New Shack Addition

No, I wish I had added on a shack, but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon I’m afraid. But, I have a new radio to go into the little corner of the guest bedroom I currently use.

The Milledgeville Amateur Radio Club’s Holiday Brunch also included a mini-hamfest. I wasn’t planning on buying anything, but I found a deal that was irresistible. Someone was offering two IC-228H with power supplies. Dad had been looking at getting a mobile unit to use as a base station, and I had been getting tired of having to move my ADI between the truck and my desk, so it was a perfect opportunity.

One of the power supplies was blowing fuses, but that was okay because I already had my MFJ. With the excitement of the holidays, I didn’t get a chance to set it up until today. It is working wonderfully! I live in an apartment, so I am stuck with an indoor antenna, and my location is in a nightmare zone for VHF anyway, but it gets me into all the local repeaters I use on low power, so I am writing it up as a win.

Now, if I could only find such a good deal on an HF rig… 🙂

New Addition – Baofeng UV-82

While I realize Baofeng radios are not the most revered brand in the world, you still can’t beat the price. Yesterday, I received my UV-82 in the mail, and I just finished getting it programmed, thanks to CHIRP. This is my second Baofeng, along with my UV-5RA that I plan to now use for APRS, once I get another TNC (my Mobilinkd had a critical failure on the circuit board, and needs to be replaced).

I haven’t got to use it much yet, both of my local repeaters are off the air for maintenance, and my office does not lend itself to being able to reach the repeaters in the neighboring counties that well. But, it does fit my hand much better than the smaller UV-5RA and has a somewhat sturdier feel to it.

It does receive better; I can at least hear the WB4NFG repeater (roughly 18 miles away) even though I can not be heard by it, at least from inside the building. While, I’m sure it will not be my last HT, it is a fun addition for the time being.

Baofeng UV-5RA

While I by no means think this is the greatest radio ever built, it is largely responsible for me getting back into the hobby. Let’s face it, I work in education and the compensation is more intrinsic than quantifiable. That made this perfect for the budget.

While it can be a pain to program (go ahead and buy the cable, it’s the only way to do more than five channels and maintain any resemblance of sanity), once the memories are set, it is fairly easy to use. It allows you to rapidly move between frequencies by directly entering the memory number. You can also use the A/B button to toggle between two frequencies. It has a FM Broadcast feature that allows you to listen to the radio while you are not actively talking. And, for pure cool points, it has a flashlight/strobe. While it is not extremely bright, it is functional to see your way in the dark.

One drawback I’ve seen is that is very susceptible to interference. Being on campus, it is not uncommon for me to overhear the ground and maintenance crew on amateur frequencies.

No one will confuse it with a top of the line hand held, it does make a great first radio (since Radio Shack decided to get rid of the HTX-202) and lets new operators get their feet wet in the hobby before shelling out more money. With the low cost, it is also possible to get several to have as back ups, or paired with a portable TNC for APRS/Data use.