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BaoFeng UV-5R+ Dual-Band 136-174/400-480 MHz FM Ham Two-Way Radio (Black)
Color: BlackPackage Type: Standard PackagingChange
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229 of 234 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2013
I am a licensed ham radio operator, and one that is always looking for an inexpensive way to enjoy my hobby. One day a ham friend of mine told me about these Baofeng hand held transceiver (H/T) radios and said they were selling for under $50. Knowing what advances have been made in the technology of software-defined radios, I knew something like this was an intriguing possibility.

My friend let me borrow one of his Baofeng UV-5R radios for a couple of weeks. I was really impressed with what this radio can do. For its price, it is one of the best deals ever in the history of ham radio!

I chose to buy a slightly updated version of this radio, the UV-5RA, which is also apparently known as the UV-5R+. Cosmetically, the UV-5RA has a much more solid case, with some interesting trim features. The display has slightly different, generally warmer colors than the UV-5R. In all other respects, the radios are pretty much the same.

To me, the most important thing about any kind of radio transceiver is RF performance, both transmit and receive. Although I haven't done any measurements, the radios RF performance is satisfactory for general purpose use. The front end of the radio is understandably not as good as the 'name brand' radios costing five times as much, but it definitely holds its own with them. Receive sensitivity is as good as typical name-brand radios. Off-channel rejection is not quite as good. But for general use with repeaters, the tone squelch feature makes up for this. One 'feature' you may or may not like is the display lights up every time the radio unsquelches, even if it is still tone squelched. I haven't played with the squelch settings that much to see if this can be improved. The display light can be disabled if desired. There is plenty of receive audio, something often lacking in inexpensive radios.

I haven't transmitted too much with this radio, as I live in an area that is very hard to 'get out of' even with higher power. But the radio works fine for the repeaters I can hit. One criticism this radio has received is poor audio quality on transmit. I have not experienced this problem. (Having a rich, heavy 'radio' voice probably helps in this regard.)

One rather quirky feature of this radio is that the antenna connection is an SMA male. Although SMA adapters are not hard to find, this is (in my experience) opposite of all other radios on the market that use an SMA antenna connection. This will also limit the possible choices for an aftermarket antenna, something many hams add to their H/T radios.

This radio has all the basic features that most hams need. It can do all the common analog and digital tone squelch functions on transmit and receive. It can monitor two channels at once, on any combination of VHF and UHF. The display can show either the frequency or a name for a channel. And the radio can apparently hold over 100 channels of memory, although I have only loaded about 25 memories. For manual tuning, the frequency can be entered directly at the keyboard, although all other parameters (offset, tone squelch, etc.) have to be manually entered in a menu system. There are some scanning features, etc. in the radio, but these are not nearly as extensive as on the more expensive radios. For me, this is not a problem, as I rarely use these kinds of features to begin with.

The major criticism these radios have received is that are hard to program. They really aren't all that hard to program, although there are a lot of steps to go through for each channel. But because most hams do not frequently reprogram their radios, this should not be a big deal. The programming cable and software are highly recommended, and make it easy to 'clone' these radios. (If you are like me, you will want more than one of these radios, anyway!) On the other hand, because these radios are so programmable, handling things like odd repeater splits, etc. is very easy. The radio does not know the 'band plan', so you will need to know the expected split on a repeater system while programming.

These radios are also part 90 certified, so they can be used on commercial and public service frequencies. Although I have not tried to do this yet, I am occasionally in situations where having a part 90 radio that can transmit (and is easily reprogrammed without software) comes in handy. These radios can also do the new narrowband FM modulation that is now required on many commercial/public service radio systems in the US.

Battery performance is simply amazing. This is certainly one of the most surprising features. I can listen for days on a single charge, even with some occasional transmission. The battery pack is removable and swappable, so it is easy to carry a spare, if you transmit a lot. DC adaptors are available for situations where you may wish to power the radio from a power supply or car power.

