Review Baofeng FF-12P (UV-5X)

Probably because Baofeng is running out of letters (although I didn’t see the Baofeng UV-5Y or Z yet), there’s a new numbers game in order. The FF-12P is essentially a UV-5X and my sample came in…. silver.

Baofeng FF-12PThe radio houses the latest chip set and firmware. Pressing various keys confirm this: pressing ‘0’ for a bit more than a second shows the battery voltage, pressing PTT + Band generates 2100 Hz, PTT + A/B generates 1750 Hz, and PTT + VFO/MR generates 1450 Hz.

The display is of the inverse type, the antenna the short one we all learned to hate, “FF-12P” is printed on both the left and right side of the radio. Batteries / accessories aren’t compatible with the standard UV-5R. While I could find enough suppliers of the FF-12P and UV-5X, not a single one appears to sell spare batteries or any other accessory.

Charger / battery combination
I wasn’t able to charge the battery at first, because the battery and charger don’t match: the two indentations of the battery prevented it from being inserted in the charger. After scraping away enough plastic in the charger I got it to fit.

CHIRP
CHIRP recognized the radio as being a UV-5R and squelch thresholds could be modified without a problem.

Scanning
A clip on YouTube suggested that the UV-5X / FF12P scans faster. This proves to be true: the FF-12P outperforms all other Baofeng radios I own, including the GT-3 Mark II. Scan speed is about 5-6 channels/sec.

Transmitter

Frequency accuracy of the sample: +2 Hz on VHF, -11 Hz on UHF.

Power output VHF: (@ 145 MHz): 4.1 Watts (high), 1.7 Watts (low)
Power output UHF: (@ 435 MHz): 3.6 Watts (high), 1.8 Watts (low)

TX Audio: Bright and loud. Very nice.

Harmonics: the usual peaks on VHF and UHF. Still not very impressive.

UV-5X_FF-12P-VHF
UV-5X_FF-12P-UHF

Receiver

RX Audio: good.

Front-end: surprisingly good, just like the GT-3 Mark II. Nice.

Sensitivity: -127 dBm (VHF), -125 dBm (UHF). These are good numbers.

Conclusion
The FF-12P aka UV-5X is the typical Baofeng: value for money, but not without its flaws. Harmonic suppression is a mixed bag and the lack of accessories is a potential problem.

The fact that I had to modify the charger to make the battery fit is a dumb factory mistake. The short stock antenna just doesn’t want to die — put a few bucks aside to buy a better one.

The positive side of the radio is the good receiver, good TX audio and faster scan speed. And, if you care about such things, it comes in shiny SILVER!

Anytone Tech models, additional notes

Overall, reviewing these Anytones was a pleasant experience. After the reviews I looked into a few other things.

  • The batteries of the ANILE-8R (1300 mAh) and the NSTIG-8R (1800 mAh) are exchangeable.
  • The belt clips used on the ANILE-8R and NSTIG-8R are never a perfect fit. With the 1300 mAh battery there’s a gap (easy to lose a radio that way), with the 1800 mAh battery it’s too tight.
  • The antenna on the NSTIG-8R heats up fast at maximum RF output; the behavior resembles that of a Baofeng UV-5R stock antenna. The antenna appears to be reasonably efficient though. More tests are in order.
  • No such problems with the antennas of the ANILE-8R, the TERMN-8R or OBLTR-8R.
  • The NSTIG-8R, TERMN-8R and OBLTR-8R can display the remaining battery voltage. Measurements show that the radios are surprisingly accurate. If the radios say “8.1 Volts”, it really is 8.1 Volts. The ANILE-8R will round it down/up to the closest integer.
  • The TERMN-8R is difficult to use on SW because it defaults to 10 KHz steps. SW stations are 5 KHz apart, not 10 KHz. You can use the keypad to enter the correct frequency though. I had the bug confirmed by John; it’s now on the ‘to do’ list and will be fixed.
  • The more I had the TX audio compared by other hams, the more impressed I (and they) became.
  • There’s an odd problem concerning spectral purity with all x-band capable hand helds I reviewed. It only occurs when both VFOs are active; we (me and a few more knowledgeable RF lab gurus) are looking into that right now.

