Industrial-Sized Deals Shop all Back to School Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums $5 Off Fire TV Stick Off to College Essentials Shop Popular Services gotS5 gotS5 gotS5  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Metal Gear Solid 5 Gear Up for Football Learn more

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2013
As a buyer of well-over 300 Baofeng radios (and counting) for the group I belong to (not all of which were purchased through Amazon but many were), I'm always amazed at the lengths some sellers go to to hype their products as being "newer" or "better" than other models, or perhaps (to give them the benefit of the doubt) they just don't know any better.

First, the Baofeng UV-5R series (including the original and still extremely popular UV-5R, I'll explain why in a minute) is what is normally referred to by many as a SDR radio (or software defined radio). While not a true SDR product (you can't use it with your computer to control the radio's functions or scan a wide amount of VHF/UHF frequencies with it), none the less a large chip is programmed on the circuit board built inside each radio. That chip determines what capability the radio itself can perform.

Every UV-5R series radio has the ability to transmit from 136-174 MHz on VHF and from 400-520 MHz on UHF in both narrow-band and wide-band modes (very useful for the occasional FRS or MURS use, which requires narrow-band mode to work correctly).

Every model does "at least" 4W on VHF/UHF from the factory, but occasionally you'll get a batch that does 4.5W or even 5W out, but the difference between 4W and 5W is minimal at best. A 4W radio with a better antenna will easily outperform a 5W radio with the standard crappy antenna that Baofeng ships on ALL (including the UV-5RA, -5RAX, and -5RAX+) models.

Baofeng DOES NOT program those chips any differently for the UV-5R vs. any other UV-5R series (including the UV-5RA). Version 307 of the firmware (which is the most current release I have in any of my radios) works EXACTLY the same way as previous older releases of firmware at least back to the 295 release (over a year ago), so any claim from a seller that this release provides additional features (at least from a user's perspective) is simply BOGUS, since the firmware inside both radios have the same features. In fact, my UV-5R radios with the 307 firmware release is EXACTLY the same radio (inside and within the firmware) as my UV-5RA radios with the 307 firmware release.

Second, you CANNOT in any way upgrade the firmware (unless you count buying a different radio and it comes with a different firmware release), so again the claim in the listing from some sellers that you can is simply BOGUS.

Third, you can believe that two thinner pieces (glued or screwed together on the faceplate of the UV-5RA) is somehow stronger than one thicker piece of plastic (on the original UV-5R series) if you like (and maybe it is), but I haven't seen that in real-world use from my own UV-5RA units. The standard UV-5R units that we use seem to hold up just as well (when dropped in the desert dirt or rolling down a hill) as any other Baofeng radio we own and use.

Fourth, and my biggest issue with all of the non-standard UV-5RA, UV-5RAX and UV-5RAX+ units, is that NONE of the Baofeng battery accessories (except the little 1800 mAh standard battery) work WITHOUT modification (unless you use a Dremel tool to grind or cut off part of your extended battery that works on the standard UV-5R - but won't work on your UV-5RA, UV-5RAX or UV-5RAX+).

Getting new UV-5RA units that don't work with Extended 3800 mAh batteries (without modification) doesn't make my group happy. That may not bother you, but NONE of the sellers of the non-standard UV-5RA, UV-5RAX, and UV-5RAX+ units ever seem to mention that lack of hardware compatibility in their listings, so buyer beware!

BTW, NONE of the "AA" or "AAA" battery shell packs work on the UV-5RA, UV-5RAX, or UV-5RAX+ units either, so that's 3 different battery accessories (including the 3800 mAh extended battery) that you can't use on these radios without hacking them with a Dremel tool (but they all work without modification on the original UV-5R units).

So "if" you want a "pretty" radio (as my wife calls it), buy one of the various versions of the UV-5RA (or -5RAX, or -5RAX+) with the shiny face plate and live with the fact that you'll be modifying ALL of the battery accessories you buy later in order to get them to work. Oh, you should see how well that shiny faceplate lights up when a flashlight hits it in the dark, just the thing you don't want for night use.

