I assume you’re in the US? Forgive a Brit advising on US systems, but as I understand it, your administration has tightened ups oil these things recently so your radio is essential an amateur band radio, and can’t be used on any other bands. So you need to find the local ham radio club, have a chat and then take one of the courses then take a test. You can talk then to other hams either direct or through their repeater system.
Trouble is - if you know little, you have some serious studying to do, and then follow the rules. It won’t be quick. Here in the UK, if the time of year you start is right - it could be done in six weeks, but other times of the year it could be quite a few months end to end. Check in with a local club and they’ll explain.
The radio is pretty typical of the type - it can operate outside the ham bands, but illegally, of course. I believe in the US you can listen to these things legally, but you can’t (or shouldn’t) join in.
Ah - illegally, no problem. Lots of people do this. It should not have any issues in this area, and be able to communicate fine with a similar performance to the Baofengs. Can you describe the problem? Are we talking about performance that dies off very quickly BOTH directions? So can you always hear the others, but they can’t hear you, or can you hear them but they can’t hear you?
Lots of users put their radios on the PMR446 licence free channels, which because of the higher powers and detachable antennas is actually not allowed, but our Government are not interested in policing this - so misuse is common.
If you can explain the circumstances I can suggest a few things?
So, i’m maxing out on range at maybe 400m TOPS. Yeah it was in woodland, light woodland with no other interference. The Baofeng UV5R users on the same channel, were fine!
I was under the impression my radio should be better. I haven’t done much to it since i got it, other than ‘unlock’ it because it wouldn’t let me jump in certain frequencies. I’ve got to find:
A better headset+mouthpiece
Clarity! - for some reason, some people were loud, sone quiet, some clear some unclear and it seemed to have no correlation with range, and nearly everyone had the boafeng
So you could hear everyone, but they couldn’t hear you more than 400m away? Sure it’s on high power? The changes of course could be down to frequencies. Don;t forget that if you are using the PMR446 frequencies they are offset from the norm, so is it possible you might be a few KHz off, frequency wise? Did you enter the frequencies by hand, or find them on the channel selector and then store them? You could be slightly off and this impacts on range and volume, and usually generates some distortion too. Mics are pretty trial and error until you find one that does what you want.
I couldn’t hear anyone at that range so i dont know if they could hear me.
All the channels were put in by one person at the start.
Apparently my… Step? Had to be lower than everyone else otherwise i couldn’t reach them
Sadly, yes. You also will find that the filtering on your radio, on TX and RX might be a bit, er, loose? If you are off the channel you want to be on, you’ll also be on the one next door, interfering with them. Some of my radios will let me enter a very small channel slot increment, tune accurately to a frequency, then change the step size so the channels work properly. 12.5KHz spacing is quite normal, but they are spaced this far apart, but starting on a 6.25KHz starting position. You’ll have to experiment with your radio - it may well be possible to select the small step first, then your channels will line up.
Lower? The frequency that you use must be exactly the same as them - you may or may not be able to go to the smallest step and then make them match - I don’t know your radio, but if you cannot programme in the same absolute frequencies performance will be rubbish!