BaoFeng UV-5R questions..
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Old 07-27-2014, 01:58 AM   #1
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Default BaoFeng UV-5R questions..

Okay, so I will admit that I know nothing about these radios, but I bought one because I was bored and wanted to get a very basic into to HAM radios..

I was wondering if anyone can direct me to a site or just anywhere that will give a very basic introduction to radios like this..

I'm talking VERY basic.
Like a "radios for dummies" type of thing...
Oh, and I already know there is a "for
Dummies" book out there but it'll rather learn online from sites and forums..

I know nothing about these things other than what button to press when I want to talk, how to turn it off and on and that I'll need a license to operate on certain frequencies.

Where do I start?


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Old 07-27-2014, 03:10 AM   #2
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icallshotgun,

You can go to http://www.arrl.org.

To understand radios, you start by making one. The simplest AM and FM radios have just a handful of components, but the act of building one teaches you how they work. Electronics books that teach you how to build a radio are where you start. Any good electronics book that teaches you how to build a simple AM or FM radio will cover what you need to know.

If you need more information than that, just ask.

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Old 07-27-2014, 04:46 AM   #3
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Default BaoFeng UV-5R questions..

Thank you, that is helpful.
I guess what I'm looking for is a guide on how to use a radio (like the baofeng uv5r) and what everything means and the theory behind it.

I took some time to understand squelch but there are like 30 other options in the menu and I have no idea what they do...

I understand that I can sit and google every single menu item, but I'm wondering if there is a good beginners guide to understanding this stuff..
I don't want to buy a 300 page book, I just want to start with a few pages, articles, threads, etc that can give me a good start and then I'll dig deep from there..

Any ideas?


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Old 07-27-2014, 06:51 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by icallshotgun88 View Post
Thank you, that is helpful.
I guess what I'm looking for is a guide on how to use a radio (like the baofeng uv5r) and what everything means and the theory behind it.

I took some time to understand squelch but there are like 30 other options in the menu and I have no idea what they do...

I understand that I can sit and google every single menu item, but I'm wondering if there is a good beginners guide to understanding this stuff..
I don't want to buy a 300 page book, I just want to start with a few pages, articles, threads, etc that can give me a good start and then I'll dig deep from there..

Any ideas?


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Getting your license will get you a long ways toward your goal. They have all sorts of opportunities to learn from out there. The ARRL is one such resource (and a very good one at that) http://www.arrl.org/online-courses and you can also go to QRZ.com for other resources.

Bottom line is you don't want to start transmitting if you are not licensed. That never ends well. For one thing the people you talk to using that little radio will immediately know that you are not licensed. Also, operating that radio without a license is a crime punishable by up to $10,000 per radio per day of operation, confiscation of your radios and/or jail time. The FCC does not screw around with that (not too long ago the Pittsburgh PA Fire Department was hit with massive fines for buying HAM radios and having them modified to operate on emergency channels. Big no-no. They were doing it as a "cost saving measure" but in the end all of the radios and equipment were confiscated and the $10,000 fine per radio per day was applied. They paid millions.)

If you really want to operate a radio without a license stick with CB, FRS, GMRS or others like that. While some of them require a license (at least I think GMRS still does) the license does not require that you take a test or know anything. Just pay the fee and fill out the application. Fortunately the radios are easy to operate. The downside is that there is no real regulation so its like the wild west on those frequencies.

Ham radio is very fun and can be a terrific hobby. I recommend going for it and getting licensed. Its not too difficult.
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:40 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by icallshotgun88 View Post
Thank you, that is helpful.
I guess what I'm looking for is a guide on how to use a radio (like the baofeng uv5r) and what everything means and the theory behind it.
Well, you start with reading the manual. If the manual is not clear, then it is because it was poorly written or you don't understand the concepts behind how the radio operates.

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Originally Posted by icallshotgun88 View Post
I took some time to understand squelch but there are like 30 other options in the menu and I have no idea what they do...
Manual. Then, electronics books or the ARRL handbook to explain the science behind how radios work.

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Originally Posted by icallshotgun88 View Post
I understand that I can sit and google every single menu item, but I'm wondering if there is a good beginners guide to understanding this stuff..
I don't want to buy a 300 page book, I just want to start with a few pages, articles, threads, etc that can give me a good start and then I'll dig deep from there..
You're asking for things that are directly opposed to each other. You want to understand how a radio works, but don't want to purchase and/or read the material that explains how it works. I'm sorry, but it doesn't work that way.

