Baofeng squelch: measurements

Erik PE1RQF offered to do measurements on his Baofeng BF-F9, before and after changing default squelch levels with Chirp. As expected after field tests, the differences are substantial. Here they are:

VHF (default settings, thresholds in dBm)

SQ Set BF-F9 setting Threshold
1 40 -124,6
2 41 -123,8
3 42 -122,2
4 43 -120,8
5 44 -120,6
6 45 -119,9
7 46 -119,4
8 47 -118,8
9 48 -118,4
VHF-Default

VHF, Default thresholds

VHF (new settings, thresholds in dBm)

SQ Set BF-F9 setting Threshold
1 24 -130,4
2 29 -131,4
3 34 -130,9
4 39 -129,6
5 44 -125,5
6 49 -120,1
7 54 -115,3
8 59 -110,2
9 64 -105,1
VHF-New

VHF, new thresholds

UHF (default settings, thresholds in dBm)

SQ Set BF-F9 setting Threshold
1 29 -140,1
2 30 -130,9
3 31 -129,0
4 32 -127,4
5 33 -126,6
6 34 -125,4
7 35 -123,8
8 36 -123,0
9 37 -121,6
UHF-Default

UHF, default thresholds

UHF (new settings, thresholds in dBm)

SQ Set BF-F9 setting Threshold
1 24 -133,1
2 29 -133,1
3 34 -125,6
4 39 -120,7
5 44 -114,1
6 49 -108,6
7 54 -103,6
8 59 -97,6
9 64 -93,7
UHF-New

UHF, new thresholds

Adjusting Baofeng squelch, first results

This morning I re-programmed some Baofeng radios using the latest Chirp Daily Build.

Confirmed to be NOT compatible: firmware BFB231 and BFB251. You need BFB291 or higher. You can check this by powering up the radio while holding the ‘3’ button.

Confirmed, no issues:

Model no: / Firmware version according to Chirp:
UV-82, B82S25,
GT-3, BFS311
GT-3 Mark II, N5R-213 / BFB297
GT-3TP, N5R3401 / BFP3-25
GT-5, B82S25

The actual effect on the squelch varies from model to model. The UV-82 and GT-5 for example stay more sensitive than the Sainsonic GT-3/MKII/TP versions. The latter are nearly deaf at SQ9.

Fixing poor squelch levels on Baofeng radios

After reviewing the GT-3 Mark II, a radio in which many problems were solved, the poor, sometimes meaningless squelch levels on various Baofeng models were one of the few things left on my ‘The Perfect Baofeng’ wish list.

Squelch levels improved somewhat over time, but it just wasn’t enough. The slightest whisper of a modem, router or switch still opens up the squelch, whatever the setting. It seems that this annoyance will become something of the past. No, not thanks to Baofeng, but thanks to the efforts of the Chirp development team.

A new ‘daily build’, available within a few days, will let you decide when the squelch opens up – either when receiving a tiny noisy signal, or when a repeater around the corner starts transmitting. The image below (courtesy Miklor.com) shows how the the new ‘Service Settings’ option will look like in Chirp:

Baofeng SquelchAs you can see you can set a personal threshold for every individual squelch level (1-9), and enter different settings for VHF and UHF. The higher the number, the more signal you need to open up the squelch.

I’ll keep you posted regarding the compatibility with old and new models.