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10/15/2021 7:52:46 PM
Posted: 2/12/2016 10:27:51 PM EDT
It’s always a good day when you return home from work to find the house hasn’t burned down in your absence, the dog and the XYL are both happy to see you, AND there’s a new radio waiting patiently on the front porch!

A few days ago I read BrickOLore’s post about the new Baofeng Tech UV2501+220 mobile radio. I had been considering the addition of a 220 mHz mobile unit to my home station to supplement the two HTs I have with that band coverage. The Baofeng seemed as if it would fit the bill, and with a price below $150, I couldn’t resist.


This is either the world's largest 1911 pistol, or a really small tri-band FM radio!

Brick’s photo made the radio look pretty small, but that doesn’t begin to describe it! I’ve got shirt pockets which could swallow this thing whole! The small size makes this tiny rig appealing, but of course the control layout is a bit cramped. At first the volume knob seemed difficult to access, as it’s perched tightly above the mic connector, but after a half hour of playing with the rig everything seemed easy to manage.

If the Lilliputian dimensions made the first impression, I was quite surprised at the next quality to jump out at me - and that was, well, “quality.” My only other Baofeng product is a UV-3R. It performs all out of proportion to its $28 purchase price, but frankly, compared to the Yaesu VX-3R it’s obviously meant to compete with, it’s a pretty rough old cob.

In contrast, the Baofeng UV2501+220 seems quite nicely put together. The exterior finish is very good, the rotary encoder works smoothly and crisply (which I can’t say about my UV-3R) and the display is clean and highly legible. Every component in the box was equally satisfactory, all the way down to the mobile mounting bracket and the fasteners included. The packaging boasts that the radio was “designed in U.S.A.” and I do believe BaofengTech has stepped up their game here!


The BTech in it's new native environment along with the UV-3R.

So, what do you do with a new FM radio? You look it over, power it up, glance at the manual (maybe) and then try to program in your local repeaters, right? That’s where my initial glowing impressions turned a bit rancid.

Following the manual, I repeatedly tried in vain to program in a memory channel with the necessary transmit and receive frequencies, offset and PL tones. No luck. None. Zip, zilch, well, you get it. Mind you, I don’t use any programming software. I’m a Mac user, so they usually won’t run for me, and frankly, I don’t think a fella’ should NEED a computer to get his radio to operate.

Prompted by the owner’s manual, I visited the Miklor.com website for help, and while I didn’t find any immediate answers, I did note there was a nearly identical product called the QYT KT8900. A little searching on youtube turned up a video by AF5DN on programming that radio. Using his procedure - which is just a bit different from that described in the manual - I managed to get the first memory channel programmed. Now we were in business!

Programming was straight forward after that, although I’m not going to describe it as “intuitive.” Unlike the UV-3R, the UV2501 will let you name memory channels, which I feel is an absolute necessity. I noticed one little oddity while doing this. If the rotary encoder is operated too quickly, it will “slip” and will not register the desired function. So if I am trying to spool up an “A” and I have roll through 30 some characters to get there, turning the dial too quickly means I might feel 40 or 45 detents of the encoder. Slow down the pace, and it will reliably cycle through one character per “click” of the knob. No big deal, just a little quirk.


Another size illustration.

I’m using the radio with the Nagoya TB320A antenna. For the moment, it’s just perched atop a GI ammo can to supply a poor ground plane. On high power, the BTech is hitting all the 2 meter, 70 centimeter and 1.25 meter repeaters my HTs can hit, but it’s doing so from inside the house, while I need to be outside to ring some of them with the HT.

I eventually need to replace my current Diamond X50 dual-band base antenna with an equivalent tri-band unit, and then I think the UV2501+220 will really shine. I’ve only made a few contacts with the BTech radio so far, but audio reports were good.

So there you have it. It’s a wee tiny radio with a lot of capability. My only serious complaint is with the manual, and perhaps my reading comprehension was at fault. If there’s interest, I’ll be glad to post a concise sequence for programming repeaters.

Cheers...   Jim
Link Posted: 2/12/2016 10:32:58 PM EDT
Very nice write-up!

Thanks
Link Posted: 2/12/2016 11:36:25 PM EDT
I knew it was small, just not that small.
Link Posted: 2/13/2016 12:23:12 AM EDT
Nice write up, thanks for taking the time!

How's the audio quality?
Link Posted: 2/13/2016 6:16:35 PM EDT
Thanks for the review!

A couple of minor points...
Quoted:
the Baofeng UV2501+220
View Quote

The seller/distributor of these radios is "Baofeng Tech" (of "8R" fame), however, they are not affiliated with the Baofeng manufacturer nor is the radio made by Baofeng. They appear to be in the process of rebranding themselves as "BTech" as they don't actually sell any Baofeng-manufactured products.

