The fix for easily moved radio knobs

First off, our radio knobs were too easy to turn, causing them to get unexpectedly muted or knocked off channel.

Second, I fail so hard at shitposting. I always want to just fire up WordPress and drop a useless shitpost on here then I think of something actually useful and informative. What follows is a failure to shitpost.

I’m still not exactly calling this a great post because I’m too lazy to edit the images.

Step one: pull the knobs off. Pull straight up. The knob may be tight on the shaft, just don’t apply excessive force in any direction if it is. Be patient. On this Hytera it was pretty easy to pop off.


The recess here is what we’ll be modifying. Cut two little circles out of craft foam, mouse pad, inner tube… Whatever rubbery thing you have handy… Or use rubber o rings. It don’t matter.


If there’s no hole in them yet, fold in half and cut a slit.


Press it down the shaft and all the way into the recess.


Reinstall the knob. Test to see that it moves and has more resistance. If there’s no effect, add another layer. If it doesn’t fit back on there, remove it and try a thinner material.

This took me about two minutes per radio I did it on and eliminates annoyance like nobody’s business.

The first time I did this mod was on a Baofeng, so I’m gonna add the shitpost tag. You’re welcome.

All Hail the Bowelfunk

HeartlandPrairie1139notusingconstructionbarHATERS GONNA HATE


I always wished I could hang out at The Max after school, but I never would be able to trust myself not to walk into those railings you see on the left. Dear Eris that looks painful. #fnord
I always wished I could hang out at The Max after school, but I never would be able to trust myself not to walk into those railings you see on the left. Dear Eris that looks painful. #fnord


This wonderful chart just showed up from the November issue of QST, confirming in a good size statistical sampling what I’ve suspected for quite some time:

Baofengs are rubbish.

Click to view full size.
Image from the QST article. Apologies to the ARRL for reposting part of their article without permission… but at this point, we just need to stop buying Baofengs and this illustrates the fact well.







This is kinda nothing new. On the first model they sent over here, the UV-3R, rumors surfaced early on that the antenna was critical. The antenna’s bandwidth limitations were being used as a harmonic/spurious emission filter. If you used a third party antenna, especially one that’s very broadband like a discone, it’d spew. The UV-5R’s are everywhere now and well, aside from you having about a 70% chance the radio works at all, there’s about a 50% chance it has spurious emissions exceeding FCC standards.




You will notice if you look at the chart above that a small sampling (as in, ONE unit each) of Kenwood and Yaesu radios also failed to pass, but I get the feeling those were radios that had soaked up a bit too much puddle water in their years. We hams tend to keep our rigs till they turn to once expensive dust….. then claim they’re STILL wurf way the hell too much.

I think I may still have one UV-5R kicking around somewhere. I haven’t used it in nigh forever, because the last time I did, the receiver started going deaf and shutting down with a crackling sound whenever you moved the radio. It wasn’t a cracked solder joint at the antenna connector (a VERY common problem, historically, on almost all brands of handheld radios). The board was just plain goin’. Either way, after reading this, I’m declaring it to be a [lackluster] receiver only.

At work there’s an ever shrinking bundle of Baofeng/Pofung 888 single band radios that were obtained out of desperation as the old Motorola CP200’s and newer CP185’s all gradually started to fail. They just plain don’t work right. They drift in frequency in mid transmission, emit strange noises, go weak on transmit, or fail to receive. On a side note – funny how the CP200’s lasted over a decade and the CP185’s, now made in China, barely make it beyond three years’ service. I wonder who “Motorola” actually buys them from? Bueller? Bueller? *squelch*


Apparently in the 2012 tests, some TYT radios showed up with half of the small sample being bad – interesting to note that they’ve never reappeared. The TYT [Tytera] MD-380 analog/DMR radio is starting to gain a lot of use lately, hopefully they’ve cleaned up their act!

On a side note, boy, Tytera sure never seemed to use their full name OR the same exact font that Hytera uses for their logo until Hytera started really kicking butt with their DMR line. Gee I wonder why they just happened to jump to similar trade dress. 😉

(Comparing the looks of the MD380 to the looks of a Hytera radio, however, is like comparing the looks of a Samsung Galaxy S6 with one of those toy plastic cellphones that’s full of candy.)

Quick guide to programming the Baofeng UV-5R from the keypad

Well…. I was today made aware that the Baofeng UV-5R dual band handheld radio dropped to below $30 on Amazon, and people are buying them and being, uhhhh, not exactly enlightened by the wonderful instruction manual they come with.

