Baofeng… Not for the impatient

While I was out at the Virginia Beach ham fest I decided to pick up a Baofeng radio. They’re cheap and my Kenwood Tri-band HT is out of commission until I get a new battery pack. 

Leave it to the Chinese to make a radio that is a complete pain to use. Probably explains the cheap price. So if you are looking for a radio that you don’t care what happens to it, $50 is a small price to play. 

When I purchased the radio I purchased the cable and a program disc for it for an additional $10. Beware! I found several malware files on this disc. Thankfully Windows went into high alert and I wiped out the offending software. That’s when I was told to download the Chirp software and things would be easier. 

Nope. Windows said I had the correct driver and assigned a com port but no matter what I selected it wouldn’t work. 

Today I borrowed another hams cable to see if I had a “counterfeit” cable. The cable I borrowed had device errors. So a quick google search brought up a page about needing an older driver for Windows 10. 

Did the driver uninstall, installed the new driver and was getting same cable error. So for the heck of it I plugged my cable in. What do you know… it worked!

This is not a user friendly product. Switching from memory to VFO is a pain. Menu items are confusing. I would recommend you program all of your memory and simplex frequencies into memory and just forget using VFO except rare cases. 

This is not a radio I would recommend to a new ham unless they had an Elmer who is familiar with the quirks and able to guide them through getting set up. 

Make it through all of this then you’ll have a good throw away HT and can keep your more expensive HT safely stored away. Once set up I can see these being good special event/Emergency event communication equipment. 

Will do some follow up articles about programming, etc. in the next few weeks. 

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