 

Wireless Mobile Radio Microphone

If it weren’t so expensive ($120 without the microphones) I might have picked one up.

It would only have left me with the problem of the frequencies these microphones use: 221 – 259 MHz. Not allowed here in NL.

Repeater

Repeater-2

  • Freely move, easy communication
  • Compatible with different brands mobile radio, like Icom, Yaesu, Motorola, Kenwood and so on
  • Walkie talkie between hand-microphones
  • 500 meters communication range between mobile radio and hand-microphone, between hand-microphones
  • Torch light function
  • Identification function
General specifications
  Repeater Hand-microphone
Frequency range TX: 221MHz
RX: 259MHz
TX: 259MHz
RX: 221MHz
RF power 80
Number of channels 199
RF power 250mW 500mW
Battery pack 1500mAh (Li-ion)
Frequency stability ± 2.5PPM
Power supply DC 8.0V
Operating temperatures - 20°C — + 60°C
Dimensions (W * H * D) 133 * 88 * 27mm

Review Anytone OBLTR-8R

by John ‘Miklor’ K3NXU and Hans PD0AC

xOBLTRI now get a chance to review the OBLTR-8R which is  a slightly scaled down version of the TERMN-8R which is the top of the new 8R series offered by Anytone. The only outward difference between the two models is the absence of the orange keys on the left.  Once again, when you get one in hand, it becomes very obvious that these radios are were not meant to be competition for the lower end brands, but more of a match for the Wouxun and existing Anytone radios.

This radio is FCC Part 90 certified (Commercial) applications, as well as Part 95A GMRS and 95J MURS services.  For GMRS and MURS, the frequencies and power levels hard coded in the firmware.  Anyone with dual licenses may now only need to carry a single radio.

What’s in the BOX
There you’ll find the radio, a nicely written and illustrated 104 page English manual, belt clip, wrist strap, Earpiece/Microphone, 7.25 inch (18cm) flexible antenna and hefty 2200mAh 7.4V battery with charger.
OBLTR-8R box
The side of the battery has a small charging jack for the optional 12V mobile charger is available for on the road charging.

First Impressions
The overall weight and feel of the radio is solid. The top of the radio has both a Volume/PowerOn switch and Channel Selector knob. The left side has the PTT button and well as two programmable function buttons. The right side has a 2 pin ‘K2′ Kenwood, Anytone, Wouxun, Baofeng style connector. Programming cables and Spkr/Micr for these radios will be totally compatible.

My prior Anytones have somewhat of a concave keypad, where the OBLTR-8R keypad buttons are level and easier to access. Also, the keypad numbers and definitions are illuminated making manual programming a bit easier.

Transmitter
The OBLTR-8R, like its big brother the TERMN-8R, also has  3 power levels that can be changed from the keypad. In the GMRS and MURS mode, the power levels are fixed, per certification requirements.  Audio level and quality reports were excellent.

Receiver
The OBLTR-8R has a single Dual Watch receiver that covers
VHF – 136-174 MHz           UHF – 400-520 MHz
FM Broadcast – 64-108 MHz  (with 100 memory channels)
It incorporates Fast Scan with a scan rate of approximately 10 channels per second.

Some measurements

Power Levels on the test unit were as follows:
VHF – 5.6W, 1.9W, 0.9W
UHF – 4.75W, 2.3W, 1.2W
GMRS – 4.25W
MURS – 1.8W

Sensitivity
Sensitivity VHF (@ 145 MHz): -126 dBm (@ 50Ω, 12 dB SINAD).
Sensitivity UHF (@ 435 MHz): -125 dBm (@ 50Ω, 12 dB SINAD).

Harmonics
Good numbers: -57.54 dBm on VHF,  -54.74 dBm on UHF.

