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I'm very new to walkies and radios, and I know next to nothing. My friends and I bought a box of Baofeng 888s radios (which apparently also go by quite a few other names and manufacturers) and I'm having trouble getting them to communicate with my walkie of another brand (Midland LXT650, specifically). The problem is, when they're on the same channel, neither one picks up any chatter from the other. The Baofeng works with the other ones of its model, and the midland one works with every run of the mill department store radios I've tried it with in the past. After researching, I found out about CTCSS and DCS; I'm pretty sure the privacy is the issue. Perhaps it's the default privacy for the baofeng models?

Sometimes, I can get the radios to receive odd sound from each other, but no voice.

I realize this must be pretty vague, but if there is any advice or hint you can give me, I'd really appreciate it! Also, if I left out any important info, please let me know. Thanks!

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  • $\begingroup$ Where is the menu on this baofeng b-f888s radio and what channels can you hear other people or other conversations. On what is type # flash button. $\endgroup$ – Nobody Nov 27 '16 at 23:06
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The BF-888S radios have a 16-channel knob on the top and no LCD display nor a number keypad. The BF-888S is marketed all over the world for use mostly in licensed commercial operation or licensed Amateur Radio. The BF-888S can be programmed to use frequencies in the range of 400 to 470MHz which nicely permits programming the radios for the 70cm Amateur band.

Being a "world" radio you should not expect them to come from the factory with the USA's FRS and GMRS frequencies pre-programmed. They come programmed from the factory with some default frequencies that do not match any FRS and GMRS channel frequencies. The Midland radios you mention are marketed in the USA for the un-licensed FRS frequencies and licensed GMRS frequencies. Find details in the manual for the Midland LTX650 explaining which channels require the GMRS license (most consumers sadly ignore the GMRS license requirement).

The BF-888S can be programmed to receive FRS and GMRS frequencies. The BF-888S is not legal for transmitting on FRS (having a removable antenna and up to 2 Watts of power) and not legal on GMRS (simply not type-certified by the USA FCC for GMRS use).

Good advice in the USA is to get a HAM technician license. It is a matter of taking a very simple 35 question test which would cost you up to $15 to take. The license lasts for ten years and can be renewed for free. Then take the BF-888S radios and program them for your available HAM repeater frequencies and you will be very happy with the BF-888S radios. The BF-888S radios have very simple operation with no controls other than the 16-channel knob and the volume knob and a push-to-talk button, making them an amazingly good value to use on the 70cm Amateur Radio Band and capable of 2 Watt power.

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The best way to use a Baofeng to communicate with any walkie talkie is to:

  1. Find the frequency. Make sure you are on the right frequency by transmitting from the midland walkie talkie to your Baofeng.

  2. Run a tone decoder. In the option "R-CTCS", the bafeng has a tone decoder by pressing either the # button or the * button. When the tone decoder is running, you should see the CT icon flashing.

  3. Transmit on your walkie talkie, give a long dead carrier. This will give the boafeng time to search through any CTCSS tone.

  4. Once the radio finds it, remember that tone, and put it on the T-CTCS menu option.

  5. Now test both ways by transmitting on the baofeng and the walkie talkie.

  6. Its might illegal in your country to transmit out of band on your specific frequency the Baofeng. Use caution.

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Several things can prevent a radio from breaking squelch.

The first thing I would do is to manually break squelch (with the "monitor" button), so that you can monitor the channel. If you can't hear anything, hear only static, or only a tone then you need to verify that the radios are set to the same mode, frequency and modulation. Both should be Narrowband FM buy default, but I'm not sure if they have other options because I don't own either of them.

Once you can hear voice using the monitor function then it is just a matter of turning off all of the squelch features until you find the one that is affecting you.

On a Yaesu I had the "Battery Saver" mode interfere with communication. It was set to 10 seconds, so it only monitored the channel every 10 seconds. If a broadcast happened in the middle, I wouldn't hear it at all, and even a long broadcast would chop off the first bit (up to 10 seconds worth).

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  • $\begingroup$ I just went and downloaded the manuals for both radios. I don't think that the Baofeng is Part 90 (Land Mobile Radio) or Part 95 (GMRS) certified. I believe it is only usable on Amateur Bands (Part 97). If so, it is a $10,000 fine per incident to use them on FRS/GMRS frequencies, and I expect that the FRS and GMRS frequencies are blocked internally. $\endgroup$ – Joseph Freivald May 28 '15 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ I read somewhere that it does not use low-power transmissions for certain channels, such that it does not comply with the FCC regulations. The broadcast channels only go up to 16, I believe, so perhaps that's what I'm thinking of. Any chance this affects what I'm asking, other than (obviously) not being able to communicate past channel 16? @Joseph, thank you for the suggestions, but they ended up not working. $\endgroup$ – Ezratic May 28 '15 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ Can you reprogram the Baofeng's frequencies with Chirp to match the Midland frequencies? chirp.danplanet.com $\endgroup$ – captcha May 28 '15 at 22:35
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    $\begingroup$ Doing so within the US borders would be illegal and subject to $10000 fine per use. $\endgroup$ – Joseph Freivald May 28 '15 at 22:48
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    $\begingroup$ The simple thing is this: If you want to use FRS/GMRS frequencies, buy FRS/GMRS radios. They are cheap. If you want to use amateur radios, get a technician license and buy, build or modify an amateur radio. Then you can feed your HT into an HPA and transmit at 200W if you want. It is perfectly legal for an amateur to modify his FRS/GMRS radio to work on ham bands. It is not legal for anyone to use an amateur radio to on anything but the ham bands unless there is a risk to life or property. No sane person would risk their amateur license to help someone modify a radio illegally. $\endgroup$ – Joseph Freivald May 28 '15 at 22:56

protected by Community Mar 19 '17 at 15:58

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