You got the technical writing you paid for, right?


It is not necessary to buy the programming cable. While it makes life easier… you don’t absolutely need it.

Here’s the quick rundown:

Press Menu, scroll through until you find the options SFT-D, Offset, T-CTCSS, R-CTCSS… make note of the number for each one (you can just press menu then this two digit number to quickly access them afterwards to save a TON of time and button presses). Find the AL-MOD option and set it to SITE, and set RP-STE to OFF. (These latter two only have to be done once; they eliminate a couple of common annoyances with the radio … as in, a couple of “features” that tend to annoy others. Trust Me, I’m An Engineer.)

Common oddities: When you’re in VFO mode (the voice if you have it on will say Frequency Mode), the offset and shift direction are assigned to the individual VFO register – as in, top or bottom of the display – not to the specific band. These radios are not smart enough to remember that the common shift is 0.600 mhz for VHF and +5.000 mhz for UHF. They are also not smart enough to autoselect the proper shift direction on VHF or to not slop right out of the band if set up incorrectly.

If you are programming memory channels, you must have the silly voice turned on or you could get a surprise annoyance if there’s something already saved in that channel.Using the radio simplex: Switch to frequency/VFO mode. Press menu, go to SFT-D, press menu again, use the up/down arrows to set 0, then press exit until you’re back at the frequency display. Go to the menu for T-CTCSS and R-CTCSS and set these if you need a PL tone on transmit or recieve; otherwise make sure they (and the T-DCS and R-DCS) are set to off.Turn off dual watch (TDR) before trying to save things to memory or frustration may occur.Saving a simplex frequency to memory: Once everything’s set up how you want it, go to menu -> MEM-CH (I believe it’s 27, your mileage may vary based on firmware version). Press menu and enter the desired channel number, then press menu again – the voice should say “Receiving Memory”. If it said “Transmitting Memory”, there was already something there — you will need to go to DEL-CH, delete the channel’s contents, then go back to MEM-CH and save again. Exit the menus, go back in and do the same thing, the same channel number will still be set under MEM-CH so you only need to press menu twice and the voice should say “Transmitting Memory”. You’re done.Using the radio for repeaters: Start from VFO mode. Note what I said about the oddities above, it’s probably best to always use the top for VHF and bottom for UHF to avoid having to keep messing with the offset.On whichever side you use for VHF, set OFFSET to 0.600. On the UHF side, set OFFSET to 5.000.

Use the menu for SFT-D to set the proper split for the repeater. On UHF this is always +, on VHF it may be + or -, usually + at and above 147.000 (note that our 147.000 in Princeton has a nonstandard negative offset — in other areas it will almost always be +!)

Set the VFO to the output frequency of the repeater.

If the repeater requires a PL, use T-CTCSS to set it now. Once this is done, key up, it should work! Watch the frequency on the display to make sure it shifted the right direction/amount when you began transmitting.

Saving a repeater to memory: PLEASE NOTE THIS IS DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER RADIO YOU HAVE EVER USED, unless you’re already used to the Wouxun or other Chinese radios. The offset/shift settings WILL NOT be automatically saved. You have to program the memory channel twice!

From VFO mode, set the VFO to the output frequency of the repeater. The offset/shift settings do not matter and will be ignored by the radio. Go into the menu and set T-CTCSS as required for the PL tone on the repeater input. Here in Miami-Dade, most of ours take 94.8. Once you’re set up there, go to the menu for MEM-CH and enter the desired memory channel number. The voice should say “Receiving Memory”. If it says “Transmitting Memory”, go to DEL-CH, delete the channel’s contents, and save it again.

You are now halfway there… 🙂

Exit the menus, set the VFO to the repeater input. Go back into the menu, MEM-CH, pressing menu twice should make the radio say “Transmitting Memory” as it saves it. Now you’re done.

Quick note on the programming cable: If you buy a programming cable for the UV-5R and are going to use it on a Windows 7 64-bit system or Windows 8, try to ensure that the cable uses an FTDI serial chip or a genuine Prolific PL-2303. There are TONS of cables out there that use a counterfeit PL-2303, or a different chip that works similiarly but emulates the PL-2303. Prolific got tired of this happening and added a check to their driver which will cause the serial interface not to start (code 10 error in Device Manager). This problem will never affect you on a Linux or Mac computer.