Posts Tagged ‘baofeng uv-3r’
Is the Baofeng UV-3R Mark II really modifiable to 220 Mhz?
The answer is yes, and no. Using the software utility available here you can stretch the coverage of your UV-3R Mark II. This
only works on the Mark II (dual watch display) and the new Plus model. There are two options for changing the coverage. You can stretch up from VHF or down from UHF. Only the UHF option seems to work. Now, before you run off and do this, let me pass a few warnings. First of all, the UV-3R is NOT designed to do this, so transmitting at full power on a band your radio was not designed to work on has the potential to fry something. Second of all, most users have put the output power between 1 and 16 milliwatts (yes, milli), and my tests concur with this. It does receive OK on 220, but not as well as it does on 2M or 440. The procedure can be a little complicated, but there is plenty of help at the UV-3R Yahoo Group.
So, does it really work? During my morning commute, my train passes south of my club’s main repeater site. Now this is on a rather high building, in one of the highest points on western Long Island, and is pretty much line-of-site for a 4-5 mile stretch of my train ride. I tested to see if I could key up our 220 machine, and it seems that the effective range was about 4 miles this morning. Now that was just keying the repeater up. I’ll have to check to see if I can actually be HEARD on it. For listening to the 2 or 3 220 repeaters near my office though, it works fine. Also, keep in mind that this was all done with the stock antenna, which is most likely far from optimal at 220 Mhz.
Once again, I can’t stress enough that if you don’t want to risk breaking your radio permanently, don’t try this. So far, my little radio has suffered no ill-effects, but your mileage may vary.
Stupid UV-3R tricks
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?
His and Hers
I haven’t posted so much lately. Sinus issues have kept me from really spending the time on anything other than work and the necessities of life. There are some great goings-on here on Long Island though. My lovely and amazing fiance had been studying for her Technician license for the last month or so. Armed with a notebook, access to the QRZ.com practice tests, and Gordon West’s book, she finally took and passed the exam this past Saturday. Now we just need the callsign. A friend of ours once told us that there are two types of Ham Radio spouses. Ones that embrace the hobby, maybe not to the fullest, but will attend picnics and events, and there are the ones that run screaming from it. I have been blessed with a fiance who fell in love with the Ham Radio community, and the people we have met through it. I’m not sure that I’ll ever come home to find her staring at Smith Charts, but I think she and I might get to fight over the soldering iron a bit.
Well, anyway, on to the Baofengs you see here. She sort-of owed me a birthday gift for awhile, and I thought she needed a congratulatory gift for passing the exam, so we ordered his-n-hers Baofeng UV-3R Mark IIs. I know quite a few hams that have purchased these little gems and most are quite pleased. Now, I understand that I cannot expect the performance of a $300 Kenwood, or other similar HTs, but the value is quite amazing. Here in the NY Metro area, a small 2 watt HT is not a bad thing to have.
As I do with practically everything I own, I have started the process of learning all I can about getting the most out of these little radios. I will post the results as I experiment. So far so good though. Stay tuned, more to follow.