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Posted: 5/26/2013 9:51:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/28/2015 2:55:26 PM EDT by Skibane]
Ham talkies have gotten dirt-cheap in recent years, thanks mostly to the entry of several Chinese manufacturers.

The Baofeng UV-B5 is the latest example: It delivers very respectable performance on two of the most popular VHF/UHF ham bands (plus coverage of a lot of other services) for less than 45 bucks* - and that price includes a 2000 mAH Li-Ion battery, drop-in battery charger, flexible antenna, and shipping charges.



*EDIT: Since this thread was started, prices have dropped drastically. Check the most recent posts for current prices.

Skib's Advice: If you've ever had even the slightest interest in ham radio (either for SHTF communications or casual use), GET ONE. You won't regret it.

User reviews HERE.
Miklor's UV-B5 info, programming tips, etc. HERE.

UPDATE: Some of the programming cables available for this radio can be "problematic" - If you haven't ordered a programming cable yet (or are having problems with the one you already have), be sure to read the comments by AJ_Dual and blwngazkit, starting on page 23.

Good-Quality, Hassle-Free Programming Cables:
Serial Programming Cable from Kawamall (with DB-9 computer connector) HERE
USB Programming Cable from Kawamall (with USB computer connector) HERE
Serial and USB Programming Cables from Import Communications HERE

Free Programming Software:
CHIRP Programming Software (NOTE: The Daily Build version is strongly recommended for this radio - Get it HERE)
Baofeng's own programming software for the UV-B5 and -B6 HERE*
(7-Zip unachiving program for opening .rar file HERE)

*NOTE: The Baofeng software installs with Chinese as the default language. To change it to English, press ALT S to get to the Settings Menu, then L, select English with your mouse and hit Enter.

ARFCOM thread about programming the Baofeng UV-5R radio (which is similar to this UV-B5) HERE

Find the ham repeaters in your area HERE or HERE

Get Yer Ham License:
ar-jedi's CAN'T FAIL Ham Radio License Thread: HERE
Find a ham radio license exam in your area HERE
A couple of Tech license online study guides HERE and HERE
Ham license test questions pool here

SCWolverine's Fo Time! ham radio podcast HERE

Already Got 'Er List:
Over the course of this thread, these folks have announced that they got or upgraded their ham license:

1387Delta
30Caliber
77biker34
Aggie94
AJ_Dual
Aloxite
bc5000
Bizill
Blue_Monkey
bluefalcon
blwngazkit
Brundoggie
BUGMERC
CaptainSkullet
dcrocky81
DeadHorse
Dragracer_Art
Eight
Forest
Gixxersixxer
Gus1974
JaxRolo
jbirdious
jeffmx5
JoeRedman
jjwheeler2
klinc
KlingtonHtr
LeadRain
Lincoln6
LonghunterCO
mackelroy
maggiethecat
MattNificent
Mazeman
MCSquared
MekEnginery
medic_man
MoparMike
Mugzilla
ncjeeper76
otar
ourichie
Pacs
Pauperis
Pevrs114
Pogo55
Popov
PrivateFuzzy
qqqq33
RamblinWreck
RangerVA
regalrocket
rod727
rsqhobbs
seca40
SirSqueeboo
Skillshot
SpaceBalls
stimpsonjcat
tc2k11
telecomkos
TNC
wastegate
wwace
yankee56


That's 66..

ETA: Added jbirdious, Aloxite, yankee56, Bizill, regalrocket, telecomkos, ncjeeper76, jeffmx5, TNC, Eight, AJ_Dual, otar, SirSqueeboo, Aggie94, PrivateFuzzy, RangerVA, medic_man. dcrocky81, seca40, Pevrs114, LonghunterCO, rsqhobbs, CaptainSkullet, JoeRedman, MCSquared, Lincoln6, jjwheeler2, JaxRolo, Skillshot, 30Caliber, qqqq33, Mugzilla, Blue_Monkey, Pauperis, Forest, ourichie, wwace and MekEnginery to the list.

If I overlooked anyone, please PM me!
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 9:53:12 PM EDT
What's the point of hamming?
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 9:53:30 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 9:56:02 PM EDT
How are these different from the UV-5Rs?
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 9:58:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/26/2013 9:59:29 PM EDT by Skibane]
Originally Posted By retgarr:
What's the point of hamming?


It's bulletproof communication, come hell or high water.

Since it doesn't rely on infrastructure or the whims of governments, it remains usable when most other methods of communication fail.

Originally Posted By Paulie771:
How are these different from the UV-5Rs?


MUCH better performance. The B5 version is newer, and corrects most of the flaws in the 5R version.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 9:59:37 PM EDT
I might recommend that if it wasn't a Chinese product. I absolutely don't buy Chinese crap if I can possibly avoid it.


