Trading freedom for safety

Zendmast Lopik deels in gebruik

Courtesy hamnieuws.nl

Privacy and freedom are constantly traded in for a (often false) sense of security. This has nothing to do with ham radio, you’d probably think, but even our hobby isn’t immune.

Repeaters
Repeaters are only useful if the antennas can be placed high above ground. In the Netherlands we use a number of existing locations, most of which were once used for analog TV and radio. The owners of the towers decided that safety and security will prevail over (safe, terrorist-free) ham radio.

The following systems will be affected:

  • ATV repeater PI6ATV, both analog and digital,
  • 2 meter repeater PI3UTR,
  • D-star repeater PI1UTR,
  • DMR repeater PI1UTR,
  • RX co-location for the 70cm repeater PI2NOS,
  • RX co-location for the 10 meter repeater PI6TEN,
  • Four Hamnet access points and links.

There is a chance that the equipment can be relocated to a lower section of the tower while keeping the antennas on the original altitude. Even in the best case scenario the costs of relocating will exceed the minimal financial reserves – good coax cable is expensive, and we would need a lot of it.

I’ll end with this quote: Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. (Benjamin Franklin)

Anytone Tech’s new models: User Manuals

As Brick also mentioned in in his last post about Anytone Tech: the reactions on the new models vary wildly. I think Brick said all there is to say, but I’ll add this thought:

– If a radio is cheap but crap, we complain, but buy it anyway.
– If a radio is good but costs more, we complain, but suddenly the price is all that matters.

Let’s see how these radios perform and at what price point before judging them. I know John of Miklor.com gets (or already has) review samples, and I’m on the list too. To give you some more insight in what these radios can and cannot do, here are some preliminary user manuals (PDF).

Display

ANILE-8R User Manual (Preliminary)

NSTIG-8R User Manual (Preliminary)

OBLTR-8R + TERMN-8R User Manual (Preliminary)

A few unrelated notes

I had to make some changes to the configuration of this blog.

Comments
As of today comments will be closed automatically after 90 days. This step was necessary due to spam bots which randomly pick an article, many of which are many years old. While Askimet intercepts them all, it’s still a pain to scroll through all of them in order to rescue a false positive.

Review requests
I occasionally get review requests from third parties. To my surprise some people expect me to pay for the hardware and software involved. That’s not how it works: you send me the stuff and I send it back afterwards. The last review request came in today from a free e-mail address originating from India:

I found your blog from internet.
I like to suggest our app Morse Code Guru Pro to get reviewed on your blog. It is as the name suggests, a morse code related app, which has all the features of all morse code apps out there combined and also has the best implementation of each. The app took more than one year to make and is the finest. Please consider it for review.

I’m attaching some pictures of the app.
Thank You
Morse Code Guru Team

Dear Morse Code Guru Team,

first of all I like to talk to people on a first name basis. Secondly I’m not willing to pay you $6.99 on iTunes for your app. Last but not least: Apple? Wonderful stuff, but the last time I touched an Apple was at the grocery store and the last time I touched a Mac was at some hamburger joint. Linux here, my friends, and Android.
Linux-Android

Beware of false claims

On quite a few pages belonging to UV-5R sellers you will run into the following claim:

FM storageUnfortunately this is not true: no UV-5R, UV-82, nor any of their countless varieties, can store FM stations. All you can do is set one default frequency. To make sure I didn’t miss something, I checked with the people behind Miklor and Chirp. They confirmed my suspicions.

If you want to store FM stations, buy a Baofeng UV-B5/B6 (room for 16 FM stations) or the Sainsonic RST599 (room for 20 FM stations). A RST599 review will be posted shortly.

The best and worst of 2014

GT-3 Mark II Stock Photo

A little bit late, but better late than never!

The best Chinese hand held:

  • Baofeng GT-3 Mark II. Good, bright and loud TX audio, a good front-end and a good stock antenna tuned to ham radio bands.
  • The Baofeng UV-B5/B6. Has been around for some time, but still one of the best buys out there.
  • Most Wouxun dual band radios, and the (now ancient) Quansheng TG-UV2. These are more expensive, but worth it.
  • Zastone ZT-2R. Excellent miniature hand held, 100% identical to the Yaesu VX-2R. Receives from 500 KHz up 10 1000 MHz.
  • There are Anytone hand helds which might belong into this category, but these didn’t arrive in time to be incorporated here.

The worst Chinese hand held:

  • To be honest, there really isn’t one. Most just fall into the category “You get what you pay for”, even the $17 Baofeng BF-888S. Just don’t expect top quality. TX/RX audio and the ability to keep unwanted signals out will disappoint at times.

Most interesting hand held developments:

  • Wouxun KG-UV8D and Puxing PX-973. With two independent VFOs and cross-band repeater capability these radios offer more or less the same functionality as a mobile radio.
  • TYT DM-UVF10. This radio combines analog with digital (dPMR), and is dual-band instead of single band. While pricey and not yet 100% perfect, this radio is a shape of things to come.

Best mobile radios:

  • Alinco DR-138 (VHF), DR-438 (UHF) and DR-638 (VHF/UHF). While based on Anytone designs (AT-588 mono-band and AT-5888 dual-band), Alinco managed to shave off the last annoyances that were left.
  • The VERO VR-6600PRO might deserve a place here, but we can’t be sure until we got our hands on one. My review sample is in transit.

Alinco DR-638Worst mobile radios:

  • QYT KT-UV980. A total waste of money, unless the manufacturer sets things straight — FAST.
  • Leixen VV-898. It’s fun, but quality-wise underwhelming in almost every respect. Reports suggest that the failure rate is high.

Best technical ham radio blog:

Best ham related websites related to Chinese radios:

  • Chirp. More and more hams start to rely on Chirp more than on any other radio programming tool.
  • Miklor. If you have trouble figuring out your Baofeng radio, John’s website is the place to go.