TYT, Bao, QYT, Anytone, etc.....are these any good?

colodak

Adventurer
Perusing ebay, I see all these other radios, TYT, QYT, Baofeng, Anytone, etc., for much cheaper than Icom, Yaesu, etc. Are they any good, especially for a beginner? Tried reading some reviews on Eham and other sites, but it became confusing. I'd see 10 people giving 3 or 4 stars to the things, then a bunch of people raving about them, then suddenly a bunch of people trashing them. Just wanting a 2m/70cm, only have my Tech. license. I currently have a Yaesu handheld, but it only does so much.
 
Well. You get what you pay for. I have a $35 baofeng and a $450 Icom id-51a+. You have a Yeasu, so if you get a baofeng you will understand the difference.

The Chinese radios do that have very good input filtering so they get overloaded easily. If I hook a baofeng to the antenna on the roof of my house then the city noise causes it to recieve nothing at all.

Baofeng radios also don't recieve weak signals very well. The icom can hear stations that the baofeng can't hear even with the squelch manually held open.

The programming on them is a pain, and the software in them is very slow. Changing channels in scan mode takes an entire second per channel. My id51 can do 40 channels per second. The baofeng's memories are incredibly limited. This probably isn't an issue in the sticks, but I have 200+ repeaters in range of my house. 128 memories does not do the job. I also travel alot and not having to plug into a computer to refresh the memories from the on board SD card is awesome.

The baofeng's transmitter is also pretty crude. It puts out a signal, but it also puts out signals on other frequencies (spurious emissions).

The battery life is 1/10 of my Icom when in scan mode.

I can get more then 10 baofeng radios for the price of an id51, but I don't want to carry 10 radios around with me. I just want one that actually works.

That being said, while an Icom is better, a baofeng is still useful. The radio you have will get you on the air much better then the radio you didn't buy yet.

It's more about your antenna then your radio for VHF/UHF anyway. If you put a good outdoor antenna up as high as you can get it with good (lmr400 or better) coax and you'll be really impressed with your Yeasu. I can hear and talk to a repeater 70 miles away on top of a ~3500 ft hill. I can do this with one watt of TX power ("lo power").

I'd you are talking about mobile use then get a good halfwave vertical antenna and mount it in the middle of a good groundplane. I rarely need more the 5 watts even while mobile.
 

lugueto

Adventurer
Mixed reviews is the best you're gonna get.

The most general concensuses will be "You get what you pay for", "worth every penny of the 25$" or "get a radio from the big three"

I had a Baofeng UV5R as a backup/loaner/spotter radio and was always pleased with its performance as a handheld. Granted, I'm not a serious hobbyist. I just need mobile comms.

I sold the UV5R and bought a Yaesu FT60R. The difference is increidible in pretty much every single aspect.

If you can manage, get a good quality radio. You will be able to depend on it for the long haul. If you're a beginner, then theres no problem running chinese radios, but bear in mind they can lack performance or not last very long.
 

arz

Adventurer
"I currently have a Yaesu handheld, but it only does so much."

It probably won't do any more than your Yaesu. And it probably won't do it as well.

They are fine little radios for the money, but they are cheap little radios.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
 

Klierslc

Explorer
SuperNewb Ham here, but I read your post to mean that you want to do more on 2m/70cm than you are able to do with the hand held. As mentioned, the antenna is the biggest bang for your buck. If you want to go with a more capable radio (transmission modes, features, power, mounting, etc) then I think that a Chinese radio is a decent step in the right direction. I have only Chinese radios and as I am learning more, I am identifying the places where A. the radio is lacking, and B. It is important to me to address that shortcoming. When I decide to get a new radio, it will be a quality transceiver but it will be an informed purchase of a radio that has everything that I want.

Cheers,

Dan
KN4FEH
 

JimBiram

Adventurer
I have a Yaesu Ft-1 plus two Wouxun UV3 radios. The receivers are great on the Wouxun and they are durable. But the price is closer to $99 bucks. I love my Wouxun radios even though the Yaesu will do more cool stuff. But for simple utility and durability the UV3s are excellent


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camp4x4

Adventurer
Slightly more experience but recently not-so experienced. I know where you're coming from.

Here's my $.02: if you're interested in doing anything more than talking on a few channels, you'll get sick of the cheap ones fast.

I have:
TYT TH-9800 mobile radio
3x Baofeng UV-82 HT radios
Yaesu FT-60r
Yaesu FTM-400dxr

I have tried:
BaoFeng BF-F8HP
Luiton LT-588UV
Luiton LT-590

Here's what I've found in all the messing around I've done:

The expensive radios generally have a certain refinement to them. It's hard to put a finger on it, but the radios are just generally better to use in lots of little ways. However, in general, if you're simply interested in basic radios that you can program to a few frequencies and never think about it again (like a glorified CB) then sure, go for a good cheap radio. I do like my TYT TH-9800 as a very basic radio. Even the LT-590 is a good, super simple radio. You'll have to program it manually, but hey, you're only gonna do it once, right?

Now, if you want a REALLY terrific mobile radio with a lot of fun features that are well executed you'll want to look at the Yaesu FTM-400dxr.

