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I bought a UV-5R Plus (8 watt radio in the same casing as a normal Baofeng), and I've noticed some strange behaviors.

Occasionally when I key up on my local repeater, the radio turns itself off and on again on its own.

In some conditions, the radio gives me painful shocks if I key up while touching one of two places: The negative battery terminal, and the little chunk of metal for attaching a strap. It feels like I'm touching a very hot surface, but the pieces of metal themselves aren't hot at all.

Now, for the biggest issue.

Sometimes I get random bursts of static coming through the radio for seemingly no reason. There are several strange things about this static that don't make sense:

  • The static is present even if I detach the antenna
  • The static is not affected by turning on a receive PL tone
  • The static is not affected by changing the squelch filter. It sounds exactly the same whether squelch is all the way down or all the way up.
  • The static usually happens in the same general areas in my house.
  • The static also happens outside my house, even far away.
  • It generally happens when I'm walking near houses, and it has happened so many times that I've memorized exactly where it happens. It's always in pretty much the same places.
  • Sometimes when I'm outside and the radio is on the ground, it begins rapidly receiving bursts of static. There are about two per second and they last about a fraction of a second each.
  • The static completely blocks out any received transmission - no signal can get through it
  • I have experimentally walked into and out of one of these areas while transmitting. The person I was talking to told me there was no change in my transmission - clear the whole way through
  • These "Static areas" vary in size, but they are usually between 3 and 8 feet (estimating).
  • There is one in my bedroom near the wall, and it's about 2 feet. It has a roughly circular shape coming from the wall, and doesn't seem to be affected by radio height.
  • There is one in my backyard that is fairly long. It is about 3 feet wide by roughly 10 feet long. It gets considerably worse the closer I get to the ground.
  • I have occasionally found areas out in open fields, again roughly 3-8 feet and a somewhat circular shape.

Can anyone tell me what's going on?

EDIT: I thought I'd add, I have a 5W radio by a different company as well, and that radio is not affected by any of these issues. I also have a regular UV-5R, and it does not have any of these issues either.

Technical info:

  • Radio: Baofeng UV-5R Plus
  • Power: 8W
  • Squelch: Doesn't matter
  • Antenna: The long antenna that came with the radio
  • Frequency: Doesn't seem to matter, maybe slightly worse in the 2m band because I'm using a 2m antenna.
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    $\begingroup$ Hello, and welcome to ham.stackexchange.com! It sounds like squelch is turned off, but you say it doesn't matter. $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Sep 30 at 13:47
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    $\begingroup$ My squelch settings don't seem to affect the static areas (unless I turn them completely off, of course). Normally there is no sound unless I have an incoming transmission. These static areas sound like some type of interference breaking squelch, but no matter what I set it to, it gets through. (If I turn squelch off completely, there's just static all the time). With squelch on, these static areas get through it somehow, and no matter how high I set my squelch it gets through. Also, it shouldn't be able to get through a receive PL tone either. $\endgroup$
    – Proxy303
    Sep 30 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ Is a charger or any wires connected to it? $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Sep 30 at 13:57
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    $\begingroup$ There are no wires connected to it. The only thing connected is the antenna. I wonder if I got a defective radio. $\endgroup$
    – Proxy303
    Sep 30 at 13:58
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    $\begingroup$ I tried it without the phone. Still no effect - the bursts are still there $\endgroup$
    – Proxy303
    Oct 1 at 21:31
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I think you have a loose wire in there somewhere. It's probably the ground or center lead between antenna and amplifier. The bursts of static might be from the wire making contact or not, or contact with something else. Are the static circles repeatable or maybe it was a coincidence, maybe the way you are holding the radio, you can try holding it upside-down.

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    $\begingroup$ I tried holding it upside-down. No change. The static areas are repeatable - No static in one place, lots in another. And the static areas stay in one place, too. I doubt that would be because of a loose wire. The static is usually continuous when in a static area and not there at all when not. $\endgroup$
    – Proxy303
    Sep 30 at 14:30
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    $\begingroup$ Would you be willing to turn off power to your house for a minute or at least the room maybe to see if you are picking up 60Hz from the walls or something. I'm way more curious now in the static areas than what's wrong with the radio, if anything you may have inadvertently created a super detector that can pick up another dimension or something. I think I'm seeing a nobel prize on the horizon. $\endgroup$
    – Jack0220
    Sep 30 at 14:53
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    $\begingroup$ I tried turning off power to my room. No effect. The static is still there. I’m unable to turn off power to the whole house. Also, why would the static areas happen in an open field? The issue persists no matter what antenna I’m using; it even happens if I have no antenna. An interesting thing is that the static areas always seem to be close-ish to the ground. Possibly underground wires? Or maybe I’m picking up a GPS signal? $\endgroup$
    – Proxy303
    Sep 30 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ Ok how about if you have an AM radio to put that on a frequency that has mainly noise on it and that will pick up power lines, or if you drive in a car, you can usually hear the noise from the power lines when you drive under them or if they are noisy next to you. Maybe there is a correlation but I'm pretty much out of clues. I would say do more surveying, use a GPS, could there be a hidden crop circle in the aether, nobody knows. $\endgroup$
    – Jack0220
    Sep 30 at 22:57
  • $\begingroup$ May be "static" is mistaken with FM-spickle noise at weak signal? $\endgroup$
    – F. Sessink
    Oct 2 at 13:52
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It seems to me that you have a bad radio, that is to say a radio with one or more faults in it. You shouldn't be getting the sensation of a shock or heat, and those are possible indications of a short. Direct shorts are sometimes easy to troubleshoot. The intermittent static issue could be an aspect of the same problem, or it could be an independent problem.

If it were my radio, and if it were still covered by the warranty, then I would return it and ask for a refund or a replacement. If it were my radio and it weren't covered by a warranty, then I would open it up and start troubleshooting by looking for shorts and intermittent connections. But I have electronics experience. Unfortunately this web site is not very conducive to talking someone through the troubleshooting of a device. You now have 20 reputation points, so you might try seeing if someone in the Ham Shack can help you troubleshoot, because back-and-forth discussions not strictly conforming to question or answer formats are fine there. But just taking a Baofeng apart is a bit risky; I took mine apart, and now there are a couple horizontal lines of pixels in the display that don't work any more.

I'm sorry that I can't give you a definitive account of what your problem is based on your description of the symptoms, but troubleshooting an electronic device is usually an iterative process that doesn't lend itself to nice neat answers before troubleshooting has even begun.

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  • $\begingroup$ Upvoted, but exactly how could those sensations be caused by a short (and where)? I still believe that RF shouldn't be ruled out. $\endgroup$
    – Mike Waters
    Oct 4 at 20:18
  • $\begingroup$ I think the observed symptoms could be caused by lots of things. I'd look for shorts and intermittent connections because shorts are usually easier to spot, and intermittent connections can hopefully be found by jiggling things while watching the output. These things don't require as much electronics knowledge or test equipment. $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Oct 4 at 23:22
  • $\begingroup$ What I don't understand is the intermittent static. It always happens in the same location. $\endgroup$
    – Proxy303
    Oct 5 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ Those static areas are puzzling! With the VHF/UHF radio in my car, the squelch will open in various places around town, regardless of the channel I'm in, and the places are consistent. I interpret these as places where security systems or other electronic devices radiate enough noise to break the squelch. That's the only similar phenomenon that I can think of. $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Oct 5 at 14:15
  • $\begingroup$ You might try switching most of the breakers in your house off, to see if that affects the static zone in your bedroom. It's possible that a static zone could be linked to a device in your house, which would be a significant clue. $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Oct 5 at 14:19

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