This post will probably be filled in more later.
As mentioned earlier on this blog my main interest is antennas and preferably short-wave ones. So it came as a surprise to me that I suddenly complemented an order for a RTL2823-dongle from banggood.com with a dual band VHF/UHF-handheld. Back in the days (read late 70’s) I had a 144 MHz rig with VFO and no channels per se, 1750 Hz ruled and there were no of todays bells and whistles – well not on that second hand rig anyway.
The Baofeng UV-82 comes with a handbook, earpiece/mic-combo, charger and a, in my opinion, surprisingly effective antenna.
Well the Baofeng seems to work as expected but the “expected” is a bit uncertain. Read this right, it works i.e. transmits, receives, squelches as it should and all that. But programming it is a bit “interesting” as it turns out. On the internetz the site Miklor contains detailed instructions in fact so detailed they are hard to follow and describes the programming anyway a major undertaking requiring pencil and paper as well as liberal amounts of one’s favourite poison down the way.
My ICOM R20 scanner is also complex to program without software and an accompanying PC. But after some time there appears an underlying logic, so it turns out to be logical (in a very broad sense of the word of course) after a while.
It is illogical
The UV-82 is still illogical and this writing is mainly a way for me to sort it out and perhaps will there appear an underlying logic after all? I refrain from calling this a review as it is nothing more than me trying to explain for myself. Not having experience with handhelds before I am a complete n00b and am perhaps ramming open doors here. You have thusly been warned.
The User’s manual is in fact informative but only on the how’s not the why’s. It also has some errors that certainly do not help.
There are two modes
First it it important to note that the radio has two modes. You toggle between the modes by pressing the MENU button while turning on the radio. With voice confirmation turned on it declares which mode is active.
There is a “FREQUENCY MODE” and a “CHANNEL MODE”:
- Frequency mode
This is the behind-the-curtains-mode. It allows setting frequency with the keys, set squelch, transmitter offset etc. If you only ever use one frequency then this mode is sufficient, but if you need to change frequency/CTCSS-tone/offset for every frequency you will eventually want this bunch of settings appear at once as one channel. Changing frequency/CTCSS-tone/offset often is labor-intensive and tricky.
The idea is that you set all parametres in frequency mode and then program these as a channel.
- Channel mode
With all frequencies and other settings installed as channels you will never have to deal with them again. Just refer to a channel and they are loaded. It also allows scanning through all the installed channels stopping when there is something there. Very practical.
Secondly it it important to note that the radio has two VFO:s. VFO-A is the upper frequency/channel in the display, VFO-B is the lower on. VFO-A is the one to concentrate upon when programming etc. For now let’s assume there is only one VFO, VFO-A.
Every menu item is connected to a number and an abbreviation. You either scroll to the abbreviation or enter the number with the keys. Here is a list of the available menu items:
- 0 SQL, SQuelch Level. A number 0–9 that indicates how easily triggered the radio is to activity on the channel. If your environment is noisy accidental triggering can be reduced by setting a higher number. With a higher number you may miss weak stations on an otherwise noise free channel. Generally the level should be set as low as possible. Contrary to what one may believe or want a level of zero does not disable the squelch but makes it very, very lightly triggered.
- 1 STEP, Frequency STEP. Once upon a time a radio’s VFO was so unstable that one could only hope to be at the right 100 kHz spot. That then became the practical channel separation. After some time 100/2= 50 kHz became the practical channel separation and so 0n for 25 kHz, 12.5 kHz, 6.25 kHz. At the same time channel separations of 20 kHz, 10 kHz, 5 kHz and even 2.5 kHz appeared. Today the most common amateur channel separations are in the 25 kHz series, notably 25 and 12.5 kHz. With a step size of 12.5 kHz a frequency of 145.725 MHz can be exactly set as well as 145.6675 MHz. Set this at 12.5 kHz.
- 2 TXP, Transmit Power. The UV-82 has selectable 5 W (HIGH) or 1 W (LOW) output. Use as much as is needed. A full 5 W consumes 5 times as much energy from the battery as the 1 W setting and reduces operational time between charges.
- 3 SAVE, Battery SAVE. OFF/1–4. Hard to know what this actually does. Screen backlight turns off after the same in either setting.