However, since you haven't really said what you want to do, and have only asked for opinions on the cheap radios... there ya have it.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
aaronvogel's comments I think are worth highlighting. He's talking about the interface and features being more complete on the Yaesu but consider that under the hood the major brands have done 10x the engineering and testing that a Chinese company likely has done, the hardware is going to last longer and work better. This discussion is centered around analog radios but on the digital side, DMR in particular, several Chinese radios have been banned from a lot of repeaters because they have terrible performance. They can be counted on to splatter far outside their channel bandwidth and the time slot adherence is awful.
 

camp4x4

Adventurer
DaveInDenver is starting to get into a highly valuable but rather technical side to the discussion that's often lost on even experienced hams.

There's MANY technical requirements that radios are supposed to meet; ones that are set out both by the FCC for compliance to their operating rules and by standards organizations for compliance to the technical guidelines (such as the DMR specs). Search for "baofeng harmonics" and you'll find plenty of people who've shown that these radios are so cheap, in part, because they really don't adhere to the rules and guidelines appropriately. Theres been little similar testing on makes other than Baofeng, but I'm inclined to believe most if not all of these radios are guilty of the same kind of engineering "looseness" that Baofeng has been called out for.

For a quick explaination of the harmonics issue: radios are only supposed to transmit on specific frequencies as allowed by governing bodies (such as the FCC in the US). When a radio transmits it doesn't naturally transmit on only the frequency you've tuned it to; it also transmits on what's called harmonics of that frequency. Good radios have filters to remove or greatly reduce the harmonics. The cheap radios slack a lot in that area. These harmonics can cause interference with other stations in the band and stations or devices outside the band even. Avoiding interfering with other users is pretty much the #1 goal of an ethical amateur radio user.

So, take that information and do with it what you will when making a purchase decision. For DMR - where as DaveInDenver points out the radios simply can't be used on many repeaters - the choice is easy. With analog it's a little harder because the radios appear to be functioning fine and the user will likely never be aware of the interference their harmonics may or may not be causing.

EDIT: For those who can't be bothered or are finding the few conflicting results, here's a well documented test of various models - UV-5R, UV-82HP, FT-1D, MD-380. As you can see in his read-outs the results are mixed but generally show the filtering on the cheap radios is poor.
 
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DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
I do tend to derail threads, aaron. That link to the spectrum analysis for the UV5RA is cool. Thanks for posting it. Looks like it's almost a decent transmitter but seems to lack good engineering practices or perhaps just indifference.

It could be worse, but I wonder if he tested for channel bandwidth, frequency stability, phase noise, modulation index. My guess is the spurious noise is only the tip of the iceberg. It's what the FCC would care about, staying within the band, but the total quality of the radio is how much you respect your fellow hams.

It's like those guys on CB that you hear on 3 channels, it's the RF equivalent of flipping off other users when your radio is poorly designed, maintained and/or operated. In this case you may literally step on other users, perhaps rendering a close in repeater or simplex channel unusable. Since amateur radio is self-policed it's not illegal to use a cheap transmitter (as long as it stays within spectrum rules generally) but considered poor form.
 

BigSwede

The Credible Hulk
I have a Baofeng UV5R (actually it is my second one after the first one decided to stop working). It works (for now anyway) and was cheap, but then I picked up a Yaesu FT-252 handheld. It is sooooo much easier to use, and built so much better, to me it was worth the 3x price over the Baofeng.
 

PabloM

New member
I have a Baofeng 3T-3P with a Sainsonic INF-661 antenna. What I can tell you from personal experience is that it does the job well for the money. I used to have a 50 watt Yaesu VHF Radio mounted in my Jeep and it was amazing, but you have to invest more money. Baofeng does better than a regular UHF (Talkabout from Motorola for example) and a regular CB. So I think that is a good entry level to this kind of communications and the decide to put a little more quality into it. Would I rely on the baofeng in a boating activity. NO. Security demands better quality.

My 02.
 

KG4NEL

Observer
I've never seen a reason to change from the Yaesus I've used (have had a VX-5R, FT-60R now for the last couple years), but I think if I ever want to play around with 220MHz some day I may pick up one of these, for the same price as a 25-year old Icom.
 

wirenut

Adventurer
I just read an article in an older QST magazine, I think it was from late 2015. It was about a group of hams who set up a test for spurious emissions at a hamfest every year. Anyone who wanted to could stop by with their hand held radio and they would test it to see if it met the FCC spec. Basically all the Yaesu, Icom, and Kenwood radios had a nearly 100% compliance rate. The Chinese radios were around 20 to 60 percent compliance.
So yes, the Chinese radios "work" but their output is filthy. I don't know how they get this stuff past the FCC when most of it doesn't meet the specifications for approval. I wish they would stop selling it, it would clean up the air waves. We don't need a lot of spurious emissions all over the place in the ham bands.
I have Yaesu radios that have been in use for over 20 years. They still work like new and I can program them easily from the front panel.
 

Klierslc

Explorer
Just curious, have you ever had somebody with a 5w HT actually create enough spurious emissions to interfere with your signal? I'd wager that folks who don't follow the band plan cause more interference to other users than any spurious transmissions from an HT
 
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