The importance of communication cannot be overemphasized, especially during emergencies. Technology has made it mandatory that we must all possess a cell phone. But have you ever thought what would happen if your phone dies off or in case the network goes off., what about a world with no internet? I am sure this may have never crossed your mind. Nevertheless, many people rarely find a backup plan in case everything goes loose. It is incredible that with as low as $30 you can find a mobile device that will keep you connected with your friends all the time, even in times of low network.
In addition, you can even get weather alerts, and ask for help in case of emergencies situations.
Baofeng UV-5R is among the basic level mobile radios that every family can afford, even the poorest person. However, various choices available may give even better results. Excellent options include Motorola, Icom & Yaesu, which are more sustainable and dependable. Any of these three radios, will help you remain connected even over the worst network condition. This article summarizes the basic Baofeng ham radios and their popular features.
Disclaimer; The report goes that for you to use Baofeng UV-5R mobile radio, you must get a license from FCC. In case of an injury or death, you can access any band and request for help; but you need to have prior knowledge of the right channels to call for help.
Family Radio Service; (FRS)
You do not require any license if you are using the FRS frequencies, however, the UV5R’s transmission is adjustable between 1 – 4 watts, which is above the 0.5 watts permitted on the FRS. It, therefore, means that you can only use FRS with these radios in emergencies. Nevertheless, you can still comfortably operate on low power, which transmits on 1 watt.
Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS)
These can receive frequencies on the 5 MURS, but since they can transmit on over 2 watts, they are also not allowed on MURS channels. However, you can always use them on low power menu option two, which transmits below 2 watts. MURS disallows the use of exterior antenna so you may not use them for long ranges. They will work correctly for up to a mile range.
Frequencies that you cannot operate without the FCC license
Amateur Radio Service
You may use the amateur radio frequencies, which requires you to pass some FCC test before obtaining your license. It is a great choice but you must be ready to meet the due procedures and policies. You only need to pay an exam fee of $15, and once the FCC clears you, you can use the license for the next ten years.
General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)
You can quickly obtain a five-year GMRS license for less than $90. GMRS require around 50 watts and an exterior antenna. This is awesome since there are not many GMRS radios; hence, you can exploit a vast network without spending a lot of money.
Our Best Baofeng Radio Reviews
Baofeng Black UV-5R V2+ Plus
Baofeng Black UV-5R V2+ Plus tops the list of the best and popular two-way radios in the brand. If you do not mind spending some extra bucks on the ham, then this Baofeng Black UV-5R V2+ Plus model is ideal for you. It comes with great features at a perfect price. It also comes with a high-frequency coverage and an excellent monitoring ability. Its reception is unmatched. This is an improved version of the UV-RA. It can use the Baofeng 7.4 V 3600/3800 mAh batteries. These features have given this model a great advantage and a great value to the users. Reviews show that most of the Chinese products have connectivity issues with computers. But Baofeng comes with exceptional capabilities. Once you connect the programming cable to your computer, it will connect the device without requiring any drivers.
- It is less costly
- Dual-band 136-174 / 400-479.995 MHz, which has an excellent frequency range.
- Small and compact.
- Auto bands detect.
- Compatible with UV-5R 7.4v batteries
- Two colors LED display.
Various users have complained of the following problems
- Incompatible batteries. It can only be used with UV- 5R 3800 mAh and 3600 mAh extended batteries.
- The speaker ranges from 700mw watt, to1 watt.
BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen)
BaoFeng BF-F8HP Has many great features, but we will settle on the most innovative ones. The output power is the one that determines how well the device will serve you when you are dealing with higher frequency ranges. BaoFeng BF-F8HP comes with a great 8 Watt. While this model is an upgraded version of the UV-5R series, it comes with some improved features that make it more effective. The battery is 30% bigger than in the other models while it contains a more sturdy material.
- the radio shell is made to be harder and more durable
- It contains a 2000 mAh battery with three power levels.
- 24 hours of battery life
- A reliable V-85 antenna with a great reception.
- Contains modern N5R- 340A firmware
- The V-85 antenna is a higher gainer of frequency signals.
- The speaker has 700mw only
- Lack of dual push-to-talk buttons.
BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio (Black)
This has features similar to those of Baofeng Black UV-5R V2+ Plus but has some variations in functions and design. Its frequency range is 65-108 MHz (FM radios), 136-174 MHz(VHF), and 400-520 MHz(UHF). It is an excellent device for commercial purposes. It has a maximum power output of 4 watts and has high low power options. Depending on how you want to use the device, you can set it to between 1 to 4 watts power output
- Three-way radio reception, i.e. (FM, VHF & UHF)
- Further security options with Auto Keypad lock function.
- PC03 connecting cable is available for programming.
- LED light for use at night.
- It contains a Built-in VFO button on the face.
Users have complained of the battery power, which can only run between 12-18 hours depending on power mode.
