The HF radio search begins…

So after using my Baofeng HT for a few months now and getting my feet wet with this whole “Ham Radio thing” , I realize that while I enjoy 2M or 70cm utilizing repeaters, I feel I am really missing out on the bigger Ham Radio picture.

Granted I am pretty A.D.D. so that may be part of it too but since I am about ready to tackle the General Exam, The HF radio search begins, so I can enjoy the other frequencies and expand my contact region and experience.

As mentioned previously I would love to get a KX3 but the unit I want fully configured is just shy of $2k which is a little hard to justify right now and that still doesnt give me the 70cm that I currently use locally and I havent been lucky enough to land one of the good priced used units.

With that said I have started considering a Yaesu 817nd as it gives me the entire frequency range I am looking for, the portability I want and its a much cheaper radio to get into now.

I know its a much older unit than the KX3 but through all the posts I have read about both radios both positive and negative, it seems many have both which is ultimately where I will probably end up eventually as well.

The plus side is I am looking at getting a Elecraft 100 watt amp down the road (for base station usage) and that is compatible with both radios so it would not matter which one I have with me.

I will post a follow up once I have ended up with one of these radios but I would encourage input from anyone with either or both of these radios to help me with my decision as I am truly on the fence at the moment.

Baofeng BF-F8HP with Chirp and Debian Linux

Programming the Baofeng BF-F8HP with Chirp was quite easy to do and made things much simplier than manually going through and saving all the memory channels, though I would highly recommend learning and practicing how to to do it that way in the event you need to program out in the field away from a PC.

I use Debian Linux (Currently : Buster – testing but the same should work for Jessie and Stretch – stable) as my OS so getting Chirp up and running was a piece of cake.

Open up a terminal screen :

sudo apt-get install chirp

That will install Chirp from the normal Debian repository, but to get everything working after installation you will need to add your username to the dialout group. This can be done by the following at a terminal screen :

sudo gpasswd --add $USERNAME dialout

Afterwards logout and log back in for the new group changes to take effect.

Now simply open up Chirp and plug in your programming cable, I highly recommend the genuine FTDI one over any knockoffs as everything simply works without messing around with drivers etc on any platform (PC, MAC, Linux) and make sure your BF-F8HP is turned off before plugging in the programming cable. Once plugged in turn the radio on and make sure it is on a frequency with no activity.

With the programming cable plugged into both your PC and radio you should now be able to import and export configs back an forth without issues.

If by chance you are not able to connect to your radio, make sure you have added your user to the dialout group as mentioned above. If you did that and it still is unable to connect turn your radio off and make sure the programming cable is fully seated in the radio, there should be 2 distinct clicks and it will sit completely flush with the HT. If it doesnt I have heard that some people had to open up the holes a little on the HT with a pen knife (due to poor QC and things dont line up quite right). I personally havent had that issue with mine.