So, as some of you may have guessed, I like to tinker. For some reason I’m never satisfied with things the way they are when I buy gadgets. I have an Acer NetBook running Mac OS X, an old Windows Mobile phone running Android Froyo, and a $50 CVS 7″ WinCE NetBook running Debian Linux. If there’s a mod, I want to know about it. I had been reading about the Baofeng UV-3R and its capabilities before I ordered the his and hers models and made sure I ordered a programming cable too, so that I could attempt the 220 mod that’s been talked about. I ordered the cable from someone different than the radios, so as of Thursday it had not arrived yet. Could I wait? Of course not.
I also own a Radio Shack Pro-137 scanner. This is a 1000-channel model that was marketed as a racing scanner. You can usually pick them up on the cheap because of the racing moniker. In reality, these are great all-around scanners, with a stalker function that helps when testing commercial radios. I have a programming cable for the pro-137 that I used, along with ARC software and a RadioReference account, to load all of the local frequencies I wanted. I was thinking that day, after dealing with several other forms of USB-to-serial adapters that these cables are not all that different. Just the pins are different. The scanner uses a 3-conductor 3.5mm plug, and the Baofeng uses a 4-conductor one.
I examined the pinouts for both radios, and realized that the ground and first ring are the same, but the third ring on the scanner’s plug corresponds to the fourth ring on the Baofeng, so it was probably not going to work. I know this because when you plug standard stereo headphones into the UV-3R, you short
out pins 3 and 4 in the radio, causing the radio to transmit. When using headphones though, if you pull the plug out just a little (about a mm), you get one ear (left) of sound. I wondered if this would work with the programming cable. I started the software. and hit the button to download the radio memories onto my computer. After a couple of tries I found the sweet spot. About a mm out there is a slight detent you can feel. That is where you need to be. It works! I will post the results of my experimenting with the software and the mod later. If any of you have one of these cables laying around, it will work. The stock drivers in Vista and Win7 will even work! Some Radio Shack’s have these on closeout still. Stock number 20-047.
The funny thing is this: Guess what was waiting in the mail when I got home?