There are a couple of very nice extra features, that make this a hard-to-not-like radio. One is a built-in FM receiver. Besides being able to use the UV-5R/RA as a 'transistor radio', the ability to listen to FM broadcast is useful during emergency communications. The other handy feature is a built-in high brightness LED that is intended to be used as a flashlight. Although not focused, this light is very useful and easy to use.

The bottom line? If you are a very active ham who uses their H/T a lot, needs extensive scanning features, or needs state-of-the-art RF front end performance, then one of the name brand units will probably be a better choice. But if you are less active, or want backup radio(s), or something just to monitor a local repeater, these little radios can't be beat. I have two already, and will likely buy a couple more!
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230 of 246 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2012
Review of the Baofeng UV-5R Plus (2013 edition)

I purchased this radio sold by Sain Store, serviced by Amazon in October 2013 with Prime free shipping. The radio arrived 3 days later, however the unit shipped was the European Version with the incorrect power supply and lacking the FCC type label. I contacted Sain Store and was issued an RMA and shipping address and they replaced the radio with a US version with the proper labeling and power supply.

The Radios I received both had firmware version 281. Some units are also being shipped with version 291. Users should make note of which firmware they receive because the software version you use to program the radio is dependent on the firmware you receive. There does not seem to be any user functional differences between 281 and 291.

Impressions of the UV-5R Plus. This radio is nicely small yet not to small to operate. Like many of its Chinese contemporaries, it can be a bit quirky to program via the keypad but easy to do so with the software. Understand that easy keyboard programability is not nominally supposed to be a Part 90 compliant radio. Even so you can program frequencies, splits, Tones and DPL from the keyboard with some patience, but not channel names.

Pro's of the UV-5R Plus:
Extremely Affordable, including accessories like spare batteries.
Uses standard accessories including programming cable, mics, and antennas (with other Chinese radios such as Wouxon).
Radio has voice assist operation of many functions.
LED light is very handy.
Three color LCD backlight is useful (standby, Xmit and Receive can have colors assigned).
Small enough including antenna to fit in a pants pocket.
Sturdy construction.
Legal to use on both Ham and LMS (part 90) bands if you are licensed as a user.
VFO limits can be set to ham bands (or restricted to other bands)
Very wide frequency coverage as well as 2013 narrowband operation capability.
Can monitor FRS, GMRS, MURS, (transmit capable, but not legal - lacking FCC part 95 type acceptance).
Can listen to Broadcast FM

Cons of the UV-5R Plus:
Manual could be a lot better
Not a true dual receive unit (its dual watch).
Scanning is slow, and you can't select/deselect channels to be scanned from the keyboard.
No copy memory channel to VFO function.
No PTT lock out function from Keyboard (or software).
No single channel display (would be ideal if it had a single channel mode that showed frequency and name and memory channel)
Carrier Squelch Level is not adjustable (its on or off, levels 1 through 10 are all the same).
No simple keyboard and VFO lockout insuring Mem Channel only operation (nominally a Part 90 requirement).
No AM Aircraft band receive (many won't care).
Would be even more usable by visually impaired if menu selections had voice prompts.

Overall impressions. The value for the money is outstanding. These cost under $60 delivered, for a versatile sturdy product with a good capacity LiIon Battery. The ability to cover HAM and LMS makes them ideal for Emergency, and Community Service organizations. While there are many things to nit pick at (see cons:) the usability of this radio especially when programmed with the freely available software (as well as third party software) and very affordable USB cable (about 10 bucks), is very good. Its lacks all the bells and whistles of a $ 400 dollar dedicated Japanese Ham radio, but it costs 1/8th as much and has part 90 certification for legal operation on Govt. and business bands.
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80 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2012
I bought this as a first radio. I am about to take my Tech exam in a week and, with a little luck, will be a new "ham" when the FCC posts my call-sign. The radio's shipment was delayed by Hurricane Sandy so I have only been poking around for a few days.

