Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bad things about the Baofeng UV5R

Hey guys

Probably you already found a ton of articles telling you how awesome the Baofeng UV5R is, today
I'm going to do something different, I'll tell you all the defects I found in it.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's an awesome radio, specially considering the bang for the buck factor,
and I would buy another one without doubt, but I didn't want to write just another UV5R article...

So, lets get down to business.
- The manual sucks. The manual is just a few pages long, doesn't give you much details about the unit
and doesn't explain clearly how to program it. Lucky for us there is a great website with a ton of
information about the UV5R, check it here:
- There is no reception power indicator, the indicator is binary, you are receiving something or you

- You can't update the firmware. The microcontroller is an OTP (One Time Programmable). Once 
'flash' programmed at the factory, it cannot be changed.

- There is a known 'quirk' with the UV5R receiver. If a scanned channel has an R-CTCSS (PL) tone 
of 136.5 Hz or lower, the receiver will not stop on that channel. R-CTCSS (PL) tones of 146.2 and 
higher work fine.

- Scanning speed is really low, to scan 1 MHz at 5KHz steps it takes 59.65 seconds, while my Yaesu 
FT270 only takes 7.45 seconds. Test was performed scanning from 147 to 148 Mhz without finding 
any station during the scan.

- The charger input voltage is 10v, so you wouldn't be able to plug it directly to your car battery.

- Some people report a low mic volume, didn't happen to me, the solution is to carefully enlarge the 
mic hole.

- The Alarm function. Man, WTF is that crap? When you push a button named "Call" to the side of 
the unit, it will start emitting an alarm sound and turning on and off all the lights, and depending on 
the mode it is configured it will also start transmitting the alarm! You gotta see that for yourself, 
check it HERE. Biggest problem with that is that the button is in a position that is very easy to push 
by accident, in a tactical situation you are dead meat if that turns on. Also, there is no way to 
deactivate the function programmatically, so I think the solution is to open the unit and break that 
button, the problem is that you'll lose the FM radio if you do that.

- The flashlight, its very useful with the exception of the strobe mode that is totally useless, but the 
problem is that is turned on by pushing the MONI button, so the chances of turning it on by accident 
are really big, and in some situations that can ruin your day. Best solution, put some tape over the 
LED or when you open the radio to break the CALL button, also disconnect the LED. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Number stations and other shortwave radio oddities

Hey guyz

I'm about to start the course to get my HAM license and started looking for "number stations".
No one really knows what number stations are, although I'm sure they are a way to transmit messages
to spies overseas, who else but a government could have stations with the power to transmit non stop
weird shit into the air since WWII?

If you are curious about this stuff you can check this site called Mystery Signals of the Short Wave
that's great for starters and for sure will get you hooked into the subject.

Then you can visit where you can continue your research, and enjoy an
awesome FAQ document.

Also I'd like to share with you this video, where you can see a collection of weird stuff there is or was
in the airwaves.


Various recordings of shortwave radio oddities, numbers and noise stations. These mysterious 
broadcasts are found on shortwave bands and they are - or appear to be - with no definite purpose. 
These signals are said to actively haunt the airwaves after World War II at beginning of the Cold War. 
With the collapse of the Soviet Union many expect these stations to disappear overtime but radio 
monitors indicate these signals continue to exist with new ones surfacing every now and then along 
with stations that have operated for 30 years.

So what are they? There are many speculations what these numbers stations are; theories point to 

covert government-sponsored broadcasts for spies abroad, illegal activities such as drug trafficking, 
for various scientific research and undisclosed military operations. However, to this day, no 
 organization, broadcaster or country ever admitted the use of these stations.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Lacs - Keep It Redneck

Fuck yeah

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