Buster Beaver Cerakote
Advertise on Northwest Firearms
Simply Triggers
Low Price Guns
Gun Deals
J&B Firearm Sales
Sporting Systems
Defensive Arts
Oregon Rifleworks
HighLine Firearms
Southwest Firearms
Messages
1,849
Reactions
2,328
The range seems not so great, 2 miles maybe. But I get the NOAA weather station so I know there are repeaters nearby.

I've looked online and have not found the instructions on how to program it manually to be very helpful. What's the deal with these, how do you set them up to actually be able to communicate at a distance?

One video I watched had a guy using ecolink via the internet to talk to a guy across the country. But that seems to be cheating as the internet may be down in SHTF.

Even larger antenna's have not helped with the range of these things. How do you set this up for longer ranges?
 
Messages
1,286
Reactions
3,219
The range seems not so great, 2 miles maybe. But I get the NOAA weather station so I know there are repeaters nearby.

I've looked online and have not found the instructions on how to program it manually to be very helpful. What's the deal with these, how do you set them up to actually be able to communicate at a distance?

One video I watched had a guy using ecolink via the internet to talk to a guy across the country. But that seems to be cheating as the internet may be down in SHTF.

Even larger antenna's have not helped with the range of these things. How do you set this up for longer ranges?
I'm not sure which model that you have, but I have four of them. My wife and I are both licensed "Ham" radio operators and I want to discourage you from operating your radio on frequencies where licensing is required. You can find complete radio setup videos on YouTube.
 
Messages
3,097
Reactions
8,417
The range seems not so great, 2 miles maybe. But I get the NOAA weather station so I know there are repeaters nearby.

I've looked online and have not found the instructions on how to program it manually to be very helpful. What's the deal with these, how do you set them up to actually be able to communicate at a distance?

One video I watched had a guy using ecolink via the internet to talk to a guy across the country. But that seems to be cheating as the internet may be down in SHTF.

Even larger antenna's have not helped with the range of these things. How do you set this up for longer ranges?

Are you a licensed amateur radio operator?
 
You can use Chirp(which is free) to program the radio. You can also set the transmit power levels for the radio with it. You can do all of this manually with the Baofeng's but it's tedious. You will also need the FTDI chip programming cable which is available from Baofengtech.com, beware of counterfeit cables on ebay which are generally pretty worthless. Perhaps a member near you who has Chirp set up can program the radio for you?
You can download Chirp here: Download - CHIRP

As stated above, you need a ham license to transmit with these radios. It's not illegal to own it but without the proper licensing you can only monitor, except in emergency situations.
Start here for licensing. It's not hard to get and pretty cheap.
www.hamexam.org (free study and practice tests)
 
Messages
1,849
Reactions
2,328
You can use Chirp(which is free) to program the radio. You can also set the transmit power levels for the radio with it. You can do all of this manually with the Baofeng's but it's tedious. You will also need the FTDI chip programming cable which is available from Baofengtech.com, beware of counterfeit cables on ebay which are generally pretty worthless. Perhaps a member near you who has Chirp set up can program the radio for you?
You can download Chirp here: Download - CHIRP

As stated above, you need a ham license to transmit with these radios. It's not illegal to own it but without the proper licensing you can only monitor, except in emergency situations.
Start here for licensing. It's not hard to get and pretty cheap.
www.hamexam.org (free study and practice tests)

I thought there was non ham capability with these radios as well?
 
I thought there was non ham capability with these radios as well?
There is. However, they are not FCC certified to broadcast on frequencies other than in the 2M/70cm range. They do work with GMRS/FRS, VHF and MURS frequencies. For GMRS, you need a separate license which you can obtain online (no test involved).
 
Messages
1,849
Reactions
2,328
There is. However, they are not FCC certified to broadcast on frequencies other than in the 2M/70cm range. They do work with GMRS/FRS, VHF and MURS frequencies. For GMRS, you need a separate license which you can obtain online (no test involved).

