Baojie BJ-9900

A recent Chinese arrival and my QTH.

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It took a fortnight to arrive and on opening the box the microphone, separation cable and the bracket were no where to be found. I wrote to the supplier and they informed me they had split the radio into 2 parcels and it would arrive with the mount and coax I had also ordered at the same time.  True to their word 2 days later the order was completed.

When I  put the missing components in the box they should all have arrived it it was pretty heavy and I think this may have been behind the reason to split the consignment into 2 parcels. Or it is a way of getting round customs checks being only radio parts.

This is going to be used in the newish car and it is not going to be easy to fit it in even with the head separating from the radio itself.

But it is quite a small package for a mobile rig. I was surprised to find it has 256 memories. 128 on the left bank and 128 on the right bank. It also comes with the separation cable as part of the package, but it is not suitable for foundation licence holders, well not without an attenuator on the antenna line anyway. High power is 45W and low power 20W on 2m. 70cms is slightly less.

I wrote to the company and ordered a programming lead which came to £3.25 including postage and I wait its arrival. It seems it took a while for pay-pal to transfer the funds. Though it went from my account almost instantly. Only found that out as I have just chased it up.

The whole package was around £120 at the time. But the price has just hiked to around £170. though they do a slightly cheaper model which does not have an option to separate the radio and the head.

For the money it is hard to beat and you could easily pay this sort of money for a tatty 2nd hand 2m rig. How good it is remains to be seen, but early audio reports are good.

I have just ordered another of these rigs for home as I am getting tired of no CTCSS on the old Kenwood, which in most  other ways a pretty good radio. But it will be nice to have the frequencies named as well and honestly I begrudge this rig demanding  2 multi band antenna’s to run it, One for each band. I would like to free up one of the antenna’s for other things.

There is one thing the price on this rig has just gone up and I have to wonder if before long there will not be a big difference between the price of a Yaesu/Icom or Kenwood and a Chinese radio. It is still considerably cheaper than an equivalent Yaesu at the moment.  still by  around 50%, but in one way this is a better mobile rig than the equivalent Yaesu. because the head buttons light up on the Chinese model and they don’t on the Yaesu version. Its a silly thing, but for the cost of a few LED’s which are lets face it pennies, Yaesu should have fitted back-lighting. It would certainly make the rig more usable mobile.

The programming lead arrived today Friday 13th December and the rigs were programmed in minutes including connecting up. Using the manufactures software. Chirp will not do this rig yet. I had of course already made up the data file for programming. But……….

The lead seems to work fine, but there seems to be problems with the windows XP software. In fairness to Baojie I will let them know, but I can’t expect them to do a rewrite of the XP software when XP is at the end of it’s life.  So it looks like reluctantly I am going to have to bite the bullet  and upgrade to windows 7.

The programming appears to work and all the channel naming works OK. But I have found once programmed it is transmitting with an offset, even on simplex despite the frequency list on the screen.  This confused me for a while as I couldn’t understand why no one could hear me, but I could hear others.

This seems to be decided by the tab for each band. But it is a real nuisance. I have sort of got around this by programming the repeater in which are named and then manually programming the simplex frequencies which are not named. Only those frequencies programmed by pc will display names. Something the Yaesu is better at as you can manually program the frequencies on those radios.

I should explain Windows is not my first choice for operating system. I use it when I have to and that is all. I use Linux for all my computer work day in and day out.  It is just the few programs I use that insist on it being windows. Usually I run these in windows within a virtual box from Linux anyway.

Conclusions

The Baojie is a nice radio. but for long term use they throw a wobbly on the software and need powering down for a goodly while before rebooting fairly regularly. Which probably means they are more suitable for Mobile use than home based.  I have one in the car and the verdict is still out on that one. But will probably be OK as I am not behind the wheel for longer than say 3hrs at a time.

As to programming the Baojie is easy to program manually and fairly intuitive, easier than the Yaesu’s But the programming software is pretty dire and as yet Chirp to not support these radios.

So I am afraid I will stick to the Chinese hand held radios as you get  a lot of radio for little money, but as to mobile Chinese or indeed any of the more expensive Chinese equipment I will pass.  I have to say I have looked at some rather nice antenna analyser from china  that do all bands for £200 less than the MFJ. But unless there is a British importer offering full after sales support, I wont directly import one. There is also the possibility you get hit for customs tax and that makes them less and less viable.

There is I believe  a shake up happening via customs though and this makes the Chinese imports less attractive. The Boajie for example came in 2 separate parcels.  On its own neither off the parcels. was a fully working component. One parcel had the mic, power cords etc. and the other parcel  was purely the radio. I guess that this way they can claim it is radio parts only, or a repaired or replacement item.

Sadly I think that I will stay with the big boys for the more expensive equipment. I know about the cartel they have between them which means we in Britain get ripped off (as always)  with prices and that allowed the Chinese manoeuvring space. But I think until they have a chain of proper UK agents for the Chinese equipment authorised to sell and repair and carry out warranty work they are never going to get volume sales in the UK  (the Chinese equipment is generally very good quality and I suspect it is in effect pretty much the same radios as the big boys inside and sometimes outside. I have long suspected all the Yaesus etc are built in china to Japanese spec and designs, and the Chinese erm borrow these designs to make there own equipment,) But for after sales service it has to be one of the big boys. At the moment anyway.  I would say watch the Chinese though because they are up and coming.