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I have a Baofeng UV-5R and I have been using it as a police/EMS scanner. I have used it before and it has worked perfectly. I just recently moved to a new area and yet when I went to listen into the frequency I found I got intermittent static. Not just the little blips that come often with a Baofeng, its actual transmissions of the expected length of radio communications but all that comes through is static. I know I'm close enough; I am watching ambulances running code go by. I tried programming them into my channel memory and that made no difference. I tried holding down the MONI button but there was just the expected static. I have changed the squelch several times from all the way to from one to nine. At squelch zero, there isn't all static like I would expect, it made no difference to what I heard on that frequency. Is it possible my antenna was damaged unintentionally during travel? I don't see any damage and I have checked it several times. Thank you so much for any help!

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    $\begingroup$ Greetings, welcome to ham.se! $\endgroup$ – Tyler Stone Aug 27 at 3:22
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This isn't a broken antenna, or you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between transmission and no transmission. Most likely the department in your new location is using digital radios which can't be received by your UV5R. What sounds like static to you is actually the digital signal.

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This sounds like your receiver is being overloaded by a very strong signal, too strong for your Baofeng to handle. They are noted for this.

Try removing the antenna. If the signal is not strong enough to hear like that, then plug the antenna back in and try wrapping aluminum foil around part of it, with the foil touching the metal antenna connector. It may reduce the incoming interfering signal enough for you to listen to what you want to. Do not transmit like this; it can damage the radio.


It could also be this.

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It's hard to say what went wrong from here, but handheld transceiver antennas fail often, usually because the radio is dropped. I suggest trying some systematic troubleshooting. If you can borrow another Baofeng that is known to work, try swapping antennas. You surely reprogrammed the radio when you moved, so the programming is suspect; try reprogramming the radio. You are using software to program the radio, I presume. If you have trouble with the programming, your local ham radio club surely has plenty of people who could help.

I hadn't thought about the possibility @hobbs-KC2G mentioned, that the new ambulance service could be using a digital mode, which could sound like static. One way to test that theory would be to tune in a known FM signal, like a local NOAA Weather Radio station. If that comes in loud and clear, then the radio probably works fine.

Unfortunately the squelch function isn't very adjustable on the UV-5R. The setting that I put in doesn't seem to make any difference on mine.

If all else fails, another Baofeng isn't very expensive...

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  • $\begingroup$ Why would a bad antenna cause her problem? $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Aug 27 at 16:00
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    $\begingroup$ All she's receiving is static, so maybe the radio was dropped on the antenna and the center conductor broke? That happened to me once. My point is that when something doesn't work one should troubleshoot systematically. I hadn't thought about the new ambulance service using digital, which is certainly a possibility, although public agencies in my area have all abandoned digital and gone back to FM. $\endgroup$ – rclocher3 Aug 27 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ Question for you in chat. $\endgroup$ – Mike Waters Aug 27 at 16:47

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