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89 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Radio...Great Price.
Been a ham operator for 36 years and have seen and used all sorts of radios. This one is really good for the price.
Really can not believe they are so cheap in price.

Radio has some of the loudest receive audio in an HT then I have ever heard. Audio output is 1000mW which equals 1 watt. Transmit audio is clear and crisp. Radio for me was easy to...
Published 11 months ago by Ice

versus
208 of 216 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So-Called "Newer 2013 Model" Baofeng UV-5RA Models
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,...
Published 11 months ago by CDC


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208 of 216 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So-Called "Newer 2013 Model" Baofeng UV-5RA Models, 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.
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89 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Radio...Great Price., August 5, 2013
By 
This review is from: BaoFeng UV-5RE Plus(UV-5R Plus) Dual-Band 136-174/400-480 MHz FM Ham Two-way Radio, Improved Stronger Case, More Rich and Enhanced Features (2013 Enhanced Version) (Electronics)
Been a ham operator for 36 years and have seen and used all sorts of radios. This one is really good for the price.
Really can not believe they are so cheap in price.

Radio has some of the loudest receive audio in an HT then I have ever heard. Audio output is 1000mW which equals 1 watt. Transmit audio is clear and crisp. Radio for me was easy to program, granted you should do some reading in advance and use appropriate cable drivers and software. I preferred to use "Chirp" software as it is less troublesome then BaoFengs own software.
I had ready programmed by second day of use. Programmed in many ham repeaters and local fire and police frequencies. Through the software, I was able to program alpha tags for each frequency in memory. You can program up to seven alphanumeric names per memory channel. Through software, I programmed all ham repeaters to be skipped when I am in scan mode. This enabled me to only scan my local police and fire frequencies. My computer is using Windows 7 Professional software.

The cable I used was Baofeng Programming Cable for BAOFENG UV-5R/5RA/5R Plus/5RE, UV3R Plus, BF-888S (Newest Version, Support WIN7,64 Bit). B00CP0I474
This one is the one made by BaeFeng with proper Prolific chip in cable. Others might have issues with counterfeit Prolific chip in cable. I did not want to take a chance with cheaper cable, so I bought the one I just mentioned.

Make sure you use correct Prolific chip driver. I used Prolific PL-2303 Drivers 3.2.0.0
System Requires 32 / 64 bit Windows Vista / 7 / 8. Check out [...]

These sites have lots of great info:

[...]
[...]
[...]

Hope this helps all who are thinking about this radio. It has exceeded my expectations.

PS. Also has FM radio built in....works well.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So-Called "Newer 2013 Model" Baofeng UV-5RA Models, 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.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More than you expect for $50, but not perfect, August 23, 2012
The UV5R is a miracle. How can so many features be sold for so little?
What you get is a pretty decent in-town repeater radio.
It's no Kenwood or ICOM, but it does work.
It's tiny antenna isn't so great for rural repeater or simplex use.

Pro:
Decent sound/transmit audio.
Seems well made, good guality feel transceiver.
Talking prompts for buttons for night.
Good battery life
Uses Kenwood HT accessories
Can actually hit the satellites with dual band
Works with CHIRP shareware programming software(still in beta only)
FM radio and light can be useful

Con:
Low gain OEM duck, reverse SMA connector limits replacements
Cheap charger has easily bent/broken contacts. No car charger available.
Incredibly bad manual, complex to program manually
Poor included software
Transmit for more than a few minutes, and the screen goes dark (LCD temperature issue)
USB programming cable is often made with counterfeit chips, may have issues with Win7 driver install
USB response does not always work, buggy upload/download, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't
Seems a bit sensitive to impulse noise.
Firmware not upgradable, new firmware is already out but older radios may not have it

But hey, its a knock around who cares about it radio for $50. REALLY
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, August 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Sadly I could only give them 3 stars because one of the two charging units was\is defective. I contacted the vendor, thru Amazon, and they had no replacement unit to send me. That leaves returning the whole order, paying shipping and insurance etc. The problem is that the faulty charging unit costs less than $10.00 and it would cost me much more to send the order back than to just live with a bad charger.
The radios and the other part of the order are fine, too bad tho about the one charger.

