keep with it!

Stay safe!

Offline Woof09

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Re: A FNG to comms and need help
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2014, 03:43:35 PM »
Thank you everyone.  You have given me a place to start with. 

Offline xsquidgator

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Re: A FNG to comms and need help
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2014, 10:26:47 AM »
You're off to a good start.  I would add to this by suggesting:
1) get the CHIRP free download software and the programming cable
2) using CHIRP, download the FRS, GMRS, Marine VHF, and NOAA Weather channel frequencies into your radio's memory
3) buy a $15 or so whip antenna (15-18" long) for your Baofeng - it will make a WORLD of difference in how well it transmits and receives
4) start working on getting your Technician class HAM radio license (plenty of pointers on this forum on where and how to do that- it isn't expensive)

Your Baofeng will listen and receive on the FRS and other channels (it's not legal to transmit on those frequencies with your radio, but you would be able to do it in say an emergency).  Having more power than an unlicensed walkie talkie and the better whip antenna, your Baofeng would be able to talk over a longer distance on these channels than a regular walkie talkie, too.
When you get your ham radio license, (or before, if you just want to listen), program some additional channels and frequencies into your Baofeng.  I would suggest adding the national VHF and UHF simplex calling frequencies (146.520 MHz and 446 MHz if I recall correctly), and also enter in the UHF and VHF repeaters in your area.  Also when you get your license, but a magnetic mount car rooftop antenna.  That will also make a huge positive difference in how well the radio works, by using a larger physical antenna and buy getting it on the outside of the metal body of your vehicle.

You're off to a good start - what you have can give you effectively a super walkie-talkie right now.  Get a license (the study guide will explain a LOT of things and give you a lot of info you need to get going) and you can do more than that, even.

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: A FNG to comms and need help
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2014, 10:30:13 PM »
You're off to a good start.  I would add to this by suggesting:
1) get the CHIRP free download software and the programming cable
2) using CHIRP, download the FRS, GMRS, Marine VHF, and NOAA Weather channel frequencies into your radio's memory
3) buy a $15 or so whip antenna (15-18" long) for your Baofeng - it will make a WORLD of difference in how well it transmits and receives
4) start working on getting your Technician class HAM radio license (plenty of pointers on this forum on where and how to do that- it isn't expensive)

Your Baofeng will listen and receive on the FRS and other channels (it's not legal to transmit on those frequencies with your radio, but you would be able to do it in say an emergency).  Having more power than an unlicensed walkie talkie and the better whip antenna, your Baofeng would be able to talk over a longer distance on these channels than a regular walkie talkie, too.
When you get your ham radio license, (or before, if you just want to listen), program some additional channels and frequencies into your Baofeng.  I would suggest adding the national VHF and UHF simplex calling frequencies (146.520 MHz and 446 MHz if I recall correctly), and also enter in the UHF and VHF repeaters in your area.  Also when you get your license, but a magnetic mount car rooftop antenna.  That will also make a huge positive difference in how well the radio works, by using a larger physical antenna and buy getting it on the outside of the metal body of your vehicle.

You're off to a good start - what you have can give you effectively a super walkie-talkie right now.  Get a license (the study guide will explain a LOT of things and give you a lot of info you need to get going) and you can do more than that, even.
This is pretty good advice.  You can do quite a lot with that radio even without a HAM call sign.

The free chirp software has downloadable frequencies in one of it's drop down menus, MURS, GMRS, FRS, NOAA, etc...all of those are useful frequencies to have installed. 

Do keep in mind that the Baofeng radios are essentially disposable radios.  They're not going to offer the toughness, water resistance, etc that a higher cost/quality radio will.  Having said that though, they're quite good for what they offer versus their cost.  We've equipped nearly 50 members on our search and rescue team with these radios because they are disposable versus a much more expensive Yaesu, Kenwood, etc.

No one has had a complaint about the radio or it's performance.  It probably helps that they get it programmed already though.  The first one I bought & tried to program by hand I gave up on very quickly because it was a pain in the ass, not because I'm inexperienced.  I have a HAM ticket & experience with comms in general & while I have no intentions of giving up my Yaesu's, I still choose to use a Baofeng when in the middle of SAR activities. 

I've switched to the UV-82's now.  They're set up more like a standard radio & have a dual PTT.

Offline redeyeprep

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Re: A FNG to comms and need help
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2014, 01:11:28 PM »
Hmmm...those Baofengs look to tempting to pass up at the prices I'm seeing, even if they are a bear to program.    :D

Offline DeltaEchoVictor

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Re: A FNG to comms and need help
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2014, 12:54:58 AM »
Hmmm...those Baofengs look to tempting to pass up at the prices I'm seeing, even if they are a bear to program.    :D
Buy a programming cable, download Chirp (it's free) & visit the Miklor site.  The cable's are around $10 & it's well spent because it negates any programming issues. 

I have software & cable's for all my Yaesu's too...once you go software you'll never want to mess with the buttons again.  ;)

Offline OldDog45

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Re: A FNG to comms and need help
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2014, 10:57:58 AM »
http://www.buytwowayradios.com/products/resources/Baofeng/UV-5R-Owners-Manual-2.pdf

Here is a PDF of a comprehensive baofeng radio manual in English. This may help you to program, as many radios of the same manufacture maintain many of the same commands.

Please know what you are programming and it's intended use, before you program and use.

Hope this helps,

OD

Offline lowwattliving

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Re: A FNG to comms and need help
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2014, 09:18:44 PM »
I am in the same boat. I just purchased 3 of the BaoFang UV-5RE+'s. This is after the Steven H. show about communications. I'm learning more and more about 2 way radio's every day. I'm even self studding for my Tec. license for Ham radio now. I'm really liking these radio's but I'm having trouble as well programing them. With the help of Youtube and Google things are coming along...slowly. But I am getting there. This forum also helped a lot. Thanks to everyone. I'll try to make a post every now and then about how things are going. Once again, thanks for all the great info everybody.