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#297086 - 09/22/20 04:11 AM Re: Radiooddity DB25 shortwave transceiver [Re: Blast]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2201
Loc: Colorado
Where I see the Baofeng UV-5R being useful, is for extremely local simplex communications - maybe with the neighbor one or two blocks over - in a quiet environment.

Programming from the keypad is more difficult than other radios I have used (which admittedly, is not many), but that's easily mitigated by using CHIRP and a cable for programming. I did not find the user interface to be all that bad. Every radio is different, and I didn't judge the Baofeng to be worse than another, just different. Maybe a little more cumbersome, but once you've learned your radio that's not generally a big deal.

The deal breakers for me were two: (1) It just couldn't receive or transmit very well. And (2) Even on max volume, the thing can be difficult to hear.

The Baofeng may be fine for someone who only wants to use it over very short distances. Say, as a replacement for an FRS radio. Note: While you CAN program the Baofeng to operate on FRS frequencies, it is illegal to use it for that (transmitting is illegal, reception is OK though). Personally, I would just buy FRS radios if short range is your goal. That way you don't have to worry about users obtaining ham licenses.

At only about $22 from Amazon, the Baofeng is attractive. I pay that much for a beef brisket with sides dinner at my favorite BBQ place. Usually you will pay more than $22 for just an antenna, or just a battery pack, or just a charger - so the Baofeng is a bargain if you look at it that way. But the gotcha is in performance. At least the example I had (still have) didn't perform well. It could be that their quality control is so all-over-the-place that another example might perform significantly better. My personal experience is that the Baofeng is pretty useless however. I even bough a decent whip antenna for it (a "Super Elastic Signal Stick"). I gave that away to a ham classmate who could not afford a better radio than the Baofeng the club gave us. I knew quite early in testing that I would never be using my Baofeng, so my hope was that her Baofeng was a better example than mine and the antenna would make it even better for her.

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#297087 - 09/22/20 01:27 PM Re: Radiooddity DB25 shortwave transceiver [Re: haertig]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3593
Loc: TX
Originally Posted By: haertig
Unfortunately, the improvement only upgrades them from "is this thing a joke?" to "throw it in the trash".

I did a mini comparison of the Baofeng to a well known Yaesu radio on a different forum (link below). The Baofeng was totally outclassed. This comparison was not about features, it was only about performance.

On that other forum, I also did a post about an antenna stand I made for a J-Pole antenna. J-Poles perform well. You can mount one on your house or take it portable (mine is a two piece takedown model). You can't mount a J-Pole on your car however.

Link to my Baofeng vs. Yaesu comparison:

https://www.homesteadingforum.org/thread...479/post-242325

Link to my antenna stand for the J-Pole:

https://www.homesteadingforum.org/threads/whats-everybody-doing-today.474/post-269020

Where I got my test antennas from:

https://www.jpole-antenna.com/

https://signalstuff.com/product-category/antennas/

(Note that the Baofeng required an SMA-F antenna whereas the Yaesu requires an SMA-M, besure and get the correct connector type, or buy an adapter.)


Yeah, I was pretty happy when I was able to upgrade from a Baofeng UV-5R to Yeasu FT-65 HT! That being said, 90% of my time is just listening and the Baofengs seem fine for that, especially in my vehicle with a magnetically-mounted antenna. I'd love to have a $500 radio in there but also car break-ins are becoming a problem in the Houston area. I'd rather lose $25-$100 than x$100.

So far the DB25 has been performing surprisingly well Radioddity has great customer service and been over backwards to help with any issues. There haven't been any issues with either of the DB25's I bought but earlier I had a problem with a UV-5R from them. Their willingness to go the extra mile is what convinced me to spend a bit more on the DB25. smile

I like that J-Pole antenna you made. I've been wanting to make a copper pipe one like that for a while. I managed to get my hands on a spool of old-school, flat antenna wire and made a bunch of J-Poles from it. They work amazingly well and roll up small for transport. I'm surprised by how poorly the UV-5R performed in your tests. Maybe Houston is a target-rich environment for repeaters but with the antenna wire J-Pole hanging from the ceiling on the 2nd floor of our house I'm hearing repeaters 30 miles away.
-Blast
_________________________
Foraging Texas
Medicine Man Plant Co.
DrMerriwether on YouTube
Radio Call Sign: KI5BOG
*As an Amazon Influencer, I may earn a sales commission on Amazon links in my posts.

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#297088 - 09/22/20 01:31 PM Re: Radiooddity DB25 shortwave transceiver [Re: haertig]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3593
Loc: TX
Originally Posted By: haertig

"RT Systems" makes good cables and programming software. BUT, their cables are proprietary, they intentionally mess with the innards to incorrectly identify the chip inside. This is to force you to buy THEIR software. And you have to buy different software for each radio. This is their "gotcha". Well made stuff, but with a big catch. CHIRP is generic software - works with most every radio and most every cable (and it's free). As a test, I tried using an RT Systems cable with CHIRP software. No go at the start. However, when running Linux as I was, it is trivially easy to inform Linux about the lie that RT Systems hardware is forcing on the OS, and the OS then loads the correct driver.


Ah, that explains a bunch of stuff. I bought the RT software and cable for programming my Yaesu. It worked great, even on a Mac, but I had heard it was very radio-specific. I tried the RT cable with CHIRP and it was a no-go.
-Blast
_________________________
Foraging Texas
Medicine Man Plant Co.
DrMerriwether on YouTube
Radio Call Sign: KI5BOG
*As an Amazon Influencer, I may earn a sales commission on Amazon links in my posts.

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#297093 - 09/22/20 02:23 PM Re: Radiooddity DB25 shortwave transceiver [Re: haertig]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3426
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: haertig
The deal breakers for me were two: (1) It just couldn't receive or transmit very well. And (2) Even on max volume, the thing can be difficult to hear.


