Baofeng Hand held Radios | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Baofeng Hand held Radios

  • Hi Guest, you may choose a LIGHT or DARK theme that works best for you with the "Style Chooser" button at the bottom left on this page!
  • HTML tutorial

Flipper

Rank V
Member

Member III

2,865
Florida
First Name
John
Last Name
F
Member #

5021

First let me say I realize these little radios are not Icom, Kenwood or Yaesu quality. But for Overlanders on a budget that cant afford investing $200+ for a rig /antenna. The one thing that I found that there are no locks when loading frequencies in the radio. That means that I can load Ham, Marine and gmrs frequencies which you cannot do with the USA designed radios with FCC restrictions programmed in. You can even load Police, Fire RX and TX which are illegal to transmit on which I do not recommend to do. They are not exactly user friendly when loading channels in and I recommend YouTube videos to do this because the manuals miss a few but important steps. There is also a program you can pull off the net called Chirp that makes it much easier but you will need to buy a programming cable. Some of the models are 8W compaired to a CB of 4W. My main base radios are Kenwood 2M and an Icom Marine VHF. We have the Baofengs in our daypacks simplifying communication between the base camp, hiking, boat and kayaks, not having to carry multiple radios. The way I look at it a $50 Baofeng is better than nothing in case of a emegency on the trail hiking. When we leave a note of our hiking plans I always include the frequency if we go MIA.
 

Prerunner1982

US Southwest Region Member Rep
Member

Member III

3,372
Navina, Oklahoma
First Name
Jon
Last Name
B
Member #

16274

www.miklor.com is a good Baofeng resource.

I started out with a Baofeng HT as well, and at least one still rolls around in the floorboard of my Jeep. 5 years later it still works fine. I don't use them much as I operate 99.9% mobile but they are there in case I do.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Flipper

Kent R

Executive Director
Staff member
Expedition
Moderator
Member
Supporter

Pioneer I

5,063
El Dorado, Ca
First Name
Kent
Last Name
Reynolds
Member #

1632

Ham Callsign
K6KNT
Service Branch
Retired Firefighter
Im not a fan of the Baofeng or other cheep radios at all. I do have one in my emergency backpack but only use it in emergencies.
I do have a Yaesu FT60 that was only $160 and it is bullet proof.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Flipper

Graeman

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,876
Catalina Avenue, Tucson, AZ, USA
First Name
Todd
Last Name
Hoffmaster
Member #

4284

Ham Callsign
KJ7CRJ
Great little radios for the price. We used them 6 of us, on our trip to Colorado and they performed great. No issues except when I used the factory supplied hand held external mic/speaker, stick with the earpiece mic/speaker or the actual unit itself. You can purchase a Kenwood external mic/speaker that will work on the Baofeng just fine.
Btw, it worked better than my Uniden on SSB channels.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Flipper

Flipper

Rank V
Member

Member III

2,865
Florida
First Name
John
Last Name
F
Member #

5021

Be aware that even though these and other radios can transmit outside of the amateur bands, it is illegal too do so. Even on GMRS and FRS.

Sent from my SM-G920V using OB Talk mobile app
If I have a ham and GMRS license why is is this illegal? Excluding the police and fire. Baofeng even advertises some of their models as GMRS radios. If it is Ill take my chances, with my experiences with the FCC I seriously doubt if they are roaming the back country with RDFs hunting down 4x4s. One thing that has really turned me off towards Ham is the elitist attitudes and bashing the baofeng because it isnt an Icom or other high end radio, not all , but some with their supposed superior electronic aptitude. Calling GMRS idiot proof? How about very easy to use even for a beginner. Or the facebook type post from Jeep 670 above dissing the baofeng. How about Great to hear you got a radio, baofengs are a little confusing to load, if you need any help let me know.
To some people a $300 fixed or a $200 handheld isnt an option when a $35 Baofeng will suit their needs.
One more issue is telling people how easy the ham exam is, this is NOT an easy test for a person with little or no electronic background. Just memorize the answers if you dont understand? Seriously? When their pulling the questions randomly from over 200 possible questions. I understand having a large electronic background for HF. But for 2m the technical side of the exam is way over the top and should focus more on the rules of operation than electronic theory. How many overlanders know or care about ohms law? Reading a schematic, troubleshooting to component level?
What happened to the core values of Overland Bound where it states the purpose is getting out no matter what you drive and help each other and share ideas?This is no different than my truck is better than your truck.
Ham radio is not my hobby,Overlanding is, and is on only while we are overlanding. It is only a tool to keep us safe just like a first aid kit.
Maybe GMRS is the best option for the majority of the overlanding community and leave Ham to you“Experts” How about a little helpful advise instead of being so critical of one abilities.
As I stated before this is NOT directed to all the Hams, just like anything else a few can ruin it for everyone else.
 

