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Baofeng UV-5RA and Similar Transceivers
Thought I'd make a review for this series of radios for those interested. I know there are are few people on here who have them already. I've done quite a bit of research online and found some great information and I hope to make this as comprehensive as possible for those who already have one and as simple as possible for those on the fence still.

It's been about a week now since I opened the package for my radio and I have learned quite a bit about how it works, although I don't claim to know everything. If you've ever thought about owning a two way radio, this is the first one ANYONE should get. Hell, everyone should have at least one of these anyway IMO. They're great radios especially for around 40 bucks! But don't take my word for it, see for yourself!

BTW, It's pronounced Bow-Fung from what I've read.

Anyway, here we go...

First and foremost it is a CRIME to transmit on these radios without the appropriate licenses and may also be a crime to receive certain transmissions. Know your local, state and federal laws and regulations before doing ANYTHING. Of course in a TEOTWAWKI type scenario all bets are off and you're on your own I suppose. I am not advocating ANYONE break any laws, if you do, the FCC will find you! Think they can't? Think again. Anyone who has ever been on a "fox hunt" knows how they can accomplish this.

Now that that's out of the way...

This is the radio that I got.
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It's a Baofeng UV-5RA. They make quite a few different models which can be seen on their website HERE and if you search around eBay for a little while you will find many different colors available too. These are dual band transceivers that operate in VHF and UHF as well as FM on receive only. They can be programmed manually or with a computer. I've found that the battery life is very good as is with no problem receiving for 36 hours straight over the local dispatch frequencies until the battery dies. They also make extended batteries that could double the battery life but I haven't tried one yet. You can find all sorts of accessories for it at very good prices like cases with shoulder straps, throat mics and high gain antennas just to name a few. You can program in 128 frequencies and scan either your presets or by band although scanning isn't as fast as a dedicated hyperscan scanner. It has a built in LED flashlight, comes with belt clip, house charger and lanyard usually and can listen in to all your favorite FM radio stations as well. The backlight is adjustable between three different colors and by action. You can set the standby backlight, the transmit and receive colors independently and choose from purple, blue or orange. The keypad is backlit as well which is always a plus. Not sure how well this reaches out on transmit because I haven't tried it yet but I can pick up the dispatch centers in four counties here in central PA clear as day from my living room. I'm sure as long as you're hitting repeaters you can reach out pretty far and on simplex I would be surprised if you didn't get 3-5 miles line of sight on full power on VHF. This radio has the ability to listen to two frequencies independent of band at the same time and will switch to the frequency that is receiving automatically. This could give firefighters the ability to listen to both the dispatch frequency and a tach channel at the same time or listen to two different counties at the same time which is helpful to those who live on their county's border line. With the programming cable and the CHIRP software you can even label you channels by name instead of displaying the frequency number.

For those of you that already have one or those getting one, here are some helpful links I've found that go into greater detail on how to operate these radios.

This is a FAQ page with lots of great info.

Here is a link to download a VERY well written users manual in PDF form that goes into great detail on all of the functions.

Here is a link to reviews on the UV-5R model which is basically the same exact thing.

If you're looking for lists of frequencies in your area to program in check out radio reference. Click on your county from this link.

That's about all I've got. Did i miss anything?
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I still need to get off my butt and get my license, but I have to admit those cheapie little radios look like a damn fine way for a person to get started without spending a lot of money at all.

Listening to my scanner last fall I heard a convo between an old-timer and a new guy to the net. They were on repeater, the new guy on a Baofeng handheld just outside of Hanover in far west York County, the old-timer was on a base rig in Reading. Fucking Reading. They were talking like it was a phone call, clear as a bell to each other, and to me as well. Of course a lot of this is due to the repeater, but the Baofeng had to reach the repeater, and the speech and to be intelligible, and it was. Judging by sound quality alone I would never have known I was listening not only to a handheld, but also one of the cheapest in the world.

I want to look over your write-up better when I have more time but I appreciate the effort you put in to it. +rep
“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”

William Pitt

Yea I'm fixing to get my tech license on Saturday! Can't wait to finally transmit on this thing.

Next on the list will be to find a decent beginner mobile for the POV. I was looking at these...
...but I want a dual band at the very least so idk yet. That's another thread I guess Big Grin
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Great write-up! Just wanted to add a few points. This radio is not really meant to be a fails pretty badly at it. Scan time is WAY too slow unless you are only scanning 2-3 channels. Also you can't set up individual scan lists, it just scans every channel in the radio, and there is no nuisance delete option. If you are looking for something to use predominantly as a scanner, you'll need something a little more expensive like a Bear Cat. Either way, I would recommend getting both, which will give you the ability to scan efficiently, and also transmit if needed.

Also I just wanted to add that you can receive NOAA weather transmissions on this radio, which is nice if you're looking for an emergency radio.

It can't do AM modulation of any kind, so no AM radio, no aircraft radio, and no CB radio. Also doesn't do any kind of digital modulation.

Other than that, you pretty much hit on everything! Good luck on your tech exam!
Good points Baconfat.

There are also quite a few reviews and how-to's on YouTube as well for those interested. Definitely a good radio to keep for a rainy day. I may get another since they are so cheap just to keep as a backup only.

For those looking to buy one you can find them all over the web. EBay seems to have better prices if you shop around on there. They are absolutely flooded with these radios. Amazon has them too but unless you're a prime member I'd suggest finding one with free shipping elsewhere.

And thanks baconfat, I might need a little luck on my side on exam day. Been trying to study as much as I can but my schedule is real tight.
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Mr_Gixxer;136008 Wrote:Been trying to study as much as I can but my schedule is real tight.

Then stop writing radio reviews and start studying! LOL!
bac0nfat;136009 Wrote:
Mr_Gixxer;136008 Wrote:Been trying to study as much as I can but my schedule is real tight.

Then stop writing radio reviews and start studying! LOL!

I hear ya! This was something I've been working on off and on for the last few days.

Now its study time...
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I have picked up Six of these radios. I use one as a Scanner. The real reason is for a SHTF situation, four of them are Gifts. Work Schedules have prevented me from passing them out to the Guys.

I had two out Hunting and they worked fantastic! My farthest Transmission so far was 2.2 Miles. That was by odometer, not a direct strait line.

My cost Programmed with the longer Antenna is $48 Bucks.
Life is terminal, get over it!!! 124
Daycrawler, proud to be a member of since Sep 2012.
Anyone know if there is a way to set different CTCSS tones for different presets? I know how to set the CTCSS tone for my local 2 meter fire dispatch and tach channels but I haven't figured out a way to set a second tone for others at the same time.
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Mr_Gixxer;136456 Wrote:Anyone know if there is a way to set different CTCSS tones for different presets? I know how to set the CTCSS tone for my local 2 meter fire dispatch and tach channels but I haven't figured out a way to set a second tone for others at the same time.

Huh? Are you trying to have two tones for the same channel? I'm pretty sure that's not possible with this radio. What's wrong with carrier squelch?

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