20th of December 2012 I ordered a Baofeng UV-B6 from AliExpress.com. About three weeks later (15th January) it arrived at the PA1JIM-headquarters. It turns out to be a UV-B5 instead of a UV-B6. The only difference is the UV-B5 has a rotary dail on top and the UV-B6 has a flashlight instead. That is no biggy so I’ll take it.
Last weekend I set up the idea I had about using my Kenwood TM-D710 as a simplex node to EchoLink node 3373 (No Agenda ITM Conference Server). All is pretty good described in the in-depth-manual of the Kenwood. After fiddling around with the sound card settings in Windows 7 it works like a charm! Now I can use my local simplex node on 70cm to listen and talk to the EchoLink node 3373!
Actually I figured out how to use the a-band of the Kenwood for EchoLink and the b-band for APRS Digipeating at the same time! I really love this rig more and more as I find out about it.
Played around a little with the Baofeng. It feels like a good quality radio. It’s a nice cute little thing, but it’s weight is decent. Didn’t make QSO’s with it, so no reports on it’s audio yet. But the first results with the EchoLink test server sounded pretty good. First thing that catched my eye (or ear): you can’t turn the volume all the way down. On it’s lowest level you still hear noise. If you want it silent, you have to turn it off. Battery life seems pretty good: I let it on receive for a couple of days now and it’s not even half way drained! I guess it will be when you transmit a lot.