Review – Pofung (Baofeng) UV-82HP

by John ‘Miklor’ K3NXU

Not just a Power Upgrade
The new UV-82HP is not just a power upgrade, but a combination of all major features of both the UV82 and UV5R series in one package.

82HPWhat’s in the Box
– The UV82HP
– Newer upgraded A-V85 Antenna
– 7.4V 1800mAh Li-Ion Battery
– Upright Charger and wall-wart
– Manual written in English
– Belt Clip
– Hand Strap

The radio sports all traditional features of the UV82 design, with the larger keypad buttons and the zero at the bottom of the number pad where it belongs, etc.  It also is built using the latest generation chipset.

– The frequency range is the full  136-174.99 MHz, 400-520.99 MHz range.
– VHF output on the test unit clocks in at 7.3W with UHF at 6.0W
– The Dual PTT button is now an option that can be turned off. Previously only available with the commercial version (UV82C)
– Live On-the-Air audio reports are exc
ellent.
– Alpha tags can be added with the required software below.
– The receiver sensitivity is still excellent.

So, What makes this version an upgrade?
– The original UV82 took a traditional UV5R, and added design features such as an upgraded case and Dual PTT switch. (comparison)
– Next came the UV82C which included options to synchronize the Dual PTT function to emulate a Single PTT, and the ability to lock out the VFO to prevent accidental field programming.
– Next came the 8W F8HP, the first of the high power Baofengs.
– An expanded feature added is R-Tone, a repeater tone for those requiring a 1000, 1450, 1750 or 2000Hz audible tone for access. This is not to be confused with CTCSS or DCS. Prior models provided Burst for 1750Hz only.

The UV-82HP now includes all of the above features in one package. The PTT synchronizing, VFO lockout, High Power, R-Tone, and newest generation chipset.

It has kept the traditional UV82 case design to ensure compatibility between all existing options, including Dual PTT Spkr/Micr, battery cases, holsters, battery eliminators, etc.

Feature UV82HP UV82 UV82C F8HP UV5R
High Power  7-8W Yes Yes
Dual PTT Yes Yes Yes
Single PTT Sync Option Yes Yes
VFO Mode Disable Yes Yes
Repeater Access Tones
    1000, 1450, 1750, 2100Hz
Yes 1750Hz 1750Hz 1750Hz 1750Hz
As mentioned above, with software, the UV-82HP can lockout the VFO mode to prevent accidental changes.
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The Factory Software has been added to the Miklor.com  Software section.  The radio has also now included in the Latest Daily Build of CHIRP.
Note: A programming cable is required to run the software. Acquiring a quality cable is highly recommended. You will spend more time using the radio and less time trying to load special backdated drivers to your PC. A generic cable is less expensive, but a cable with an FTDI chip is Plug ‘n Play.
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The UV82HP allows locking the PTT Button to simulate a Single PTT and override the Dual PTT feature.
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Software Note
As you may have expected, running the UV82HP software will not activate or create new features on an older UV-82/82C.
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Compatibility
All of my accessories for the standard UV82 are compatible, including the Dual PTT speaker/micr. With the exception of the battery and charger, all UV5R accessories work as well.
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Conclusion
You can always run this radio in low/mid power to conserve battery, but when you need the extra power, it’s there.It’s nice to see a true upgrade of features to the UV82 series, and not just a fancy case or the addition of extra letters and numbers to the UV82 label.
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A Feature Comparison published between the standard UV82 and its predecessor can be found at UV82_vs_UV5R
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A full in-depth Technical Review of the Original UV-82 was done by Hans last year.
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More Information:  CHIRP,  Miklor.com, Review, BaofengTech

CHIRP Support now available for the new Anytone 8R series

By John ‘Miklor’ K3NXU

CHIRP, software that now supports over 80 different models of transceivers, isCHIRPlogo now providing basic support for the two newest models of the Anytone series, the TERMN-8R and the OBLTR-8R.  CHIRP’s Latest Daily Build can be found HERE.

The advantage of the basic settings is the “spreadsheet memory editor” which will allow owners to:
– import channels from a *.CSV file
– import channels from an *.img filexTERMN-LG
– copy-and-paste the stock config file
– load from external sources like RepeaterBook and RadioReference.

That is a BIG step and additional settings will be added in small groups.

SUPPORT:
Development of CHIRP is an all-volunteer effort and is offered as open-source software, free of charge. If you like CHIRP, please consider contributing a small donation to help support the costs of development and hardware.