It is a neat radio but the political aspect of buying a Chinese product means I won't be buying one.


The last new radio I purchased:

Motorola APX 6000. Cost: 2573 dollars. I made a 500 dollar profit off it in less than 24 hours.

If I could afford to spend that much money for a radio toy, I'd buy another one. It was seriously impressive.


Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:03:44 PM EDT
Do you need a license to use it?
What can you listen to on it?
It's obvious that I know nothing about ham radios.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:04:59 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FlashHole:
Do you need a license to use it?
What can you listen to on it?
It's obvious that I know nothing about ham radios.

Yes
Talk to other people

As stated, viable communication if/when shit happens
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:06:22 PM EDT
Yes, you need a license to operate any amateur (ham) radio.

The license requires proof of knowledge of the rules and regulations pertaining to amateur radio.

It'a hobby to get into, not a thing in a box you buy off the shelf.


I do not recommend you get into ham radio unless you WANT to talk to other hams at various locations, locally, nationwide,
and globally, depending on what radio bands you operate on.


Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:08:03 PM EDT
If the SHTF you will be able to communicate with one of the big boys via 2M within your radius who is in contact with the rest of the world via HF. That is my theory on at least getting your basic ticket.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:11:13 PM EDT
Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
Yes, you need a license to operate any amateur (ham) radio.

The license requires proof of knowledge of the rules and regulations pertaining to amateur radio.

It'a hobby to get into, not a thing in a box you buy off the shelf.


I do not recommend you get into ham radio unless you WANT to talk to other hams at various locations, locally, nationwide,
and globally, depending on what radio bands you operate on.




Thanks, for SHTF I can see how one would be very handy. For now though, I think a good police scanner would be more handy. Would it double as a police scanner by chance, or is that something completely different?

Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:15:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/26/2013 10:20:35 PM EDT by Skibane]
Originally Posted By VRMN8R:

Originally Posted By FlashHole:
Do you need a license to use it?
What can you listen to on it?
It's obvious that I know nothing about ham radios.

Yes
Talk to other people

As stated, viable communication if/when shit happens


Technically, you need a license to transmit with it. You don't need any license to listen with it - and this radio covers a lot of non-ham frequencies, which makes for some interesting listening. Eventually, you'll probably want a ham license, to get your feet wet with using the radio to talk to other folks. Getting the license is easy and cheap - Typically, around 15 bucks.

Would it double as a police scanner by chance, or is that something completely different?


It has the ability to receive and scan many of the same frequencies used by some police departments. However, it doesn't handle "trunking" or encrypted signals.

As a scanner, it's barely adequate. However, unlike any scanner, this radio also gives you the ability to transmit.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:17:31 PM EDT
can you use it to call someone's phone?
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:19:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BatcaveSouth:
can you use it to call someone's phone?
If there is a phone patch in the area, yes.

Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:21:06 PM EDT
Originally Posted By VRMN8R:

Originally Posted By BatcaveSouth:
can you use it to call someone's phone?
If there is a phone patch in the area, yes.



But everyone will be able to hear the call.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:21:43 PM EDT
Originally Posted By VRMN8R:

Originally Posted By BatcaveSouth:
can you use it to call someone's phone?
If there is a phone patch in the area, yes.


thanks. . what are the chances of that in an urban area?
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:23:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By c0t0d0s0:
Originally Posted By VRMN8R:

Originally Posted By BatcaveSouth:
can you use it to call someone's phone?
If there is a phone patch in the area, yes.



But everyone will be able to hear the call.
Yup


Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:24:24 PM EDT
It could have come in handy a few years ago here in s.w. tn. An ice storm knocked out the phones and damn near everything else.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:25:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
I might recommend that if it wasn't a Chinese product. I absolutely don't buy Chinese crap if I can possibly avoid it.


It is a neat radio but the political aspect of buying a Chinese product means I won't be buying one.


The last new radio I purchased:

Motorola APX 6000. Cost: 2573 dollars. I made a 500 dollar profit off it in less than 24 hours.

If I could afford to spend that much money for a radio toy, I'd buy another one. It was seriously impressive.


http://i950.photobucket.com/albums/ad345/VolEms/apx2.jpg


My organization has motorola HTs on five licensed channels. They're getting old and funky. I can get probably four Baofeng replacements for what a battery would cost on the Motorola. I've got a tester on it's way now. $21 through Amazon.

I understand the reservations, and I share the emotional reaction, but I can't ignore the economics.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:26:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BatcaveSouth:
Originally Posted By VRMN8R:

Originally Posted By BatcaveSouth:
can you use it to call someone's phone?
If there is a phone patch in the area, yes.


thanks. . what are the chances of that in an urban area?
Hard to say
Its up to the person/club that owns the repeater.
We had one in the last city I lived in. I used it once
Kind of cool.

Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:26:22 PM EDT
Interesting.

What if I'm willing to spend a bit more for better quality/features?

Say, around $150.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:27:44 PM EDT
How hard is the test and what is involved in taking it? Is it online?

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:29:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By nat103:
How hard is the test and what is involved in taking it? Is it online?

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
It isnt hard..................I passed it.
Have to take it in person
You can do practice tests online though. Very helpful

Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:33:35 PM EDT
The battery thing kinda concerns me. Are there nice radios that will use COTS batteries (say CR123's or TR18650's) or are you locked in to proprietary power packs?

Thanks for the reminder too. This is one of those will-get-to-it things that keeps getting pushed back.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:34:55 PM EDT
We have tornados her in MS. I have been around a few where Cell towers were down and Ham radio was the only way to communicate. I also use them for scanning weather and local Sheriffs Dept. I take a HT when I travel and can usually find something good to listen to. Plus mine all do FM and AM radio stations.As much as I prefer HF, I just put a new VHF/UHF in the car this weekend.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:36:16 PM EDT
Virtually EVERY two way radio on the market has a battery pack type which is unique to that radio or to a small number of related radio models.

This is standard. It's how the industry works.

I can probably identify at least a hundred radio types by looking at their unique battery types alone.


Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:39:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/26/2013 10:46:38 PM EDT by Skibane]
Originally Posted By TXJoe:
If the SHTF you will be able to communicate with one of the big boys via 2M within your radius who is in contact with the rest of the world via HF.


That's a good way of looking at it.

The 2 meter and 70 cm ham bands have enough range to handle local and regional communication (i.e., up to several hundred miles) - which is well within the scope of most emergencies and disasters.

Furthermore, many of the hams you would be talking to within that region also have HF rigs - which have world-wide reach.

So, basically, a 45 dollar talkie gives you the ability to send or receive information to/from anywhere on the planet - without any reliance on the internet, the power grid, or governmental permission.

Originally Posted By LowBeta:
The battery thing kinda concerns me. Are there nice radios that will use COTS batteries (say CR123's or TR18650's) or are you locked in to proprietary power packs?


For many ham talkies, you can buy battery cases that will accept AA cells. This allows you to use common Alkaline, 1.5 volt lithium or NiMH batteries.

AFAIK, there aren't any battery cases available for this particular Baofeng model yet (due mostly to the fact that it's a brand-new model).
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:41:00 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/26/2013 10:45:58 PM EDT by Aloxite]

Originally Posted By LowBeta:
The battery thing kinda concerns me. Are there nice radios that will use COTS batteries (say CR123's or TR18650's) or are you locked in to proprietary power packs?

Thanks for the reminder too. This is one of those will-get-to-it things that keeps getting pushed back.

For my ht I have a 5000 mAh Li-po battery pack as a back up power source. Two 18650s would also work great. Or any size of a 12v battery. I also have the two AA internal pack. With 14500s installed it can operate on all but the highest transmission power.


Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:42:26 PM EDT
A few years back we had a tornado come through here.
Some of the members of the radio club in Lincoln that I was a part of came to town and
set up the communications for the clean up efforts.

Ham operators are also storm spotters and use their radios for emergency weather
reports. If youre into that kind of thing.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:45:12 PM EDT


Might have to get the Technician's now just for giggles.

Tagging.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:45:23 PM EDT
Originally Posted By LCDR_Data:
Interesting.

What if I'm willing to spend a bit more for better quality/features?

Say, around $150.


This.

Another HAM thread to tease me... Like a fish to something shiny, I may bite the ham if it looks yummy.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:47:05 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/26/2013 10:47:26 PM EDT by broken_reticle]
You less than $100 you could have a way to communicate around the world. Pretty hard to beat that. $15 to take the tech exam.

I used this book to get my license, now my wife is using it for hers. Pretty idiot proof.

http://www.amazon.com/Whisperers-Technician-Class-License-Course/dp/1456484818/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369622697&sr=8-1&keywords=ham+whisperer

Same dude did some youtube videos too.

http://www.hamwhisperer.com/
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:47:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/26/2013 10:49:56 PM EDT by justsayin]
Originally Posted By FlashHole:
Do you need a license to use it?
What can you listen to on it?
It's obvious that I know nothing about ham radios.


Everything you could possibly need HERE..

Unhotlinked url: http://www.eham.net/

Free practice tests to your heart's content.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:48:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By CLICKBANGBANG:
Originally Posted By LCDR_Data:
Interesting.

What if I'm willing to spend a bit more for better quality/features?

Say, around $150.


This.

Another HAM thread to tease me... Like a fish to something shiny, I may bite the ham if it looks yummy.
Getting into the HF side, you can do digital modes.
Making the antennas is pretty fun. A simple wire can be made into an antenna.
Im running a TNC and operating Packet right now as I type.