- 4 VOX, Voice operated transmitter. In the OFF position you manually use the PTT-(push to talk)-key to transmit. In VOX mode your sound will automatically start the transmitter. VOX is useful in situations with relatively low background noise as otherwise the background noise will start transmission. I have had little success in using this setting with the set handheld. It seems to need quite some shouting to activate.
- 5 W/N, Wide/Narrow. WIDE sets deviation as 5 kHz, NARROW sets it a 2.5 kHz. Most likely you want this to be 5 kHz with the 12.5 kHz channel spacing previously set. A lower deviation requires the receiver to amplify more, if your receiver uses 2.5 kHz a 5 kHz signal will sound unproportionally strong.
- 6 ABR Display Illumination. What does ABR really stand for? Automatic Background R-something? Either way this number says for how long the display will be lit. OFF means it will be off. There is no “always lit” alternative. I keep this a 5 s as I want to actually watch the display.
- 7 TDR, Dual watch. ON/OFF. Again an incomprehensible abbreviation. Turn on Dual Radios? This setting turns on or off the radio for VFO-B.
- 8 BEEP, Key BEEP. ON/OFF. With this on a beep is heard at every key press. I find this mildly irritating so I have it OFF.
- 9 TOT, Transmitter Overheat Timer? If you want to reduce the maximum transmitter time here you set the maximum transmitter time in multiples of 15 seconds, from 15 to 600 seconds. Perhaps useful if the radio is accidentally put into transmit while in a bag or something? Do we have timed transmissions like this ever?
Here enters the squelches. A bit of a mess if you ask me. The idea is that not only presence of carrier on the channel should open the squelch but also a certain tone e.g. 82.5 Hz is required for it to open.
CTCSS subtone is brilliant if used at both the transmitter and receiver end. If the CTCSS is set wrongly there will however be silence. Properly used CTCSS allows several nets to use the same channel but not hear each other. Of course transmitting over each other will still cause interference. With setting 23 BCL, Busy Channel Lockout the radio will listen first and refuse to send if there is activity already on the channel.
Theoretically the level of this low frequency tone also could set the AGC on the receiver. I do not know if that is the case though.
- 10 R-DCS, Digital Squelch on Reception.
- 11 R-CTS, CTCSS on Reception. If you want only to hear CTCSS-coded transmissionsset this. If your repeater opens also with the traditional 1750 Hz you will not hear this unless the calling transmitter has its CTCSS tone set correctly. Or do the repeater automatically add its calling CTCSS tone? Will it also filter out the originators tone? Set this at OFF to hear everything, CTCSS or not.
- 12 T-DCS, Digital Squelch on Transmit.
- 13 T-CTS, CTCSS on Transmit. Some repeaters open only with CTCSS tones these days. Set the CTCSS tone to what the repeater wants. With not CTCSS on transmit you have to open the repeater with a 1750 beep.
- 14 VOICE, Voice Prompt. OFF/ENG/CHI. With this setting at ENG a voice will confirm your actions in the menus etc. At CHI the voice talks chinese and is not half as useful. I still find this very practical but will probably turn it off in the future when I navigate more easily among the menu items. Keep it ENG for now.
- 15 ANI, Automatic Number Id. Can apparently only be set by PC software. Hardly necessary. Ignore.
- 16 DTMFST, DTMF Set Tone? Sets if you will hear DTMF tones while they are sending. There is an automatic PTT-ID setting for sending your hand helds ID when pushing the PTT. Ignore for now, set to OFF.
- 17 S-CODE, Signal CODE. Can apparently only be set by PC software. Hardly necessary. Ignore.
- 18 SC-REV, Scan Resume Method. TO/CO/SE. This determines what will happen when scanning and the squelch opens. The three settings corresponds to
TO (Timed Operation) stops but the resumes scanning after a while. Useful if some channels trip by noise, then the receiver will not stay there and endlessly listen to the noisy channel,
CO (Carrier Operation) the radio stays at the frequency until the carrier goes away, or
SE (Search Operation) the radio will hang at this frequency forever.
- 19 PTT-ID, Push To Talk- Identification. If you want your handheld’s ID to be transmitted when pressing PTT. Ignore for now. Turn OFF.
- 20 PTT-LT, PTT deLay Time. Has something to do with ignore item #19 above. Ignore too.
- 21 MDF-A. Concerns upper row in display, VFO-A. In channel mode the display can show frequency or channel number or name of channel. As the name can only be set by PC and special software frequency or channel number are left as alternatives. I use frequency in plain text as eg. “CH-022” is too secretive for me.