Team Fragglerock

Rank I
Member

Contributor I

Flipper I see it the same way, the baofeng units are good enough to keep in the rig and use when needed. I didn’t even bother with the HAM licence. I bought a PBR license for my business and when in bigger groups, we use that to communicate.



Sent from my iPhone using OB Talk
 
  • Like
Reactions: Flipper

Steve

lost again...
Founder 500
Member

Traveler III

4,312
Lorain County, OH, USA
First Name
Steve
Last Name
.
Member #

202

If I have a ham and GMRS license why is is this illegal?
Because it is not FCC Part 95 certified, and can output more than the legal Wattage for various parts of the GMRS band.

As noted elsewhere on the forum, Overland Bound does not approve of nor condone such use.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RyanC

Graeman

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,876
Catalina Avenue, Tucson, AZ, USA
First Name
Todd
Last Name
Hoffmaster
Member #

4284

Ham Callsign
KJ7CRJ
If I have a ham and GMRS license why is is this illegal? Excluding the police and fire. Baofeng even advertises some of their models as GMRS radios. If it is Ill take my chances, with my experiences with the FCC I seriously doubt if they are roaming the back country with RDFs hunting down 4x4s. One thing that has really turned me off towards Ham is the elitist attitudes and bashing the baofeng because it isnt an Icom or other high end radio, not all , but some with their supposed superior electronic aptitude. Calling GMRS idiot proof? How about very easy to use even for a beginner. Or the facebook type post from Jeep 670 above dissing the baofeng. How about Great to hear you got a radio, baofengs are a little confusing to load, if you need any help let me know.
To some people a $300 fixed or a $200 handheld isnt an option when a $35 Baofeng will suit their needs.
One more issue is telling people how easy the ham exam is, this is NOT an easy test for a person with little or no electronic background. Just memorize the answers if you dont understand? Seriously? When their pulling the questions randomly from over 200 possible questions. I understand having a large electronic background for HF. But for 2m the technical side of the exam is way over the top and should focus more on the rules of operation than electronic theory. How many overlanders know or care about ohms law? Reading a schematic, troubleshooting to component level?
What happened to the core values of Overland Bound where it states the purpose is getting out no matter what you drive and help each other and share ideas?This is no different than my truck is better than your truck.
Ham radio is not my hobby,Overlanding is, and is on only while we are overlanding. It is only a tool to keep us safe just like a first aid kit.
Maybe GMRS is the best option for the majority of the overlanding community and leave Ham to you“Experts” How about a little helpful advise instead of being so critical of one abilities.
As I stated before this is NOT directed to all the Hams, just like anything else a few can ruin it for everyone else.
I like where you are coming from. I own a Baofeng. Great little radio.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Walt B.

RyanC

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,354
Pinckney, MI
Member #

1410

Ham Callsign
K1RAC
I agree that an amateur technician license is intimidating and difficult for someone with no electronics background. It is, however, still required to legally transmit on amateur frequencies. I understand that there is a feeling that the OB community may be taking a hard line here and we may seem unhelpful but as an organization and as licensed individuals we cannot condone the illegal operation of transmitting devices. I would be happy to help someone understand the concepts needed to pass the Tech exam and I think many others would also. We are here to help and to provide a great community but we cannot do that if we start doing things the wrong way.

As for not being able to use a Baofeng on GMRS frequencies, even if you have a GRMS license, that's because it's not Type certified by the FCC. Each set of frequencies or operating band has a different set of requirements and certifications required from the FCC. You are not likely to be caught if you use illegal equipment, but it is wrong and as a community we should discourage it whenever possible. Especially when with just education and assistance we can get someone their Amateur License and they can then legally communicate on a widely supported platform.

It has been mentioned in another thread that we now have official channels and frequencies for HAM, CB, GMRS, and I think FRS. If anyone is interested in studying for an amateur Tech exam, there is a local Ham by me who writes GREAT study guides that walk you through the exam. His Tech study guide is available for free and is good from this year through June 2022. Link to it is here. https://www.kb6nu.com/study-guides/

I hope no one feels discouraged in trying to learn about radio communications, it's supposed to be fun! If anyone needs help, please PM me or make a post in...maybe Off Topic would be a good place, perhaps a moderator could direct it to a better location. We are a large and helpful community, someone will definitely be willing to help you learn!
 

jeep670

Rank IV

Pathfinder I

Or the facebook type post from Jeep 670 above dissing the baofeng. How about Great to hear you got a radio, baofengs are a little confusing to load, if you need any help let me know.
Dude... "Why so serious?" That was supposed to bring a smile..
Fyi, I own a few radios including some $20 Zastone Z6 uhf/vhf cute little 4Watt no display software programmable chinese radios that I program to my liking and hand them out to whoever needs them. My mobile is a Zastone D9000. My dmr radios are Zastone and Anytone. Icom for d-star. All of the above plus my modded Yaesu for uhf/vhf.
Unfortunately, I don't own a baofeng, and I just ditched my cb (I can still listen in CB/AM with the D9000 and yaesu).
And, yes, I use all my radios on any band available on the radio whether fcc likes it or not.
 

