The BAOFENG Radio Crap!

I usually don’t use commercial radios. But recently I have got a Baofeng BF-17H VHF/UHF handheld transceiver for under 20€ from a guy from my radio club. The radio has not been used and came in the original package.

Having heard bad things about BAOFENG before, I thought “A radio cannot be worse than 20€!”. Now I know: It can. My opinion in short on this radio: It’s just crap what the Chinese guys are selling!

The main problem: I could approximately do nothing with that radio because the User’s Manual they added did not fit the radio that was in the package! It obviously had been written for another radio. And so were the manuals available on the internet. The menu structure described in these manuals was completely different from what appeared on screen. So I had to try to program a repeater offset for my local 2m-repeater using “try and error”.

Going to their website to get a possibly updated manual also is useless. All you can get is a Windows software to program the radio. For me, who does not use Microsoft products, this does not make sense. But at least I was able to receive the repeater. The reception was very weak, the audio was pretty noisy and the signal seemed to be weak.

Update: After 5+ hours I succeeded at least in activating the repeater setting in the radio’s VFO mode: The menu point “OFFSET” must be set to the desired offset frequency (with me “0.600”). Then in Menu “SFT-D” must be set to “-” to get a negative OFFSET. BTW: Don’t forget to set the right “T-CTCSS” sub-tone frequency as well!

Nobody ever mentions the possible meaning of “SFT-D” in the “manual”. Why should one? And, as you might guess, this procedure for setting the repeater offset is never mentioned anywhere in the f….. manual! My hint for boring winter evenings: Scroll through the menus to find more funny abbreviations but no explanation for them!

Needless to say that this procedure does not work with a memory channel. I wonder if these guys ever check if their software might be faulty. Thus you have to make all the settings (Repeater offset, CTCSS etc.) first in VFO mode and then transfer that into memory channel. But nothing about that can be found in that lousy “manual”! It’s all just guessing.

Another catastrophe is the harmonics suppression. With a carrier of 145MHz the strength of the 1st harmonic was roughly 20dB below that of the basic frequency:

Boafeng Type BF17-H harmonic analysis.
Boafeng Type BF17-H harmonic analysis.

Result: If you have time and would like to waste it or want to bother other frequency users: Buy a BAOFENG! And if not, do this:

The right place for a Baofeng radio.
The right place for a Baofeng radio.