BaoFeng UV-5R questions..

Discussion in 'Survival & Sustenance Living Forum' started by icallshotgun88, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. icallshotgun88

    icallshotgun88 New Member

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    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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  2. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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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.
     

  3. icallshotgun88

    icallshotgun88 New Member

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    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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    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
  4. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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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.
     
  5. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    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.

    Manual. Then, electronics books or the ARRL handbook to explain the science behind how radios work.

    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.

    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.
     
  6. icallshotgun88

    icallshotgun88 New Member

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    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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    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  7. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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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.
     
  8. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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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!:eek:). 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.
     
  9. icallshotgun88

    icallshotgun88 New Member

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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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  10. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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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.
     
  11. icallshotgun88

    icallshotgun88 New Member

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    That I am aware of.
    I have found a bunch of frequencies that are legal to use without a license.
    And I'll use those for fun until I get a license.
    I'm just interested in how it works so that I can use it in an emergency and I can use it as a high priced walkie-talkie when I'm hunting/camping/etc. with friends.

    If it really sparks an interest for me I'll dig deeper and learn more, maybe even join a radio club, etc.


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  12. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    Just curious, which frequencies would those be that are programmable on the Baofeng?? :confused:
     
  13. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Icallshotgun,

    If you don't have a license then there are no frequencies that that radio operates on which are legal for you to transmit over. The radios are NOT type certified for use on the FRS, GMRS, or MURS frequencies, and I am not aware of any amateur radio transceivers that are type certified for this use, if that is what you were thinking about doing. You need an Amateur Radio Technician class license.

    I've tried to provide good information to you, but you don't seem receptive. I'm done here.
     
  14. DrFootball

    DrFootball disappointed & disgusted, But DETERMINED... Lifetime Supporter

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    You should really Take Vikingdad's advice. He's even more Exp. In Ham then me, and I started at 15. I think right now you'd be better off with a Cobra or Midland CB until you learned at least basic Code, although I'm told you no
    Longer need Morse code for a General Am. Radio License, is that True Vikingdad? I have my Kenwood here in a closet, a Yaesu RX,...


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    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  15. DrFootball

    DrFootball disappointed & disgusted, But DETERMINED... Lifetime Supporter

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    Of course, if I were starting from scratch, I'd get a TEN TEC Ommi VI


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  16. Vincine

    Vincine New Member

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    I understand what the OP is asking as I've encountered the same issue myself. I'm incredulous that with Ham radio, one is has to have a license before one can learn. It's like taking a road test and getting licensed to drive, before one is allowed to have driving lessons. I find it convoluted. The best sense I can make of our regulations is unlicensed operation; CB, FRS, etc., is like a 'learners permit'.

    I'm familiar with the Ham cram courses and may take one next month but it seems to me a poor way to proceed. It's like requiring one to memorize what variable valve timing is or what a primer is, before one is allowed to operate a car or know Cooper's four rules.

    Myself? I'm going to read one of the poorly titled 'Idiot's Guides' first to see if I even want to take a test and get licensed, let alone buy a radio. There must be Kindle edition or two.

    Victor Alpha Foxtrot out. :)
     
  17. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    I figure you are right. He is thinking of some of the open frequencies used on CB or FRS. GMRS still requires a license but back in 2010 the FCC considered removing the requirement- that is still pending. All of these frequencies are fixed in the radio as "Channels". Ham radios are programmable but cannot be programmed to transmit on any of these fixed channel frequencies. You can also listen to emergency channels as well as other frequencies on many Ham radios, but you cannot transmit on them. People have and will "open up" their radios to be able to transmit on these restricted frequencies. This is highly illegal- see my earlier post regarding the Pittsburgh Fire Department- punishable by $10K fines per radio per day of operation, confiscation of all modified radio equipment and jail time a possibility as well. These restrictions and regulations as well as a whole slew of others all apply to all of the other radios as well.

    Icallshotgun, do not fool yourself into thinking that you are too smart. You need to understand that ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law.

    There is no code requirement for any level of license these days. However there are frequencies that are restricted to code only which gives you more privileges.

    Yeah, it is sort of backwards IMO. Back when the regs were created people were getting into radio through mentoring. That has fallen by the wayside these days though. It is sort of putting the cart before the horse really.

    But that having been said, what the OP has done is gone and bought himself a complex firearm without having any knowledge whatsoever as to how to operate it. We have all seen this sort at the range before. That is not a good approach either.
     
  18. icallshotgun88

    icallshotgun88 New Member

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    jeez, okay...

    this whole thing seems overwhelming just to talk on a FRS frequency with my brother during a camping or hunting trip..

    i guess i'll just keep my UV5R switched off until i find time to get a license and learn more about it..

    i didnt know anything about it, i figured id just buy the thing and figure it out...i figured id be able to use it just litttttle without a license, but it sounds like ANY use at all is completely illegal without a license...

    seems rediculous to me, but i DO understand the why behind it..

    anyway, thanks for all your guys' help..
     
  19. MisterMcCool

    MisterMcCool Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hammers are all really serious about radio law. There is a gota area at hamfest for unlicensed attendees to get on the air. It is regarded as temporary amnesty and they make a big deal about it.
     
  20. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    Thanks for understanding. I would hate to hear about somebody who asked for the advice you asked for and then ignored it, landing them in big trouble. As you point out it is not worth it.

    I would encourage you to go ahead and figure out how to program in some frequencies, maybe some local repeater outputs, the National Calling Frequency (144.200mhz on 2 meters and 222.100mhz on 1.25 meters). You won't have to worry about the offsets, codes etc., etc as you will only be listening. You can listen all you want all day long and all night long- just don't push that transmit button until you are licensed!