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Baofeng UV-5r VHF/UHF HT Review


Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
The new Baofeng UV-5r dual band 4 watt VHF/UHF handheld transceiver has arrived! When I saw that this radio was coming out, I knew that I wanted to get one for comparison to its little brother, the UV-3r. I ordered it from 409shop.com for $56 shipped and it arrived yesterday.

Here is a picture of the new UV-5r:


First, here are the key specs:

Frequency Range: 136-174.995 Mhz / 400-479.995 Mhz TX/RX
FM Broadcast (RX): 65-108 Mhz
Memory Channels: 128
Frequency Stability: 2.5ppm
Frequency Step: 2.5, 5, 6.25, 10, 12.5, 25 khz
Battery: 7.4V 1800 mAh Lithium Ion
RF Power: 4 watts High, 1 watt Low
Spurious emissions < -60db
No receiver specs listed.

The radio is a little larger than the UV-3r (pic coming later), but still fairly small. My initial impression is that it is also a much tougher radio and built very solid. While the UV-3r feels like a cheap little disposable radio, this UV-5r feels like something that will last much longer.

Here is a pic of (almost) everything in the package:


It has a auto desktop charger (which is the only way you can charge it), a headset, the radio and antenna, battery, belt clip, wrist lanyard, and CD with English manual and software. Also included is a wonderful Chinese printed manual :)

The left side has the typical PTT, "CALL", and "MONI" buttons:


The right side has the speaker and mic plugs, shown open here:


One noticeable difference with this radio is the cover for the speaker/mic is well designed to keep dust and moisture out. This is how it looks with the the cover closed:


This radio uses the same speaker/mic configuration found in the Wouxun and Kenwood radios, which also means that the programming cable supplied with the other radios will work, as well. I have tested and verified programming the UV-5r with a Wouxun cable.

The top of the radio is where you find the flashlight and On/Off/Volume knob:


Here is the display with the FM broadcast radio on:


You can tell from this pic that I've enabled the standby purple back light. The light turns off after a few minutes of inactivity.


The flashlight is pretty bright:


And of course, the radio wouldn't be complete without the included alarm, shown transmitting here:


Next up, I'll show some pictures with other radios for size comparison and discuss the functionality of the new radio.

Standby for more...

great! i really like the shape of the vfo knob. how long did it take to get shipped from A to B ?
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Just checked Import Communications aka Wouxun US before coming here. He's going to have them "next week" for $65.

BTW can you name the channels in the display or is it strictly frequency display?
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I was looking at the sofware interface...

One of the columns says: Scrambler.

does it have this capability?

The software that came with my radio does not have this column. I can't find anything in the manual about it, either. I know that some of the Chinese radios have that capability, so I'm guessing the software is fairly generic.

While on the topic of the included software, here is a print screen of what the software looks like after you install it:


Note that all of the buttons and menus just show "?????" instead of actual text. That's because the software is looking for Chinese fonts, which of course, I don't have. Look at the print screen closely and you'll see that I've selected the menu item that allows you to change the language to English. You have to do this every time you start the software. The programming software does work easily enough, and I had no problems programming a few features and memory channels.
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Baofeng uv-5r how to use channels ?

I am new to this hobby, so I might ask some dumb things:

I got one of these few days ago, but I can't figure out how to store the channels in the memory.

I can use repeaters in frequency mode, but can't figure out how to propperly save the informatin in a channel. I use it in frequency mode, and press menu and save all parameters, then switch to channel mode, select the right channel, and it looks like it is working simplex, the offset is lost, the tone is lost...

I save many channels and when I select a channel and try to transmmit, it is transmitting on the same frequency it is receiving.

I can only listen my saved channels and I can also scan them, but when I transmit, it doesnt seemt to transmit on the offset frequency that I saved.

Any help with how to use that functionality is highly appreciated.

I ordered my UV-5R without the software cable. Well, that was a mistake. I am unable to save CTCS or offsets manually into memory mode.

Many UV-5R Yahoo Group users are reporting the same problem. U can set these settings in VFO mode, but they disappear in the memory mode. Users are also reporting that the offset and CTCS settings WILL save into memory when using the programming software, but sometimes, users are also reporting a software "error code 13" when trying to program CTCS settings. the offset will program, but the CTCS settings are hit or miss with the error sometimes happening.

In addition, some users are reporting being unable to program 2.5 kHz settings manually or via software.

i will need to pick up a programming cable from Universal radio sometime this week before I can confirm this issue with mine.

On a side note: my radio shipped with a 240V plug and goofy 120V adapter for the charger. My radios voice mode is in Chinese and is non switchable via the internal menu. Some radios are shipping with English/Chinese versions.

In conclusion: beats the shit outta me, but there seems to be some differing firmware issues amongst the various lots being shipped. Beware, you may experience this issue. Being unable to program tones and PL's manually is a FAIL for most operators.

Moleculo... Are you able to program tones and offsets manually on your rig?
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