Virtually every guy in our group ends up carrying a standard UV-5R and giving the UV-5RA, -5RAX, or -5RAX+ to the wife or kids, since the wife and/or kids rarely care about the other accessories working and they (the wife and kids) tend to like the "pretty" radios, but again there is NO INTERNAL difference and NO EXTRA FEATURES in the UV-5RA, -5RAX, or -5RAX+ units (other than a different looking shiny faceplate) vs. the original and still wildly popular UV-5R (which I refer to as the M16 of radios, as all the accessories you match it up with just plain work).

Now you know the real background on these radios.
88 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2012
I bought this 5RA as soon as I saw something beside the 5r which I already have.

The 5RA has slightly different button shapes but programming and layout is the same. Programming this with the handheld is a nightmare. Not impossible or hard but time consuming. The directions are worthless and the exact same as the previous version. Buy the 5r usb programming cable to make your life easier.

Seems like they addressed some firmware shortfalls of the 5r and transmit power is slightly better.
Some of the menu text on screen is "cleaned up" meaning they use less characters to get across the same point.

If you are going to hook it up to a external antenna I use a female SMA to female pl259 connector (SO-239). The "reverse SMA" connection is the only thing limiting your antenna choices.

For the price you cannot go wrong. Not a huge fan of the origin of manufacture but the quality far exceeds the price.

The 5r comes with a ear bud/mic this version (5ra) does NOT.

**Update:
As I played with it next to the 5r, I noticed the screen being behind the new plastic causes a "shadow bar" across the bottom at most angles on the screen. In bright light the redesign can reflect it back at you.

Firmware on my handheld was:
BFB281

Hold 3 when turning on to get this info
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2012
I like this Radio! Owners manual is pretty weak. Get on the internet, read the tutorials, and you can have frequencies programmed in minutes. Then hit your local repeater.

Its simple to program!!!

Monitor NOAA weather, local police, Fire, and FM radio

The radio feels solid in you hand. The controls are solid.
Antenna works just fine. I would like to try a better one just out of curiosity.

I think it is a great first Amateur Hand held.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2012
I bought the 5R and since I have to have the latest toys, I bought the 5RA. I am not a radio techno, so I can't tell you the difference from a technical standpoint, but I actually like the look of the 5R a little better. I work part time as a Cop and the 5RA looks like a toy on my belt. The 5R is all black and looks more official. The 5RA has a silver plate on the front.

The 5RA speaker is crystal clear, it transmits fine, and hits the repeaters with no issues in NYC where I work. It is compact, fits in a back pocket, and is very light. The screen is easy to read. But with any of these radios buy the programming cable, it is a breeze to program.

Besides that you have to love these radios, with the $2.99 cable (you should buy) and software I downloaded. It took me about 4 minutes to program 24 channels, then it took me 10 seconds to clone it to another new radio. My only fear is that these Boafeng radios will become so popular that the price will go up !!

I have a 600 Vertex VX5 that is an amazing radio, but I put it in the desk for now. This is the new toy.
55 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2012
I bought this radio and the first thing I noticed is that it looked nothing like the photo on the Amazon listing. While installing the battery, I noticed the model number is UV-5RE! After a quick review/comparison of the specs, it appears that the major difference is cosmetic/case. It DOES have the newer BFB-291 firmware.

Comparing this to my Wouxun UV6D, the Baofeng is smaller, but weighs about the same (feels more dense). I could fit the Baofeng in my jeans pocket, whereas the Wouxun is just a little too big. The other annoyance is the female SMA connector for the antenna... my Wouxun, and just about every other HT I own, have connectors that take male SMA connectors. The radio does get warm when transmitting on high power for more than 20-30 seconds. So, I don't expect to use this radio for lots of digital mode transmissions.

