Ok I know absolutely nothing about radios and frequencies so bare with me. The company I work for uses baofeng 888s business radios but they are cheap and not waterproof and I’m a roughneck in the oilfield so I’m trying to find out if there is a durable good quality radio that I can buy that is compatible with them. I’ll even pay someone to program it I just need pointed in the right direction please
Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered without knowing what frequencies your company is licenced to use, or if they are using public FRS channels and what country you are located in. The frequencies and the privacy codes, if any, are critical for programming and without knowing those, it is like asking how long a piece of rope is.
You can learn how to program them yourself; you don’t need to pay anyone.
The first step is to find the frequencies your company is licenced to use. That information should be provided by the company, plus if you have a computer, you can read them yourself. You will need one of the radios, a good programming cable and software called Chirp.
The first thing you are going to find out is that you get what you pay for. Those radios cost $15 a piece. They are disposable radios, and if you want durability, reliability and weather resistance in a commercial-quality radio, you will need to pay almost 10 to 20 times that price.
Double that price if you need intrinsically safe radios. (If they are used on or near oil rigs, this is very likely a regulatory requirement, and those cheap toy radios are most assuredly not intrinsically safe!)
I would hope those radios are not used for critical, safety or life-saving communications. If they are, or if they are trying to use publicly-shared FRS channels for critical communication, it exposes the company to a huge liability issue. If they fail at a critical time, the use of what are essentially disposable toy radios for commercial applications it is going to look very negligent when written up in an accident report.
There are some really good and durable radios on the market made to last years, not thrown away every time it rains or they get dropped. They run upwards of $150 to $250 each.
Also, don’t get the cheapest programming cable you can find. You can spend $10 on a cheap cable with the counterfeit prolific chip in it, and you will be one of the thousands on internet forums asking why your computer cannot recognize your radio, or you can just buy the good $20 cable with the FTDI chip and get the job done.
Hope this helps. There is not much more we can advise without knowing the frequencies and the country you are in. Good luck and let us know if you have further questions.
The good news is that the vast majority of current programming cables are using the new chips and the old prolific chipset that caused issues is now quite rare, thank goodness.The 888 is a very strange radio for a firm dealing with oilfields where as Chickenhawk says, intrinsically safe radios are pretty much commonplace for obvious reasons.
Even worse is that if they are cheapskates and bought the cheapest radios on the market, they probably didn’t even bother to have them programmed and are still on the factory defaults - which are illegal in virtually every country. The simplest thing to do is order from the Internet the programming cable for the 888s - then download chirp - it is free. It will let you ‘borrow’ one of the radios and read the contents. You can then very easily buy a better quality radio - and put in their channels, legal or illegal - that’s an ethical/moral decision for you to make, not us. If you want premium build quality and reliability and maybe the safe version, then it’s a lot of money. Or you buy a medium priced radio and still get good value. I’d suggest NOT buying another cheap one. If you can find the frequencies, then this forum owners will happily supply you something decent - but they might not be keen to program dodgy frequencies. I turned down this kind of request today here in the UK - a customer wanted something I wasn’t comfy with, so I declined. It will depend on the frequencies in the work radios.