I have just become licensed as amateur radio technician, and I also purchased a GMRS license. I bought a Baofeng UV-5R for my first ham radio, and I bought a pair of Baofeng UV-9G radios based on Amazon reviews.
The UV-5R seems to be okay once I replaced the antenna with a ~18" dual-bander from Nagoya. The UV-9Gs, despite seeming to be of very high build quality, can only receive transmissions from each other if they are no more than about 1/10 mile apart, and yes this is in high power mode.
Is this typical for the UV-9G in high power mode? I expected much more like half a mile at least. Am I expecting too much?
Also, in FM mode my UV-5R receives lots of local stations, and when not tuned to a station I hear static. I never hear any FM radio stations on the UV-9Gs (they both do the same thing), and I also never hear static either. Is this typical for the UV-9G?
Sadly, I expect something is wrong with them, but unusual to have two duffers? First rule. People buy from Amazon because they are cheap, so distrust any review, because mostly they’re written by clueless people, and it’s a platform for the wary, not quality conscious.
Your technicians licence surely means you’re able to do basic tests? Power output, sensitivity, selectivity etc etc so just compare them sensibly. Take one and put it next to a different radio and lower the output of another and increase distance, if you don’t have a real attenuator. This will reveal sensitivity. Measure the power output, that will reveal if they are what they should be compared to another radio. A mile could be ‘normal’ for your area, or not - we don’t know, but your ham licence says you should. Comparison is so simple and produces solid proof of what the differences are. For info, none of the add on antennas really do very much. Some are ok, some are rubbish. The often mentioned Nagoya types have a little more performance vertically, but fall over really quickly when tilted away from vertical.
Hi Eagle, Believe it or not you have a situation that will force you to learn more about these radios than the test could ever prepare you for. I’m a new ham and, while paulears gave the best advice he could, there were words in it that I know the meaning of. These situations happen all the time. Questions that I would ask are; Is the 1/10 mile range outdoors, in open space, or are you trying to make contact from inside a building, in an urban area?? What channel are you using? Have you tried others? I’d also try to set them on channel 19 and just listen for a couple of hours. Depending on your location you can see if you pick up transmissions from others in your area. (assuming you don’t live in Death Valley or some place equally isolated.) Like I said, I am complete novice myself, so if my suggestions are wack, I hope someone more knowledgeable will correct them. Hang in there it will all come together in time.
Range always has to be in context. I work a lot with marine radios. Lots of kayakers buy handhelds for safety purposes, but come to me for a more powerful one, because the range is poor. I try to convince the. The radio is not the problem, but their kayak! It’s touches the water and the horizon is around four miles away. So kayak to kayak is never much more than that, but they will get a bit further if something is a bit further away but very tall. Another guy complained that he couldn’t hear anything in his at a seaside town. Trouble is there is no harbour so very rarely anybody talking, just the coastguard with a two minute broadcast every three hours. He dare not call the coastguard and ask for a signal report because as an emergency only radio, he hasn’t applied for a licence, or taken the test! That is not the radio’s fault! Sometimes things can be genuinely faulty and other times it’s just circumstance. Here, we need at least one extra radio to determine if there is a real fault.
Thanks Paul - I do have 5 GMRS radios currently (3 Midland HTs and 2 Baofeng UV-9Gs), and definitely have more testing to do here.
I know that CHIRP is causing some of my problems – it isn’t working with my radios: it does not set repeater offset when I specify a tone on the repeater. I’m sure there’s a way to manually modify it directly in the radio, but I haven’t yet sorted out the 57-keypress incantation to get that to work.
I have tested inside to outside as well as outside to outside, but none of it was scientific. We live about half a mile away from the neighborhood pool, so my plan is to send someone with 2 radios (a Baofeng and a Midland) to the pool, talking the whole way, and I will stand on the same trail (it’s almost perfectly flat and level, and it’s wooded, but it’s a direct shot) to see how far apart we can get. We can test Midland to Midland, Midland to Baofeng, and Baofeng to Baofeng, to see if we can discern a better radio.
And, I’m a brand new reentrant into the ham radio hobby, so literally the only equipment I have is my Baofeng UV-5R and Nagoya antenna. I’m hoping to buy a 2m/440 mobile soon, and I know I’ll end up with test equipment as well. But surely there are other hams in the area who can help me test SWR on my UV-5R, and other things.