Testing with some Amateur UHF repeaters about 20 miles out performance seemed on par with my other HTs. However, on 2m, performance was significantly less. I'm guessing the stubby duck antenna may be a major contributor to the poor relative performance on 2m. The built-in microphone is somewhat poor.. it sounds muffled when compared to other radios, the clarity of my FM transmissions is not the same as using a better radio like my Yaesu or even the Wouxun. It lacks a rotary knob for tuning, channel selection, and menu selection, which I use often on my other HTs.

This radio does have 2.5KHz step option right on the radio, unlike my Wouxun UV6D on which the 2.5KHz channels must be programmed via software.
Another nice option is the ability to tune into FRS/GMRS frequencies, and secondary use as a police/fire scanner.

One other slight annoyance is that there appears to be a significant delay to transmit when pressing PTT. I can't just xmit and start talking like on a Yaesu HT, the first second or so of the transmission gets cutoff. If you are transmitting a callsign and just start talking when you press PTT, the first few letters will be cutoff unless you are careful. Listening to local repeaters on 2M I can always identify who is using a Baofeng by this issue... lots of "...6ABC" and "...XYZ" callsigns

While not a perfect radio, for the price, this seems to be a good value.
66 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2012
I was not expecting a lot for the price, but the unit works well and seems to be pretty well built. It is a real pain to try programming manually, but once it is setup everything works well.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2013
I almost gave up on programming this radio ... I could use the manual to put repeaters into the VFO but the information on storing them into the memory just was incomplete in the manual. I found a YouTube video that helped but it too was not quite correct. Finally able to program it by hand and could show someone else how to do it.
Some tips:
1. program the repeater or simplex frequency into the VFO mode and key up to be sure all is correct... offset,
transmit and receive frequencies, ctcss tones, and power.
2. Decide on you memory channel and then clean it out now.
3. Go through the steps in the book for programming the receiver and then push menu again and enter the actual Xmit frequency, PUSH MENU again (the radio should tell you it is the Xmit frequency) and then follow with Exit.
4. Test the memory that it works.
OR
Search for the CHIRP (free) program and download it, download the driver for the cable and then with a littl more effort you can program the radio... remember to upload the frequencies first from radio to computer then change at will.
The CHIRP software has a nice repeater lookup feature where you can search nearby counties for all the repeater info... then just check the ones you want and bingo: they will appear in the database... remember to enlarge the data base beyond the orginal size fit everything in you want.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2013
The radio itself so far has done a good job. The seller even went so far as to help me when a program cable i purchased also was not sold by them but was part of combo it had a blank driver cd and I thought the cable set came from tem it did not but yet they took the time to find out where to get the driver and sent me the link. Most sellers wouldnt care not their sales item.. Great job and many thanks I will buy from them again
Only 2 issues as to be expected for something in this price range nothing is perfect
the first you really need the program cable and chirp sofware to upload you frequencies into it, if you try to use the manual forget it.
The second is low tx audio when using the builtin mic of the radio reports are that it is low but that is easily resolved by using the speakermic I purchased with it. there is a yahoo support group of owners of this radio with a lot of good info and guidance along with plain english guide to use the keypad to program and all the keypad funtions
I do suggest that for mobile use get the battery adaptor pack.
I would buy this radio again great price and it works
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2015
For the price it is great. Better than I expected. Feels good in my hand and for the size keys are good. My fingers aren't small but had no problems with any functions. Menu system is easy to get used to and well thought out.

This is a great starter radio and a good back up unit. As is any hand held no matter the cost you should replace the rubber duck. I put a Nagoya NA-771 on it and it pulled repeaters out that weren't breaking squelch before.

With the included stuff it is hard to believe the cost. I have paid more for a headset by itself for my Yaesu than I did this entire rig.

One nice feature is the FM radio built in. I can listen to FM and scan the band and if a signal hits it will switch over long enough for me to decide if I want to join the QSO.

73
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2014
This little guy is awesome! the only draw back is the way it hooks up to the computer. once you figure that out its awesome
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Questions? Get fast answers from reviewers

Please make sure that you've entered a valid question. You can edit your question or post anyway.
Please enter a question.
See all 14 answered questions


Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.