These are common criticisms that tend to go together, but I haven't had these issues. It doesn't mean that you're wrong, I think it means that I've been luckier than you.

Also, confirm that you're using FM Narrow instead of FM Wide for repeaters. I haven't had any issues with repeaters and Baofengs.


73 de chaosmagnet


Edited by chaosmagnet (09/22/20 02:26 PM)

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#297095 - 09/22/20 04:09 PM Re: Radiooddity DB25 shortwave transceiver [Re: Blast]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2201
Loc: Colorado
My guess is the problem with my particular Baofeng relates to quality control. Unfortunately, you just don't get much of that with a $22 product. I possibly could have obtained a different Baofeng and been pleased as punch with it. I'll never know. I will say though, for $22, the Baofeng feels remarkably solid in the hand.

Instead, I went with a Yaesu FT-60R. That's quite an older radio design, but still selling extremely well. What I like about it is the knob-based control vs. button-press based control. You still have to push some buttons, but the knob is what scrolls you through menus and frequencies. I also liked the knob-based squelch. Seems like most radios use up/down buttons that only change the squelch setting after you've navigated through menus and submenus. By the time you've navigated all that, your need to adjust the squelch has passed already.

Because the Baofeng is so cheap, it's probably worth a shot buying one, and hope yours is a good example. If not, return it and get another one. Since mine was given to me free by my club, I didn't have that return option available to me.

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#297096 - 09/22/20 04:30 PM Re: Radiooddity DB25 shortwave transceiver [Re: Blast]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2201
Loc: Colorado
FWIW, this cable worked for me with the Baofeng UV-5R, CHIRP software, running on Linux:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RZ1PBYT/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

When I bough it in Feb 2020, it was $7.50. Now Amazon shows a higher price. It's impossible to figure out Amazon pricing. Tomorrow it may be cheap again, but today it's expensive.

---

And here is the cable I bought that works for my Yaesu FT-60R, CHIRP software, running on Linux:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078K89DS9/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I bought this second cable in June 2020, and I paid $12.99 then, same price as Amazon shows today. Tomorrow, it will probably be $329.65, and the day after, $2.35. You gotta watch Amazon!

[edit] Please make sure to note that I said "running on Linux" for both cables above. I do not want to misrepresent that they will work with Windows. They may, or they may not. I do not have experience with that OS to be able to tell you. [/edit]

---

Both of these cables were plug-n-play with Linux. No special gyrations or driver loading required. Note that for the Yaesu FT-60R radio, you have to put the radio into "programming mode" before it will talk to software. The info on how to get to programming mode is in the radio's user manual, and also easily searchable via Google. But first, you have to know that you need to access this programming mode in the first place. If you use CHIRP, newer versions of this software will recognize this when you choose which radio you are programming, and pop up a window that tells you how to put the radio in programming mode. Nice.


Edited by haertig (09/22/20 04:33 PM)
Edit Reason: Added note regarding Linux

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#297107 - 09/23/20 11:21 PM Re: Radiooddity DB25 shortwave transceiver [Re: haertig]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3593
Loc: TX
Originally Posted By: haertig
FWIW, this cable worked for me with the Baofeng UV-5R, CHIRP software, running on Linux:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RZ1PBYT/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If you use CHIRP, newer versions of this software will recognize this when you choose which radio you are programming, and pop up a window that tells you how to put the radio in programming mode. Nice.


Yep, that's the cable I use for the UV-5Rs and it's worked with the Mac version of CHIRP.
-Blast
_________________________
Foraging Texas
Medicine Man Plant Co.
DrMerriwether on YouTube
Radio Call Sign: KI5BOG
*As an Amazon Influencer, I may earn a sales commission on Amazon links in my posts.

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#297121 - 09/25/20 03:56 PM Re: Radiooddity DB25 shortwave transceiver [Re: Blast]
Tyber Offline
Sheriff
Enthusiast

Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 299
Loc: ST. Paul MN
I recently became aquatinted with CHIRP, and once that happened fell in love with my Baofangs!! I need to get my Technicians license too but I just run them in the all users bandwidths..

It was nice to see you posting about CHIRP..

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#297155 - 09/30/20 09:39 PM Re: Radiooddity DB25 shortwave transceiver [Re: Blast]
GoatRider Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 835
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
https://hamstudy.org/ is a good place to study for your license exam. The exams are based on a fixed pool of questions, and this site has all of the questions with explanations, and you can practice taking tests. The "Find a Session" link can find groups that are doing online testing on Zoom, so you can take your test anywhere. I'm in a group that's doing it in Minnesota, and we've tested people in at least 25 states, and even Okinawa, Afghanistan, and the Virgin Islands.
_________________________
- Benton

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#297156 - 10/01/20 12:18 AM Re: Radiooddity DB25 shortwave transceiver [Re: Tyber]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3593
Loc: TX
Originally Posted By: Tyber
I recently became aquatinted with CHIRP, and once that happened fell in love with my Baofangs!! I need to get my Technicians license too but I just run them in the all users bandwidths..

It was nice to see you posting about CHIRP..


CHIRP really makes even cheap Baofengs useful tools and it seems with each update the capabilities grow. I recommend downloading new versions whenever available...but keep a copy of the previous, working version in case the build breaks something. If you haven't explored the options under the "Settings" tab you really need to experiment with those features. Sure, it kind of silly to have my radios display "Welcome Blast" when I turn them on but it makes me giggle each time. Changing the colors of the background and font is much more useful.
-Blast
_________________________
Foraging Texas
Medicine Man Plant Co.
DrMerriwether on YouTube
Radio Call Sign: KI5BOG
*As an Amazon Influencer, I may earn a sales commission on Amazon links in my posts.

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