[amsat-bb] In addition to a Baefong UV-5R, what should one get to work SO-50?

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Mon Mar 7 20:34:02 UTC 2016


I saw your direct e-mail as well as this post on the -BB, but will
answer you in the public forum for the benefit of others as well.

I have used a pair of the Baofeng HTs for working SO-50. I
have tried
two UV-5Rs, two UV-82s, and mixing one UV-5R and one UV-82. When
mixing the radios, same or different models, I swapped which radio
was used as the transmitter and receiver. I even posted a YouTube
video with audio from working one hamfest demonstration with the
UV-82/UV-5R combination in 2014:


​I added photos and slides with text to the audio, in making the
video, as I did not have actial video of the demonstration.​ In
the video, I went with the UV-5R for the transmit radio, since it
has a two-way PTT that can directly key either VFO, and a speaker-mic
that could also key either VFO directly. This let me put 145.850
MHz in both VFOs for working SO-50, using different PL tones in
each VFO for waking the satellite vs. talking through the FM repeater.

​A second UV-5R could work to make a full-duplex station for SO-50.
Many have used two UV-5Rs, or a UV-5R with another Baofeng (or other
low-priced Chinese-made HT) to make a full-duplex station. The price
is obviously low enough to do that, without breaking the bank. It
can be done, but there are almost as many that have had frustrations
with the two-Baofeng setup for satellite work as those who have had
success doing.

If the budget for the second radio is more than the price of
a UV-5R or UV-82 type of radio, I'd recommend going to something
like one of the traditional ham manufacturers, or possibly Wouxun -
radios that generally have better receivers than the Baofengs,
no matter which Baofeng model you choose​. The unfortunate facts about
​many of the Chinese-made HTs - outside of possibly newer Wouxuns -
is quality control on the assembly line borders on the nonexistent.
One UV-5R might be working well and within the appropriate technical
requirements for use on the amateur bands, where the next unit off
the assembly line is horrid. There was a recent QST article that
addressed this point, based on ARRL testing of HTs at Dayton last
year. From my testing, I'd prefer to use a Wouxun KG-UV8D over
almost anything Baofeng (or the other HTs based on the UV-5R, sold
under a zillion different names), especially on the receive side.
Even better, in terms of a Chinese-made HT, would be a Wouxun
KG-UV9D - the one Chinese HT that seems to have a nice receiver
that finally starts to approach what comes from the traditional
ham manufacturers. The KG-UV8D and KG-UV9D will also work full-duplex
for AO-85, where the uplink is on 70cm, but both fail for full-duplex
using 2m uplinks (SO-50, LilacSat-2).

​I have not put any of my Baofeng or Wouxun HTs (or the others from
different Chinese brands) on test equipment. All of my testing is
from buying the radios, trying them out, and seeing what happens when
working the satellites. I have not tried the two-Baofeng combination
for AO-85 yet, as most of my Baofeng testing was done in 2014 when
we only had SO-50. I did more testing recently with Chinese-made
HTs, trying to clear up some misstatements online on whether or
not any of those HTs could be used to work AO-85 full-duplex.


Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWk
Twitter: @WD9EWK

Patrick in particular, I know you have done a lot of testing with the
> Chinese Radios, at least for AO-85, can you advise what this ham
> should get and which one to use for up/down to work SO-50 in addition
> to what they already have? I assume the purpose is to work
> full-duplex.

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