I spent months in training in the Navy, both Radioman "A" school, subsequent "C" schools, many days and nights studying material, and years of practice at major ship and shore telecommunications facilities. I built radios as a child, low power and simple, but I had to learn how the things worked in order to build them and, later, to effectively operate them.

In later civilian life, I've spent countless hours learning programming languages, how to apply programming concepts to real life problems, and years of practice. Learning the nuts and bolts of how something electronic works is not an overnight procedure whereby you wake up the next day and understand how radios work, or computers work, or programming languages work, or any other electronic device that is non-trivial in nature.

I often hear people say "I want to know how to program". I proceed to explain to them what's involved in programming for real world applications and I watch their eyes glaze over when I describe, in detail, exactly what's involved.

It took decades for some of the best minds that the world had to offer to produce things like radios, computers, telephones, and programming languages, so concede that you have elected to learn something that can't be explained in a few pages of text or conveyed in a day or two of training. It just does not work that way.

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Originally Posted by icallshotgun88 View Post
Any ideas?
Obtaining a HAM radio license is an excellent place to start. If you have a computer, then you already have a stellar tool to use to learn how radios work.

If you Google "radio communications theory", you'll find that there are free, as in costs you nothing but the time you're willing to devote to learning, books, videos, and other resources to explain how radios and electronics work.

You can literally learn every relevant concept you need to know to build and operate a radio from Google, Wikipedia, and Youtube but you have to be willing to learn. Obviously ARRL can teach you what you need to know to legally operate a radio transmitter on restricted frequency bands or power levels within the United States, thus I referred you to their website.

Amazon.com has ARRL's 2014 handbook (this single reference can teach you most of what you want/need to know):

http://www.amazon.com/2014-Handbook-Radio-Communications-Softcover/dp/1625950012/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406528689&sr=1-6&keywords=radio+communication

If you don't understand how the electrical components used in radios work, then I humbly suggest something similar to the following:

http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/

You can't understand how a radio works without a basic understanding of electronics so whichever resource you choose, you must pick one and start learning.

If you have specific questions that manuals, books, videos, or other media can't adequately explain to you in a way that you can understand, then I will gladly assist you to the best of my ability.

If this is something that truly interests you, then invest your time in attaining the requisite level of knowledge to do it.
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Old 07-28-2014, 03:21 PM   #6
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Default BaoFeng UV-5R questions..

I get it. It's a very complex subject and can take years to fully understand all the theories and technology.

I've read the manual for the UV5R multiple times since I bought the radio a week ago...and it's honestly no help at all.
I know HOW to operate it, changing settings in the menu, etc., but I don't know WHAT the heck I'm changing! lol
I guess it would just be helpful to go through the menu with someone and have them give a brief explanation of what everything is. Like explaining what it does and why I would want it on/off or set 1-9, etc.

I'd think it would maybe take an hour to just scroll through the menu with someone and briefly explain the options in the menu and why you set them the way you do...

I've searched YouTube and Google for a while.
I can find people that show you how to program it on YouTube.
But they don't explain what the options are and why they set them that way, etc.

For example...

What is R-CTCS?
What does it do?
How should I have it set up? Off/67mhz/87.5mhz/etc.
And why should I have it set that way?


I just want to ask that of everything in the menu (DTMFST, offset, TOT, etc.)
Just a general overview.

I think it would take about an hour with someone knowledgable.
But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it would take a month

So that's what my original post was about..

Is there anything like that out there?




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Old 07-28-2014, 04:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by icallshotgun88 View Post
I get it. It's a very complex subject and can take years to fully understand all the theories and technology.

I've read the manual for the UV5R multiple times since I bought the radio a week ago...and it's honestly no help at all.
I know HOW to operate it, changing settings in the menu, etc., but I don't know WHAT the heck I'm changing! lol
I guess it would just be helpful to go through the menu with someone and have them give a brief explanation of what everything is. Like explaining what it does and why I would want it on/off or set 1-9, etc.

I'd think it would maybe take an hour to just scroll through the menu with someone and briefly explain the options in the menu and why you set them the way you do...