After 4 days I pulled out my micro-tip soldering iron and magnifying light\lens and opened up the charging base. The soldering job I found inside certainly would not win any awards. Talk about cold solders. A touch-up on all the solder points\connections I could find, 5 minutes time to do the work, reassemble and test the base and it now works. So much for quality control and unit testing before shipping.

Still rating at 3 stars as some people may not have access to the equipment needed to repair the charging base and honestly I'm really surprised that it was something as simple as a cold solder joint.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible bargain, September 19, 2012
I have to be honest. Despite the positive reviews, I was not expecting much when I ordered the BAOFENG UV-5R. When I received it, I was pleasantly surprised, if not shocked, how well this radio works. The radio comes with all the usual accessories. The user manual is the worst user manual I've ever seen with a radio. My advice, throw it in the garbage and head over to the UV-5R Yahoo! Group. There, you can download tips and instructions that will actually show you how to use the radio. I do not have the programming cable and software, so I had to program my radio manually. Despite reading how next to impossible this is to do, I did not find it that bad. Yes it is quirky compared to my Japanese radios, but using the quick tips I found on the Yahoo! group, I had dozens of repeaters programmed in the radio in about an hour or so. Once programmed, the performs as good as my much more expensive HT's. The radio is easily a 5 star radio for the price. My only caveat would be for a new HAM buying this radio for his/her's first radio. Its somewhat non-conventional operation might overwhelm some people. Here are the Pros and Cons I've encountered:

Pros:
Price, price, price!
Very good audio on TX and RX.
Great battery life.
Good sensitivity and selectivity.
Great features.
Expanded TX without modification.
Did I mention price?

Cons:
Mediocre build quality.(but fine for the price)
Programming cable not included.
Very quirky programming without the cable.
Completely useless manual.
Channel skip and alpha tags only available using the programming software.
SMA Female antenna instead of standard SMA Male antenna.
Very slow scan speed.
Useless squelch control.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BaoFeng UV-5RE Plus BFB397 firmware, May 21, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The two new 2013 version radios I purchased are great. The came with an improved 6 1/4 " antenna, (looks like a Motorola clone) ear bud/mic unit, battery, strap and charger. I found them easy to program by the keyboard and the voice aknowledgements are a big help. Both units seem to perform well. Handy little units so small they would be great for a gal who would like to keep one in her purse. The Manual could use some minor improvements however all the information you need is there. I have not attempted to use the earbud/mic yet and may not try it as the basic HT package meets my needs.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE VALUE, BUT THERE'S THE USUAL CAVEAT, March 1, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As a licensed radio amateur operator, it is refreshing to find a low cost handy talky that competes with the big guys who sell the same basic units for 200 to 300 dollars more. It's about time Yaesu, Kenwood, Alinco etc. got a viable and logically priced competitor. The only problem I am experiencing is the difficulty in programming the radio. It is a very complicated procedure. A knowledgeable amateur who knows how to program it should be hired to do a step by step, easy to understand instructional manual The reception and audio on the unit is remarkably clear. A great buy but too sketchy in their setup procedure. I have since found a video on YouTube where a knowledgeable amateur does the step by step procedure.
Tom Glover WA2RVU
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOTS OF FEATURES for few dollars CRAZY! not perfect either, October 30, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
One of the best buys one can find for the money as in extremely cheap. The Baofeng UV-5R costs so little for so much transceiver that
it almost makes one believe that cheaper is better. The UV-5R with all its voice prompts and colored lights is
hard not to like. Tons of features, small, rugged, fits nice in the hand, loud, kinda cheesy looking, powerful and best of all in my opinion the receive sensitivity makes this little handheld a favorite amongst the titans.
sensitivity reading On VHF, 145MHz, -129dBm. On UHF, 435MHz, -126dBm.

Firmware version on my radio is BFB293 which I believe is the latest and that few people have to date.
120918N B5R0001

U P D A T E APRIL 1 2013 latest firmware version is BRB297...You can now buy 220mhz factory version..

**********
My radio arrived with some channels already programmed (and battery charged) and I believe this is common for quality control tests at the factory
and not that the radio was a return from another user.

Multiple colors available. Black,red,Yellow,Camo...NOT WATER RESISTANT.

