Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

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Werthers
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Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

Post by Werthers »

Hi I've been looking around ebay for a very cheap basic VHF handheld radio for a project something for around 15 quid but has to be very basic something like a 16 channel radio with no display or keypad which will cover the 2 meter band. I've searched through all the Boafeng models but can only find UHF models and I need something for VHF.

I'm not familiar with the other cheap Chinese brands

Heres an idea of what I'm looking for... something that is like the Boafeng BF888s but in VHF. Is there something like that radio for VHF?
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Re: Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

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You could get an old VHF GP300 or something, but you'd end up spending more on one of those (batteries, charger, postage) than you would on a Baofeng UV5R which will come with everything. You can program the UV5r to behave like a basic 16ch radio, more or less.
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Re: Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

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26mb04 wrote: 11 Nov 2019, 16:46 You could get an old VHF GP300 or something, but you'd end up spending more on one of those (batteries, charger, postage) than you would on a Baofeng UV5R which will come with everything. You can program the UV5r to behave like a basic 16ch radio, more or less.
A Motorola GP300 would be ideal, although I'm not sure how easily accessible the parts would be inside as I'd need to desolder various bits and solder wires to the board inside for my project. I used to have a whole box of them all programed to the amateur bands but unfortunately they were stolen so I only have a few of them now which I don't want to pull apart for the project but I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for more they do show up occasionally for around 10 pounds I wouldn't pay anymore than 15 pounds for one anyway and the battery wont be needed.

I'm just looking for a VHF radio body only to use the insides of it for a project.

I have an old VHF mini cab radio which has a very nice VHF 35 watt RF amp with an RX pre amp built into it. The mini cab radio is controlled via a diode diode matrix board, the VCO will not go below 148 MHz so it is no good without a lot of modification. It would be easier for me to take the guts out of an old VHF handheld and wire them into the mini cab radio.
Last edited by Werthers on 11 Nov 2019, 20:35, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

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Have you considered a Baofeng UV-3R? I know, they're dual band, but they're small and work surprisingly well, oh, and they're cheap, about £20 new. Keep an eye out for a second hand one and it should be within your budget, you could put a shout out on here. They don't make them anymore but you'll still find some for sale. There's 3 models, the first basic one has a single freq display and two seperate aerials. The second has dual freq display and one dual band aerial. The third is like a small UV-5R with the battery as part of the case, not seperate like the first two. I favour the first basic one personally.
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Re: Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

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Mitch wrote: 11 Nov 2019, 20:32 Have you considered a Baofeng UV-3R? I know, they're dual band, but they're small and work surprisingly well, oh, and they're cheap, about £20 new. Keep an eye out for a second hand one and it should be within your budget, you could put a shout out on here. They don't make them anymore but you'll still find some for sale. There's 3 models, the first basic one has a single freq display and two seperate aerials. The second has dual freq display and one dual band aerial. The third is like a small UV-5R with the battery as part of the case, not seperate like the first two. I favour the first basic one personally.
I just need the guts from a VHF handheld a UV-5R wouldn't be ideal it would have to be a basic VHF PMR radio with no display or keypad which can cover the 2 meter band.

Here are some pictures of the project radio I'm I'm working on.
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Re: Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

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I also have this one which is VHF but really need the programming software for it, its an Icom F1010.

I'm not sure how many channels it has tho but I have a feeling it only has four channel but I wont know until I track down the programming software. I'm also aware that the software for this radio is MS-DOS based which isn't a problem as I have some old dos computers and have the programming cable I just need the software.
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Re: Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

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The software for the F1010 is Out There. That 1010 will have about 16ch stock (I think), and there is an expansion board you can get which will increase that by quite a bit. There used to be someone on that popular auction site who had loads of them. I made a thread here about the IDAT board for those rigs, they are rarer than G2's teeth BUT if you find one you then have all sorts of input/output facilities.
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Re: Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

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26mb04 wrote: 12 Nov 2019, 02:13 The software for the F1010 is Out There. That 1010 will have about 16ch stock (I think), and there is an expansion board you can get which will increase that by quite a bit. There used to be someone on that popular auction site who had loads of them. I made a thread here about the IDAT board for those rigs, they are rarer than G2's teeth BUT if you find one you then have all sorts of input/output facilities.
I had a look at one of those boards, there was a guy selling them for 12.00 pounds each, I took the cover off the Icom to have a quick but I couldn't see where it would plug in to.

16 channels is reasonable for 2 meters. I've been after the programming software for this radio for sometime but have been uneventful with finding a working version. The closest I have is the F1020 programming software so I'll try that.
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Re: Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

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The memory expansion chip plugs into a tiny connector to the right of the main option board connector, with the radio facing you upside down. The last 1010 I bought had the expansion board already fitted, despite only having 3 channels programmed. Most of the main function levels (power, programming, etc) are available direct from the board where the head unit connects to, so if you only need a single channel (for a gateway, APRS etc) you can run them headless or build your own custom head.
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Re: Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

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The I com F1010 would be my best bet for a secondary 2 meter radio. I contacted somebody on QRZ for the programming software so I should be all good to go once I dig out one of my old laptops and providing that I have the correct programming cable.
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Re: Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

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I got myself another 2 meter rig which is a Motorola GM350 I've got it all programed up now on 2 meters but it would still be nice to do something with the Icom rig I've still had no luck with it in regards to getting it programed.
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Re: Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

Post by Freddie »

F1010 can be programmed from a modern PC using DOSbox easily enough, you just need to tell DOSbox that COM1 in DOS maps to COM7 on Windows (or whatever your cable appears as).

If you're used to modern Icom software, it's easy to get around.

I won't link to where you can get the software for obvious reasons, but it's known as EX-1764, which should get you on the right track.

One thing that caught me out is it's a different pinout from modern Icom sets, I ended up using a Chinese clone of the Icom handheld cable, with a little bodge lead I made from a 3.5mm socket and an old network cable
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Re: Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

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Another thing to be aware of is the scanning option. If you want it to scan, you *need* to have one of the mic pins grounded. I think it's the pin labelled off-hook scan, or something. Do check, as I haven't programmed one of these for a while. If you don't ground the right pin, it won't scan, It'll just sit there on the Scan List screen. I remember I modded one of my rigs to be permanently scannable without a mic connected, but then I lost the ability to programme it because the grounded pin was one of the programming pins (I *think*). In the end, I made a dongle from an old ethernet cable which just had the scan pin grounded so I could scan without using my only Icom mic.
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Re: Looking for a cheap basic VHF radio

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Update on the Icom F1010. With a lot of perseverance I managed to program it. It turns out the Icom programming software I had works. The problem was either the interface box or programming cable were not communicating with the computer.

I did some experimentation and got the radio to communicate with the computer using a Motorola interface programing box and Motorola programming cable that I use for my old Motorola PMR stuff and to my surprise I was able to Read/Write to the Icom F1010 via the Motorola interface programming box.

I thought the Icom F1010 only had 16 channels but it actually has 32 channels. All 32 channels on the Icom F1010 are all programed up on 2 meters. I'm quite chuffed with that. Another old radio saved.

I programmed the Icom F1010 in Windows 98 inside a DOS window.
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