Survivalist Forum

Advertise Here

Go Back   Survivalist Forum > Survival gear buy, sell, trade and reviews section > Reviews and questions
Articles Chat Room Classifieds Donations Gallery Groups Links Store Survival Files



Advertise Here
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-25-2012, 05:17 PM
Tevin Tevin is offline
I love this forum
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 790
Thanks: 776
Thanked 1,528 Times in 501 Posts
Default Product Review: Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band Radio



Advertise Here

My ham experience and funding is established to the point where I didn't really "need" another handheld. However, being a prepper means having extras of everything. The Baofeng UV-5R has been creeping down in price; when another SB member posted a tip that they dropped to $40 on Amazon, I jumped on the deal and bought two. This same radio was $60-$80 less than a year ago.

My initial, out of the box first impression was positive. The radio has a solid feel and is surprisingly well made for the price range. The fit and finish is as good as any of the big-buck rigs. Included accessories are a drop in tray charger, belt clip, antenna, and combo earphone/mic. So far, so good.

From there, things got difficult. Programming the radio via the keyboard is very cumbersome and takes a lot of patience. I very quickly became adept at resetting the rig to factory default (option 40 in the menu) and the language to English (option 14) so I could start all over. After two evenings of coming close to Baofeng-ing the rig into the next county, I gave up and ordered the programming cable and downloaded the open-source CHiRP software. By the way, I run a Mac.

The cable arrived but that did not solve my problem. The software barfed out an error message saying "The Radio Will Not Respond". After some hunting on the internet, I discovered that a lot of the generic cables simply do not work. I guess that's the difference between the $19.99 OEM cable and the $6.99 aftermarket knockoff I had. Lesson noted. At that point I wanted to send the Baofengs back and forget the whole deal but my 30 day return period had expired so I was stuck with them. I decided to give keypad programming another shot.

It took a few more factory default resets and lot of googling, but I did successfully program both units! Luckily, there are tons of on line user groups and blogs dedicated to this radio. I suggest that for prepping purposes users learn how to make changes via the keypad because computer access may not be possible in SHTF conditions. I also notice it is easy to mistakenly change settings and/or VFO's. Use of the keyboard lock is almost mandatory, especially if the radio will be used by inexperienced operators. Also, the radio automatically included a repeater offset when I tried to program a simplex frequency into memory channel 000 (zero). I could not figure out how to make it quit doing that, so I just wont use that slot. I had this problem only on channel 000.

The other big buzzkill on the UV-5R is the antenna. It has a male SMA when most other radios are female SMA, so none of the antennas I already use on my other radios will work on this one. Had I noticed this before the return period ended, it would have been a dealbreaker. Amazon and most of the websites sell SMA antennas they claim will work on this radio...buyer beware. Interchangeability is a big deal to me, but I'm stuck with what I've got.


Above: Jacked up antenna jack. On the left is a female SMA; on the right the Baofeng with a male SMA connector.

Other, smaller disappointments include the confusing display (but hey, at least you can pick the backlight color!) and a very cheap plastic belt clip that is held on by two tiny screws and belies the otherwise solidly made handheld. I didn't even bother putting the clip on the radio. I'll just get some nylon radio holsters for $5 or so each and call it a day.


PROS:
  • At this price, it could be considered a barter/throwaway item.
  • Surprisingly well made; construction compares very favorably to much more expensive rigs.
  • Extra batteries are reasonably priced and easy to find.
  • As Baofeng goes more mainstream, a lot of the bugs will probably be worked out.
  • Good battery life.
  • Many internet groups and resources for this radio.
  • Built in LED flashlight. Nice touch!
  • It feels good to get a bargain!

CONS:
  • Male SMA antenna connector is reversed from most other radios, so antennas are not interchangeable.
  • Non user friendly interface; very tedious and confusing to program via the keypad. God Bless google, for no one would be able to set up this radio using only the supplied manual.
  • Confusing display.

The bottom line: Although the UV-5R has many functional shortcomings, it's hard to hate a dual band radio that is well made, does what it's supposed to (eventually), and costs less than fifty dollars! Still, some of the decisions that went into the design of this radio are puzzling. A few small changes and this good radio would be great. The quirks are hair-pullingly annoying, but at this price point they are worth putting up with. That said, I would not want this as my only handheld and I would not be willing to go much higher in price. It's perfect for those who want an extra "no biggie if something happens to it" radio or are truly on a tight budget. It would also be a good pick to buy in quantity for an EMCOMM or survival group.

