On a recent wild camping/radio play time trip, I noticed a huge difference on receive between my new BaoFeng and the old GRE radio scanner workhorse that comes everywhere with me. Only having a certain amount of time along with the fact that it was pitch black where I was camping, meant not being able to sit down properly and run some comparisons.

A work free Monday doesn’t come around very often so threw a bunch of radios in a rucksack and headed for some local high ground to check it out properly.

Testing

Spending a good deal of time putting both radios on the same frequencies showed a big difference in the the way the squelch dealt with incoming signals. Where the GRE would happily give out weaker transmissions, the Baofeng stayed silent. This also affected those scratchy mobile signals and the GRE would squelch them a lot less than the Baofeng.

Maybe its the fact that the Baofengs squelch is altered in the menu with settings between one and ten, rather than the finer rotary control on the GRE, but even with some of the stronger signals my vintage scanner seemed to do a much better job than the Baofeng.

Another aspect that became very noticeable was the different way both radios dealt with that annoying pager transmission bleed-over. The GRE didn’t have much trouble at all in filtering out the pager ‘hash’, whereas the Baofeng (even with a higher squelch level) was constantly stopping scans on the interference.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Baofeng is a great little bit of kit that’s an ultra cheap way for newly licensed radio amateurs to get on 2m/70cm, it just surprised me that a vintage radio scanner performs better.

Foul Language on 2 Meters

If you’ve ever had a spin on CB radio you’ll know the kind of grief that all too often happens on that band (a lot less these days though), but unfortunately the ham radios allocations do suffer from the same thing every so often and it could be cheap access to equipment like the Baofeng that’s to blame.

Sat on the Malvern Hills about midday, I was listening to radio amateurs having a conversion using a repeater on 145.600 MHz. During the break between every over some sad soul felt he had to let loose with a bout of swearing. The hams did exactly what they were supposed to do and completely ignored the idiot, but were quick to round up their conversion and in a way got denied the peaceful pursuit of the hobby.

Checking the input to the repeater showed the idiot giving an almost fully quieting signal, but with me being up so high that wasn’t a clear sign he was close to me.

Taking this a little further brings you to the radio comms of the emergency services and even though its badly missed by a lot of responsible scanner users, its got to be a blessing that the police no longer use the 452 MHz frequencies (which the Baofeng easily covers), as you can just imagine the carnage they would have to deal with now!

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