OK thanks. So how can I increase the range of the radio? We can hear NOAA in some spots but if we move a mile or two we lose the signal. This is in mountainous areas so I'm sure there are some repeaters in the area but not many or the terrain is rough enough that it blocks the signal if you are not line of sight. Also the area is not THAT mountainous. There are hills but not Everest type mountains.

My friend and I tried really long antennas and it made no difference.

What radio is best for longer range capability to hear NOAA and other information such as emergency information?
 
Messages
1,286
Reactions
3,219
OK thanks. So how can I increase the range of the radio? We can hear NOAA in some spots but if we move a mile or two we lose the signal. This is in mountainous areas so I'm sure there are some repeaters in the area but not many or the terrain is rough enough that it blocks the signal if you are not line of sight. Also the area is not THAT mountainous. There are hills but not Everest type mountains.

My friend and I tried really long antennas and it made no difference.

What radio is best for longer range capability to hear NOAA and other information such as emergency information?
It has less to do with the radio and everything to do with the antenna. You also have to consider that you will get longer range using FM (Frequency modulation) than AM (Amplitude Modulation). If you've ever watched a movie where the hero is talking on his radio, you may see that he has a much longer antenna than normal. This has to do with with correct (radio) wave propagation. AM radio doesn't care about terrain, but FM does. It's complicated but very interesting. I can make an excellent antenna that is inside a plastic pipe that is buried in the ground.
 
OK thanks. So how can I increase the range of the radio? We can hear NOAA in some spots but if we move a mile or two we lose the signal. This is in mountainous areas so I'm sure there are some repeaters in the area but not many or the terrain is rough enough that it blocks the signal if you are not line of sight. Also the area is not THAT mountainous. There are hills but not Everest type mountains.

My friend and I tried really long antennas and it made no difference.

What radio is best for longer range capability to hear NOAA and other information such as emergency information?
NOAA broadcasts on several different frequencies and their beacons tend to overlap with coverage. If you are losing it on one, just switch to another. They are listed here:
As @oldcorrpgunny stated, the antenna is everything. The stubby antenna on your Baofeng is not a bad antenna actually, but YMMV depending on terrain, foliage, etc. Nagoya, Comet and MFJ make longer whip antennas that will improve performance. If you live near a Ham Radio Outlet you can pick one up there, or you can order one online. You can also get a mobile antenna for a car to use if you don't mind carrying it around. Baofengtech.com has a nice portable Nagoya magnetic mount that's a pretty good antenna for around thirty bucks. They also sell the NA-771 which is a good whip for your radio.

Edit: Beware of counterfeits. It's gotten really bad with counterfeit antennas on ebay and amazon. There's websites that explain the differences. Best bet is to buy your antenna either from a ham radio shop, Baofengtech or the manufacturer directly. You won't save that much money buying the counterfeit antenna.
 
Last Edited:
Messages
25,997
Reactions
63,229
A homemade dipole made mostly from coax, will work well when you are stationary, and would be lightweight and compact. You can also get a backpack foldable antenna that will work while moving.

Beyond a better antenna, there isn't much you can do with any handset that you want to use while on foot. In a car you can do a few things, or if you are near something where you can have a base station or mobile with more power and a better antenna, then you can get a transceiver at that point and use cross band repeating within the handset distance from the "base" (or mobile) to tap into its power (generally 50 watts). E.G., with the proper setup, and within a limited distance from your base/mobile, you TX/RX on your HT, and the base/mobile repeats with its greater power/antenna/etc. and you get more distance.
 

ATCclears

Messages
6,210
Reactions
12,747
@Bushman as mentioned by others the antenna is EVERYTHING if you want to receive distant or weaker signals, and if you want to transmit using a low-power radio such as a typical handheld transceiver (HT) or a 'QRP' radio such as the proven Yaesu FT-817.