BaoFeng BF-888S Walkie
You should buy this popular model if you do not have it already. It is mostly for personal communication, and it is worth your dime. This model has some significant differences with the other 2nd and 3rd generation UV- 5R series. This ham radio uses BF-88S Baofeng Board, while almost all the other radios use either UV- 5R 2nd/3rd generation boards. The device has 16 locations of memories with 50 CTCSS or 105 CDCSS. The battery has a capacity of 2.5 watts output, with a low voltage alert that sends the device to a power-saving mode immediately the power level goes down. Just like other models, this radio features PC03 modeled programming cable.
- UHF frequency with a range of 400 to 520 MHz.
- Sixteen different channels.
- Two-way battery model.
- Automatically activates the power-saving mode.
- Built-in flashlight for night use
- It Contains headphones and wall-mountable chargers.
- Emergency alert.
- This radio receives only UHF radio signals. No FM or VHF frequencies. What’s more, it contains only one PTT button switch, which accepts only alternate channels.
BaoFeng UV-82 Dual Band Two-Way Radio
This BaoFeng UV-82is another dominant device in the model. The release of this brand saw the name change from Baofeng to Paofeng. After the company rebranded its name, BaoFeng UV-82 was among the first devices to emerge. The model is technically an advancement of UV- 5R, but its speaker power gives it a significant advantage over other models. After getting many complaints about the speaker, the company increased the speaker output from 700 MW to 1w, which was loud enough to help you in trouble. It also comes with bigger buttons, a better reception, among other upgrades. It also contains the FM range of 65-108 MHz present in other famous radio waves. More to that, it also comes with a dual-frequency and dual-range
- 1W speaker with significant power input.
- Dual-band 65.0MHz-108.0MHz FM.
- 12.5 kHz and 25 kHz options
- Scanning function for memory inputs.
- Twenty-five stations storable.
- Low battery alert to enable Battery saver mode
Baofeng UV-5R V2+ Plus* Dual-Band 136-174/400-480 MHz
Reviews have reported a big issue with the Baofeng casing. You had to be extra careful when outdoor since the radio was not strong enough to withstand harsh physical conditions. The launching of Baofeng 2-Pack UV-5R V2+Two-way Radio provided a solution to the case issue.
People who have used this model have reported enormous upgrades. First, it comes with a dual-band coverage with a frequency of 136-174 MHz and 400-48p MHz. The firmware is upgraded to provide a great receiver than the earlier versions. Its metallic case makes it very strong and durable even for outdoor use.
- Multi-brand FM transceiver with an extensive range.
- Metallic structure.
- Battery compatibility.
- It performs substantially with extra pressure.
- Battery life is several hours longer.
BaoFeng UV-82HP Portable Two-Way
Although this is a high power radio, it is smaller and compact. It has excellent features compared to the earlier versions. It is ideal for personal uses, business, and even in military operations. It has a high power level 1w, 5w, and 7w. Also, you can choose between the dual-frequency MR and VFO. The device comes with an 80-page user guide to help the user operate it. BaoFeng UV-82HP (CAMO), has very stable signals with its advanced V-85 optimized Antenna. It is also easy to mount accessories to the device even for a first time user. Finally,
- It has 1W, 4W, and 7W power settings.
- It Contains FM, VHF, and UHF channels with an excellent frequency range.
- It comes in Sturdy design to withstand harsh outdoor use.
- Dual-band and small size.
- Works in a dual-mode of Mr and VFO.
This device has its radio modes controlled through a software. It is more or less the same as the other three UV- 5R models, but it has a few upgrades. One great asset is its high-frequency range. It connects in the range of 136-174 / 400-479.995 MHz, which is a great deal. It also contains an upgraded two-color LED display with excellent light intensity. With the best BaoFeng BF-UV-5RE two-way radio, you should be able to get the information displayed on the device, even at night. Its metallic structure and sturdy design make it more durable and stress-free even when using it outdoors. What’s more, the device supports different languages
- It has an attractive and fashionable design.
- It has a frequency range of between 136-174 and 400-479.995 MHz.
- Different languages for different countries.
- It has compact and sturdy design.
- It will help you perform correctly, even under extra pressure.
Baofeng Blue UV-5R V2+
It is not popular but can still be a good ham of the Baofeng brand. This model is yellow, and with it comes some excellent features. It also is known as Tri-power, and as its name suggests, you can adjust its power to either high, medium, or low to match 8w, 4w, and 1w, respectively. It has an enormous LED screen with a tricolor display, which is very bright
- 7.4V 3800 mAh Li-ion battery.
- Dual standby mode and a dual watch mode.
- AC and DC power supply.
- Simple and semi-duplex operation mode.
- Reduces signal distortion up to 10%.
- 128 channel locations.
One challenge is its FM, reception. It cannot go for other receivers and radio frequencies.