More Information:  CHIRP, Miklor.com

 

Inverted High Frequency Loss with LMR-450G

By John ‘Miklor’ K3NXU

PERFORMANCE  TESTS  –  LMR-450G
The recently announced LMR-450G cable has aroused much curiosity since its characteristics have not been collectively available by any one source.  By multiple inquiries to several manufactures (only three at this time) and numerous lab tests, we hope to put many of the existing questions to rest.

DESCRIPTION
The physical make up of this cable varies slightly from most conventional RF cables.  The center conductor is a semi-stranded copper alloy surrounded by Telfon, which will absorb and distribute cable ‘hot spots’ caused by excessive standing wave.  The double silver braid and foil outer coating which provides a 98.6% shield is what the inverted high frequency loss characteristics are attributed.  The loss is substantially less as the frequency increases, making this cable especially attractive for UHF, cellular, PCS and microwave applications.

Measuring cable loss under lab conditions

Measuring cable loss under lab conditions

LOSS PER 100′
30 MHz     2.4 db
50 MHz     2.1 db
150 MHz    1.6 db
450 MHz    1.1 db
800 MHz    .51 db
1200 MHz  .37 db
1950 MHz  .31 db

The cable’s most unique property is attributed to the outer jacket material Neo-glow, an RF sensitive composite plastic which will visibly indicate RF ‘hot spots’ in the cable.  Adjusting the cable length to the antenna system for the ‘perfect’ impedance match is crucial at high frequency, thus the importance of a low SWR for peak performance.

LMR-450G

From 100 Watts and up this cable will brighten up your world.

PROPER  INSTALLATION
The low level emission of light from LMR-450G cable can be enhanced by wearing lightly tinted sunglasses with UV protection, which enhances the light radiation from the cable.  Select an approximate length of cable needed for the installation which must be multiples of a 1/4 wavelength for the desired frequency.  The exact length can be determined by using the formula 467 / Freq (MHz) plus approximately 18 inches.

The initial tests should be run with a 50 ohm dummy load at one end of the cable.  With a minimum of 7 watts from the transmitter, you will see a faint glow from the cable indicating the ‘hot spots’ to be eliminated.  These are the points along the cable where the RF is at its maximum.  It is at these points where the RF connectors should be mounted.  Trimming the excess cable may be required at both ends of the cable to produce the most effective match.  Use caution not to trim too much cable as the loss characteristics improve with longer cable lengths.

SUMMARY
This could be the beginning of the long awaited high frequency “SUPER” cables.  Only available in limited quantities at this time; contact your local cable supplier for more details.

‘USA 1776′ DMR Talk Group

DMR-logoOne of the nice things of D-Star and DMR is the ability to talk all over the world without the need of an HF rig and a bunch of big antennas. While this largely reduces a radio to a simple Internet-driven communication tool – just like Skype or other VoIP apps – it’s definitely nice to use.

There are a few problems surrounding DMR, one of which is the lack of more than two time slots. For example, if hams are using the Dutch Hytera network and occupying talk group 204 on slot 1, World Wide (which uses the same time slot) will be unavailable. Because 204-1 is a busy place, world wide QSOs are often impossible. It’s one of the reasons I thought of dumping DMR all together — I can talk to the same Dutch guys on analog while enjoying a much better quality audio.

There are reasons to keep DMR too. DMR is maturing; there are more than enough possibilities to put less pressure on the nation-wide network by going local. Now if only hams would do that…. but most don’t. Another reason to keep DMR for now is the gateway we recently added, which connects D-Star to our DMR network.

Not available on the Motorola network, sorry — some people responsible for that network appear to be so scared of such innovations that they will ban a repeater from the network if such a gateway is detected.

Talk group ‘USA 1776′ could add to the appeal of DMR. It’s unclear on which network this talk group will reside, but my best guess is that it will be the Motorola network.  MITCON writes:

The “USA 1776″ (English preferred) Talk Group will be distributed worldwide to DMR networks upon request.  The spirit of “1776” is to continue the Amateur Radio tradition of international friendship and to push the boundaries of technology in the new frontier of digital communications.

USA 1776USA 1776 is intended to be a flexible, politically neutral, unrestricted Talk Group that can be used as Push-To-Talk (PTT) or Full-Time (FT) to meet the operating requirements of a DMR Network.  DMR subscribers are welcome to use 1776 as a universal meeting place to “Rag Chew” or as a jumping off point and QSY to an alternative Talk Group if desired.  To add USA 1776 to your DMR Network please contact us to schedule a time for configuration & testing.

Review Pofung (Baofeng) GT-1

I didn’t pay much attention to the GT-1 because I assumed it was just old wine in a new bottle. Time to rectify this, due to popular demand.