(1) While I can not yet transmit (illegal w/o FCC license), I have tried playing with the radio to learn how to use it. Perhaps because I have so little experience, but the manual supplied combined with trial-and-error got me nowhere. (Well, it got the radio to play prompts in Cantonese instead of English.) To say that the manual is terse would be an understatement. Thankfully I found a Yahoo user's group that pointed to some helpful info.

Unless you already have experience with these HTs or other Ham radios, I would not recommend this radio unless a better manual becomes available. Using the supplied documentation is very frustrating.

(2) The first time I used the charger, after it fully charged the radio, I unplugged the transformer from the wall. The top of the plastic housing broke free leaving the plug and associated electronics attached to the outlet. Under the transformer's label is a screw-hole were, I am guessing, a screw should have been used to hold the bottom of the assembly to the top.

This radio could really benefit from a brief Dummy's Guide with step-by-step examples of how to set up Rx/Tx frequencies, repeater offsets, etc. With a good manual AND a better charger this would be a great deal for an amateur radio beginner.


Follow-up after 1 week: I still have not transmitted, but:

A) On Rx the squelch value (1-9) does not seem to have any effect. The result is that squelch only breaks on strong signals. People commenting at other sites seem to suggest this was just on 2-meter. This is really annoying as you either turn squelch off (and hear noise) of get signals that are constantly being blanked when they fall below the S/N threshold.

B) Rx audio quality seems to be good. But this may be partly an artifact of 'A' above.

C) The male SMA connector on radio requires that you buy an adapter ($7 at Radio Shack, cheaper on line at Amazon) to use SMA-terminated antennas such as MFJ-1722S which are also male.

D) Unlike one reviewer's experience, my battery seems to hold up for ~30 hours (i.e., a long time) in Rx-only mode. But it also took hours to charge.

E) The problems with Windows device-drivers for the bloody USB-to-serial cables has prevented me from being able to program this radio using the computer. We were thinking of using these for the local CERT team - this is a show-stopper. Nice toy but we will stick to the pro radios for real work.


Three weeks after purchase:

(0) Now having a license, I can test the Tx path.

(1) On-line help (search for user groups) has made this radio usable. I can now program channels manually. I have been able to access several repeaters.

(2) When coupled with a 1/4-wave dipole (magnetic mount on car roof, I use MFJ 1722S w/separate SMA gender changer) I get good reports from contacts as far as 30 miles (when line-of-sight conditions exist). This is very impressive for a "$50 disposable radio". When LOS does not exist, I barely reach the repeater 1 mile from my home - as expected for a VHF radio.

(3) While I am able to get full-quieting on repeaters 10 miles away (i.e., good RF), I have had complains that my audio signal is weak. It really does seem necessary to push the radio into your face and speak directly into mic hole. I have not tried an external mic to see if that helps. I may also try the "drill out the mic hole (carefully!!)" technique to see if more audio energy reaches the mic.

(4) I was frustrated by the inability to turn off PTT-ID tones, but this was operator error (the lousy manual does not help): channel entry has to be DELETED and then reprogrammed. Simply changing programmed channel's PTT-ID field to OFF did not help and state reverted to BOT when menu exited.

Overall I am pleased with the purchase. But someone could make a buck writing a Dummies Guide to the BaoFeng UV Radio Line.


After more than one year: The "disposable" Baofeng is still working well. I actually like it more than the more expensive Wouxun that the town supplied for the CERT team. I have used it on 2M and 440MHz in a variety of environments and gotten pretty good signal reports. Initially folks claimed that my audio was low. I followed some on-line suggestions to CAREFULLY enlarge the small hole in front and that helped. I also bought the <$10 microphone and that helped even more.

I am using the radio for MT63 (a digital mode) and have successfully sent and received messages.

I also replaced the supplied antenna with a larger HT antenna and got better range. At home I use an Arrow dual-band J-Pole w/25 ft of coax and get excellent range.

I did finally get the "correct device driver" to work (with the CHIRP software, not with the Baofeng SW) - and programming the radio is now a snap.