Five Tips for Choosing a Two Way Radio
Know how you intend to use it
You may assume that the two-way mobile radios are just for communication, but different devices have different features to suit their purpose. For instance, if your work is hiking or biking, you may need to have a device that you can use without holding on your hands. People who want to use it for business will most likely check a device that will suit their range. Those who need it for home use especially with kids may go for a primary and less expensive gadget
Do you have a license?
Most of the two-way radios require a license for you to operate them. If you do not have the license and are not interested in taking the classes needed to obtain the permit, you need models that have Family Radio Services
Your experience level
Newbies need a basic radio that does not have complicated features. You need to avoid radios that require programming. You may even go for simple walkie-talkies if you only need them for communication only.
Your preferred size
The two-way mobile fluctuates significantly in proportion. Make sure you know the size of the device before placing your order; otherwise, you may end up with a huge gadget when looking for a smaller one.
Most of the two-way radios we have reviewed come with charging stations. However, this may not be the case with other devices, which may only have a plugin or a USB. Check to see that the charger matches what you require; otherwise, you may have to buy more charging accessories.
The Baofeng UV-5R reviews
This is no high-end device. It is cheap and comes with basic features so you may sometimes find some problems with the device. Baofeng radio reviews have shown that some devices could not transmit or receive if you change the channels, so the user had to keep on turning the unit on and off. There are various available models of this radio, but their hardware is not different; the only significant difference is on their software. You can get the latest versions on amazon, but be sure to check from the models available to find the one that suits your needs perfectly.
Be careful with these devices, although they are not so delicate, they cannot withstand multiple drops and hits like other radios. However, if you take good care of the device, the material is solid enough to meet your communication needs.
If you can afford to part with $150 without crippling your bank account, you may go for Icom or Yaesu and have several Baofengs as a backup plan. However, if you are looking for a short time solution, you may get Baofeng UV-5R.
You need a computer for programming. You only need to obtain a computer chirp and a USB cable. Do not use cheap knockoffs unless you are looking for disappointment. You also need to save this to an emergency pen drive. However, if you only require four to five frequencies, you can use the device without any programming.
Receive and transmit
The radio antenna can repeatedly transmit a few miles. You can also improve the signals with an adapter cable, or a dual-band antenna. They transmit on 5 watts, so do not have many expectations. Scanning channels take long on these devices, especially if you must access every existing frequency. You need to program several repeaters
Squelch and tones
Squelch helps the ham radios work perfectly, even in noisy conditions. Be sure that the squelch control is working before buying the device.
Crucial UV-5RA Accessories
Standard Baofeng speakers will cost you anywhere around $5. With these, you can communicate back and forth without flipping the device off the belt. The speakers should be loud and clear enough to enable you use the device without holding it with your hands.
The device comes along a belt clip to help maintain its safety, but you can also put it in a small pouch. This is a cheap method and works for Baofeng, Yaesu, Icom, and Wouxon.
You can increase the transmission clarity on Baofeng UV-5R with this antenna vs. the stock “rubber-ducky.” Although it makes the device less portable, it is worth the deal. There are also smaller options to solve the portability issues.
You can mount this antenna on your car. It is a 3″ magnet mount which sticks perfectly on your car. The package includes a special cable connector and an adapter, which is designed specifically for Baofeng model.
Top Baofeng Radio Reviews
Baofeng tops the list of favorite ham radios that even newbies can use. It is even great if you are lucky to come across the best receiver. They can work well in outdoor operations and even professional networking. Be sure to check out the license requirements before using the device to avoid brushing shoulders with the law enforcers.
Things Consider Before Buying a Baofeng Radio
Frequencies and Frequency Range
There exist three types of frequencies for two-way radios FM, UHF, and VHF. Every radio that transmits on any of the three frequencies uses their range. Confirm from the specification menu to see if the device range matches your needs.
Power output should be a significant consideration, especially for outdoor usage. The battery life will determine the effectiveness of the device. Most of the Baofeng devices range between 4-5 watts, while others have an output varying between 7-8 watts. The higher the power output, the more effective the radio.
You do not want to imagine having a mobile radio with no speaker; it is useless. The speaker’s power varies significantly between various devices. A sound, effective two-way radio should have around 700mW-1W of speaker power.
Structure and Metallic
The sturdiness of the device matters a lot, especially if you are not the sole user. Get a device that is as strong as possible so that you do not keep on replacing it after a couple of weeks. The radio should be made of durable materials.
If you have not found an ideal two-way mobile radio, Baofeng is an excellent choice for every pocket. Baofeng is a great brand both for professionals and amateurs, more so if you need something that can connect over a great range. In this article, we have compared various models of the Baofeng brand, both basic and upgraded. The Baofeng has kept on upgrading their devices, introducing new features with time. You can buy a primary mobile radio for your personal use, and if you are the techno-savvy type, you can even buy an advanced type like the BF-F8HP and do the programming yourself.