Thanks for opening this topic Dan. Yes, I have several Baofeng and two Wouxon radios. The comments below are just my opinion. Lots of people complain about the cheap radios and I believe they are the honest opinions of experienced people trying to be helpful. Among the complaints are; they are cheaply made and they transmit spurious signals. Making them cheaply is how they sell them cheaply. In an urban area, traffic levels are probably high enough to spurious signals may be bad manners, but I live in a rural area where the signals are very unlikely to be a problem for anyone. I suspect that the first time my Yaesu is dropped, it will emit some spurious signals as well. FM transmissions enjoy a concept called the FM Capture Effect. Briefly this means you only hear the stronger of competing signals, so someone on another frequency spilling a bit of harmonic is very unlikely to cause an issue (see below). In AM and SSB modes, ‘doubling’ can make transmissions unreadable.
There are a few advantages with cheap radios though.
- Each of my vehicles has a “go bag” for emergencies. Among other things, the bag in each vehicle contains a Baofeng radio with a better than OEM antenna. The battery is kept in an outer pocket of the bag so it can be rotated monthly with a freshly charged battery. I would hesitate to subject an expensive radio to temperature cycling or the extreme heat of the local summer days. At the price, I can have a Baofeng in every vehicle and building without stretching the bank account.
- Another advantage is to those of us who enjoy tinkering. Even without opening the radio, there are a lot of things an experimenter can do with a radio as long as the cost of a mistake is low enough. (see sample interface below).
BTW: The reason I own two Wouxons is the first one missed my shirt pocket while riding my motorcycle down the highway. The aftermarket antenna was bent, the heavy battery was smashed up pretty good. I had to back order the replacement battery, so I picked up a whole new radio while I waited. Checking the old radio with the new battery revealed it still worked. I waded into chest deep flood waters on Lamar Ave to get a guy out of his car as it floated into the CVS lawn, and my Wouxun was under water part of that time with no ill effects.