Using the same antenna on an adapter ( and not a true way to test/compare radios) I found that the Baofeng UV-5R pulled out a few signals that my icom, kenwood and yaesu dual
band Ht's could not hear although at a cost of being a little extra greedy in reacting to undesired interference from
other sources close by like computers and other electronic devices. As Antenna's go the one that comes with this radio is
neither a long range or a stubby short range model, Incorporates SMA MALE thread which is unusual, and is a stiff non-bendable model that performs in the mid range . Although using a higher efficiency antenna offers better performance my needs are that I prefer to use a stubby antenna for short range communications and thus makes the size profile of my unit
even smaller for concealment which is what I like/need. I bought a FEMALE TO MALE adapter at radio shack for $4.00 to use my many aquired female SMA antennas ..so no sweat With optional antennas you may need to add a washer to the base
of the antenna as many antenna's do not screw down flush to the top of the radio.

The MODULATION is clear, crisp, and loud so much so often it sounds like you are on a base unit. You do have to speak up close into the mike and as such background/wind noise is filtered out to my liking. The speaker output is LOUD and clear.
This could be because this transciever incorporates a DSP/SDR design (digital)

I seem to be in the minority on the difficult programming issue many have in having played with so many small HT's on the market, finding most with programming quirks, and found this unit to be fairly easy to program
with the somewhat lacking instruction manual. Some features in the programming cannot be accessed without using a program
cable/software and I find this to be a small issue although others may find it a pain. The most noticeable exclusion in
programming options not available through direct keyboard programming is the assignment of ALPHA TAGS which can only be performed with cable and external software connection. And I guess I should mention that you cannot directly program 2.5 KHZ without rounding up and then hitting the up or down frequency key to land on a 2.5KHZ freq you wanted in the first place. In others words you have to use the step sequence rather than a direct keyboard input. I like to have the FM radio/priority function turned off in many cases and the programming cable is nec to do this.. I like the split repeater capabilty.

My UV-5R came with the optional ear bud mic and I found the modulation to be slightly louder with this external mic. The belt clip supplied is built sturdy enough for most uses but the spring may not have enough torque in heavy use... Although I did not buy the unit because of the built in flash light and would have preferred a White light LED over the blue one that is incorporated, I actually found it useful.

The lighted keyboard is nice!

The LCD has issues in both high and cold temps it seems and every lcd display is different in that regard... so don't expect to see the readout in 30 degree or extremely hot temps as it will fade out.

The 1800ma battery supplied was fully charged on arrival and lasts a long time compared to batteries in my other HT's.
The charger is quite sturdy and provides lots of information as to the status of the charger to include a red power light on the transformer to confirm the unit is plugged in to an active outlet. This 1800ma battery took a little over 4 hours to fully recharge from the 400ma charger once exhausted. From what I understand the battery has to be exhausted and recharged 3 times before attaining it's highest performance.

Can't charge without drop-in charger .. CIG lighter battery eliminator pack avail but has very short coiled cable.
Extended size battery packs are available. AA and AAA battery packs available..

The three bar battery power indicator on the radio is not linear as once you get down to the last bar the battery is almost ready to exhaust and by the time the low battery warning kicks in you have nothing left.The audible voice warning will quickly wear both the radio and you out as it quickly repeats over and over. The voice mode can make you want to hit the radio with a hammer in a few circumstances but it also has it's advantages I must admit ...dammed if u do and dammed if u don't.

The signal indicator on receive mode only indicates that the squelch has been broken and IS NOT A RELATIVE STRENGTH INDICATOR, it is either full bars or no bars.. On transmit mode it shows full 5 bars when keying out no matter what ,
including with no antenna attached!!! So in summary no RF signal/power meter.
The TRANSMIT button is not only large but is extremely touchy and accidental transmissions WILL HAPPEN so be
careful especially if tuned to frequencies you are not authorized to xmit on.

Can't see both Frequency and Name at the same time
The VOX control level adjustment is not linear and seems like only 1 or 2 adjustment levels.

Can still turn the volume down when locked.
Most buttons will stop a scan when locked.
The Call button will still switch to FM radio mode when locked.

THE CHANNEL SCANNING MODE IS VERY SLOW so don't expect it to be good at catching multiple activity without a long lag time.
Can't program channel skip (channel lockout) in the radio without cable/software/computer

The display is very nice, dot matrix, and you can choose 3 different colors (purple,orange,blue) in a conbination of ways. (IE.different color for TX,RX,and stand by).

The panic/alarm feature is easily accidently activated when trying to engage the FM radio feature.

