Baofeng BF-888S portable radio: specifications, comparison with competitors and reviews
Manufacturers of radio equipment today are experiencing an almost revolutionary transition to new-generation technologies. Against this background, there is a noticeable expansion of the functionality of radio stations, an increase in their operational performance, and all this while maintaining established ergonomics, although progress in this direction does not stand still. Nevertheless, the changes described mostly affect the professional segment of screen equipment with a rich set of controls. Most of the amateurs are still focused on simple, understandable and at the same time reliable solutions. The Baofeng BF-888S Walkie-Talkie, designed for this category of consumers, is distinguished by its low price tag and a decent set of options for its class.
General information about the radio
The device represents the budget segment of compact radio stations. Although the device is positioned as a professional, it is often used for domestic use for private purposes.Experts recommend this solution for family use - for example, for the wife and child, who can easily cope with the basic set of capabilities of the radio station. The structure of the basic configuration includes directly the device Baofeng BF-888S, battery, antenna, charging station, as well as fasteners in the form of a clip on a belt and a lace for carrying.
More importantly, experienced users recommend immediately ordering and a cable for communication with a computer that is not included in the basic package. And there is one nuance. The fact is that most cables for walkie-talkies involve communication through a COM port. This interface is rarely found in modern PCs, so you should take care of a special chip that allows you to convert USB to COM. You should also prepare for work with a programmable filling. The device, albeit budget, with minimal configuration tools, but the maximum capacity can be extracted only with the help of a special program CHIRP. For successful work, you will need to select the software version specifically for the existing operating system. The rest of the radio station Baofeng BF-888S special problems in operation does not cause.And now it is worth finding out in more detail what technical parameters this device is endowed with.
In terms of technical and operational parameters, the device fits into the entry level segment. In the Chinese radios, to which the Baofeng BF-888S applies, the characteristics are usually overestimated, but in this case the difference between the actual and nominal values is not significant. Detailed parameters are presented below:
- The communication standard is UHF.
- The frequency spectrum is from 400 to 470 MHz.
- Sensitivity - devices - 0.2 µV.
- The power potential of the transmitter - 5 watts.
- Modulation Type - FM.
- The number of channels - 16.
- Encoding - CTCSS and DCS standards.
- The number of encodings used is 122.
- Maintenance time on a single charge - 10 hours.
- The loudspeaker power potential is 1,000 mW.
- Dimensions - 116x35x57 mm.
- Temperature acceptable for operation is from -20 to 60 ° C.
Judging by official data, the device does not bear any special surprises. This is evidenced by Baofeng BF-888S key performance indicators - channel frequencies with a range of 400-470 MHz and sensitivity with transmitter power. As for the design features, the missing display can be a minus, and the integrated flashlight can be considered as a plus - a minor but useful addition.which is often missing in budget versions. On the technological functionality is to talk separately.
The level of noise cancellation, indication of battery charge and certain timer functions are also common to the possibilities even in the initial segment. All this is present in this unit, and the user can adjust the noise reduction programmatically for specific operating conditions. Provided and advanced scanning function. To use it, you must install the radio on channel 16, click on the appropriate transfer buttons and monitor. To stop the scanning process, you must also click on the same two buttons.
If we talk about less common functionality, then the VOX system will come to the fore. It provides voice transmission control. This mode can be activated by setting to channel 1 and performing the same procedure as described above. VOX disconnection is done in a similar pattern, but in reverse order. The Baofeng BF-888S voice notification is also noteworthy, which is also activated programmatically via a PC connection.To do this, set the 10th channel, press the same combination of two buttons and turn on the transceiver. You can change the notification language through the settings mode activated on channel 15. Present in the apparatus and alarm. To use this mode, you must go to the 11th channel and use the combination of the transfer buttons and the monitor to tune. In general, the radio received a decent list of functions and it is possible to speak about the absence of other additions only in the context of comparison with models of a higher class.
