Let me show you how little I know....

rnArmy

Adventurer
So my little hand-held BaoFeng 5watt arrived today (Amazon prime - they get stuff to you fast). It is charging, and then later today or this weekend I'll try and get some channels programmed into it using Chirp. But not any of those race frequencies that RR programed into their little hand-held I purchased.
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So this BaoFeng has the 2M frequency ability (goes down to 136 actually). I want to program the same frequencies (and names) in both this little hand-held, and in the larger fixed-mount radio once I get it. Someone already mentioned 146.520 (aka National Calling Frequency [is there an accepted abbreviated name for this channel?]). Are there any other common frequencies in the 2M range that are commonly used that I should program into my little radio?
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And as a last-ditch effort with my little RR radio, once I get my BaoFeng programed, I'm going to see if I can pull the program out of the RR radio, and put that BaoFeng program (which will include the 2M frequencies) into the RR hand-held. It is worth a shot (and then everyone else with a RR 5watt will know if it is possible or not). Supposedly you can program a radio, and put that same program into other radio (I saw it on a U-tube video, so it must be true).

BaoFeng radio.1.jpg
 
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rnArmy

Adventurer
I think I'm pretty good at pulling the file from the radio with Chirp, making changes, and uploading them back into the radio (from playing with the RR radio). And I added a channel to the BaoFeng radio via Chirp just to make sure it would take. It did. So the cable I was using for the RR radio works with the BaoFeng radio too.
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I watched this youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mrpqq-xi00g to learn how to pull the file from one radio, and put it into another radio. So I tried it. I made sure I had a ham frequency or two in my BaoFeng radio, saved it as an .img file, connected my RR radio to the computer, pulled the RR file out, and replaced it with the BaoFeng file. And all the BaoFeng frequencies (including the ham frequencies) transferred over, but I didn't get a "Settings" button under the memory tab like the BaoFeng program has (Hmmmm; I was hoping I would). So anyways I uploaded the new (BaoFeng) file into the RR to see what would happen.
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Then I unplugged the RR radio from the computer, and ran through the channels on the RR radio. IT SKIPPED RIGHT OVER THE HAM CHANNELS! It would go from like channel 14 to channel 19. I was hoping I could override the RR program with the BaoFeng program. Nope. Fail. Can't say I didn't try.
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Not saying I'm the expert, but it seems RR has really buried deep within its little radio the inability to get into the ham frequencies (because I couldn't get it to allow me to do so after trying multiple methods). Maybe on the previous RR versions you could Chirp into it, but on this "V2" version, you can't. There's no "Settings" button to let you change the frequency ranges, and you can't seem to override the RR file with another file (from a radio that does allow you to) to allow you to go there.
 
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rnArmy

Adventurer
So what else does and doesn't work between the two radios? AND I AM NOT BADMOUTHING MY LITTLE RUGGED RADIO HERE! It works as advertised - the issue is I was wanting it to do something it wasn't intended to do. As they say "It is what it is". If you remember, I purchased the RR radio with the trail package (or something like that). It came with a taller antenna, and a battery eliminator thing that allows you to power the radio instead from your cigarette lighter socket on your dashboard (replaces the battery on the radio with one with a cord). It also came with a hand-held mike, and a bracket to mount to your dash to hold your radio (I ordered two extra dash brackets - so I have three brackets total).
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1. The batteries don't swap between the two radios - you'd think they would. And they're slightly different spec's wise - even though they look identical. The BaoFeng will work on the RR radio, but the RR radio's battery won't snap into place on the BaoFeng. FWIW, the RR battery has a nice definite "click" when installed; the BaoFeng not so much. Another BaoFeng battery (so I'd have a spare) would be about $8.50 from Amazon.com Original BaoFeng UV-5R Two-way Radio Battery
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2. So the battery eliminator thing that plugs into the back of the RR radio so you can plug it into the 12-volt socket on your dash - it too won't snap into the back of the BaoFeng radio's battery slot. So I'll have to order one of those from Amazon (they're not expensive). $15 from Amazon.com for a BaoFeng BL-5 12V Battery Eliminator for BF-F8HP, UV-5X3, and UV-5R Radios. You can get knock-offs for around $9.00, but I'd rather spend the extra $6.00.
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3. The hand-held mike from RR: It works on the BaoFeng radio. An actual BaoFeng speaker mike from Amazon.com runs about $6.25 Baofeng BF-S112 Two Way Radio Speaker. When I order the battery eliminator thing I might order another mike too (and a spare battery). Edit: done (battery eliminator, mike, spare battery).
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4. The dash brackets for holding the radio: It works on the BaoFeng radio. I paid $10 each on sale (normally $17) : https://www.ruggedradios.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1735 I haven't found them sold anywhere else but from Rugged Radios. A neat little way to mount this thing to your dash (or anywhere else in your vehicle). I've already got a spot picked out on my Jeep's dash.
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My initial plan was (still is) is to be able to mount this little radio on the dash and have a hand-held mike (like my CB radio) and to essentially use it as a (semi) hard-mounted dual-band radio until I got a larger dual-band radio unit. Then I could move this little hand held radio to different vehicles (hence my ordering multiple dash brackets), or use it as a separate radio when outside of my primary overlanding vehicle (vehicle with the hard-mounted larger radio) like when hiking away from base camp.
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radio.4.jpgradio.3.jpg
 