We all know the Baofeng BF-666S / BF-777S / BF-888S radios: 16 UHF channels, no display, low power output, a receiver which can be overloaded by snapping your fingers, but they are dirt cheap. The GT-1, co-developed by SainSonic, promises to improve on this concept by adding FM radio, a higher capacity battery and higher power output.

Look & feel
When it comes to looks, the GT-1 looks a bit more modern than its predecessors. The radio is slightly taller and less deep. All in all the GT-1 looks and feels nice. The basic concept didn’t change: 16 programmable UHF channels between 400 MHz and 470 MHz, scramble (voice inversion), a on/off/volume pot, a 16-step rotary encoder and a flashlight. Apart from emitting a steady beam of light the flashlight now offers an ‘SOS- mode: three short, three long and three short pulses.

You can order the radio with side keys in different colors: yellow, orange or green. The (of reasonable quality) manual comes in three languages: English, French and German. Nice touch.

Pofung GT-1Battery
GT-1 Battery LabelAccording to the specs printed on the battery the nominal voltage is 7.4 Volts @ 1800 mAh, the same capacity as the UV-5R battery.  Such a capacity would be in line with the higher power output promised on the radio label: a solid 5 Watts instead of ‘less or equal to 5 Watts’ printed on a BF-888S (which proved to be 2 Watts only).

The first hint of something being terribly wrong was the weight of the battery. It felt so light that I was afraid that it might end up at the other end of the living room if I had a nasty cough. Time to to take a closer look at things. Let’s take a look at the weight first as more cells always translates into a heavier battery.  The amount of plastic used plays a role too, of course. So while this is not a 100% reliable method, it does give you an indication.

Battery weight comparison
Pofung GT-1: 47 grams
Baofeng BF-666S: 54 grams
Baofeng UV-5R: 80 grams
Anytone NSTIG-8R: 96 grams

As you can see the weight of the GT-1 and BF-666S batteries are close. The UV-5R and NSTIG-8R batteries are too, both proven to be 7.4 Volts @ 1800 mAh. The GT-1 battery seems just too light to be in the same 7.4 Volts / 1800 mAh league.

I took my multimeter and checked the GT-1 battery. Not to my surprise it only measured 4.0 Volts (freshly charged), so the nominal voltage is 3.7 Volts only, just like the BF-666S battery. The capacity will likely be the same too, somewhere between 1000 mAh and 1500 mAh.

GT-1 Radio LabelTransmitter
After finding out that the battery might even be inferior to the one supplied with its predecessor I didn’t expect the GT-1 to be able to reach 5 Watts output at all. That proved to be correct. Two samples measured the same: between 1.5 – 2 Watts, depending on the frequency.

TX Audio
A bit brighter and slightly louder than my BF series, which is a plus.

Phase noise and harmonics
Less phase noise than the BF series. There are some unusual peaks visible, but nothing scary.

Pofung_GT-1_spectrumReceiver
At -126 dBm the GT-1 is sensitive enough, but that won’t help you much. It doesn’t take much of an out-of-band signal to make the radio as deaf as a post. Even the local repeater can’t be received in my city center; only if I’m about 3 kilometers away from the center the receiver comes to life.

FM Radio
By holding the upper side key while switching on the radio, the GT-1 will switch to FM radio, something the BF series don’t offer. There doesn’t appear to be a way to tune to a preferred station though; it randomly tunes into stations it finds. This makes the feature of limited use.

Edit: pressing the upper side key shortly will make the radio switch from station to station. Some in-house interference made the system fail when I tested it. The interference caused the scan to stop when encountering these false positives.

RX Audio
A bit raw, just like with the BF series, but more tinny. Audio distorts quickly if you crank up the volume.

Software
The GT-1 can be programmed with the same software developed for the BF series. CHIRP works too, but lacks a few options such as switching on scramble. Changing power output from ‘High’ to ‘Low’ in the software still doesn’t work; the radio just ignores that setting.

The verdict
After being confronted with all the lies surrounding the Pofung GT-1 there’s no way I can justify a diplomatic way of saying things. The GT-1 is just old wine in a new bottle, the battery voltage / capacity is one big lie and so is the promised power output.

The receiver is still disappointing unless you live in the proverbial ‘middle of nowhere’. To make matters worse the GT-1 is more expensive than a Baofeng BF-666S / BF-777S / BF-888S.

In short: don’t buy one unless you’re a notorious masochist. Go for a UV-5R instead or, if you like/need this particular concept, buy the superior Anytone ANILE-8R.