Tevin's score: 8/10.
Old 11-25-2012, 05:22 PM
ChapNelson's Avatar
ChapNelson ChapNelson is offline
Philosoprepper
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Varies
Posts: 2,834
Thanks: 4,157
Thanked 5,425 Times in 1,728 Posts
Default

Tevin, thanks for the review. I've been eyeballing this exact one ... as I am hoping to get into HAM soon.

Is there a comparable model that would address the Cons?
Old 11-25-2012, 06:30 PM
CoolPrepper CoolPrepper is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Southern PA
Posts: 150
Thanks: 0
Thanked 221 Times in 65 Posts
Default

Hi

I am by no means an experienced, however, isnt that radios connector just an sma male, instead of female? Seems they swapped the male/female arragment from the typical where the radio has the female end. Annoying yes, but seems as if it could be overcome with an adapter, adding a little loss of course.

Ordered a sma female to so239 tonight so i can hook this up to my roof antenna as a backup. In a month when it gets here from hong kong, will let ya know if it works.

Also, anyone have a link to a programming cable they know works with windows 7?

Thanks
The Following User Says Thank You to CoolPrepper For This Useful Post:
Old 11-25-2012, 06:59 PM
Tevin Tevin is offline
I love this forum
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 790
Thanks: 776
Thanked 1,528 Times in 501 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolPrepper View Post
I am by no means an experienced, however, isnt that radios connector just an sma male, instead of female? Seems they swapped the male/female arragment from the typical where the radio has the female end. Annoying yes, but seems as if it could be overcome with an adapter, adding a little loss of course.
I took a second look and you are correct. The UV-5R does indeed have a SMA male. I have revised my review accordingly. Thanks for the tip! Amazin' what we can learn from each other!

It does not change the root problem, which is most other radios are female so antennas are not interchangeable. Either way I cut it, I will need a separate antennas or adapters to make my current stock of antennas work on the Baofeng. I was trying to keep it simple...oh well.

Thanks again for setting me straight.
Old 11-25-2012, 09:37 PM
medicineball medicineball is offline
Target Shooter
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 485
Thanks: 190
Thanked 388 Times in 219 Posts
Default

Great review - thanks!
The Following User Says Thank You to medicineball For This Useful Post:
Old 11-26-2012, 10:06 AM
JDH's Avatar
JDH JDH is offline
Si vis pacem, para bellum
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 3,257
Thanks: 215
Thanked 4,392 Times in 1,786 Posts
Default

Antenna problem solved:
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to JDH For This Useful Post:
Old 11-26-2012, 01:58 PM
ComancheSniper's Avatar
ComancheSniper ComancheSniper is offline
See you in my Scope
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: SE Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,593
Thanks: 925
Thanked 5,529 Times in 1,472 Posts
Default

I found the SMA male protects the radio and allows the antenna to take the break.
The Following User Says Thank You to ComancheSniper For This Useful Post:
Old 11-26-2012, 01:59 PM
ComancheSniper's Avatar
ComancheSniper ComancheSniper is offline
See you in my Scope
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: SE Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,593
Thanks: 925
Thanked 5,529 Times in 1,472 Posts
Default

I am using mine in a part 90 function. Paramedic. I use it everyday on an ambulance. Works awesome.
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to ComancheSniper For This Useful Post:
Old 11-26-2012, 09:47 PM
paintballislife paintballislife is offline
Newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 8
Thanks: 1
Thanked 9 Times in 6 Posts
Default

Thanks for the review im getting one!
The Following User Says Thank You to paintballislife For This Useful Post:
Old 11-28-2012, 10:32 AM
CajunCanuck's Avatar
CajunCanuck CajunCanuck is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 43
Thanks: 19
Thanked 58 Times in 20 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolPrepper View Post

Also, anyone have a link to a programming cable they know works with windows 7?

Thanks
CoolPrepper, take a look at this YahhoGroup forum.......