Flipper

Rank V
Member

Member III

2,865
Florida
First Name
John
Last Name
F
Member #

5021

I agree that an amateur technician license is intimidating and difficult for someone with no electronics background. It is, however, still required to legally transmit on amateur frequencies. I understand that there is a feeling that the OB community may be taking a hard line here and we may seem unhelpful but as an organization and as licensed individuals we cannot condone the illegal operation of transmitting devices. I would be happy to help someone understand the concepts needed to pass the Tech exam and I think many others would also. We are here to help and to provide a great community but we cannot do that if we start doing things the wrong way.

As for not being able to use a Baofeng on GMRS frequencies, even if you have a GRMS license, that's because it's not Type certified by the FCC. Each set of frequencies or operating band has a different set of requirements and certifications required from the FCC. You are not likely to be caught if you use illegal equipment, but it is wrong and as a community we should discourage it whenever possible. Especially when with just education and assistance we can get someone their Amateur License and they can then legally communicate on a widely supported platform.

It has been mentioned in another thread that we now have official channels and frequencies for HAM, CB, GMRS, and I think FRS. If anyone is interested in studying for an amateur Tech exam, there is a local Ham by me who writes GREAT study guides that walk you through the exam. His Tech study guide is available for free and is good from this year through June 2022. Link to it is here. https://www.kb6nu.com/study-guides/

I hope no one feels discouraged in trying to learn about radio communications, it's supposed to be fun! If anyone needs help, please PM me or make a post in...maybe Off Topic would be a good place, perhaps a moderator could direct it to a better location. We are a large and helpful community, someone will definitely be willing to help you learn!
I understand the moral and possible legal/ libel implications of OB condoning illegal use of the radios. Maybe I was over reacting to some of the wording in the posts. This is why I steer clear of the firearm thread which can easily turn into a hot bed in the discussions. One learning tool I would suggest for beginners preparing for the exam is Eham.net. practice exams. Thanks for the info.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RyanC

Pathfinder I

1,212
Canada
First Name
Craig
Last Name
PereferNotToSay
..... You are not likely to be caught if you use illegal equipment, but it is wrong and as a community we should discourage it whenever possible.
I would make a friendly amendment and suggest that it is illegal, but not necessarily wrong. If having a Baofeng on GMRS communicating between vehicles prevents a greater harm from occurring like physical injury or death, it's still illegal (Specifically I'm talking about having good comms that avoids a problem or emergency; I know it's generally legal to use whatever comms method you can when a problem or emergency has occurred) but I would argue that it isn't wrong. There are plenty of things that are legally not allowed but morally, in certain contexts, absolutely not unethical or wrong. But, this is an Overlanding forum not a bunch of folks trying to get PhDs in Philosophy or Moral Theory; your point is absolutely true and well taken :)

I'm a licensed HAM and use BoaFeng radios a lot. If you go this route I recommend an aftermarket antenna; Amazon has several that are very affordable and they really enhance the performance of these little radios. A programming cable is cheap too, and Chirp works great to program them. It's not my only radio set; I've also got a Yaesu in the Jeep.

What I'm really hoping for is for an organization to develop an affordable way to let HAM connect with Bluetooth. Our use of radio is almost exclusively shorter range between me on my bike and my wife in our Jeep. On my helmet I have a Sena headset that allows for bluetooth comms, but I've yet to find a good 2M rig that is affordable that will connect with it. There are bluetooth adapters and such, but the more electronics you add to a system the higher the chance of something failing and so I'd prefer a simpler and more streamlined option. The Baofengs are also nice if you have multi-person trips as it allows you to cheaply and compactly equip 'go bags' (bags packed with basic survival stuff in the event a vehicle has to be left behind) with comms.

I know when we are off the vehicles and hiking in the woods, I'd much rather drop my $35 Baofeng down a mountainside than a $150+ alternative!

At the end of the day the brand of an item shouldn't matter to anyone but the person using it. People have their preferences, but for me it's about utility and value, which Boafengs have plenty of.
 

RyanC

Rank V
Member

Off-Road Ranger I

2,354
Pinckney, MI
Member #

1410

Ham Callsign
K1RAC
My baofeng is definitely my beater but I love it. The TX audio is a bit low but I opened the hole for the microphone with a small drillbit and finger twisting it. Using a decent speaker mic helps too.
I second the get a better antenna comment. Xpert Power antennas are a good bang for your buck from what i've seen and comparing mine with my Nagoya antenna. Half the price of a Nagoya for about 90-95% of the performance.