Upon reading the glowing reviews of the BaoFeng UV-5RA Handheld FM Transceiver, I decided to go ahead with the purchase. It was a gamble as I have never purchased any other Amateur Radio equipment that was manufactured from this Chinese company and was worried about the quality. As recommended in the reviews, I also purchased the USB programming cable that will allow me to program this transceiver using my computer. I figured what can I loose. I had a $15 credit on Amazon for taking a survey so, out of pocket, the radio with USB programming cable would only set me back a little over $20 dollars!
Get your Baofeng UV-5RA on Amazon!
The BaoFeng UV-5RA boasts some pretty impressive specs for its price! It covers receive frequencies of 65-108Mhz, so you can listen to regular FM Radio stations. It is a dual band transceiver covering the 2M (136-174Mhz) and 70cm (400-480Mhz) bands for both transmit and receive. This transceiver has the ability to transmit and receive on the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) , General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), and Family Radio Service (FRS) bands.
RF Power is 4 Watts for UHF/VHF in high power mode and 1 Watt RF Power for UHF/VHF in low power mode. The UV-5RA supports both simplex and semi-duplex modes of operation. You can set PL tones to trigger repeaters or use CTCSS or DCS Tone Squelch. In addition, it has 128 memory channels. Audio output is 1 Watt. It even has a built in flashlight!
The user manual that comes with the Baofeng UV-5R leaves much to be desired.It is hard to understand how to program the radio from the keypad. The software that comes with the transceiver to allow programming via USB cable from a computer is just as confusing as programming from the keypad! The transceiver's controls were a little hard for me to decipher. For example, pressing the MONI (Monitor) button in Channel mode for a short duration turns on the built-in flashlight. You have to hold down the MONI button to monitor channels!
A pleasant female voice announces when you change settings, assisting in sight free operation. The LCD screen provides a lot of information in a small space. The LCD display back light changes color during different modes of operation. There is no other handheld on the market that boosts the impressive specs of the Baofeng UV-5RA at its price point!
There is a major cult following of amateur radio enthusiasts around the Baofeng UV-5RA FM Transceiver and other Baofeng radio products!
The open-source community has developed CHIRP, a free tool that allows you to easily program your Baofeng UV-5RA via USB cable from your computer. It also allow you to clone channel settings from one UV-5RA and upload to another. In addition, to can save your UV-5RA channel settings to a computer file.
There is also a web site dedicated to the UV-5RA that offers enhanced user manuals with corrections and annotations.
I have also read that it is easily to configure the Baofeng UV-5RA as a Police and Fire scanner, although, I have not investigated this set.
There are many YouTube videos covering from basic operation to cool modifications that can be done to this little transceiver. There are also more sophisticated topics on YouTube like how to use a pair of UV-5RA's to create a make-shift repeater!
Don't forget to purchase a UV-5RA USB Programming Cable on Amazon!
You will need this USB cable to program the UV-5RA using the CHIRP application.
Baofeng UV-5R Resources on the Internet!
Who Writes This Blog?
John is an IT professional from Cleveland, OH who enjoys amateur radio, ham radio, metal detecting,
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