Summary - 1 year banging around in my jeep and nothing but reliable operation. I would not hesitate to buy another. I would even recommend them for CERT use provided that a "how to program the radio" crib sheet was supplied along with a better antenna. I have upgraded my rating - considering the price of this radio I have no complaints.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
The BaoFeng *UV-5R Plus* UV 5R+ Dual-Band 136-174/400-480 MHz FM Ham Two-way Radio is NOT a 5 star radio. Many of the 5 star reviews are claiming it to be a 5 star rating based on the value of the radio. Meaning that for under $50 you are getting a good deal. There is a significant difference between getting a good deal verse having a radio that truly is worth 5 stars. While a 5 star rating can mean different things to different reviewers the radio should be based on the merits of the radio before being rated as a great buy. No doubt that the BaoFeng *UV-5R Plus is a great price but this doesn't make it a great radio. Don't get me wrong this radio is not bad but it is not worth 5 stars. Price is but one factor of the radio that should not trump all other factors. Okay, so that is my preamble rant.

The BaoFeng UV-5R Plus has the potential of being a very good radio but there are two problems that really detract from this radio.

1. There is a significant quality control problem with this radio. Essentially, you may end up with a good radio or a bad radio. It can be a crap shoot. The LED light on my radio flickers and is not consistent. The number "8" button sometimes works and sometimes does not.

2. Programming this radio is a nightmare. Yes, you can do it but there are a lot of steps involved which increases your chances of making an error. The "user manual" is beyond pathetic. Some of the translations from Chinese to English barely make sense. To say, "The new English, German, French instruction, more convenient and more humanized" is quite a joke. There is nothing "humanized" about the instructions or the radio. Yes, there is a ton of information available on the Internet and YouTube but this is by necessity.


+ Very small, compact, and portable
+ Rugged and durable
+ Voice assisted which is nice for the hearing impaired
+ Ability to listen to FM radio stations
+ Can change color of backlight for different functions (good visual indicator)
+ Excellent volume control and sound quality
+ Excellent battery life
+ Accessories are inexpensive


- Programming is not user friendly and requires a lot of keystrokes. You can use a software program but that can also be quirky (free program called CHIRP)
- User manual is useless
- Scans only 3 channels per second making it very slow
- The included earpiece is does not work well
- 4 watts of power as opposed to 5 watts
- The radio does not automatically know the offset so you end up having to enter both transmit and receive frequencies. With radios such as Yaesu you do not have to do this making programming much more simple and error free.

The main purpose of this radio should be as a backup radio to your primary radio. Unless BaoFeng makes some changes I would never recommend this as a primary radio. If you claim this to be a 5 star radio based on the low price and because it works you are leaving out a lot of details. For example, at $150 no one would rate this as a 5 star radio. The same holds as a radio for under $50. If you decide to go with this radio be very patient with the programming until you get it down. Once you get used to the steps it is not too bad but there are a lot of steps and a lot of room for error.

Overall Assessment:

If BaoFeng were to fix the following three issues this radio would easily be a 5 star radio:

1. Eliminate quality control issues as there is too much variance from radio to radio
2. Make programming easier so that both Tx and Rx frequencies do not have to be entered
3. Create a useable user manual

I would only recommend the BaoFeng *UV-5R Plus* as a backup to another radio. A 5 star price does not equate to a 5 star radio. Currently 3 stars are all I can recommend based on the radio and not the price.

If you are into emergency communications I recommend the book: Emergency Radio Communications by Caleb Watts.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Don't get me wrong, Ham radio is a great hobby and this is a great radio. "Back in the Day" I paid 10x more for equipment that wasn't anything close to this. My review and the value I'm discussing, however, has nothing to do with its contribution to that wonderful hobby.

It strikes me odd that people will spend a ton of money on flashlights for the next disaster and not consider what will happen when cell service gets knocked out and they need to call for help.

For the price of a flashlight you can this radio, a reliable, easy to use, phone company independent way to reach a network of responders ready to help when you need them. Should you also have a license to operate it? Sure. Do you *physically need* one? Of course not. All you have to do is turn it on, press the button, and ask for help.

