A quick comparison of the Baofeng UV-5RA and Wouxun KG-UVD1P

About eight months ago, I purchased a Wouxun KG-UVD1P two-band HT. Overall, I’ve been very happy with it. Last week, I purchased a Baofeng UV-5RA. Apparently, Baofeng is coming out with a new model soon, and as a result, are trying to dump these units. I bought mine for $30 from some vendor selling through Amazon, although now it looks like the cheapest price is $33.55.

Wouxun KG-UVD1PBaofeng UV-5RA

It’s been interesting to compare the two units. This is by no means an exhaustive comparison, but just a few things that hit me from playing with the Baofeng for the last couple of days:

  • Programmability. As is commonly noted, the Wouxun is much more easily programmed than the Baofeng. It was relatively easy for me to figure out how to program the memory channels of the Wouxun. So much so that I decided not to purchase the programming cable. I still have not been able to program the memory in the Baofeng. Unlike the Wouxun, you have to separately program the transmit frequency and the receive frequency. I still have not mastered this procedure.
  • User documentation. The user documentation for the Wouxun is much better than the documentation for the Baofeng. The Wouxun comes with both a user manual and a quick reference card. The Baofeng come with a very thin manual that doesn’t seem to include instructions on how to program repeater frequencies into the memory channels.
  • Voice. Both radios can be programmed to announce, in either English or Chinese, things like operating mode and memory channel. The Baofeng voice sounds much more like a computer generated voice. The Wouxun English voice has a notable Chinese accent.
  • Antenna. Since I purchased it, I’ve only been using the  antenna that was supplied with the Wouxun. It seems to perform pretty well. I’m not so impressed with the Baofeng antenna. Not only does it not do a good a job as the Wouxun, it actually gets a little warm when I transmit on high power. I’m going to have to replace it.

All things considered, I’ve decided to do one of two things with the Baofeng. I’m either going to pass it on to one of my Tech class students or hack it like KK6BWA has done. I think that either would be a worthwhile thing.

From my Twitter feed: #hamradio t-shirts, cheap key, Broadband HamNet

I don’t usually include two Tweets from the same guy, but the two below from KE9V are great…Dan

ke9v's avatarJeff Davis @ke9v
Get the #hamradio Beefy-T shirt. ke9v.net/tees

 

ke9v's avatarJeff Davis @ke9v
My straight key it’s nicer but this one is more affordable. #hamradio pic.twitter.com/F563k9QPJI

 

ZionArtis's avatar

Zion Artis KF4NOD @ZionArtis
I find this very interresting. Introduction to HSMM-MESH or Broadband-Hamnet: youtu.be/hUeW2ju-RZk via @YouTube

Lack of standardization holding back amateur digital communications

Via Twitter, I recently found out that Yaesu had introduced a new digital communication system—called System Fusion—at the ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference in Seattle, WA. When I asked KE9V, the guy who posted this announcement to Twitter whether or not Fusion was going to be more than a niche product, he replied, “I think it’s a long-shot at best. ICOM has dumped a lot of cash in D-STAR and now years later it’s just catching on. Tough road.”

Compounding the fact that Yaesu is late to the party is the fact that the radios are probably going to cost an arm and a leg, just like the D-STAR radios. Call me an old fart—and I have been called that and worse—but I just don’t see where the digital features are worth the extra bucks. (I would be happy to be convinced otherwise, though. Please feel free to comment on this below.)

Wouldn’t it have been nice if Yaesu and Icom, and maybe even Kenwood, had gotten together and developed a digital communication standard that both companies could support? Not only would have it made it more palatable to invest in such a radio, I bet those radios and repeaters would cost less than the current D-STAR and Fusion offerings. That’s just what happens when companies adopt standards.

As Bob, K0NR, tweeted, “File this under ‘missed opportunity.’” I agree.

p.s. I wanted to include a picture of the system, but the Yaesu website doesn’t yet have any yet on their website. There is, however, a YouTube video of the DCC meeting at which Yaesu introduced the product.

