[aprssig] Baofeng radio for igate use

Jess Haas km6gvw at jesshaas.com
Thu May 4 01:18:41 CDT 2017


        I had this idea that a cheap Baofeng UV-5R would make a good igate
radio and allow me to use my other radios for other things. Well it turns
out that these radios have a serious lack of filtering that raises the
noise floor significantly when used in an urban environment. With the
Baofeng I can clearly hear the two digipeaters that are within a couple of
miles of me and with the squelch open I hear no other stations and just the
usual FM static noise. Using either the Yaesu VX-1R or ICOM T-81a(both HTs)
that I have I hear an almost constant flood of packets. Many are weak but
there are some stations that come in very clearly on my other radios but I
don't get anything from with the Baofeng. After researching the issue a bit
it seems that in a lab the UV-5R actually has a rather sensitive receiver
but it is so wide open that unless you are in the middle of nowhere far
from any RF sources the radio is deaf to all but the strongest signals. I
just wanted to share this as these radios are dirt cheap and seem to be
everywhere so I am sure other people are using them so I wanted to make
sure people have realistic expectations. I use mine with the local
repeaters and it works fine but since I have switched radios on my igate I
have heard 35 stations directly where as before I was really only hearing
two.

I also wanted to share that I have found it rather amazing what the
direwolf soundcard modem can pull out of the noise. When listening on my
Kenwood D710 I have gotten used to only strong clear packets being decoded
but with direwolf everything that I hear gets decoded. It regularly decodes
packets from a digipeater 79miles away that I can barely hear. Right now
there seems to be a bit of a band opening as I am also decoding packets
from stations down in mexico including a digipeater that is 185 miles away!
They don't sound great but it decodes them anyway.

73,
  Jess
  KM6GVW
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