I'm not suggesting that anybody break any laws, only that you consider the potential for helping yourself and your family. (And, it couldn't hurt to get a Ham License. It isn't that hard, it's lots of fun, and you get to meet some interesting people.)

And if you're still worried about using this radio in an emergency, I have it on good authority ('cause it's the FCC rule) that you can "use any means of radio communications at its disposal for essential communications in connection with immediate safety of human life and protection of property when normal communications systems are not available."

Please feel free to let Amazon and me know whether this was helpful to you or not, since it helps me improve my reviews.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2012
I am sure that once the secret gets out how good these radios are the price will go up. I compare this to my Yaesu VX5 which is a $500 radio. I run security in a hospital, and I have started replacing all my $1200 Motorolas which everyone hates to carry, I use those at fixed base stations. These are lightweight, very durable. a breeze to program. BUY THE PROGRAMMING CABLE.

If you do not need the keyboard, you may also want to look at the cheaper version. But since I have to have the latest toy, I bought this. I also purchased the Boefeng, BF 888's for my maintenance staff. They have no bells and whistles, but do exactly what I need and are dirt cheap. I did have a software conflict when programming the 888's so I recommend using a seperate computer for the 5R and the 888. Once I downloaded the software, it took about 20 seconds to program and clone other radios !! AWESOME.

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92 of 106 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2012
These radios have received pretty good reviews on the 'net. I bought one, then another for the sweetheart. Look and feel good. Seem to function well. As said on some site somewhere, It's basically a $200 radio subsidized by the Chinese gov't to sell for $58 to ruin the Japanese industry. If you're thinking of buying by all means go to the Yahoo groups Baofeng UV-5r place- lots of good info, especially on programming the lil bugger. I received my first one overnite from Amazon, the second one took 3 days- to Hawaii! Sheesh. We're living in a dream world- enjoy it while you can! 73
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54 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2012
You will NOT find a comparable dual band radio within this price range! Heck, you probably won't find as great a radio for double it's price!

Just with everything that came in this package, I am able to hit a 2 meter repeater about 15 miles away from my home. I live in Florida, everything's sea-level. I have no idea what the max range of this is, as I've only been playing with it for about 3 days. But, to transmit and receive clearly at a 15 mile range for under $60....I am simply amazed!

Also, the radio is solidly built. It does not feel cheap at all. The LED flashlight is pretty bright and also has a strobe mode. The FM receiver works fine for me. When I'm bored, I listen to the FM radio at work and it always mutes the radio in time for me to hear 100% of the incoming 2-way traffic.

I use mine with my speaker/mic: Wouxun Walkie Talkie Remote Speaker Microphone
I also use this data cable, which I did have to "trim" some of the housing away to fit all the way into my radio: USB Programming Cable for BAOFENG UV-5R UV-3R+ Two way Radio With Driver CD
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2012
This radio is a great little radio to start working with. I have been using Ham Radios for years for doing search and rescue work and this is a great little radio for people that don't want to pay $200+ for similar featured radios.

This radio features both 2m and 440 band coverage as well as some business band and FRS coverage. It is part 90 certified but not certified for FRS use so make sure you are authorized to transmit on the frequencies you are on.

It has a great dual watch feature. Not quite the same as dual receive but good nonetheless.

It supports alpha tagging so you can name your channels and have those display instead of the frequency.

My only problem with the radio is that it is kind of hard to figure out how to program the first time and the drivers and documentation is a little sketchy when you first pick it up. After about 20 minutes of fiddling and reading online I figured it all out and now my radio is set and ready to go.

Overall if you are in the market for a new radio i would definitely recommend this.
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42 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2012
I scooped this up to see if there was any difference to the 5ra or 5r.

New packaging
New Manual that is better written
New Frame from the 5r but same frame as the 5ra
Slightly Heavier then the 5r but same as 5ra ~ half oz heavier.
Comes with ear piece unlike the 5ra but like the 5r

Firmware on model I received was: BFB281

Same Programming. I like the look better than the 5ra the 5ra looks like a toy like others have suggested.
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