One month with the UV2501+220

7 April 2016

Available for sale on - Get one while you can, I've seen them sold out twice already in the past month. 17 Nov 2016 NOTE - in the past 7+ months of availability, this radio has sold out on average every 3 weeks. The size, popularity, and options make it an amazing deal for the price.

It has been 30+ days since I received this UV2501+220 radio and have had a chance to put it to use. During the week it sits here on my bench as a base radio connected to a standard 2m tuned vertical dipole antenna (which still has low SWR on 70cm too) just above the roofline of my house, powered by a 30A power supply. On the go it sits in the map pocket along the side of the center console of my 2014 Nissan car, powered via the "cigarette plug", and using a dual band 144/440 Nagoya UT-72. Unfortunately I was not able to get a mobile tri band antenna for testing on the go, but at least the mentioned antenna did receive some 220, albeit with some noise (due to not being a resonant antenna for 220).
I will not go over the details or specs as they have already been covered on my Day 1 with the UV2501+220 article. I have had this since late February, and have had the chance to put it to use locally as a base station, as well as mobile on various road trips. The first one was down to Tampa, FL where instead of taking the interstate all the way (Interstate 10 to I-75), I turned off I-10 a little early and took Highway 98 and Toll Road 589 which lead me through some small towns and a much more relaxing drive (compared to the zoo that is usually I-75). This also kept me just far enough off of I-75 that I wasn't able to get the usual bigger cities like Ocala and Gainesville, although it did offer a contact somewhere around Chiefland with a "good ol' southern boy". I don't remember and never wrote down his call sign. I was still able to reach repeaters out in the remote area where I had no cell phone signal, so 25W on open flat areas still offers good signal coverage, especially through repeaters. While driving around downtown Tampa, I never had an issue with intermod or bleed over from nearby signals. I was able to keep using the Florida SARnet and make a few contacts that way.
Next several road trips took me to Pensacola, Orlando, and then Atlanta. Pensacola is only an hour drive for me but normally out of reach from my house so it is nice hearing a few other locals that I don't normally hear. Orlando gave me no problems although I didn't have a lot of radio time as I was busy with my daughters games. When I was able to get on, I made a few calls through local repeaters, and at least got the squelch tail back nice and clear, sadly no one responded to my calls. Next was Atlanta, which I was expecting to be "intermod alley", especially since we had stayed so close to the airport, luckily that was not the case. This is when I heard a "YL net" (young lady net) on a 220 repeater. I listened for 10 minutes or so but hearing it was for the local ladies and I do not have the right genetic profile, I did not respond or join in. The next day I tried making a call on that repeater with my Baofeng UX-82X (144/220 handheld) but no response. I did not want to try transmitting with 220 on my UT-72 (made for 144/440) and risk frying the finals on this radio. I did have a quick little chat with someone on a 440 repeater around 6AM Sunday morning through a downtown Atlanta repeater, but as I was driving I-85, I wasn't able to write down his call sign or chat for long.
So far I am quite impressed with this little radio. The only time I seem to have any intermod or interference is when I am working certain frequencies on 20m (as my 2m vertical dipole is around 3 feet from the end of one HF dipole). For testing, I put up a temporary 220 ground plane (tested at 1.2:1 at 223.000), swapped the coax, then made a few calls on local simplex (223.500) but as 220 is not used much in my area, I haven't gotten any responses. There has been talk of adding a 220 repeater 15-20 miles north of me but it is a low priority for them so there has been no rush to get it up.
Another added bonus is that the programmers behind CHIRP have updated their program to properly work with the UV2501, UV2501+220, and the UV5001. I am still having some issues with Tone Squelch related settings and have been in contact with the programmers directly, so I hope to have it resolved someday soon. It is possible it is related to my CP2102 programming cable, but other people with the official FTDI cable have not reported these issues. For me, it still works with the original BTECH software so it may or may not be cable related for me. After multiple updates and contact with the Chirp crew, it was related to their software and has since been fixed as of late April 2016. If you're looking for a simple, cheap, basic multi-band VHF/UHF unit, I would suggest this UV2501+220. If you would like to make use of all 3 right away, there are a few tri-band antennas available like the Nagoya TB-320A mobile available on the BaofengTech website or There is also a Comet SSB-224NMO and a few others out there (don't forget the NMO mount or NMO magnet base as well). For home, it could be as simple as making a proper mount for these antennas with low end ground plane wires, or using a switch to go between a dual band 144/440 and a proper resonant 220 antenna. Unfortunately there have been a few people trying to transmit with anything they can (aka using 220MHz frequency with 144 or 440 antenna), then blowing the finals on these radios, but falsely claiming it is due to the radio being junk. This would likely happen regardless if it was this $140 triband, a higher end $150 single band mobile, or a $300 higher end unit.

Hopefully this helps and feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.
73 de K4ISR