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/baofeng_uv5r/

I'm sure any of your questions can be answered there....Very informative site.....
The Following User Says Thank You to CajunCanuck For This Useful Post:
Old 11-28-2012, 03:40 PM
bhowle's Avatar
bhowle bhowle is offline
Prepared
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: NW Arkansas
Posts: 392
Thanks: 39
Thanked 281 Times in 150 Posts
Default

If you haven't already, check out the new UV5R User's Guide
http://www.miklor.com/uv5r/UserGuide
The Guide is a must read and will save you time and frustration.

Distilled from the Yahoo UV-5R group.

-bob
The Following User Says Thank You to bhowle For This Useful Post:
Old 12-07-2012, 06:33 PM
bhowle's Avatar
bhowle bhowle is offline
Prepared
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: NW Arkansas
Posts: 392
Thanks: 39
Thanked 281 Times in 150 Posts
Default

Here's a niffy accessory for your UV-5R:

http://niftyaccessories.com/Baofeng_RefGuides.htm

Wallet sized reference guide - in case you don't want to carry around and try to decipher the manual that came with the radio.

-bob
The Following User Says Thank You to bhowle For This Useful Post:
Old 12-10-2012, 08:16 PM
pizza77769 pizza77769 is offline
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 12
Thanks: 11
Thanked 13 Times in 4 Posts
Default

Thanks for the heads up on the setup guide! I may have to get me one.

I bought a little converter to BNC for the anetnna.

Here's my review:
It's my first radio(big surprise) but honestly it works great. Programming stinks but I guess it can be done, I haven't bothered since I'm using the CHIRP software.

CHIRP is great, does exactly what I need. I'll kick them a few bucks.

I just heard 2 guys on this repeater that have the same radio! LOL

I used the yahoo group software/driver/instructions to program this thing and had no problem. I wish someone had told me that CHIRP will auto fill the repeaters in the program! I found that out after programming a bunch in.

For the money, it's a ridiculous bargain. Although a guy gave me a repeater freq and info for me to key in and I was kinda screwed till I looked it up on chirp. I'll learn how to program it at gunpoint, evidently! I printed out a cheat sheat for my BOB.

I bought the 3.79 antenna, works fine (better? maybe.) and a mike/speaker for 8 bucks, along with a condor pouch($10). *much* cheaper than the yaesu accessories.

My problems with it, 2 I mentioned(antenna connector and programming) are that it only has 128 programmed frequencies, and charging. There is no AA battery pack available, and it doesn't charge through usb.

In so cal I filled up the memory without even trying. I think a yaesu would be alot better for interstate use with the 1000? memory locations and I think it's broken into groups too.

I'm also bummed about the battery situation. I can charge it and leave it in my GHB, but I'm afraid the battery will be dead when I need it most. I guess I could stick a charger in there too and hope I stumble across an outlet that works LOL I know you can buy a device to power it off your car batter but that's not what I'm looking for, although potentially handy.

It has limitations, but for $40 it's just awesome!

I am saving up for a yaesu though
Old 12-10-2012, 08:31 PM
panoz77 panoz77 is offline
Limited Access Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 3,992
Thanks: 1,416
Thanked 5,263 Times in 2,054 Posts
Default

I am a total newbie to handheld ham radios, but I do have a scanner and program that by hand. After about an hour of reading some programming guides I found on the internet and using the manual, I was easily able to hand program about 85 frequncies into the radio in like 30 minutes. I don't get why people think it is hard to do.

I also purchased the UV-5RA with a cable and CD, at first I had the same problem with it not recognizing the radio but after some google fu, I found out you had to use a specific version of the software (it is not the cheap cable), there are several websites that have the software free for download. After a few tries I got the software to work just fine but I could not get CHIRP to work with it.

Here are some links I found helpful
http://www.brickolore.com/2012/03/ba...ftware-v2.html
http://trac.chirp.danplanet.com/chir...aily-20121116/
http://hamgear.wordpress.com/2012/04...ng-your-uv-5r/
Old 12-10-2012, 08:54 PM
txflyer's Avatar
txflyer txflyer is offline
Silver Wings
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Wild Blue Yonder
Posts: 10,318
Thanks: 20,403
Thanked 20,339 Times in 7,065 Posts
Default

I have total newb question.

