Tuesday, 24 May 2011

First the bad news.................

Switching on my 2 metre rig today I noticed a complete absence of signals. Ok I know 2 metres is quiet around here, but I had just come into the shack minutes after pulling up on the driveway where I had been listening to a QSO on the mobile 2 metre rig. Trying to transmit revealed the problem- an infinity SWR. The antenna was fine yesterday- I had a number of local QSOs with it last night. Its still on the mast, no visual  signs of anything wrong but it looks like its a victim of the fairly high winds we have had over the last few days. Maybe the cable feeding the antenna has broken loose, maybe the Watson X300 which I have been using (and which always looked a bit fragile to me) has given up. Its been up there for 3 years without giving any trouble so I guess I can't complain too much! Anyway I had intended to replace the pole which the antenna sits on with a thicker/stronger one so now I will have to get on with it. I will be ordering the new aluminium poles in a week or so. Then I will have to wait until ta clear calm day, hopefully when the next door neighbour is not in his garden(!) and do some antenna maintenance. Until then I have a small dual band vertical in the loft which will be fine for local QSOs but I know that it won't work for at least one of my regular VHF contacts where the path between us is not too good.

The better news is a new toy has arrived for me. I have been reading quite a bit lately about a new dual band minature handset from the Chinese manufacturer Baofeng. At £37 from Hong Kong including postage and a dual band antenna I couldn't resist. Mine arrived 10 days after placing the order.

Unpacking the radio and fitting the battery was a surprisingly tricky process. Although I have read a couple of reviews I hadn't expected it to be quite so fiddly. Eventually I managed to get the battery fitted and the back cover of the rig correctly locked back in place. As I said I haven't read of anyone else having problems with this so maybe its just me!

The rig is very compact, you can see it here next to my other Chinese dualbander.

Its also very slim

First impressions are that it seems to be a lot easier to program than my other handie, the manual as usual is of limited use but luckily a few minutes with the rig and the menu system starts to make sense.
The supplied earpiece/mic that came with my rig is of no use- as soon as you try to transmit with it the rig locks in transmit mode- I think other users have also had this problem.

All in all though this seems a nice little rig. I haven't used mine in anger yet (its still charging up) but will post more finding soon.


  1. They must be shifting a lot of those UV-3Rs! It looks as if yours came with a dual band antenna instead of a pair of single banders. I solved the problem of locking in TX with the supplied earpiece/mic by winding a couple of turns of the cable close to the plug round a small Hitachi split ferrite RFI suppressor.

  2. Hi Julian

    My Baofeng actually came with the two single band antennas. The dual bander was an extra but it was all within the £37 cost. Not bad at all and I am quite impressed with the little rig.

    73 Kevin

  3. Hi Kevin, Have you got a link for that handie, and do you program it with a serial cable via a PC ?

    73 Paul.

  4. Hi Paul,

    Just search for "Baofeng" on Ebay you will find plenty of them!

    The handie is easy to program, you don't really need a PC cable although I think they are available.
    73 Kevin