I’ve been taking the time to get my new Baofeng handy programmed up with all the VHF/UHF repeater frequencies, so it’ll be up and running for my next mountain camping trip. After getting my head around Baofeng’s menu system (thanks to some great information found online), I realized it was going to take a long time and much finger burn to get it all sorted.
Although it could all be done via the menu, I’m getting old and trying not to waste any time left. Experience has taught me there’s always a short cut, even if some can be a little dangerous 🙂
In a nutshell, CHIRP is a nice simple piece of software that makes it easier to get data on (and off) a wide range of ham radio gear.
You can use it to retrieve data from one radio and upload it to a new one (very handy if you’ve already done the hard work elsewhere) or to bypass the menu nightmare all together and use ever so easy cut/paste to quickly program a radio.
As an idea of the time saving with CHIRP, in just over an hour and I managed to program in the full set of 2M repeater channels along with the ones on 70CM that the Baofeng can make use of (including repeater offsets). Keeping in mind that I’d done a bit already with the radios menu system, I couldn’t even begin to imagine how long this would have taken if done via the keypad alone.
Something to Remember
While I was inserting the computer data cable into the handy, it sparked into life and started transmitting. This only lasts until you begin the transfer between PC and radio, but its still a little bit of a surprise and you may want to reduce power along with parking the radio on a frequency that’s not going to interfere with anybody.
Making it Easy on Yourself
If your planing on getting a Baofeng (or other similar radio), I’d highly recommended spending that little bit of extra cash on the data cable, if only to stop your fingers going numb from the repeated keyboard use.
CHIRP is a free program (but you can always donate if your happy with it) that’s primarily made for Windows based computers, but will run on other operating systems with a little playing about.
All this information and the download links for CHIRP can be found over at chirp.danplanet.com