From my Twitter feed: Ecommin in CO, vintage radio, JT9

RadioGeek's avatarKKØHF@RadioGeek
Ghostbusters-like crew of amateur radio operators help in emergencies denverpost.com/breakingnews/c…

This is one of the better-written newspaper stories that I’ve seen in a while….Dan

 

MrVacuumTube's avatarGregory Charvat @MrVacuumTube
For a good series on how to restore antique radio gear, see youtube channel ‘bandersontv’ and (@YouTube youtu.be/TnRP1BcwRRk?a)

I have some antique radios that need restoration…..Dan

TWIAR's avatartwiar.org @TWIAR
ARRL: Have a Great Time with JT9 dlvr.it/3ybncz #hamr

From the trade magazines: satellite tracking, online circuit design, open-source test board

More cool stuff from the electronics engineering trade magazines….Dan

LEO satellite tracking in your backyard. Learn how one guy built his own satellite tracking system in his backyard.

The rise of the online circuit-design collective. Though still in the infancy stage, design and simulation tools that run entirely in the browser are pushing their way onto the EDA landscape. The ultimate goal is that they become essential players within the realm of professional design.

Test and measurement  turns to open source, Kickstarter. The field of test and measurement is set to benefit from open-source software applications if a Kickstarter fundraising project is successful. The Red Pitaya is a credit card-sized, reconfigurable measurement board with 60MHz of input bandwidth and an onboard Xilinx Zinq FPGA to perform signal processing.

From my Twitter feed: ISS, HackRF, radio merit badge

This is a great story….Dan

hamradiopodcast's avatarHRP @hamradiopodcast
Astronaut talks about his ham radio contacts fb.me/VdbC8Qr8

hlinke's avatarHeiko Linke @hlinke
a revolution in the sdr-world at kickstarter: hackrf, an open source SDR platform: kickstarter.com/projects/mossm…

w0sun's avatarBill WØSUN ?@w0sun
BSA Radio Merit Badge Presentations and Material from K2BSA fb.me/11nJ7RKQM

From my Twitter feed: SDR rx, cool projects, JT-65

sparky73dx's avatar

roteno's avatar
Victor Laynez @roteno

July Call for Projects! Send links/pictures of your cool projects. One of mine: @eevblog uCurrent for my bench pic.twitter.com/ps9giFTB7x

 

w0sun's avatar
Bill WØSUN ? @w0sun

“JT65 – Easy as Pie!” feedly.com/k/1e6pEHI #hamr #Hamradio

Taking some of my own medicine

astron_rs35m

I took a dose of my own medicine and performed a little preventive maintenance on my Astron RS-35M power supply.

Last week, I wrote a blog post on preventive maintenance for one of my writing clients.

Afterwards, I decided to take some of my own medicine and do a little preventive maintenance around the shack. I started with the Astron RS-35M, which provides the DC power that runs HF transceiver and my VHF/UHF transceiver in my shack. I had started noticing a few little things, such as the voltage adjustment being a little fussy, that I wanted to correct before the supply failed on me.

After removing the cover, I vacuumed all the dust out of the supply. The RS-35M wasn’t very dirty, but even so, getting the dirt out of a piece of equipment is probably the first thing you’ll want to do when performing preventive maintenance. Dirt impedes air flow. That can lead to higher operating temperatures, and as the lab manager that I interviewed for my blog post said, “Heat kills.”

Not only should you vacuum any dust out of a cabinet, you should also clean the fan filters, if your gear has them. Dusty filters prevent air from flowing smoothly through equipment, and that means the fans don’t cool as well as they should.

Once that was done, I did a visual inspection. One thing that you want to look for are components that look like they’re getting too hot. Another thing to look for is evidence of arcing. Whatever is causing the overheating or arcing will eventually cause a unit to fail. Fortunately, I found neither.

