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Showing 1-10 of 913 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 967 reviews
on February 12, 2014
I had seen reviews of these radios before but I have been taking a break from the ham community for a while. Besides, I still have a perfectly good, barely used Kenwood TH-71 so why would buy another? To be honest, they looked cool and they were cheap. I ordered one, then I ordered a second one, aftermarket antennas and a programming cable.

To cut through the BS, these radios are amazing. I really didn't expect this level of quality for the price. They are not perfect, but they can compete with the major brands that cost 4 times as much. Each came with a charger base, a wall wart to power the base, a lanyard, a dual band antenna with a male SMA connector, and a ear piece, microphone thingy so you can look like a secret agent dude. Anyway, here is what I thought.....

Pro: Quality feel, not cheap plastic junk like I suspected. Battery capacity is 3 times the capacity of the stock battery in my Kenwood...1800 maH at 7.4 volts. When operated at low power, this should give the radio a long battery life. The frequency range seems to cover not only the 440 and 2m bands, but also GMRS, FRS, MURS and business band. It is completely programmable using the CHIRP software (and the cable). You can also download the entire local repeater list and copy it to the radio. The radio can also be programmed manually as to repeater offset, and tone using the keypad. DTMF is also possible using the keypad. It has a dual VFO and can scan in VFO or memory mode. The output is rated at 1 or 4 watts. I don't have the right adaptor to verify that, but that's what the manual claimed. Power can be switched between high and low from the keypad.

Semi-pro?: The display acts as a mode annunciatiator, meaning that the color changes to show if the radio is standing by (dark) transmitting (orange) receiving (blue) and purple (standby, not in power save). All these colors are changeable through the menu. There is also a mode light which I'm sure would have been adequate, but to each his own. As an added gee wiz feature, it has a flashlight and a strange alarm mode. The radio will receive the commercial FM band also. I almost forgot, it talks. There is a voice that tells you what mode you are in (vfo or memory) and what channel you are on. Interesting, but it gets annoying sometimes. Im not sure if it can be turned off.

Con: The radio has a 4 watt maximum output. While this is probably adequate, 5 would have been preferred. My Kenwood puts out 5 on the battery and 6 on external power. The choices on this radio are 1 or 4 as claimed by the manufacturer. I would imagine that this is related to the battery voltage which is also lower than the 9.6 volts of the Kenwood. The only real problem I have with the radio is that the secondary functions on the keypad cant be used to program the radio unless you are already in the menu mode. Its best to use the cable. I would prefer that the flashlight, and alarm thing weren't there. Its a radio, not a disco light.

Over all, this is an incredible value. If you are looking for a cheap way to get started in ham radio, this is it. With the right adaptor, this could be used as a mobile or base radio. All you need then is an external antenna.

I wont get into the legality of operating one of these radios without the proper license. Just 3 weeks ago a guy got caught operating on 2m without a license, he was fined and his equipment was taken. The licensed ham he was talking to got a warning letter for even talking to him. All the info is available on-line. You can take the practice tests on-line. The tests are like 10 bucks. Most people in the community love to help newbies. Its just not that hard to do it right. Ok, I have preached enough.
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on April 14, 2016
Once again I find it amazing how inexpensive this radio is, including the shipping at this low price. The big name radios are ten times as expensive, and although they might be a little better than this, they aren't ten times better. The UV-5RE is the same radio as the UV-5. Only the front grill is different. Although the radio feels solid and durable, I'm not fond of the silver front grill. The older UV-5R looks better, but it's five bucks more for basically just a black grill.

It's no secret this radio, like all the Chinese radios, is hard to program on its own. You really do need a programming cable to save yourself a day of manual programming. Download CHIRP for free and you're all set to program and copy from one radio to the other with ease.

The radio has two VFO memories, but only one PTT button. The blue button on the front switches the VFO or memory channel from A to B. The orange button switches between VFO and memory.

I haven't found any serious deficiency in the radio itself compared to the expensive models. The antenna is the weak point, but other antennas are available. The sound is crisp and loud for a radio this size. Battery life is quite long. I can use this all day on a charge. The charging base is flimsy feeling and needs proper alignment to get the radio into the slotted fitting, but it works well.