There are many facets in ham radio to explore.
You can even "talk through" satellites to other hams
in other parts of the country.

Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:48:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
Virtually EVERY two way radio on the market has a battery pack type which is unique to that radio or to a small number of related radio models.

This is standard. It's how the industry works.

I can probably identify at least a hundred radio types by looking at their unique battery types alone.



While this is true to an extent, most handhelds geared towards the Amateur market have AA battery cases as an accessory.

To any perspective hams, just remember, BRD also stands for Black Radio Disease.

Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:48:51 PM EDT
Many smart people on our own forum

http://www.ar15.com/forums/f_10/22_.html
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:49:09 PM EDT
KB, you on the air?
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:50:20 PM EDT

Originally Posted By LCDR_Data:
Interesting.

What if I'm willing to spend a bit more for better quality/features?

Say, around $150.

I just bought one of these, a mobile unit, much more power but requires a 12V source and antenna.

http://www.mtcradio.com/kenwood-tm-281a-144-mhz-mobile-with-free-shipping/
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:50:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/26/2013 10:52:22 PM EDT by WinstonSmith]
Originally Posted By CLICKBANGBANG:
Originally Posted By LCDR_Data:
Interesting.

What if I'm willing to spend a bit more for better quality/features?

Say, around $150.


This.

Another HAM thread to tease me... Like a fish to something shiny, I may bite the ham if it looks yummy.


I'm still very new to this all, but I'm trying to do it as cheaply as possible. When you look at a $45 radio, do keep in mind the upgraded antenna, extra batteries, power adapters, maybe a mag mount antenna for the car... It'll add up.

From what I've seen, $150 is still "shady chinese radio" or used gear prices. Good radios are friggin expensive.

ETA- whoa at that Kenwood above!
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:51:24 PM EDT
Originally Posted By LCDR_Data:
What if I'm willing to spend a bit more for better quality/features?

Say, around $150.


The Yaesu FT-60R is a rugged, well-proven dual-band talkie.

Several hundred user reviews here.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:57:56 PM EDT
Took it up as a new hobby after cell service was knocked out for a week. Repeaters around here are very disappointing. Its all full of 65+ y/os who go apeshit if you dont follow their protocols to a T and will ONLY talk about their radio gear. Oh well atleast I have powerful walkie talkies for camping
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:59:05 PM EDT
Tag for interest.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 10:59:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/26/2013 11:01:38 PM EDT by Mauser1]
Old tech long forgotten not needing any outside support.
If your cell chokes and internet is down. Really what is going to let you know what the rest of the world is doing?

It's not like it costs a lot of money.
I think I could find a spot for this.



Link Posted: 5/26/2013 11:01:44 PM EDT
Breaker breaker you got your ears on Bandit?
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 11:02:30 PM EDT

Two weeks ago I was talking to a guy in China on my little hand held radio. That was sorta cool.

Another thing to consider, when there is an emergency, cell towers can get over loaded with calls. This could make your cell phone into a paper weight.

Just something to know, if you don't have your Call Sign, most people with not talk to you. Take the 32 question test and get your license if your going to play with ham radio... There is 5 year olds that passed it, its not hard.

Link Posted: 5/26/2013 11:03:10 PM EDT
SHTF? If you want to use your radio in a SHTF or WROL situation, what is the FCC going to say about that? You want to stay legal, or are you OK with guerrilla operations?

It's happened.

Amateur Radio in WWII

Link Posted: 5/26/2013 11:03:17 PM EDT

This thread should be moved to the "Ham Radio" section.


Link Posted: 5/26/2013 11:03:17 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Colonel_Angus:
Breaker breaker you got your ears on Bandit?


Link Posted: 5/26/2013 11:03:52 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ScooterInVegas:

This thread should be moved to the "Ham Radio" section.




Link Posted: 5/26/2013 11:09:04 PM EDT
That little radio is enough to talk to the International Space Station.

The only limiting factor really is the antenna.
Link Posted: 5/26/2013 11:11:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Aeschylus:
Took it up as a new hobby after cell service was knocked out for a week. Repeaters around here are very disappointing. Its all full of 65+ y/os who go apeshit if you dont follow their protocols to a T and will ONLY talk about their radio gear. Oh well atleast I have powerful walkie talkies for camping

Have you looked into IRLP or Echolink? You can download Echolink onto your phone and "dial up" nodes and repeaters all over the world. You can also check for a IRLP node. This will let you connect to any other node in the world. Just dial up the node number on your key pad and your there. Im on the Western Reflector or WinSystem a lot of the time.

Plus, if you need, you can use Ham to get a hold of a Ham outside of your affected area to make a call to friends/loved ones for you. 95% would do that in a heart beat. Just some things to think about...


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