Next, I checked to see that the components mounted to the enclosure were securely screwed down. In the RS-35M, the transformer, the bridge rectifier, and an electrolytic are mounted to the enclosure. Oddly enough, the bridge rectifier was quite loose, so I tightened it down. Also loose were the output terminals. I tightened these down as well.

Finally, I squirted a little cleaner and lube into the voltage adjustment pot and worked it back and forth. That seemed to do the job. That pot now works smoothly and cleanly.

I put the cover back on, reconnected the power cable, and got back to making QSOs. It should be good for another couple of years.

Amateur radio in the news: SkyWarn, making vacuum tubes again, Friedrichshafen

Chris, KE5ZRT, is president of the Panhandle ARC and a SkyWarn storm spotter

Chris, KE5ZRT, is president of the Panhandle ARC and a SkyWarn storm spotter

Volunteer storm spotters essential to Weather Service. The haunting companions to tornadoes and major thunderstorms make children cry, grown men run into basements and auto dealership owners cringe. But some people embrace the danger and even seek it out for entertainment. Among this group are Skywarn storm spotters, volunteers who work with the National Weather Service to track and report storms from the front lines.

Making tubes again. Western Electric has been resurrected, and its headquarters are in Rossville, GA. A once-vacant bank building was adorned about three weeks ago with distinctive red-lettered “Western Electric” signs on its east and west sides. The Rossville operation will make vacuum tubes mainly for use in high-end audio components. “It’s a lost art,” company president Charles G. Whitener Jr. said.

Ham radio — a pastime not just in the past. With today’s advanced wireless technology, amateur radio might have become obsolete. Yet, it hasn’t. Did you know the first “chat room” was invented by ham radio operators? They communicated across the continents during wartime, and played chess all hours of the day and night. And amateur radio invented social networking. Amateurs are viewed as public servants and a national resource. It doesn’t look like these guys are going away anytime soon.

Ham operators’ paradise at Friedrichshafen’s flea market. Over a week ago I attended the Ham Radio show in Friedrichshafen, Germany. This is the biggest ham radio show in Europe and has the usual big-convention mix of commercial exhibitors, national society exhibits, conference-style forums, and… a flea market.

Please be careful when using generators

From the 7/10/13 issue of NIST Tech Beat….Dan

Despite warnings to the contrary, many people continue to operate portable generators indoors or close to open windows, doors, or vents, resulting in more than 500 deaths since 2005. And each year, more than 20,000 people visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to exposure to toxic levels of carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless gas. Fatality is highest among people 65 and older.

A new computer modeling study* by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers scrutinizes the deadly relationship between CO emissions and occupant exposure. They conducted simulations of 87 types of dwellings representative of the U.S. housing stock with a generator operating within a room in the house, its basement, or attached garage.

The study considered two scenarios of portable-generator operation: continuous operation for 18 hours and operation with some type of control technology that causes the generator to shut off periodically, or so-called “burst” releases.

Regardless of housing type or location, generators that release as little as 27 grams of CO per hour continuously for 18 hours cause 80 percent of the modeled cases to result in an exposure predicted to reach dangerous levels. In comparison, current commercially available generators that were tested by NIST in a previous study emitted CO at a rate of 500 to 4,000 grams per hour.**

For generators characterized by burst releases of CO, the NIST team found that CO emissions of more than 139 grams resulted in dangerous levels of exposure.

The findings, reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, could help in setting limits on CO emissions from portable generators.

*A.K. Persily, Y. Wang, B.J. Polidoro and S J. Emmerich, Residential Carbon Monoxide Exposure due to Indoor Generator Operation: Effects of Source Location and Emission Rate (NIST Technical Note 1782), June 2013. Downloadable from:www.nist.gov/manuscript-publication-search.cfm?pub_id=912394.
**S.J. Emmerich, A.K. Persily and L. Wang, Modeling and Measuring the Effects of Portable Gasoline Powered Generator Exhaust on Indoor Carbon Monoxide Level (NIST Technical Note 1781), Feb 2013.