Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Programming the UV-5R - and a word on the antenna

I mentioned last week that manual programming of the memories of the UV-5R was a step too far, at least for me! At the time I ordered a programming cable from Hong Kong. It's yet to arrive, but today, I had an idea.

I currently have a programming cable for a Midland CT-790 here. Now that looks to be a clone of a Wouxun radio and I knew that the Baofeng UV-5R was supposed to use the same programming cable as a Wouxun. Would it work, I wondered?

I grabbed the Baofeng UV-5R software from the link on http://www.uv-5r.com and installed it. There was an initial problem, because the programming lead installed itself as COM11 and the UV-5R programming software only went up to COM8. I managed to convince the cable to be COM1 (that takes me back to packet  days, playing with COM1....) and then fired up the software.

What I thought were error messages were in fact not! They are clearly interesting translations. After a couple of false starts, I managed to get the computer to read the UV-5R and download the memories into the programming software. From there, it was relatively straighforward to modify the memories and upload them back into the radio without incident. The UV-5R software is pretty basic, but it's functional. Don't expect handholding, but it beats trying to program the radio manually.

Since I had the Midland CT-790 (Wouxun KG-UV1P) here, I was curious about the antennas. I swapped the Midland's antenna onto the Baofeng. Where I had struggled to blip up GB3UK on 430MHz with the Baofeng antenna, it worked better with the Midland. Same story on GB3WH on 145MHz. So it may be that the UV-5R antenna is worth replacing - although it's certainly adequate. The Midland antenna is slightly longer and more flexible. The Midland antenna, if fitted on the UV-5R has a slight gap at the base which might not be ideal for longer term use.

All good fun and interesting - remembering this was a radio that cost less than £40. As K0NR comments in his blog on the UV-5R, a rig for the price of a tank of petrol/gas. Way less, for us.....!!

5 comments:

N1SPZ said...

I now have 2 uv-5r's. I am attempting to program the radio with software but am un able. I downloaded the software from the same site as you, as well as the driver. i run the find comprt software with no problem. I can't get the software to talk to either radio.
Im running a netbook with XP

Tim said...

Sorry to hear about the problem.

However, the only thing I can suggest is that one the first attempt to read from the radio, each time I connect up, I get an error. But I ignore it and try again - the second time it works fine.

Just wondering if you have tried it a couple of times?

Tim

Unknown said...

Hi... I have a uv-5r for paragliding. I am totally new to radio's and to be honest I am still unsure of how to set it up after reading the manual and youtube 'how to'. I live near St Ives in Cornwall and know there is a repeater there but Im not getting anything via scanning apart from a taxi conversation a couple of days ago ??? I dont know if I have altered a setting that is stopping me receiving or the radio just isn't man enough. I dont know which settings to select via the menu to help it along... what values to input ??? I am looking at buying a programming usb cable but I think I will still be stuck. Any help on setting up to scan and listen in, what the values might be etc would be great.
Kind regards.
Andy.

Tim said...

Hi Andy,

Good to hear from you. Interesting about using the UV-5R for paragliding. If it has got you as far as listening to the amateur bands for the first time then welcome! The St Ives repeater is on 145.625. The input is 600khz lower and you need a 77hz tone to access it.

The repeater should send a morse ID every few minutes so you should be able to tell that it's working! Hopefully with the visitors to the area there will be some mor activity too. It's a good repeater and and I've used it many times over the years.

You may hear some local activity on 145.500 or around there but start off on the repeater frequency.

I'm not sure if you have an amateur licence or would be interested in one? If you would let me know and I can happily send you some links.

As for the UV-5R - programming simplex frequencies where you listen and receive on the same channel is ok - it's the repeaters that are a pain - but if you only need to listen, you can just program up the output and you're ok.

I hope that helps - at least a bit!

les said...

Interesting reading, looks like a year ago but maybe someone will respond to me on gm4jnw@gmail.com - my english callsign is of course g4jnw as i now live in england rather than scotland
I have just purchased a UV-5R at a very small price and was going to program manually but hadn't thought of doing it by computer, anyone had any success programing with a mac? I have a macbook pro but do run an emulator with windows xp on board.

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