Sure, I like the Japanese radios better, but I don't think the extra 200 bucks buys much more than a name. Chinese products usually aren't made very well, but Baofeng seems to be an exception. I have no complaints with any of their radios, and I own three different models. All are reliable and durable as any of the big name radios.
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on June 21, 2016
I have held an amateur radio license for 30 years. I think this is one of the best values I have purchased. This little radio does not compare to the name brands that have been around for years of course but for the price you can take it with you anywhere and not worry about it being stolen, getting wet, falling form a high place or any other hazard. not because it is rugged (which it is not bad) but the cost of replacement.
The radio functions well with clear audio and a decent range. The antenna leaves a little to be desired as well. I think I have 8 of these now. in my car, my office, my truck and my go bag and .....My handheld before this was a Kenwood and no this does not compare for clarity and range but, battery life is actually better..
If you are not a licensed amateur it is illegal to transmit using this radio (possible large fine). So if you just want to listen you are welcome, But if you want to talk on these frequencies please study and pay the the few dollars to get your license all the test questions are on the internet. And this is an inexpensive first rig to get your feet wet with.
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on March 5, 2014
Ok, as been said, the instructions are not real user friendly (reduced one star for this issue). However I used a youtube video and figured out what I needed to. Was able to listen in to conversations from inside the house from operators on the outskirts of town. I live in A large city in southern texas, and had no issues. I coulnd't track down a repeater, however on the scan i was able to hear some broadcasts.

I used the stock antenna, and the broadcast locations were over 15 miles away. Again, not a HAM guy.. still very very new at this.. but I liked what I heard. I think this would be fine for my needs.

Delivery was great, packing was great, and no other issues.

I ordered a longer antenna, and plan to order a disposable battery adapter for regular batteries, and rechargeable batteries. I also ordered a car charger for this item for greater mobility. (personal choice for me just in case)

Great little piece of gear.. Amazing piece for for the price...
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on February 27, 2017
I have bought a lot of these radios. They are a great little two meter radio. I use them to scan local police chatter and they work well. They are not the fastest scanning radio but if you don't put a lot of channels in, it works well. I would certainly recommend anyone buying a radio to buy a programming cable as well. It makes programming multiple channels a breeze. They have been very durable for me and I have dropped mine many times. Battery life is great. If you don't transmit a lot, you are good for the day on a charge. I have worked stations on the satellite SO-50 with just the stock antenna. They are a great starter radio and for the price they can't be beat!
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on September 16, 2015
I know these get a lot of mixed reviews and mostly about how hard they are to program.

Those other reviews only inspired me to learn how to manually program this!

Along with learning how to manually program the radio, I learned how to modify the charger base for extending the external power supply for a variety of voltages.

The instruction manual that comes with this is pretty much garbage, however, there are multiple manuals online and my favorite was a list of the menu options, what they are, how they work and what settings should be set for HAM radio use.
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on June 1, 2013
I have a wouxon, a puxing and an earlier Baofeng. This is tied with the Wouxon (and I have the pricier Wouxon, legal for commercial and amateur). Much better than the earlier Baofeng. Many of the hams on our local repeater are using this Baofeng, and they work great. The audio sounds as good as their pricey "name brand" mobile radios, seriously. There is one guy I talk to regularly, and I can't tell if he is on his icom mobile or the Baofeng. Assuming he is close enough for the 5 watts to reach.

This really is a fantastic deal, and all hams who use VHF/UHF should have one! Of course the manual is really hard to use. There are sites on the net with English as a first language explanations. Also, it goes without saying that you should use the programming software to program this rig. Makes it much easier, even though the software is also hard to understand. But it works. Buy the correct USB cable. Don't skimp on the ones with the fake prolific chip, you will have driver woes forever.

For those just browsing, please remember this is an amateur radio, and you do need an FCC license! This not a replacement for a "family radio". Search for FRS if that is what you are looking for!
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on July 12, 2017
Powerful little radio transmitter. The price can't be beat. Having been through an emergency where the cell towers were shut down, I never want to experience that feeling of being "cut off" again! I advise to outfit your family with these and some real walkie-talkies *before* you need them. These are also good for trips, being at the mall or anywhere you and your family are out and about where your cell signal is weak!
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on October 17, 2016
This is a great little radio. I compare it to name brands from japan. Cant see the difference except price. Has solid receive and transmit distance is decent. If you get a better antenna of course you will see a improvement. Feels good in your hand and the battery holds up vary well. Thought it would feel and look cheap for the price, It Exceeds my expectations. When i step out side i can hit most of the repeaters full quieting... A keeper...
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This BaoFeng UV-5R VHF/UHF Dual Band Radio was recommended to me by HAM enthusiast as a good starter radio. I was fortunate enough to find someone that could help me program this using the BaoFeng cable (not included) and "Chirp" software (also not included but free for download).

This is generally good quality all the way around, except for the included antenna (which I replaced with a better one). I like that it can be programmed for FRS, GRS, and NOAA. I would have liked it to be programmable from the keypad, but that seems above my abilities (if even possible),

We now have 5 of these for family members and are very pleased once they have been configured.

Highly Recommended!

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