New Baofeng UV-5R Radio

I had been looking at the new Baofeng UV-5R (pronounced either as Mao-Fang or as Bao-Fang - who knows with these Chinese names) UV-5R dual-band VHF/UHF handheld. How can you pass up a 4 watt handheld with charger for under $65 bucks? You cannot, I mean at that price, the darn thing is almost a throw-a-way if it ever breaks.

Believe it or not, I actually ordered and received mine from About $62 delivered since I have their Prime Service.

Did not take too long to unpack and put it on the air. The first thing was programming the radio. I used the free open-source Chirp software which is much better than the free software Baofeng provides as a download. The radio also used the same programming cable as the Wouxun Chinese radios which I already had.

Once programmed it is somewhat intuitive. The instruction manual is pretty sparse as far as how to program and use the various features.

BTW, the radio is capable of transmitting outside the ham bands and is FCC Part 90 accepted. So you can use this radio for things other than amateur radio.

In any case, I have programmed some of the various amateur repeaters in the area and gave it a try. The first thing I noticed is that is has a built-in time-out-time. It is factory set at 15 second. I kept getting cutoff during conversations so I changed that to 45 seconds pretty quickly.

Audio reports are good and on receive it sounds very good. I even programmed some of the local police/fire frequencies into it to listen and it picked them up very well so the receiver seems to be more than adequate.

The display can change colors based on what the radio is doing. It is factory set to glow orange on transmit, blue when actually receiving a signal, and purple is the squelch is open and there is no signal.

On the charger, there is an LED that flashed quickly between red and green when there is no radio or battery being charged. That is really annoying. There should be no light on the charger when it is not charging in my opinion. It also glow red while charging and green when the battery is charged. You can charge the battery while attached to the radio, or even charge a stand-alone battery.

This is a great radio for a great price. Cheaper than the Wouxuns that everyone seems to be snapping up. For the new Technician wanting to get a new radio when they get their license, for less than $65 this is a great starter radio.

Oh, if you need help with the radio, there is a large group on Yahoo Groups that are there to help with any questions. As I said, the manual is not very good, so the group is your extension of the manual.