Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Radio & Sainsonic RST599

I sold a couple of radios lately in order to buy some others and I've ordered one and I'm pondering the other.

The one I've ordered is a long overdue Baofeng UV-82. Considered the flagship Baofeng by many operators, the UV-82 combines the hugeley successful UV-5R with better RX and TX audio quality, slightly higher power output, dual PTT, and the compatibility with most UV-5R accessories.

I've been wanting one of these for a while to add to the collection and when I saw one on eBay brand new for £22 I ordered it. They came as a pair for £44 so me and my good friend Ben 2E0GXE from InsideElectronics split the cost in half and got one each.

I can't wait for it to come this week so I can give it a test. Unboxing video to follow.

The other radio I've been looking at for quite some time is the Sainsonic RST599. This is a great looking radio with a much better screen layout which features little icons etc. It isn't like any of the other Chinese handhelds knocking about in terms of how it looks and it is also apparently submersible!

HamRadioConcepts tested this on YouTube with interesting results. Check out his review video below:

The price of this radio is around £45 delivered so I may invest in the coming weeks just to give it a try. I'm unsure on the styling of the radio however it does look very rugged and sturdy. I think the sloped buttons are a bit off putting but it's what's inside that counts I guess.

The frequency range is 136-174 on VHF and 400-520 on UHF with an impressive 240 memory channels which is double the Baofeng radios. It has 7 interchangeable backround colours (green, yellow, cyan, white, blue, purple and red) and claims to be IP67 waterpoof. Power is 1w/5w.


Dual-band, dual-frequency, dual display, dual standby
A / B-independent operating frequency
240 memory channels
Automatic Repeater Offset (ARS)
Manual repeater shift
CTCSS / DCS setting
Show CTCSS / DCS code
Priority channel scan
On password setting
7 background colors for RX / TX selectable (Green, Yellow, Cyan, White, Blue, Purple, Red)
Date and Time Setting and Display
Alarm clock setting
Auto Power Off (APO)
FM Radio
DTMF function
DTMF address
Stun and kill DTMF
Emergency alarm call
Automatic Contact & Call
Flashlight lighting
IP67 waterproof

I also noticed while flicking around the net is that the radio seems to be a copy of the Sailor SP3500 Portable Series marine handhelds by Cobham. These radios cost £400-£600 and come with all sorts of bells and whistles. See spec sheet here.

Sailor SP3500 Portables

Sailor SP3500 Portables 

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.

Baofeng BF-UVB2+ Power Test With GY561 Meter

Baofeng / Pofung GT-5 Power Test With GY561 Meter

Friday, July 24, 2015

Baofeng UV-5R Programming

I've had quite alot of people asking how to programme UV-5R's without software, how to solve the com port not found issue and numerous other things so I've done a couple of tutorial videos. Enjoy.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

TYT TH-9800 Plus First Impressions

So I received my TYT TH-9800 last week and thought I'd share some thoughts on it.

The radio is a quad band transceiver that is gaining popularity in the radio world. It transmits on 10m, 6m, 2m and 70cm. The power output on high is 50 watts on 6m and 2m and 40 watts an 10m and 70cm. I got this off an eBay power seller who I've bough from before and it cost me £177 delivered which I thought was pretty good.

I bought the radio to replace my aging Icom 207 in the car primarily but also to monitor air band, and a broader VHF and UHF range rather than just 2m and 70cm. This enables me to monitor UK simple and PMR frequencies as well as other business and community repeaters that handle large volumes of commercial radio traffic.

It also gives me two bands that I have no other capability of using which are 10m and 6m. I still need to get the appropriate antennas and try my luck from a local hill to see if I can make any contacts on those bands.

Yaesu Copy:

The radio is an almost exact copy of the Yaseu FT-8900. It has identical control layout, display and menu options, minus the packet menus and data port. The TYT comes complete with separation kit, normally an optional extra with the Yaesu. The mic socket on the TYT is on the main unit whereas on the Yaesu it is on remote head.

In The Box:

When I opened the box it contained the following:
  • 1 x TYT TH-9800
  • 1 x DTMF microphone
  • 1 x Mounting bracket and fixing screws.
  • 1 x Power lead.
  • 1 x Manual
  • 1 x Remote head extension cable.
  • 1 x Remote head mounting bracket.
  • 1 x TYT programming cable and software CD.

