I’ve been in the Amateur Radio scene for a year now, which is not that long compared to the old-timers which have had their licenses for 50 years or more. However, that is long enough to notice some of the elitism that exists even in this hobby.
Recently I’ve switched from using long-ish, better-than-stock antennas on my HTs to short stubby antennas which are more convenient for carrying them around. Specifically, I was using the Diamond SRH-519, which is advertised as having +3db gain over stock antennas, while the new antennas are the Maldol MH-209SMA for radios which use normal SMA-male antennas, and the Comet SMA-209J for my Baofeng which uses the odd SMA-female antennas.
From my non-scientific tests within the perimeter of Atlanta, they appear to perform just as well as the stock and long antennas that I was using, at least while using repeaters that are located within the perimeter; I have been able to access every repeater that I would be able to with the long antennas from any location which I would normally use my HTs.
I do keep my other antennas in my bag in the event I need a better antenna for any reason, however over the last month or so I have yet to need them. At the moment, the convenience of short antennas overpower the usefulness of higher gain antennas.
For those of you that were at the TechFest this weekend and wondering where the schematic was for my Baofeng interface, above is the schematic for it. This schematic is also available on Digi-Key’s SchemeIt. Have fun!
Update: I have since taken the BF-F8 HP completely apart and the backing appears to be painted aluminum, not plastic, and have updated this article accordingly.
I’ve gotten into amateur radio recently and therefore have been looking into a lot of different handheld radios. Within the amateur radio market, Baofeng is generally the cheapest and is a good bang for the buck, however there’s a lot of question over what the “real” radios are as Baofeng is a Chinese manufacturer. Specifically, the two largest resellers of Baofeng radios are Baofeng Tech and Foscam (i.e., baofengradio.us). First, to settle the fact that they are both authorized resellers as Baofeng, in a recent press release explaining their renaming to Pofung, referred to both companies as “authorized distributors,” and therefore they both sell “official” Baofeng radios (Foscam as mentioned as “baofengradio.us”).
The two specific radios that seem to be the source of all this talk is Baofeng Tech’s BF-F8HP and Foscam’s BF-F9 V2+; they both use the same radio internally however they have different casings, of which Foscam’s is the same case as the UV-5R V2+. The BF-F8HP also comes with a higher capacity battery, a better antenna, and a better manual, however I’m more concerned with the actual quality of the radio.