Monday, June 29, 2015

G1XYU Laughing Policeman Life President

The life president of the Laughing Policeman Wireless society has been in the news this week in the form of a legal case involving another radio amateur. Nigel Hopkins (G1XYU) is known for his somewhat unconventional radio antics during the 80's and early 90's which can be heard on the Laughing Policeman website. The LPWS, in its heydey was a large group of amateurs from all over the UK but has dwindled over the past couple of decades with most active stations now QRT. 

Anyway here is Nigels story from the Kidderminster Shuttle:

A BLIND disabled amateur radio ham harassed someone on the airwaves leaving them living in fear.
Nigel Hopkins almost had his license revoked and his radio equipment seized after repeatedly broadcasting hurtful things about someone, who The Shuttle has chosen not to name, while encouraging others to do the same between January 21 and April 25 last year. 

The 62-year-old, who is confined to his home in the Blakebrook area, Kidderminster, unless he is with his carers because of his disabilities, had pleaded not guilty to the harassment without violence charge when he appeared at Kidderminster Magistrates' Court on October 9 last year but was found guilty at a trial in his absence on June 18. 

But, Hopkins appeared at the court again on Thursday, June 25, with his solicitor, Fergus Maxwell, looking to reopen the case in the interest of justice claiming he did not attend or make contact with the court on the day of his trial because he had lost the key to his front door and by the time he had found it, which was difficult because he has been completely blind for a number of years, and was able to speak to his carers, he had already been convicted. 

However, the magistrates did not accept this as a reason for not attending his trial. Chairman of the magistrates Sue Roberts said: "We do not accept you did all you could to notify the court of your difficulty. Your conviction therefore stands." Mr Maxwell said Hopkins maintained his innocence and an appeal to crown court may follow. As it was not possible to sentence Hopkins during the trial due to his absence, he was sentenced during this hearing. 

He was given 26 weeks in custody, suspended for 18 months and made subject to a restraining order banning him from contacting the victim directly or indirectly or broadcasting about them or visiting their home.
Hopkins was also ordered to pay £200 compensation to the victim and an £80 victim surcharge. 

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

More Obscure Chinese Handhelds

I love browsing around on eBay for bargains when it comes to radio and I also love hunting out the new, weird, obscure or sometimes ridiculous Chinese handhelds that keep popping up. I thought I'd share some with you:

Tonfa TF-A300:

This radio is a 16 channel VHF handheld whose manufacturers have jumped on the 'chrome' plating bandwagon. It claims some pretty impressive features, the first one being the apparent 10w power output and the second being its 3000mAh battery. Now some Tonfa radios do proclaim to have higher power than they actually do when tested. Knoxieman reviewed the Tonfa UV-985 which is a Baofeng UV-5R lookalike that claimed to have 8w output power but struggled to put 4w out on both VHF and UHF.

I'd like to think that it does put out the power it says especially when this radio is around £32.99. That is a high price to pay for a shinier Baofeng 888s. The radio boasts the usual features that all of these Chinese radios do including the battery saver, time out function, busy channel lock out and all the other useless functions. I doubt the battery is 3000mAh too!

All in all a nice looking radio but you can get the Baofeng GT-3TP, BF-F8HP or any of the other 8w versions for the same price with 120 something channels and with dual band capability. I'm not sure the extra 2w is going to make any difference anyway.

Tonfa TF-259:

Another one from Tonfa and the thing that drew my eye to this one was that is apparently has an output power of 9 watts which seems an odd number really. It looks like a UHF remodel of the radio above but with less of the chrome work on there. The transceiver is according to the sellers a micro-miniature multiband FM transceiver with extensive receive frequency coverage, providing local-area two-way amateur communications along with unmatched monitoring capability. Well, it isn't multiband and I'm sure there must be better out there!?!?

The radio has 16 channels with the usual features, CTCSS, DCS and offset for repeater operation etc. It looks like another BF-888S clone and at around £31 it does seem expensive again compared to other more capable models and I strongly doubt it puts out 9w. If I had more money I'd love to test all these radios but hey ho.

I much prefer the simple styling on these radios, I'm not a fan of all the add on shiny plates and the futuristing sculpting of the plastic cases they're housed in.

Pofung T-88:

Definitely a Baofeng BF-888S clone here but I do like it! It is very simply styled and the blue looks good on the casing. 16 channels and 5w high power 1w low power which seems more believable however if it is anything like its cousins the GT-1, BF-888S, H-777 and all those types it'll just put out anything between 0.8w-2w on both high and low power settings.

When the various sellers try to win over potential buyers by screaming about the VOX function in the title, you know this radio doesn't pack any special bells and whistles so why is it twice the price of its predecessors? Around £23 for a repackage is expensive.