Frequency Range:

One of the things that attracted me to this radio is the frequency range. As I said it covers 10m, 6m, 2m and 70cm on transmit but it also covers alot of other frequencies such as air band AM in receive only. It also covers 760-950MHz receive but that is not much use in the UK.

26-33MHz RX/TX and AM RX
47-54MHz RX/TX and AM RX
108-136MHz AM RX
136-174MHz RX/TX
320-399MHz RX
400-480MHz RX/TX
750-950MHz RX

  • Cross band repeat.
  • 809 channels.
  • 5/10/12.5/15/20/25/50KHz channel spacing.
  • 50 Ohms, unbalanced(Antenna Duplexer bulit-in)
  • Dual watch capability. 
  • Auto AM select.
Mk II Version:

This is the so called MkII version called the TH-9800 Plus. According to the manufacturer:

The old 9800 works as a repeater, yet it suffers severe
consumption and poor service life. Our 9800+, the latest
version released by TYT company, which has fixed some
bugs and provided more stable and sustained performance.
I don't know what the issues were with the previous version and can't find much on the internet about it so who knows. 


I had to reinstall my USB serial drivers for the programming cable to work for some reason. I plugged the radio in to my laptop and was surprised to see that the programming cable socket on the radio is the mini USB type found on digital cameras and such devices. I was expecting a 3mm socket or the miniature phone type jacks.

I opened up the usual software but decided to try Chirp which worked a treat. Just like you'd programme a UV-5R, I entered my RX and TX frequencies, CTCSS, channel name, modulation, split, power and a number of other things and after editing settings in the software I wrote the file to the radio. Simple!

Useful Features:

After programming the radio I took everything down to the car to start installing it. In my car, getting a cable from inside through to the battery is a nightmare so I was dreading trying to feed the cable through. Nor did I want to drill any new holes for the mounting bracket. Upon inspecting the current setup and the new radio I was pleasently surprised that I didn't need my wire coat hanger and rolls of electrical tape to pull the cable through the wiring loom gromet or my drill for new holes. Turns out the power lead off my Icom radio fits perfectly and the existing mounting bracket fits too! It seems TYT made the effort to make this radio compatible with other manufacturers unlike my TH-9000 which has a slightly different power connector. I swapped my old Icom out for the TH-9800 in less than 5 minutes and was ready to go.

I gave a call out on 145.500 and immediately got a station coming back from about 5 miles away on his Baofeng in the back garden nice and clearly so at least it worked! I had a quick scan round and everything seemed ok.

The microphone has a lock button which is handy for operation while driving. It also has a button to turn the keypad light on and off which is pretty useless. The microphone is very well made unlike the mic on the TH-9000 which feels quite cheap.

The radio has a remote head which comes on a 4 or so inch cable. There is a space cable in the box which allows you to put the radio to go under the seat and mount the head on the dash of the car. One snag with this is that the microphone plugs into the radio and not the radio head so you couldn't put the transceiver itself too far away as the mic lead is moulded into the mic and does not unplug.


The radio has dual watch capability with a split screen so you can monitor both VFO's at the same time which is pretty handy. The only thing is, when you key up on one VFO, the other VFO's audio is not muted so I've been chatting to a friend on my local repeater on VFO A and then VFO B has come to life causing me to re-transmit its audio which is a bit of a pain.

Side A is quad band but side B is VHF and UHF only for some reason, not that this particularly matters but you couldn't monitor 10m and 6m at the same time.

Quite a severe bug I found within minutes of testing this radio is that if the A-F buttons on the front of the radio which select between bands are pressed, any settings programmed in such as frequency step, bleep on/off, programmable key allocations and every other item in the settings menu reverts back to factory settings. This a major issue but luckily can be worked round by using the microphone and other buttons on the radio instead of A-F. I use the mic whilst driving so I can work round this, if this radio was being used in the shack I'd be senging it back to the seller. I have yet to programme the radio with the official software as opposed to Chirp so we'll see if that solves the issue although I doubt it. I'll be contacting TYT regarding this.