For example, I went to a ham-radio club event in Everett, WA a few years back, paid $20, and we all worked together to each make a Yagi antenna using PVC pipe and metal sections of a measuring tape. See video below.

HUGE improvement on a little Baofeng UV-3R+ radio using that antenna. I could not hear or transmit/work a 70cm repeater located East of you (Tiger Mountain area), but as soon as I connected that Yagi antenna everything was dandy. Of course I had to point the Yagi antenna in the approximate direction to the Tiger Mountain area since the Yagi antenna is a directional/focused antenna.


 
Messages
3,097
Reactions
8,417
@Bushman as mentioned by others the antenna is EVERYTHING if you want to receive distant or weaker signals, and if you want to transmit using a low-power radio such as a typical handheld transceiver (HT) or a 'QRP' radio such as the proven Yaesu FT-817.

For example, I went to a ham-radio club event in Everett, WA a few years back, paid $20, and we all worked together to each make a Yagi antenna using PVC pipe and metal sections of a measuring tape. See video below.

HUGE improvement on a little Baofeng UV-3R+ radio using that antenna. I could not hear or transmit/work a 70cm repeater located East of you (Tiger Mountain area), but as soon as I connected that Yagi antenna everything was dandy. Of course I had to point the Yagi antenna in the approximate direction to the Tiger Mountain area since the Yagi antenna is a directional/focused antenna.


And here's N9TAX's wire j-pole- ish antenna.
Efficient, portable and best gain for the dollar. Especially out of a HT.

 
Messages
25,997
Reactions
63,229
@Bushman as mentioned by others the antenna is EVERYTHING if you want to receive distant or weaker signals, and if you want to transmit using a low-power radio such as a typical handheld transceiver (HT) or a 'QRP' radio such as the proven Yaesu FT-817.

For example, I went to a ham-radio club event in Everett, WA a few years back, paid $20, and we all worked together to each make a Yagi antenna using PVC pipe and metal sections of a measuring tape. See video below.

HUGE improvement on a little Baofeng UV-3R+ radio using that antenna. I could not hear or transmit/work a 70cm repeater located East of you (Tiger Mountain area), but as soon as I connected that Yagi antenna everything was dandy. Of course I had to point the Yagi antenna in the approximate direction to the Tiger Mountain area since the Yagi antenna is a directional/focused antenna.



Even the diff between a directional (like a Yagi or an LP) and an omni makes a big difference - especially when working with a specific reception destination like a repeater. At the higher freqs like 2 meter and 70cm, a signal is very line of sight, so obstacles can make a difference too - the higher the freq, the worse it is. I have a planar directional antenna on top of my roof (2.4 gHz I think) for long distance WiFi, and during the winter the rain and wet trees causes degradation. Snow/ice can stop it altogether.

With a Comet mag mount dual band omni (1.7/4.1 db) placed on my ironing board (for a ground plane) or even a skillet, it makes the difference between hearing the Portland repeater 30 miles away or not - even though it is line of sight. The stubby little rubber duck that comes with the 8 watt Baofeng just doesn't cut it for that, nor does the somewhat longer whip Baoefeng sells. I have a repeater on top of my mountain that is a couple miles away but I think line of sight is blocked where I live because I can't hear it at all.
 
Messages
25,997
Reactions
63,229
And here's N9TAX's wire j-pole- ish antenna.
Efficient, portable and best gain for the dollar. Especially out of a HT.


What you can do with a Slim Jim type J-pole or similar antenna like this is have some paracord with a weight on the end. You can throw the paracord up over a tree limb and pull up the antenna to elevate it - in general, try to raise it above other obstructions at least (if possible) and higher is better for these simple antennas. For 2m and 70cm you want the antenna to be vertical as that is almost always what the repeaters and other receivers will have for their antenna orientation.
 
Advertise on Northwest Firearms
Southwest Firearms
Copeland Custom Gunworks
Let Freedom Ring
Sporting Systems
Cerberus Training Group

Latest Resource Reviews

New Classified Ads

Top