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Kmakser

New member
I would ask for my money back. Not only did they rip you off by selling you a$25 radio for $130, it is illegal for you to actually use it. I made my feelings about these shysters pretty clear in the other Rugged Radios thread.
I am very sorry to hear that , but you are not the only one
 

craig333

Expedition Leader
Pick yourself up a repeater directory ( I prefer the paper ones but theres plenty of apps too) and see whats local to you. Then google some of them. See when the Nets are held. A lot of frequencies may be very quiet until certain times of day. Around my area you may hear "the 805" referring to 146.805 popular with the four wheelers. Wouldn't mean anything to someone out of the area. If someone tells me "meet me on 520 I just assume they mean 146.520 and not some other frequency but of course there are exceptions.
 

rnArmy

Adventurer
Scheduled my exam date for my technician license: 20 January @ 1430 in Saint Helens, OR (less than an hour's drive from where I live).
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I'm using a study book and going over the test pool questions, so I'll show up and sit for the exam at 1430. I'm feeling good about it. What I found interesting when registering was they have a thing called: "Ham Cram amateur radio study and Amateur Radio License examination session". It starts at 0800 (same day as I'm testing); somehow they have a study program set-up where you "cram" for the test from 0800 until about 1600 , and then you take the technician license test that same day. They say they have a 90% pass rate with this ham cram thing. My test fee is $15.00; I don't know what the "Ham cram" fee is. Anyways - I found it interesting (and not something I'd be interested in doing).
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https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ham-cram-amateur-radio-study-and-amateur-radio-license-examination-session-tickets-39024148278?invite=&err=29&referrer=&discount=&affiliate=&eventpassword=
 
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camp4x4

Adventurer
Scheduled my exam date for my technician license: 20 January @ 1430 in Saint Helens, OR (less than an hour's drive from where I live).
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I'm using a study book and going over the test pool questions, so I'll show up and sit for the exam at 1430. I'm feeling good about it. What I found interesting when registering was they have a thing called: "Ham Cram amateur radio study and Amateur Radio License examination session". It starts at 0800 (same day as I'm testing); somehow they have a study program set-up where you "cram" for the test from 0800 until about 1600 , and then you take the technician license test that same day. They say they have a 90% pass rate with this ham cram thing. My test fee is $15.00; I don't know what the "Ham cram" fee is. Anyways - I found it interesting (and not something I'd be interested in doing).
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https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ham-cram-amateur-radio-study-and-amateur-radio-license-examination-session-tickets-39024148278?invite=&err=29&referrer=&discount=&affiliate=&eventpassword=
Yep, that's a common method for getting your Tech license. That's how I did it. Basically you read the questions and correct answers over and over til they're stuck in your head... then just take the test and it's simple memorization at that point. The idea is you learn on the air at that point... best if you have a group of hams around you to guide you - to "Elmer" you in the parlance. You can do the same thing at home, and essentially that's how the apps teach you as well. But if you like actually learning the stuff before you take the test, and can learn from books, then better to do what you're doing. Good luck! :D
 

E.J.

Explorer

I listened to the audio book of this over the week before my test and passed it no problem.
 

Ray_G

Explorer
Yep, that's a common method for getting your Tech license. That's how I did it. Basically you read the questions and correct answers over and over til they're stuck in your head... then just take the test and it's simple memorization at that point. The idea is you learn on the air at that point... best if you have a group of hams around you to guide you - to "Elmer" you in the parlance. You can do the same thing at home, and essentially that's how the apps teach you as well. But if you like actually learning the stuff before you take the test, and can learn from books, then better to do what you're doing. Good luck! :D
I did it via the app way (hamtestonline or something to that effect); made the test easy that's for sure-didn't know about the cram session but that seems solid too.
 