Scan can be hit and miss, sometimes it passes strong signals such as repeaters that are giving a 5/7 signal.

The radio gets hot! Even on 10w after prolonged use.


I have mixed feelings on this radio. It is a cheap radio and you get alot of radio for the money. For a quad bander with remote mounting kit and 800+ channels you get value for money. As I said above, there are a few bugs which I still need to try and figure out. As for TX and RX on VHF and UHF I'm very happy so far. I've yet to try the other bands including air band. 

I've had very positive comments on audio and transmit quality on my local repeaters and also on simplex operation. Receive audio is loud and clear although a bit bassy likely due to cheap speakers being used in the radio. I may upgrade to an external speaker in due course.

There are alot of positive reviews and some very negative reviews reporting complete failure within a few months of operation. Time will tell!

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Got this radio in the post recently and thought I'd share some thoughts on it. Enjoy:

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Taken From G7FQW @ Transmission1 Forum:
Hi everyone,

As some of you already know (I previously mentioned and you requested further info) RADARS (Rochdale Amatuer Radio Society) will be holding its very first annual Radio Direction Finding Foxhunt on August 1st 2015.

The event will be open to members and non-members alike. All will be welcome.
We will be starting from Owd Betts Public House, Edenfield Road, Rochdale, OL12 7TY and meeting at 5:30pm for a 6pm start.

This will be a vehicle based hunt which can be entered as teams or individuals according to your preference. However all participants with vehicles are encouraged to team up with those who do not in order to ensure everyone can take part in the event.
As a minimum you will require a 2M 144Mhz FM radio receiver or transceiver with a signal meter and a suitable antenna such as a small yagi or other directional antenna.

What you use is entirely up to you but whatever you decide, skill will be the most important factor here.

Attached in Microsoft Word format are the rules for the event.
Read them carefully. They are important.

On the day of the event participants will be given a printed copy of the rules along with emergency contact details of the fox or his/her representative.
You will need to arrive in good time to register your entry before the 6pm start.
Please make the effort to support this event and please feel free to spread the word to members and non-members over the air.

The more people take part the better, and don’t forget there is a built in excuse for a beer and a bite at the end too.

An example DF antenna for you is the tape measure Yagi and you have just enough time to build it.

Any questions ask here or PM me and I'll pass them onto Eddie G7DNM who has organized it.

If anyone wants to come down to the club we meet at the Norden public library 7:30-9:30 Wednesday evenings.

Will be good to see people attend this and maybe it will be come a regular event.

DF Hunt Rules*

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.
Note: The rules file is from an external source. I won't be held responsible should any files be lost or and damage caused to your computer be caused from downloading this document.

Friday, July 10, 2015

HYT HH-508S LED Antenna

So after watching these antennas for a year or so I decided to buy one. I got it more to see if it works than actually use it and the results were pretty interesting. I paid around £5 delivered from AliExpress and it came within about a week.

I got the red coloured one as it was the cheapest. Some of them go up to £18! It came in a little green slip case with the specs printed on the side; 2.15dBi, 50 ohm impedance and a max power rating of 10w. They come in green, yellow, blue and red.

I put it on the radio and did a bit of a range/audio/signal test to see if it worked and upon checking the clips I recorded, my home station lost signal from the antenna at the 2 mile mark as I descended down onto the motorway. I stopped the test here as I thought there was no way I'd get any more out of it. However, when I reached my destination 10.6 miles away I put a count out and the radio from home heard it which I found amazing from a Baofeng radio and what is essentially a stubby antenna which is sucking RF to power an LED! I did the same test the next night and got a 5/9 signal from the same spot. (See video in previous post).

I unscrewed the top that was glued in poorly to reveal the insides and the two LED's and a diode were just soldered to the inner core of the coax. Not sure how much stick it'd take before it came loose really. It also confirms that the LED's run straight off the RF from the radio.

The last test was to test the brightness of the antenna in the dark and it is very bright! All in all a great little antenna which sure beats the gimmicky flashlight on the Chinese radios. Not sure what the SWR is like on there but at 4w output power I don't think my Baofeng will suffer. Not that I intend to use the antenna much either!

Thanks for reading!

73's, Lewis M3HHY.

Manchester, UK.