Build quality and ergonomics
Users from different areas of operation indicate the strength of the structure as one of the strengths of the device. The model is qualitatively assembled, and this applies not only to the body, but also to the controls. In the manufacture of the main panels used high-strength plastic, and some inserts are made of metal. However, there are some complaints about the tenacity of rubberized inserts - they are in Baofeng BF-888S, but they are not as well located as in competitive models. Add to this the sliding surface of the plastic. In terms of durability and mechanical protection, it justifies itself, but in terms of physical circulation it is not the best solution. Correct the situation can only cover.
Otherwise, the situation with physical ergonomics is in terms of controls. Operating practice shows that they are distinguished not only by reliability and durability, but also by an advantageous configuration of the location. The work of the twisters located in the upper part of the device does not cause criticism - the switching mechanisms are carried out clearly and harmoniously. On the left side are also conveniently located buttons for noise reduction, talking and a flashlight. The material of the buttons is represented by rubber; therefore, it is almost impossible to control them and to confuse them after long-term experience of treatment. On the reverse side of the radio Baofeng BF-888S is equipped with a cap that protects the connectors for connecting the headset. Many unusual sensations cause many antenna. It is made of plastic, but bends like rubber. In the manifestations of fragility this material is not seen. The experience of users shows that even the fall of the apparatus with a mass on the antenna does not affect its integrity and efficiency.
Baofeng BF-888S User Manual
To work with the radio, it is necessary to make its main assembly. It is advisable to provide it with a battery that has a full charge.To replenish the energy, a complete charger is used that works automatically. The charging process will be accompanied by a red indicator light, and a green LED will indicate completion. Next, the battery is integrated into the appropriate compartment of the radio, for which you will first need to remove the back panel on the case. Then you can install the antenna. It is mounted by screwing it clockwise into its intended connector on the top of the Baofeng BF-888S. The instruction, by the way, strictly forbids turning on the device without an antenna, as this often leads to the failure of the filling. At this stage, you can go to the connection fixing devices and headsets.
Work with the radio is carried out through the above buttons. The user will have volume control tools, transmission controls, channel selection, etc. During direct operation of the device during a conversation, it is recommended to speak with the other person in an even tone at a distance from the microphone not exceeding 3-5 cm. should be used in harsh environmentsthen you should take care of the same case. The body itself in the bare form is not focused on use in the rain and with the risk of mechanical loads. Protect the device from such effects should be due to the preservation of its physical integrity and for reasons of maintaining optimal performance. Even if the apparatus does not receive visible damage after impact, its function as a receiver and signal transmitter may be impaired.
Programming a walkie talkie
The device initially programmed license-free frequencies that are freely used in Russia. In particular, these are 8 channels from the PMR range, and 8 from the LPD spectrum. It can be said that these are optimal possibilities, which to some extent make the Baofeng BF-888S walkie-talkie universal — the UHF band, for example, will allow the model to be associated with a wide range of other radio stations. But for the optimal use of radio functions, it is necessary to initially perform the appropriate programming on different parameters. As already mentioned, the CHIRP software and, in particular, the “Station” section are used for this, through which the working configurations with settings are loaded and unloaded.First of all, to use this system, you will need to enter the manufacturer, the station used, as well as the interface through which data will be exchanged. This procedure can be performed even without the radio connected to the current moment, and the service will remember the settings made before the next session.
For practical changes, you need to connect the Baofeng BF-888S station directly through the cable. Further programming can be performed by two methods — specifically, through the reassembly of the parameters presented by the system or by loading the finished configuration of settings as a CSV file. In this format, line-by-line enumeration of parameters that correspond to the CHIRP programming table is laid. That is, the radio is automatically tuned to the recommended settings. As for specific parameters that are amenable to change, these include channel frequencies, encoding modes, noise reduction parameters, etc. It is recommended to approach the ready configurations, since there are many CSV files of Chinese origin in open distribution, and they differ markedly in settings from Russian ones radio operating conditions.In the extreme case, you can use the default settings and already in the process of exploiting to identify certain parameters that require adjustments.