Don't get me wrong, this radio is a bargain for someone looking for a cheap, short range communication setup. It is still a bargain full stop but if people knew what we know about the BF-888S then I'm sure they'd go for something else. Big fan of the styling though.

Baofeng BF-235:

Not much else to cover on this radio that I haven't alread spoke about above. A very nice repackage of the BF-888S family of radios and the silver would go nicely with my Baofeng BF-UVB2+. I'm definitely watching out for these as a replacement for my BF-888S radios.

16 channel, 5w output (apparently), all the usual functions, and a very nice re-style of one of the cheapest handhelds on the market. The price is more acceptable on this one at around £13-14 delivered so nothing that will break the bank.

Intek KT-930EE:

A very smart looking handheld from Intek which I hadn't seen before. Not alot to report on this one really as it does everything the UV-5R does, nothing more, nothing less. It looks a bit more professional than some of the radios you find out there and at around £25-29, it won't break the bank either.

This radio is a dual bander which has the usual FM radio, CTCSS, DCS, offset, and puts 5w of power out. I don't know much about Intek but this seems like one of their own unlike the next radio I came across...

Intek KT-980HP:

Need I say more? Baofeng UV-5RTP repackaged and a whopping £50 price tag!

I hope you found that interesting, there are more and more of these radios popping up all the time and I always enjoy browsing through them. It goes to show how many suppliers and licensed manufacturers are working all of these marketing gimmicks into their radios so take care when choosing which radio you want to buy. Sometimes you might just be paying for an old model in a new skin.

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.

Baofeng BF-UVB2+ & Pofung GT-5 Urban Range Tests

A couple of range tests completed today on the Baofeng BF-UVB2+ (Plus) and the Pofung/Baofeng GT-5. Enjoy!


Monday, June 22, 2015

Baofeng BF-UVB2+

My new Baofeng BF-UVB2+ came in the post the other day so I thought I'd blog it today. This is one of the newest variations of the UV-5R family and I have to say it has to be my favourite when it comes to appearance.

The radio is silver and black which sounds pretty tacky but it looks the part and makes a nice change to the all black Baofengs. The pre-production drawing of the radio is slightly different to the finished article with the main difference being the colour of the buttons. The drawing is nicer but I do like the final version too.

Pre-production Artwork.

 The Finished Piece.

There is nothing new on the inside of the radio. It is basically just a Baofeng GT-3 in a new shell but I'm definitely a fan of how it looks. It performs just as good too. The keypad lights up really brightly too which adds to the overall look of the radio. Buttons on the front function the same as all previous models.

In the box is the usual manual, charger, antenna, battery and of course the radio. The antenna is much better than the little stock antennas you usually get with Baofengs. It is similar to the Motorola style antenna which looks and performs much better.

New Stock Antenna.

Other radio features are the gimmicky flashlight which is actually brighter than the other Baofeng models due to the reflective cone it is housed in. The PTT is also 'ruggedised' with an extra grip rubber surface which feels a little more substantial than the hard plastic PTT's on other models. The screen is the dark version that is found on the GT-3 and BF-F8HP radios.

Power Test:

145.500 Low: 2.3w
433.500 High: 1.8w
145.500 Low: 5.8w
433.500 High: 4.8w

Overall a very nice addition to my Baofeng collection and a very good looking, high performance radio for the price. The power output is good, audio reports on both simplex and repeater operation are very good and it can be used with CHIRP software and the usual programming cable for all Baofeng radios.

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.

Baofeng BF-UVB2+ Unboxing Video

Monday, June 15, 2015

TYT MD-380 DMR Vs Analogue

I recorded a quick clip this evening with a friend of mine who also has the TYT MD-380:

Very pleased with this radio so far! Unboxing video coming soon.

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

On The Bright Side...

On the plus side to my previous post, I got one of my bargains that I mentioned earlier in the mail yesterday in the form of two Baofeng UV-3R+ handhelds. These worked out £19.99 a piece so I have one and my friend has one.

They're a great little radio for the price and I like the newer style shape of them. The power output is lower than the UV-5R as you can see below but it's a good back up radio. It is still regarded as Baofeng's bread and butter radio by alot of peopl for its rugged shell, great RX and TX quality and its compact size.

Output Power:
VHF = 145.5000 UHF = 433.5000

VHF Low: 0.9w 
UHF Low: 0.8w
VHF High: 2.8w 
UHF High: 2.2w

So all in all a great little radio and one that I'll probably keep in the car as a back up for emergencies. The good thing about them is that they charge up via USB too so I can get rid of those scary 2 pin to 3 pin plug converters! I'll get a video up on YouTube sometime this week.

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.