If I remember right from the "8R" debacle, Baofeng was their original OEM but that didn't work out so they changed to Anytone for the 8R radios.

frankly, I don’t think a fella’ should NEED a computer to get his radio to operate.
View Quote

As I've pointed out many times before, in general all the Chinese produced radios are designed and manufactured for land mobile radio use, mostly in Asia. The firmware is not designed for amateur radio use. Amateur operators are buying a lot of them because they're cheap and available, not necessarily because they are optimum in operating convenience.
Link Posted: 2/13/2016 6:53:49 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:

As I've pointed out many times before, in general all the Chinese produced radios are designed and manufactured for land mobile radio use, mostly in Asia. The firmware is not designed for amateur radio use. Amateur operators are buying a lot of them because they're cheap and available, not necessarily because they are optimum in operating convenience.
View Quote


Preach Preacha! Dead on gospel there!
Link Posted: 2/13/2016 8:44:14 PM EDT
Gamma762-  Thanks for squaring me away on the brand name confusion. Simple ignorance on my part, no offense meant to Baofeng, BaofengTech or anyone else.

MCSquared- Audio quality? No complaints. I had it running in the background this morning and found nothing objectionable. Mind you, my hearing is pretty badly damaged from years on the firing line. I will note that the volume knob is fairly coarse in its adjustment. A slight rotation makes large changes in volume, which is probably good given the fact the knob is tight against the mic connector. I did crank the volume all the way up and it's loud, but I wonder if it would be loud enough for a noisy mobile application like my Jeep.

I lopped off the cigarette lighter adaptor and wired it in proper to the power supply. So far, I'm pleased with it and it's now a permanent part of my little station.

Cheers...   Jim
Link Posted: 2/13/2016 8:49:21 PM EDT
How have the Tx audio reports been?  Does it sound good or sound like a CCR?

I sold my VV-898, with full disclosure, because I was told that I sounded like I had a cold compared to my other big three radios.
Link Posted: 2/14/2016 4:31:02 AM EDT
Have only spoken with a couple random people, and they said it was "fine."  When my brother gets home in a couple weeks, we'll get to try it out more extensively and do a little A/B comparison using several different rigs. Haven't been able to check 220 mHz operation yet (other than ker-chunking a couple local repeaters), and that's where I really want to be sure it's working properly.

Cheers...   Jim
Link Posted: 2/21/2016 11:15:02 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/21/2016 4:21:13 PM EDT
I've been eyeing these to replace the 2 meter radios in our Jeeps. The smaller size would sure be nice but there's a review claiming unacceptable spurious emissions. Any concerns with that?

http://www.amazon.com/review/R29DXXZCGUDRPJ/ref=cm_cr_dp_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B01AX26JA4&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=1077068&store=car#wasThisHelpful
Link Posted: 2/21/2016 4:44:48 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I've been eyeing these to replace the 2 meter radios in our Jeeps. The smaller size would sure be nice but there's a review claiming unacceptable spurious emissions. Any concerns with that?

http://www.amazon.com/review/R29DXXZCGUDRPJ/ref=cm_cr_dp_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B01AX26JA4&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=1077068&store=car#wasThisHelpful
View Quote


The real kick in the pants would be getting a fine from the FCC for causing harmful interference to another service.

This is why type acceptance is so important. The Chinese manufacturers and importers clearly don't give a hoot about this, so for the end user its clearly buyer beware. If something goes wrong then you (the ham user) are on the hook.

I think will stick with type accepted ham gear and avoid any potential hassle.
Link Posted: 2/21/2016 5:00:04 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
... unacceptable spurious emissions. Any concerns with that?
View Quote


If one cannot trust the manufacturer, or has reason to believe the manufacturer may be in violation of FCC regulations, it is up to the end user to ensure compliance.

In short, yes, there are concerns with that. If the $1000+ investment in test equipment to verify such things strikes you as too rich, consider purchasing quality equipment from a trusted manufacturer instead.
Link Posted: 2/21/2016 5:39:00 PM EDT
If I can sell my 7000 I will pick one up and try it on the analyzer at work.
Link Posted: 2/21/2016 8:58:02 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
If I can sell my 7000 I will pick one up and try it on the analyzer at work.
View Quote


Please do. I'd be very interested in screenshots of all three bands, high and low power, please.
Link Posted: 2/22/2016 11:49:29 AM EDT
I saw a post from someone on Facebook that took one and put it on his service monitor. It had bad spurious emissions... YMMV but to me it's not worth the risk plus they don't make a radio that does anything I need a radio to do.

I have a bad fear of these cheap radios causing problems on the bands and the FCC taking some nasty action against hams. Hopefully it does not come to that but if we, who are expected to be technical and to maintain our equipment and not cause problems, start dirtying up the bands the FCC won't hesitate to kick us off of them.
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