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Baofeng UV-3R MKII Review - 2m/440Mhz Mini HT

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,052
1,372
283
When I found out that there was a new $50 miniature 2m/440 Chinese HT on the market, I knew that I had to have one to test and review. I saw that Ed at wouxun.us started carrying the new Baofeng UV-3R so I placed my order and had the radio in my hands in a couple of days.

1887-1321424839-8939a4892a0b406ca77b4e0b9c80fa16.jpg


As you can see, the radio is tiny! It's very similar in size to the Yaesu VX-3R, although the button configuration is different.

Here is a picture that shows how thin this radio really is:

1888-1321424839-7aa7ab18477239397ad4b6b767dd3586.jpg


Without the antenna, this radio is smaller than the wallet I carry in my pocket. With the antenna attached, it's still small enough to slip into a baggy pants or shorts pocket.

In this picture, I set the Baofeng VX-3R on top of my Yaesu VX-8R to give you some perspective on the size of the radio:

1889-1321424839-c01d70fadcee5a73108c2b7afd4301e7.jpg


What's Included

So, I know you're asking: What all do you get for $50? You get a 2 watt 2m/440 radio with 99 memories, scanner, and FM broadcast. Here is a pic of everything included in the box:

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As, you can see, in addition to the radio, battery, and manual, you get a desktop charger, belt clip, lanyard, and earphone speaker/mic. I also opted to purchase the USB programming cable and an additional camo colored shell.

Here's a picture of the FM broadcast radio function enabled:
1890-1321424951-f3cb1eecc89870bab29b12249588229f.jpg


As is commonplace with the Chinese radios, the radio also has a fairly bright LED flashlight:
1891-1321424951-b2f25e8b948171569dc3a736418b4d2c.jpg


After I put the battery in and started charging the radio, I started looking for the charging indicator. It took me a few minutes to figure out that the indicator is actually on the wall wart, and turns green when complete:

1894-1321426334-124ec36b81276300aae6bdc08432afeb.jpg


So, you can see that you get quite a bit of bang for the buck. The battery is a standard Fuji NP-60, Li-ion 3.7v 1500mAh battery that is inexpensive and readily available. If you want to buy them really cheap, you can get them on eBay for $6-$7 ea.


Next in the review, my first on the air impressions.
 

jmz

W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member
Feb 8, 2010
59
3
18
I own two of these on Black and one Blue. I also have a green camo shell and a red shell....you can buy every piece of this ready in a part form from the 409 shop or whole. I have had one for a month and the other for about two weeks and they have been performing quite well...Audio is good and battery life is great...I found a place on ebay that sold 1800 mah batteries that I suspect are 1500 mah but they were only 3 dollars each. I like them a lot and prefer to carry it around over my 8RD...there is a good case for it made out of nylon webbing for 5 bucks too..

Softcase for BAOFENG UV-3R UV-100 UV-200 - 409Shopwww.409shop.com

I bought the shells from Wouxun.us comes with replacement buttons, volume knob and lens...speaker is attached to top piece of shell as well...6 bucks shipped...

Fun little radio..

John KE4HGR
 

Robb

Yup
Dec 18, 2008
11,433
3,579
323
Silicon Valley CA, Storm Lake IA
Any new tech should love this as a viable option.
Low cost and very small.
If the dog should eat it; then you can't cry as hard as you would if it ate a Yaesu!

2 watts and a repeater = new Ham that got on 2m for a lot less money than I did.
What will HRO do now?!?
 
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Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,052
1,372
283
First Usage Impressions

The first usage tests I always do with any new radio (and especially HT's) is to see how many of the features I can figure out without reading the manual. I start by trying to set the power levels, volume, squelch, changing frequencies, and programming a repeater. This radio is so simple, that I figured out about 80% of the functions, even programming memories!

The volume on this little radio is LOUD and you will have no problem hearing it. The RX audio quality is surprisingly good. On my first test, I talked for a while to my buddy Mark who I talk to frequently using various radios. He told me that little radio's TX audio characteristics were quite good, maybe better than some of the other HT's I use.

Changing shells

As mentioned, there are different case colors available: Black, Yellow, Blue, Red, and Camo for $6 each. I don't really care about colors, but I had to order one to see how difficult it is to change.

The new shell comes with a new plastic display face, the rubber buttons and a new top dial. To change the case, you just remove the battery, remove the antenna, remove the dial on top by removing its screw, then remove the two screws on the back next to the battery. The whole thing just prys apart. Here is a picture of both shells with the radio guts in the middle:

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You retain the orange rubber seal and the rubber speaker/mic & power cover from the old shell when you reassemble the whole thing. The whole process took less than 10 minutes.
 

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,052
1,372
283
2nd Harmonic Problem

Before I go too much farther, it is important to understand that a problem has been identified in the original UV-3R where the 2nd harmonic on 2m was only suppressed by about -20dbc. This figure does not meet the FCC Part 90 or part 95 specs. While the test report and unit supplied for certification DID meet the specs, apparently the units in production do not. Fortunately, there is a simple mod being circulated to add a 33pf capacitor in the output filter to solve this problem.

The initial reports are that this problem was present in the original version of the UV-3R, but it is unknown at this point if it is a continuing problem with the later MkII version that we are looking at in this review. If the problem is verified to exist in this newer version, I will apply the mod fixes and photograph the procedure for others to follow along.
 

jmz

W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member
Feb 8, 2010
59
3
18
They are a great take anywhere radio. I have had it in my pocket and forgot it was there...there are a few flaws but for the price it's great...I'm sure that there will be more revisions of them as time goes on...I would like to see the Alpha numeric field in the software opened up and transferable to the radio...it would be nice to have an alpha tag associated with the repeater freq...I have gotten used to that...fixing the harmonic issues would be good too..

The case I got for both of mines is a better than the straight vinyl cover they sell ...mine has straps and Velcro and clip...it can be attached to anything...it is specifically made for the UV-3R and fits great...buying it for 5 bucks saved me the gas of looking for one somewhere...

John - KE4HGR
 

Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,052
1,372
283
Is that an SMA antenna?

Yep, one of the things that they did right on this radio was to use a regular SMA antenna connection that is found on most other radios on the market. One catch, though: The LED flashlight on the radio is a little close to the antenna, which means you have to be careful which antennas you choose. I put a Comet SMA503 on my UV-3R to test, which worked well.
 

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