Martinjmpr

Wiffleball Batter
When I got my tech license back in 2011 I found there were a couple of on-line test sites with practice tests that had questions taken from previous tests and that was very helpful. I did probably a dozen of those before I went in and aced my test.
 

rnArmy

Adventurer
To close the loop: I took my Technician's exam today and passed (Woo Hoo). Now I'm legal. Actually, I read the study book and then went over all 400+ test-pool questions four times so I pretty much had the questions and answers memorized by the time I got to the testing site.
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There were about 18 folks taking the ham-cram when I got there, and then two of us came just for the testing. Two for the ham-cram were women, the rest of the guys looked like some variation of me (30-60-ish year old white guys). I was thinking there might be some kids there (boy scouts or something) taking the test, but nope. One of the ladies taking the ham-cram was there just to keep her man company. She did the ham-cram but failed the test. Twice. But I believe everyone else passed.
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I should get my license and call-sign in a few weeks (longer possibly depending on the government shutdown).
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Thanks so much to everyone that helped steer me to this getting my license thing. I had no idea what I was getting into when I bought my little hand-held Rugged Radio.
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Next project: get the radio bracket mounted in my Jeep so it'll hold my little BaoFeng 5watt radio (I'll post a picture once completed). And eventually get a 25 or 50watt dual band radio and external antenna. But I guess for overlanding (this is the overlanding portal right?) this little 5watt BaoFeng is about the cheapest entry into mobile ham radio.
 
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camp4x4

Adventurer
Hey! That's awesome man. :wings:

Bummer about timing with the gov shutdown. I read they may stay open for at least a week. Who knows if that'll include processing ham licenses though. You know how to check the FCC site for your license? http://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchAmateur.jsp Pop your name in there. Format is Last, First.

Pretty cool where a simple radio purchase took you. :D

You'll be happy enough with the hand held for a while. Enjoy it now that you have the whole world of ham radio open to you! :D
 

pagero

New member
Congrats on passing the test!

Next thing to consider would be to get an external antenna for your Baofeng, it will improve your range considerably.

And by the way, that NWOL outing you described earlier in this thread - I went on that one. It was great, hope to meet you on one of our outings!
 

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rnArmy

Adventurer
Congrats on passing the test!

Next thing to consider would be to get an external antenna for your Baofeng, it will improve your range considerably.

And by the way, that NWOL outing you described earlier in this thread - I went on that one. It was great, hope to meet you on one of our outings!
Thanks. And I wish I could have gone on that outing. I keep looking on the NWOL site under "events" to see if anything is coming up (day or overnight trips) but nothing really anytime soon. My Jeep and trailer are itching to go on a little adventure.
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About the external antenna - I've considered it. My Jeep's got a fiberglass top with a roof rack recently installed so it is already pretty tall. I was considering one of these antenna mounts for the Jeep. I figure it would be easy to run the cable under the hood from there and in through the firewall to the radio mount.
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https://www.ruggedradios.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=182_313&products_id=2165 But I'm open to suggestions. I've already got a CB antenna mounted by the driver's side tail light.
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Do you (or anyone out there) have a recommendation for a good dual-band antenna and coax cable to go from the antenna to the hand-held (will have a bracket mounted on the dash for the radio). Links are always appreciated. Till then I've got one of these already (came with the package): https://www.ruggedradios.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=182_840_400&products_id=1359
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Dash bracket (already sitting here in my box with my little hand-held BaoFeng and RR radio gear): https://www.ruggedradios.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=296_1127_1130&products_id=1735 I haven't seen these sold elsewhere (not that I've looked extensively) and I paid $10.00 for it on sale (I bought three actually). And I know there's not a lot of love out there for Rugged Radio.

Tongue.20.jpgHardtop.26.jpg
 
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pagero

New member
I went down to visit the Ham Radio Outlet in Tigard, spent a bit of time talking to those who work there and played with the radios on display. The guys down there were really nice, no pressure. I didn't buy anything that day, but a couple of weeks later I called them with options in mind and asked for advice. This is what I ended up with:

- PulseLarsen NMO-2/70B Black antenna for my ham radio. It's a 1/2 wave antenna for 2m, and from what I can tell that makes it less dependent on a good ground plane.
- Firestik 3' antenna for my CB
- 2 NMO-K NMO antenna mounts with 17' coax, and PL-259 connectors not yet connected to the coax. I wanted the connectors separate to make it easier to get the coax through the firewall. It took me a couple attempts to get the connectors connected properly, but in the end it seems to work well
- Tram NMO adapter between one of the NMO mounts and the CB antenna
- Firestik SS-3H heavy duty stainless steel antenna spring for the Firestik
- 2 Larsen Plastic Rain Cap for NMO Antenna - Black to protect the NMO mount for when I take off the antennas

I went with the two identical NMO mounts, on on each side of the hood, so that I can switch between types of antennas in the future. For example, if I decide I want two ham radios and no CB I can simply unscrew the Firestik and put a different antenna on the mount.

I had previously purchased these brackets from Gamviti, they have a 3/4" opening that fits the NMO mounts. I'm sure you can find something similar for the Jeep.

One lesson learned, the Firestik is heavy, and it makes the Gamviti mount flex quite a bit. I might look for a lighter CB antenna to reduce the amount of stress on the mount and the bolt that connects it to the fender. Also, I was surprised to see that the red cap on top of the Firestik changed the SWR on channel 40. I didn't think that piece of plastic would have any impact.
 
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