Pofung (Baofeng) hybrid: CT-3

Brick discovered yet another Pofung/Baofeng model: the CT-3. Most of the specifications are identical to whatever UV-5R variety you pick, but not all. It’s a bit of a hybrid.

Baofeng-CT-3

This version is equipped with dual-PTT, just like the UV-82. Possibly the power output is identical to the UV-82 too (1 Watt more on each band when compared to a UV-5R), but that’s far from certain.

Unfortunately the CT-3 does not use standard UV-5R batteries. This will prevent us from exchanging chargers, batteries and battery eliminators. Pity.

Any hams abroad who can hear PI6TEN?

After a long time the Dutch 10 meter repeater, PI6TEN, is back on the air. TX frequency is 29.690MHz, input is on 29.520MHz. No CTCSS needed.

PI6TEN

PI6TEN location. Click on image to go to PI6TEN.nl.

I’m curious if any of my non-Dutch readers can hear the signal or, even better, can open it up. If you have Echolink, you can check your own signal when you connect to PI6TEN-R.

Rx location
Alticom radio tower
Witte Kruislaan- Hilversum
52°13’20N – 05°10’09E
Tx location
PI6HVS building
Kapittelweg – Hilversum
52°12’54N – 5°8’36E
Receiving information
Antenna : Hi-gain
Antenna gain : 0 dBi
Antenna height : 140m above sea level
Receiver : R&S ESMC
Frequency : 29.590 Mhz
Polarisation : Vertical
Transmitting information
Antenna : Antron 99
Antenna gain : 0 dBi
Antenna height : 60m above sea level
Transmitter : Motorala
Frequency : 29.690 Mhz
Output power : 60 Watts
Polarisation : Vertical
Other information
Echolink : PI6TEN (#512885)
CTCSS : none

Review Leixen VV-898

The little cheap Leixen radios made the headlines more than once. Brick had his hands full with posting about Leixen, and quite a few reviews can be found on the WWW. The radio is also known under other names, such as Jetstream JT270M.

When I was walking the dogs a few weeks ago Teun PA0TBS joined me and took something out of his bag. It was a Leixen VV-898, which he bought for just over 100 Euros. I was surprised that this dual-band radio was even smaller than I thought; it’s actually not much bigger than a UV-5R. I’ve spent a while with the Leixen now, so it’s time for a review.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALook & Feel
If the Leixen would be a bit bigger, it would have the looks of a professional land mobile radio. Keys work well, layout is good, and the microphone is full featured and fits nicely in anyones hand.

The menu takes a while to get used to, mainly because the manual isn’t very helpful. Yet I managed to figure it out in a matter of minutes, probably because by now I’m a proficient interpreter of cryptic ChinEnglish manuals.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The inside of the radio doesn’t reveal much. I could have disassembled the radio even further, but didn’t want to risk damaging my friend’s radio.

Leixen VV-898 InsideRX sound quality
Surprisingly good, especially with the small case and tiny speaker in mind. Yet the radio will do much better with an external speaker, especially when you intend to use the radio in a car. I couldn’t hear any LF distortion, nor excessive noise. So far so good.

TX Audio
Slightly deprived of highs as well as lows. It won’t win any HiFi award, but all stations agreed that there were no other issues which would prevent one from understanding what you’re saying. Replacing the stock electret element inside the microphone for a better one might be something to consider if you want improve the TX audio.

Transmitter quality
Because I noticed a lot of intermod (see receiver section) I suspected the oscillator of being unstable, aka suffering from phase noise. That was not the case; carrier looks reasonably clean, even with reduced frequency span.

Leixen VV-898 phase noise

Power output
With 10 Watts output on VHF and 8 Watts on UHF (confirmed) the Leixen VV-898 isn’t trying to compete with the bigger radios. It is more than enough power for daily use, especially when using repeaters.

Harmonic suppression
I wasn’t really impressed. On VHF the 2nd harmonic is just short of 50dBm down, the 3rd harmonic is only 43 dBm down. on UHF it’s slightly better because there’s no third harmonic to worry about.

Leixen VV-898 VHF

Leixen VV-898 UHF

Receiver quality
The receiver is sensitive, very sensitive. With an average sensitivity of -127dBm the Leixen is amongst the most sensitive radios around. Sensitivity isn’t everything though; the capability to separate wanted signals from unwanted signals is much more important.

That proved to be something the Leixen VV-898 can’t do at all. Even on a relatively deaf antenna, a Diamond discone, I heard mixer products and out-of-band signals all over VHF and UHF.

The weirdest interference, clearly an SSB signal, came from a ham radio operator nearby who was having some fun on 10 meters. He worked barefoot, and his yagi was not even directed to my QTH. It took a while before I found the source; I obviously scanned the lower part of the 2 meter band first to find the elusive signal.

Conclusion:
The Leixen VV-898 is a fun radio, let me be clear about that. Quality-wise you get what you pay for. The transmitter section could use some extra filtering; the receiver is a Halloween nightmare when you live in an urban environment. When you live far enough away from RF pollution, you might get away with this Leixen. If not, look elsewhere.

Note: the blog of VK3XRA is worth a look if you want to see another review of this radio.

Factory Specifications:

Features

* PTT ID  (Voice broadcast PTT ID)
* All calls, group calls and selective calls
* Monitor, RX Inhibit, RXTX Inhibit and Emergency Alarm
* FM Radio  (87.5MHz-108MHz)
* Scan/Scan add
* Channel name edit available
* 199 memory channels
* High/Low power  (10W/4W)
* APO  (Auto Power Off)
* TOT  (Time-out timer)
* Font Set  (Big/Small)
* VOX  (Level adjustable)
* Busy channel lockout
* Keyboard lock (Auto/Manual)
* Multi scan mode  (TO/CO)
* Channel steps  (2.5K/5K/6.25K/10K/12.5K/25K)
* Wide/Narrow band selection  (25KHz/12.5KHz)
* TX Stop
* Talk Around
* Beat frequency
* Reverse frequency function
* 1750Hz burst tone
* Four key programmable
* Lease Function  (can program lease time termination)
* Input frequency by using Keypad
* Wireless changing frequency
* Time Display
* PC software disable frequency input
* Passwords for menu functions Set
* PTT Times per Minutes Set
* All / Function reset
* 13.8V DC Power Supply
* Size: 120*85*40mmGeneral

* Frequency Range: 400-470MHz, 136-174MHz
* Channel Capacity: 199
* Output Power: 4W/10W
* Operation Mode: Simplex
* Dimension: 120x90x40mm  (4.7”x3.5”x1.6”).
* Weight: 315g
* Modulation Limitation: ≤±5KHz
* Spurious Radiation: 60dB
* TX Current: 1A/1.8A
* Frequency Stability: ±2.5PPm
* Rx Sensitivity: <0.18μV
* Modulation Type: F3E
* Audio Power: ≥ 400mW
* Standby Current: 78mA  (Power Saving mode is 30mA)Package Contents
1x Mobile transceiver
1x DC Power Cable
1x Bracket
1x Bracket Screw
1x User Manual