So my TYT MD-380 DMR handheld came in the post yesterday but I was swamped with work so had no time to play with it yet. I had a couple of hours free this evening and decided I'd load my codeplug into it and low and behold the eBay seller has sent me the wrong programming cable! So I've emailed them and I'll await their reply. My guess is, I won't be playing with DMR for another week at least! Very disappointing.

On a side note, the charger I received from them seems faulty too, the slightest movement makes it go off so I suspect there is a loose connection somewhere along the line.

I'll keep you updated!

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Baofeng UV-3R Wireless Charging

Came across this whilst browsing the web and thought it was a very interesting and handy modification for the popular UV-3R radio. I'm sure it would be of some benefit to somebody but I won't be trying it myself.

Pictures below courtesy of @OK1CJD

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

GY561 Power And Frequency Meter

My GY561 power and frequency meter came in the post today and as you can see in the videos in my previous post the results were a little disappointing in some respects. 

Upon opening the box I noticed a small screw fall out onto the floor and upon closer inspection I saw that it had come out of the back of the device. I thought initially it may have just worked loose with it being a tiny screw in cheap plastic but when I pulled it out of the bag I noticed a rattling noise coming from inside. So i decided to take the back cover off and found that there were 4 metal spacers seperating two circuit boards inside and that the screws fixed into those spacers to secure the back panel. However, the spacers were not fixed to anything and they just fell out. Turns out they were just balanced in there and had all worked loose.

Anyhow it appears that these missing spacers won't affect the operation of the meter in any way and the boards inside are sill pretty sturdy. I snapped the cover back on and just superglued the screws into the holes as they are not needed to get inside the device.

It came with two SMA male to male and SMA female to female connectors and a BNC female to SMA female connector which is handy because I can test any of my handhelds with these. It also comes with a stubby UHF antenna which is for measuring a radios transmit frequency without plugging it in.

After inserting 3 AAA batteries, I gave it a test on a Baofeng UV-5R and the frequency reading on 145.500 was 145.501, 433.500 was 433.501 which I can live with for a cheap Chinese meter. Power output readings seem pretty accurate too.

I tested all of my Chinese handhelds including UV-5R's, BF-888S's, Kirisun S780's and my Wouxun KG-UV8D. I tested high and low power settings on both 2m and 70cm calling frequencies for a fair reading for VHF and UHF and logged my findings in the chart below.

Click To Enlarge

It just goes to show the variations in power between two identical radios and the power difference between the two bands.

All in all I'm happy with the item and after complaining to the supplier about the shoddy quality I managed to get a partial refund which is reasonable as I want to keep the item, it does work and I can't be bothered with the time and effort to ship it back to China.

I'll be uploading some videos in the coming weeks showing the power testing of various radios so stay tuned on my YouTube for that.

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.

GY561 Frequency Counter & Power Meter

Made some quick videos this afternoon. Stay tuned for full review!


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Waiting For The Postman

There's nothing more frustrating than waiting for the postman to come, especially when what you're waiting for is coming from China. I've bought a couple of radios off of eBay and Aliexpress this week and thought I'd share!

TYT MD-380:

I've wanted to get into DMR for a while but the radios out there are too expensive and with the amount of time I spend on air, £200+ is just not worth it for me. Whilst browsing eBay I came across the TYT MD-380 which is a new DMR radio from Tytera. It has received great reviews so far and I can't wait to get it and give it a go!

I got a great deal on this at £109 with a programming cable! eBay treated me to a money off coupon on electronics so I bit their hand off.

Baofeng UVB2+ (Plus):

There's nothing new with this Baofeng. It is the GT-3 repackaged in a nice silver and black case. I saw a review of this on YouTube and thought I'd treat myself. I like the styling on this radio and for the price I've decided to collect various models as they come about.

I think this is by far the most stylish of the Baofeng series and can't wait for it to come! £22 delivered isn't bad either.

Baofeng UV-3R+ (Plus):

I've had my eye on this for a while. Basically a cross between the UV-3R and UV-5R, the UV-3R+ packs all the great features of the original UV-3R with even better styling. No Baofeng collection would be complete without one so I thought I'd get one. They're usually £25-£30 which is more expensive than the UV-5R but I got a deal on 2 for £39.99. So I contacted a good radio amateur friend of mine to see if he wanted to go halves so we got a brand new UV-3R+ for £20 which is a bargain.

I think I'll leave this one mounted in the car for mobile and portable use. It is extremely rugged and nice and compact enough that it will fit into a mobile phone windshield holder.


GY561 Frequency Counter & Power Meter:

Still waiting on this arriving and looking forward to getting some test videos on YouTube for all my handheld radios. Worth a go at £38 with loads of extras added.

Do you have any of the above? Let me know what you think! Drop me a comment or catch me on my YouTube channel.

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.