I've searched YouTube and Google for a while.
I can find people that show you how to program it on YouTube.
But they don't explain what the options are and why they set them that way, etc.

For example...

What is R-CTCS?
What does it do?
How should I have it set up? Off/67mhz/87.5mhz/etc.
And why should I have it set that way?


I just want to ask that of everything in the menu (DTMFST, offset, TOT, etc.)
Just a general overview.

I think it would take about an hour with someone knowledgable.
But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it would take a month

So that's what my original post was about..

Is there anything like that out there?


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Icallshotgun,

It won't take years to understand the basics, but this is a prime example of where working knowledge of a radio would help.

Regarding your Receive-Continuous Tode Coded Squelch (R-CTCS) question, please see the Wikipedia article below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuous_Tone-Coded_Squelch_System

The article explains CTCS, but basically it permits different user groups who are using the same channel to not have to listen to each others conversations; it's a form of electronic signaling to other so-equipped devices. If radios that have CTCS circuitry in them have the circuitry enabled, then even if another user transmits on the same channel that you are receiving on, you will not pick up the transmission with CTCS enabled if the transmitter did not use the same CTCS setting that you are using.

R-CTCS is a mode of operation commonly used with repeaters (a mode of operation that relays a signal to another radio too distant from the transmitting radio to receive and demodulate the signal with sufficient quality to permit the receiving party to understand what the transmitting party transmitted to them).

Regarding DTMF, please see the following Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual-tone_multi-frequency_signaling

The Time Out Timer (TOT) concept is explained here:

http://www.mbarc.org/repeater-group-1/beginners

This is three examples where I can't (and the manual can't) explain "what the buttons do" to you because you do not yet understand basic radio terminology, let alone how it works.

Nobody can explain your radio to you in an hour and if they say they can, then you can be sure that they either know very little about radios or are lying to you. I can explain certain concepts within minutes, but you're trying to use a relatively sophisticated tool without understanding how it works.

The more you try to circumvent the associated knowledge, the more you'll keep smacking into it as you try to use sophisticated modern radio communications equipment.
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Old 07-29-2014, 05:15 AM   #8
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icallshotgun88
kbd512 is giving you the best advice that can be given. What you are asking can't be done, certainly not in the limited time you expect it. There are many classes out there that are known as "HAM-Cram" classes. They are specifically designed to cram your head with all of the answers so that you can pass the FCC test in order for you to obtain your license.

What can you do once you obtain your license via a HAM-Cram class? Pretty much nothing because you cannot understand the radio theory that was glossed over during the class (which often takes 16 hours!). It is the radio theory that you need to know in order to operate your new radio. Learning by rote (as is done in the HAM-Cram classes) will not teach you a damned thing.

So, please do follow the advice you are being given here and study hard, take the test, and then get on the air. It will avoid you a whole hell of a lot of embarrassment if you do it this way. Trust me.

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Old 07-29-2014, 05:26 AM   #9
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icallshotgun88
kbd512 is giving you the best advice that can be given. What you are asking can't be done, certainly not in the limited time you expect it. There are many classes out there that are known as "HAM-Cram" classes. They are specifically designed to cram your head with all of the answers so that you can pass the FCC test in order for you to obtain your license.

What can you do once you obtain your license via a HAM-Cram class? Pretty much nothing because you cannot understand the radio theory that was glossed over during the class (which often takes 16 hours!). It is the radio theory that you need to know in order to operate your new radio. Learning by rote (as is done in the HAM-Cram classes) will not teach you a damned thing.

So, please do follow the advice you are being given here and study hard, take the test, and then get on the air. It will avoid you a whole hell of a lot of embarrassment if you do it this way. Trust me.

I know that what I'm asking CAN be done.
It's as simple as scrolling through the menu and spending 1-5 minutes on each section of the menu, so that I have a general understanding of how it works.
I'll just take the time to google everything on the menu and figure it out myself.
Thanks.


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Old 07-29-2014, 05:31 AM   #10
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I know that what I'm asking CAN be done.
It's as simple as scrolling through the menu and spending 1-5 minutes on each section of the menu, so that I have a general understanding of how it works.
I'll just take the time to google everything on the menu and figure it out myself.
Thanks.


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OK. Hope that works out for you. Be advised though that using that radio unlicensed can is not a trivial matter.
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