OBLTR-8R-VHF

OBLTR-8R-UHF

When in the Dual Watch mode, the receiver continuously samples the main and sub-band for activity.  To eliminate adjacent channel interference, the radio’s receiver reverts to true Narrowband when selected.  A full 1W of audio makes the receive quality both loud and clear.

GMRS and MURS operation  (FCC part 95A / 95J certified)
Like its big brother, the OBLTR-8R can be switched to operate on any of three modes. GMRS, MURS or Commercial/Normal. To eliminate the possibility of being on the wrong band, a Key Press at PowerOn selects either GMRS or MURS mode. Channel frequencies are hard coded in the firmware as well as their power levels, but allow for CTCSS/DCS tones can be added/changed via the keypad.

Commercial Application (FCC Part 90 certified)
For Commercial, Fire, EMS and EmComm use, the OBLTR-8R is fully certificated with 2.5kHz steps, and software which prevents Field Programming.

NOAA Weather Alert
The seven US NOAA weather alert frequencies are preprogrammed into the radio. There are 3 options to choose from. ON, OFF and ALERT. When WX Alert is chosen, the NOAA weather channel remains silent in the background until the 1050Hz emergency tone signal is received. This is especially useful in areas where severe weather conditions are prominent.

Dual PTT Capability / Programmable Function Keys
There are two PF keys below the PTT switch. Either can be programmed to function as a sub-channel (lower display) PTT button, while the PTT switch activates the upper channel.

The PF keys can also be used to select your choice of:
– Battery Voltage display
– Frequency display
– Tone Calling (DTMF/5TONE/2TONE)
– FHSS (Frequency Hopping)
– Tone Pulse (1750, 1450, 1000 or 2100Hz)
– Alarm Button
– Dual PTT
– MONI (Squelch off)

Channel Banks
The radio supports 200 channels and 10 memory banks. Scanning Group 0 will scan all programmed channels entered into the transceiver. Banks 1 > 9 can be assigned up to 32 channels each.

I found a nice added feature that isn’t on my 3318UV-A. If I want to remove a channel from a particular bank, I can dial in the channel, press two keys, turn the knob and it’s gone. Eliminates the need to me to use the computer to delete the bad ones.

2TONE Sequential Paging
This is extremely useful for the EMS user. I personally have used 2 tone pagers in the past. I can now monitor local EMS channels with one radio.

Pager-ChEditDetailed instructions on how to set up the 2-tone and 5-tone paging system can be found  HERE.

Software
The OEM software is relatively easy to follow, and with a little practice, easy to navigate. Some areas may be a bit tricky, and I’ll try to address those area in the Miklor FAQ section.  CHIRP developers are aware of the new Anytone 8R series, but it takes time to backward engineer a radios software.

As always, it is recommended to get a quality programming cable so you spend more time talking on the radio and less time loading special drivers to your PC. I personally use an FTDI cable that is Plug ‘n Play with no driver issues.

Upgradeable Firmware
The OBLTR-8R has Upgradeable Firmware. If features are added in the future, your radio is not obsolete. The firmware can be updated (re-flashed) by an authorized dealer so you will always be able to  have the latest version available to you.

IMHO
The developers of the Anytone OBLTR-8R packed a lot of features in a small package. The inclusion of:
– Certified GMRS, MURS and Commercial in one radio
– Upgradeable Firmware
– 200 channels/10 Banks
– Dual PTT
– 2TONE / 5TONE / MSK Messaging
– Stun / Kill capability
at a price tag under $100 level is pretty darned impressive.

Comparison
There are four models in the 8R series. At the top is the TERMN-8R, followed by the OBLTR-8R, NSTIG-8R, and the ANILE-8R.  Confusing?  Here’s a hint. They are alphabetical.  That’s the only way I can keep them straight.

For a comparison between the OBLTR-8R and the others in the 8R series, you can follow this LINK

Price: $98.89 USD (Amazon)
More Information:  Anytone Tech, Miklor.com