- 22 MDF-B. Concerns lower row in display, VFO-B, otherwise same as #21 above.
- 23 BCL, Busy Channel Lockout. Sets whether existing signals on the channel shall inhibit transmission or not. See more at CTCSS above. Setting NO.
- 24 AUTOLK, Auto Lock of key pad. For now I want less hassle so auto lock is OFF.
Menu options 25 and 26 are among the most important ones. The SFD enables or disables transmit offset and OFFSET sets the amount of offset used. For 2 m repeaters the frequency mentioned is their outgoing frequency, where you listen. Normally the repeater listens 600 kHz lower than this and of course this is where the UV-82 must transmit.
For a repeater frequency of 145.725 MHz the UV-82 must receive at 145.725 MHz and transmit at 145.125 MHz.
- 25 SFD, Set Frequency Displacement. OFF/+/-. Determines if transmit offset is used at all and, if so, if it is negative (as in example above) or positive (uncommon) relative to the reception frequency.
- 26 OFFSET. Set amount of offset in MHz. A 600 kHz offset is indicated as “00.600” in this menu item. Enter the offset via key pad (enter “0 0 6 0 0”) or up/down-arrows.
- 27 MEMCH. Store current settings into a channel. It is important to understand that this menu item actually hides two storage locations, one for receiving and one for transmitting. This is where menu item “#14 VOICE”, comes in handy. There is really no other way to find out if the current settings are stored into the receiver or the transmitter frequency. The first write to a channel after erasing it goes to the receiver memory and the second write goes to the transmitter memory.
The channels and memories can be visualized as in the picture below:
The procedure for storing a new channel is as follows:
0. Make sure you are in frequency mode. Press MENU while turning on power. With “#14 VOICE” turned on it will tell you which mode it is in.
1. You cannot store a channel over another channel. The old channel must be erased first. So go to item “#28 DELCH”, select and delete a channel. This also synchronizes next write to the receiver memory of said channel.
2. Now set all menu items pertaining to the channel you want to store e.g. frequency, Rx/Tx CTCSS, transmitter offset etc.
3a. Go to to “#27 MEMCH”, select the previously erased channel and store the receiver part of the channel. The next store action will save the transmitter part of the channel. If the receive and transmit channels are the same then just do two consecutive saves in this menu item.
3b. If there is an offset involved the offset frequency must first be selected before entering the transmitter part of the menu item. To get the actual transmitter frequency leave the menu, press “* SCAN” button on the key pad (note how the displayed frequency changes as per the OFFSET setting), then go to “#27 MEMCH” again and make a another write, this time it will confirm that the transmitter frequency is set.
- 28 DELCH, Delete a channel. Select channel for deletion with up/down-arrows. Channels that are assigned are indicated by “CH-xxx”, while un-assigned channels appear as only “xxx”. When you delete a channel it also makes sure that the next write to the channel (#27 above) is to the receive location.
- 29-31 xx-LED. These are all alternative colours for lighting the display when squelch is closed, squelch is open or the unit is transmitting. Adjust to taste. Or simply leave as they are.
- 32 AL-MODE, Alarm Mode.
- 33 BAND, Band selection. VHF/UHF.
- 34 TX-A/B. Where to transmit if in dual watch mode.
- 35 STE, Tail Tone Elimination. Have no idea, ignore.
- 36 RP-STE, Tail Tone Elimination through Repeater. Have no idea, ignore.
- 37 RPT-RL, Delay of above Tail Tone. Have no idea, ignore.
- 38 PONMSG, Power On Message. Adjust to taste. There is always an irritation beep when turned on that cannot be eliminated.
- 39 ROGER, Roger beep at end of transmission. Could be useful as an alternative to saying “over”. At the receiving end the beep is a short two-tone beep.
- 40 A/B-BP, Tone end of reception. Only for reception, this option enables or disables a short “plip-plop” sound when the squelch kicks in after an over. This gets mightily irritating after a while, specially when scanning and the accidental squelch break-through. Turn OFF!
- 41 RESET, VFO/ALL. Resets frequencies or the entire radio to factory default.
A complete guide with the menu option can be found here. Read it, use it!
As I get more used to it I will probably update this post.
Update: When the audio is turned all up it suddenly shorts or something, audio dies completely. Bad potentiometer! YGWYPF.