How Baofengs have Helped Amateur Radio
Baofeng radios have been a hot topic in the ham radio community. They have also recently been under fire from the FCC. These cheap radios have been the source of much controversy. But the Baofeng UV5R has a special place in my heart, as the start of my journey into Amateur Radio, and many others. Let’s look into how Baofengs have helped Amateur radio!
Several years ago, I heard about amateur radio during a military radio class on HF communication. The instructor spoke about a community of people using chain fences to talk across the world. I was intrigued. So I went home and started googling. At the time I was a broke college student. Paying several hundred dollars for a radio I may or may not use was not plausible. And then I came across the Baofeng UV5R.
I purchased the radio immediately. 30 Bucks wouldn’t hurt so badly if I decided to scrap the hobby altogether. I waited with anticipation for the radio to arrive, and studied for my exam.
A Whole New World
After I received the radio, it opened a world of possibilities. I know some would scoff at that statement, but for me it was amazing. Quickly, I started a YouTube channel to document my journey. I was in a rich mans hobby, but I made it work. Over the next few months, I made a PSK31 Webpage transmitter, made SSTV contacts, got my feet wet with APRS, built a digipeater, received images from the International Space Station, decoded NOAA. I squeezed every bit of activity I could out of my cheap junk, and loved every second. Over time I realized I’d outgrown my radio and so I upgraded.
UV5R Opened the Gate
My cheap radio opened a world of opportunity. Had it not been for the low entry radio, I’m not sure if I would have ever considered the hobby. I know I’m not the only one with this experience. Week after week I hear new operators on the local repeaters with these radios. It’s hard to determine who would have started anyways. But I know without a doubt, I wouldn’t be writing this blog today had it not been for the Baofeng Radio.
How Baofeng Helped Amateur Radio
I’m not the only one who was recruited into the hobby by Baofeng. These cheap radios have opened the door for many of those that were in my shoes. Whether you’re on the fence, or just don’t have the funds, Baofeng serves as a easy way into the worlds most expensive hobby. I’m not sponsored by Baofeng, but I am an Amazon affiliate. If you’d like to buy one, you can here. Local clubs have even started giving these radios away free as an incentive for earning your ticket. The Baofeng has played an undeniable role in recruiting flesh blood into the hobby, and helped amateur radio as a whole.