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Customer Review

459 of 480 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Which version of the 5RA should you get?, December 14, 2012
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This review is from: Baofeng UV5RA Ham Two Way Radio 136-174/400-480 MHz Dual-Band Transceiver (Black) (Wireless Phone Accessory)
In short: as of around mid December 2012, buy this one.

Best antenna for this: The Diamond SRJ77CA. Alternately, the Nagoya NA-771 SF if you are on a budget.

I was trying to figure out which version to get on here, frustrated by the reviews, so I decided to buy them all and report. I had read that the various versions are all the same radio, just the style and color vary: UV-5R, 5RA, 5RC, 5RE, 5R+, 5R Mk II, UV-E5, UV-5R Plus. This is true, so it comes down to which one is going to ship with the most recent firmware.

The firmware varies, but there does not seem to be much of a difference in performance. Holding "3" while you turn the radio on gets you the firmware version. I bought this mid-December, 2012 and got firmware version BFB295. I thought BFB293 was the latest but this is even more recent. The "UV-5R Plus" that I bought from Amazon for more money was BFB293, but I don't notice any difference at all in the functionality of the two.

For programming channels, don't bother trying to program directly to the radio - get the programming cable. You can buy the cheap connector, search for CHIRP software, and navigate that with some frustration. If you would rather spend a bit more and skip the frustration, look into the RT Systems connector and software which works perfectly without any frustration.

This can transmit on Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) with no license required. It also transmits on General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) which technically requires a license. However, "bubble-pack pirates" persons who use GMRS without a license are common. It also transmits on the HAM bands and even some commercial and emergency frequencies, so be careful what frequencies you transmit on according to your licensing.

Construction? Much better than you're expecting. I have a $450 Yaesu VX-8DR, and this does 99% of what I used the Yaesu for day to day. It's not submersible, so don't take it into the bath tub with you, but at $44 it's practically disposable. The accessories are dirt cheap too. The volume can get much louder on a 5R than any other HT that I've used.

Update 12/28/12: I bought a second one, received on Dec-21-2012, this time it was the BFB293 firmware rather than the BFB295 that I received two weeks prior.

Update 1/4/13: I bought a different, earlier UV-5R variant that came with BFB297 firmware. These radios are all the same, it seems to be a crap shoot what firmware you'll get.
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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 10, 2013, 12:51:39 PM PST
Hi (Z. Ragsdale "Bill Zunderman")

Thank you for your valuable comments..
Based on your experience, can we use the same firmware for different models (like BFB297 for UV-5RA and UV-5RC) ?
Could you sort all of the UV-5 models from the oldest to the latest model?
Why do you think they have all of these models.. At the same time there are the same and there is no difference between them.. It's very confusing for me !


Posted on Mar 31, 2013, 12:07:13 PM PDT
Kryptonite says:
"I just bought them all"....dude you rock, that is a strong move man. Thanks for info.

Posted on May 15, 2013, 10:09:38 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 15, 2013, 10:12:29 PM PDT
Solar_Ize says:
The version relates to the country in which the radio is destined. In the US, it will be the 5R, 5RA, and 5R+. They come with the FCC ID label. Any other model (such as the RE that is destined to Europe) does not carry the FCC ID label and is illegal in the US. It is even illegal to import them.

Posted on May 30, 2013, 7:04:19 AM PDT
Andras says:
Is there a way to update the firmware?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2013, 10:11:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2013, 10:13:10 AM PDT
Mitch S. says:
FYI, that is probably not the latest firmware. After 297, you have to use CHIRP software to check the latest version. Go to the browser tab, firmware_msg, and the real version is unde line 1. Line 2 still shows version 297. The keypad way to check is no longer valid after 297. I have firmware v307 on my 5rA. I bought mine in April.
And there is no way to update it. Check chip is one-time programmable.

Posted on Aug 5, 2013, 1:16:06 PM PDT
This is the latest release to US market, seems to have most updated firmware as of May 2013:

Baofeng UV-5RA X+ *UV-5RAX+* Dual-Band 136-174/400-480 MHz FM Ham Two-way Radio, Improved Stronger Case, Enhanced Features, Black

Posted on Dec 29, 2013, 5:54:13 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 29, 2013, 5:54:52 PM PST
The Count says:
Note: Regardless of what is possible and what some people say, it is only legal to use this radio with a ham license on ham bands. FRS, GMRS and whatever other you might think es bueno, es illegal. This from a VE ham examiner.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2014, 7:16:08 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 10, 2014, 7:16:43 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2014, 10:13:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 10, 2014, 10:15:01 PM PDT
Solar_Ize says:
Not for FRS and GMRS, these bands have restrictions and the UV-5R is not compliant. For example, the FRS band requires non-detachable antennas and less than 1W output power. Right there the UV-5R is non-compliant. Period. Should I keep going on? This radio should have never been approved for use in the US. Another mistake from the FCC and CBP...

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 22, 2014, 4:56:36 AM PDT
Truck Vet says:
I disagree. While I know little about these radios, I do know that should a natural disaster occur, and I was trapped I could legally go on whatever band I wanted to save a life. This Radio is cheap enough to buy and never use except for emergencies.
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