Rockford Scanner™: Baofeng UV-5R Review by KD9MAP


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Baofeng UV-5R Review by KD9MAP

This is a $20 5-watt transceiver for 2m and 70cm, based on SDR technology I think.

It comes with Li-Ion battery, charger cradle, 7″ rubber whip antenna, and a earpiece/microphone headset.

The advertising for it is so hilariously written, and the price is so low, it’s reasonable to be skeptical whether the radio actually works.

I got mine quickly from a USA supplier for $6 shipping. I’ve used it for a week.

Pros:

It works!

It’s cheap! You can carry it everywhere and not worry as much about losing or breaking it as you would an expensive handheld.

The UV-5R SDR receiver seems to be as sensitive as my “real radio” Alinco DJ-X2000 handheld scanner, which cost 15 times as much.

Cons:

The charger cradle emits enormous QRM during charging cycle. You won’t want to use that charger anywhere near your shack.

There’s no DC jack anywhere on the radio to plug in a power adapter. If you want to run on external power, you have to get their $7 battery eliminator cable.

The little instruction booklet doesn’t tell you everything you need to know to program it. Adequate info can be easily found on the internet.

For easier programming, I bought the $20 BaofengTech FTDI programming cable and used it with free Chirp software. You have to press the cable into the radio with both thumbs and crushing strength to get a connection, but it does work.

(Note: Software creators like Chirp complain that Baofeng changes the firmware on these radios quite often, which makes them difficult and risky to develop for.)

Low-cap 1600 mAH battery doesn’t last long if there’s much traffic.

Bottom Line:

The UV-5R for the price of dinner is a darn good deal for a VHF/UHF handheld transceiver. I don’t know how long it will last, but so far I think the low price outweighs its minor problems.