Comparison with alternative offers
The low price tag makes the model stand out from the general segment, but working qualities may well compete with more advanced devices. In any case, before buying it will not be superfluous to estimate what place the radio takes in the general assortment. The main condition for admission for such a comparison is the range of Baofeng BF-888S. Frequencies that fit in the public format LPD 433 MHz, give a logical reason for the joint analysis of the considered device and other radios that support the same spectrum of action. So, as competitors can be called KENWOOD TK-F, Aj-446 from Ajetrays and VX-231 from Vertex.
Comparison is advisable to carry out two parameters - the range of action, suitable for the analysis of speech, and the maximum distance for reception. As for the first characteristic, the BF-888S modification is suitable for operation at a distance of 450 m. The devices from KENWOOD and Ajetrays show 400 and 600 m, respectively. As for the VX-231 modification, it allows you to clearly speak at a distance of 700 m. Now It is worth going to the second parameter, in which Baofeng BF-888S demonstrates even more modest indicators.The range of this model, regardless of the quality of voice transmission, is 1200 m. The TK-F and Aj-446 models, respectively, show 1750 and 2600 m. The development from Vertex again demonstrates the most favorable value - 3000 m.
Positive feedback on the model
Of course, a considerable part of the owners are attracted by the cost of the model, which is only 1.5-2 thousand rubles. But at the same time, in practice, the advantages of the case and wide functionality are noted. As for the first, many emphasize the low mass, compactness and at the same time the strength of the case. Positive feedback and battery deserved. A rather capacious and optimized Li-ion element holds a charge for 2-3 days, which is not bad for a budget device. Add to this the possibility of using lithium-ion batteries from a mobile phone. Some formats are quite suitable for the Baofeng BF-888S connector. Reviews also indicate high sensitivity. It does not fundamentally change the average capabilities of the device in terms of the quality of radio communications, but is adequately responsible for its operation side. According to such characteristics as the confidence of reception and the audibility of claims to the radio too.Most of the reviews indicate the absence of pronounced interference in the acceptable range for the conversation. And this occurs infrequently in the initial segment of such devices.
Weaknesses in the radio station costing 2 thousand could be more, but in this case they are very significant. Thus, many owners indicate a weak signal power, a noticeable overheating of the charge glass board and the lack of external protection, as already mentioned above. The device has neither dustproof, nor water-repellent covers. Mentioned and limited range, but here it fully compensates for the low price tag Baofeng BF-888S. Reviews of the functionality of this model, by the way, can be compared with similar responses about the considered version from Vertex, which has a significant superiority in reception range. However, with similar functionality, the VX-231 modification costs several times more than the Baofeng unit. Also among the reviews is the criticism of fasteners, but it is easy to replace, since the connectors for the same laces are universal.
The model is more than worthy of attention from ordinary users,who are looking for a quality and affordable means of radio communication. The device is also suitable for tourists, extreme, mushroom pickers and dvipperov. But here it is important to initially compare the working capabilities of the device and the conditions of its operation, making allowance for the limitations of Baofeng BF-888S. Reviews, range and quality of transmission in general speak in favor of the device as a representative of the budget class. Of course, if we compare it in all respects with more solid devices, then both the power deficiencies and the small reception radius will come to the fore. But expect from a cheap model, even the average performance and not worth it. If we evaluate the device by the standards of its own class, then the most annoying omission will be the lack of additional protection. It turns out that the case and its element base were calculated on harsh conditions of use in terms of wear and physical damage, but the lack of good insulation from water and dirt, depending on external factors of exposure, can be reduced to zero and these advantages. On the other hand, the possibility of programming on individual parameters for many will override this nuance.Again, for undemanding novice users, this feature may not be useful, but in the future, software tuning will give a lot of advantages and its presence as such is a great advantage against the background of direct competitors of the device.