One of the many features that I like is the radio ID mode which allows you to set an ID number (only from computer software) for the transceiver so anyone listening with the same capability can know who/what radio is transmitting.
Although the scan mode speed is incredibly SLOW I like that the programming allows for a long customized delay time so that you don't jump out of
delayed keyups in a conversation.
On a fresh battery and a digital RF power meter I measured readings of 4.9 - 5.4 watts across the vhf band from 136mhz to 174mhz. My UV-5R came with UHF coverage from 400mhz to 520MHZ with no breaks in xmt and I understand that with external software programming
addition frequencies can be obtained. .
The UV-5R also includes the capability to cover the FM commercial radio band (MONO) and I was amazed how well the unit picks up stations even with the mid-range antenna supplied, utilizing a longer antenna results in a remarkable ability to pull in the weak stations. My unit stores up to 25 FM commercial radio channels (VIA computer software) although I have read reviews where some do not, maybe it is the specific firmware version that controls this capability? I had zero problems with using a programming cable and software on my windows 7 computer, apparently others have.

The radio is built quite ruggedly AS I HAVE DROPPED MINE SEVERAL TIMES ON THE CEMENT AND HARD FLOOR AND NO PROBLEMS.

Like with most products of this kind built in China, (and at such a extremely cheap price) quality control may be lacking and thus YOUR tranciever may have issues...while many/most do not.. It seems like the lemons get the most feedback..I have had no problems with the several UV-5R's that I have recieved.

In summary it is evident that at this time this radio packs more punch for the dollar than any currently on the market and that alone is something worth writing about..
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, May 17, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've recently become interested in Ham radio again, after several years of inactivity. Like most Hams, I have a lot of gear sitting in storage. Since my radio gear has been stored in the back of a storage unit after a move, it's basically not accessible. I wanted something to get on the air with, but had reservations about parting with hard earned dollars when I had lots of gear already. Well, I stumbled across these and thought I'd give them a try.

They are a bit clunky to program, The supplied manual is devoid of information on programming. No software is included (open source free software is available on the net). No programming cable is included. Hmmmmm....seems like I had to buy software, cables, adapters (car)etc., for my Yaesus, Icoms, Kenwoods, Alincos, ADIs and even Radio Shack radios.

I also remember taking my shiny new Yaesu FT-530 from the box, and trying to program it. I remember how difficult that task was, and similarly with an Icom 2m/220. My Kenwood Tri-bander for the car was not overly intuitive either.

So, we've established that the name brand Japanese radios are clunky to program as well as the new Chinese radios.

Each of my Hand helds from the top brands cost between $150-$300 or thereabouts, and came with a wall wart charger, manual, battery, wrist strap (with some, not all). I had to purchase a speaker-mic, better antenna, desktop charger(if available at all), car adapter, case, programming software, and connection cable. Extra battery packs were somewhere between $50-100.

The Baofeng is very inexpensive and might do a thing or two that my others don't. Many of those bells and whistles on the big names don't ever get any use, so why have them? The Baofeng has a much better speaker built into the radio and is considerably louder than the big names. Extra batteries are extremely inexpensive and the radio kit comes with the desktop charger and headset. For about 1/4-1/6 the cost of what I paid for my others, Baofengs perform well. The longevity of the battery per charge far exceeds the much larger and heavier Nicd or Nimh packs for the other radios. At the same time, the much smaller and lighter battery packs are available from less than $4!

I've heard a ton of them on the air, and they produce good audio. They're well built and the company seems dedicated to improving their products regularly, by listening to their client base. They're inexpensive enough to purchase a few for hiking, fishing, camping, hunting. Family excursions to the amusement park, or sporting events will be well served also. If you happen to volunteer for American Red Cross, or local foot and bike races, Highland games, hot air balloon festivals etc., these are right up your alley! They are targeted to the licensed Ham community, so be aware you need a license to transmit on Ham frequencies. They will also transmit on FRS (no license needed, but you must set the power level), GMRS (you need a license from the FCC, just fill out a form). They are excellent receivers if you like to listen to other radio traffic including broadcast FM and NOAA. Consider how useful communication will be in the event of a catastrophy. Put one with some spare batteries in your emergency or earthquake kit.

These are great little transceivers, and although they don't yet have the prestige of their Japanese competitors, give them a try. I think you'll enjoy them as much as most of us do.

W6WAT
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