Saturday, December 15, 2012

Baofeng UV-5R Transceiver

Baofeng UV-5R

Over the last 5 years or so, I've been depending on a pair of Icom transceivers for my communications while flying XC. I managed to lose one during a search mission last Summer and the remaining HT has become a bit unreliable. The Icom is a good HT but it's bigger than it has to be and the last few years have brought some really nice, small form-factor, Chinese units to the market.

One of the models that caught my eye is the Baofeng UV-5R - A dual band radio with a great price (around $50 US) that has built up quite a following among hams and outdoors sportsman.

I decided to buy a pair from one of the major eBay outlets. Each HT came boxed with a 110V wall charger/stand, rechargeable 1800mA Li-ion battery, earpiece/mic combo, antenna, and belt clip.

The radio can be programmed with memorized frequencies and repeater settings using the keypad, or programmed using a computer and USB cable.  I installed CHIRP on my mac  (a programming software used to program a long list of makes and models) and soon was able to program in some local repeater sites. 

As I mentioned earlier, there is quite a following among users of this radio.  Its performance is impressive with 1 watt output in 'low' mode, and 4 watts in 'high'.  This radio is capable of communication via 2-meter and 70-cm  bands without restrictions.  FM reception is also available on this unit, as is a LED flashlight.

At this point, I haven't used the radio in flight, but all indications are that this unit works as advertised and has features that put in on par with other, more expensive units.  The build is good and it appears that the unit is robust and durable.  Only time and some abuse will tell, but this unit looks like a good fit for those of us who need a small reliable 2-meter transceiver at a reasonable price.

Fly Safe -



PJ said...

I have used the UV-3R on some training flights. Pros: small, lightweight, affordable and powerful; cons: programming is a pain without the software, the "emergency alarm" button is right next to the PTT button and is annoying to all when it goes off. I hope the UV-5R has addressed these issues.

Tim said...

Hi Paul -
The UV-3R is a nice small sized transceiver, however it doesn't have a keypad. That was one feature that made me lean towards the 5R. Programing is fairly straight forward on the 5R, once you get the hang of it, and with the software datalink is very easy to program repeater settings and frequencies into memory.

The 5R has the "alarm" button also, but it can be neutered with the programming software. I use a speaker/mike (and recommend them highly for flying) which eliminates the button issue.

Thanks for your comments - Fly Safe!

Unknown said...

Hello Timo,

Have you already tested the B5 in the air? How is reception and communication? Have you already tested it range?

I have read some comments stating that it can take up to ten seconds beween pressing the send button and get connection to broadcast.

Thank you for your reaction!

Tim said...

Hi Sander -
The flying around here has been local only, so my experiences with the B5R have been limited. The range hasn't been proven yet. The problem you mentioned (10 sec. to Xmit) has NOT been an issue on either of my units.

There is a very informative site at -

I'll post my experiences as the season progresses.


sfp-10g-sr said...

it sounds good :) since long time i was looking for such kind of blogs which are providing useful information about transceivers ....

thanks alot ..