I have a Vertex handheld transceiver I bought a few years ago for flying.

I'm assuming the vertex and the UV-5RA can communicate with each other correct?
__________________
tailwinds...

Disclaimer: The information I provide is my unaffiliated opinion and not reliable as financial advice. Past performance guarantees SHTF.
Old 12-10-2012, 10:17 PM
BigLou71's Avatar
BigLou71 BigLou71 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 193
Thanks: 1,508
Thanked 305 Times in 106 Posts
Default

just bought one, thanks for the review
Old 12-12-2012, 09:19 AM
Sky1950's Avatar
Sky1950 Sky1950 is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Texas
Age: 64
Posts: 3,241
Thanks: 12,835
Thanked 7,170 Times in 2,283 Posts
Default

Tevin and CS...

I am about to buy 4 and put them in individual nested Faraday cages for my kids, as I believe, just like you guys, that the price is too cheap not pick some up.

Here is the main question.

I see there is a "battery eliminator" male car plug accessory to power directly off the car battery. What I really want is to be able to charge a spare radio battery with a roll up solar panel. Most solar panels come with a female car plug connector option. Can you charge a spare battery indepedently or must the battery be attached to the radio to be recharged?
If I am understanding the accessories correctly, I dont see a ready made solar connection to recharge a spare battery.
Trying to plan this out without one in my hand to look at

This is why I feel one of the "cons" is that it doesnt have an AA battery alternate power pack.
Old 12-12-2012, 10:05 AM
bhowle's Avatar
bhowle bhowle is offline
Prepared
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: NW Arkansas
Posts: 392
Thanks: 39
Thanked 281 Times in 150 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by txflyboy View Post
I have total newb question.

I have a Vertex handheld transceiver I bought a few years ago for flying.

I'm assuming the vertex and the UV-5RA can communicate with each other correct?
The radio in your aircraft is an AM mode, the UV-5R is an FM mode radio. So it won't work.

Besides, the phrase 'under fifty bucks' and 'aviation' cannot be used in the same sentence.

-bob
The Following User Says Thank You to bhowle For This Useful Post:
Old 12-12-2012, 10:09 AM
bhowle's Avatar
bhowle bhowle is offline
Prepared
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: NW Arkansas
Posts: 392
Thanks: 39
Thanked 281 Times in 150 Posts
Default

Here you go Sky - AA battery pack for the UV-5R:

http://www.happyhamshop.com/baofeng-...se-p-1300.html

-bob
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to bhowle For This Useful Post:
Old 12-12-2012, 10:10 AM
panoz77 panoz77 is offline
Limited Access Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 3,992
Thanks: 1,416
Thanked 5,263 Times in 2,054 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky1950 View Post
Tevin and CS...

I am about to buy 4 and put them in individual nested Faraday cages for my kids, as I believe, just like you guys, that the price is too cheap not pick some up.

Here is the main question.

I see there is a "battery eliminator" male car plug accessory to power directly off the car battery. What I really want is to be able to charge a spare radio battery with a roll up solar panel. Most solar panels come with a female car plug connector option. Can you charge a spare battery indepedently or must the battery be attached to the radio to be recharged?
If I am understanding the accessories correctly, I dont see a ready made solar connection to recharge a spare battery.
Trying to plan this out without one in my hand to look at

This is why I feel one of the "cons" is that it doesnt have an AA battery alternate power pack.
I'm pretty sure the battery eliminator snaps into the empty battery location and is wired to the the 12 v plug if that makes sense.
Reply

Bookmarks



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
BaoFeng UV-5R 136-174/400-480 MHz DualBand DTMF CTCSS DCS FM Ham Two Way Radio $46 FS slickguns.com For Sale 4 10-14-2012 06:54 AM
Grundig FR-200 Recycle Power World Band Radio Review ersatzersatztube Communications 4 01-25-2012 11:33 AM
radio band fermi91 Communications 0 05-23-2011 01:02 AM
suggestions on a dual band radio rb2576 Communications 6 10-02-2008 03:54 AM
REVIEW: Sentry Dynamo Dual Power Lantern/Radio dayliterun Reviews and questions 2 08-06-2008 12:14 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:19 AM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright Kevin Felts 2006 - 2012,
Green theme by http://www.themesbydesign.net