The Baofeng UV-5RA is a VHF/UHF
(136-174MHz / UHF 400-520MHz) HT radio. I purchased this radio shortly before I took the test to get my license in 2015. Prices starting out around $25.00 make this radio is an easy first buy. Many hams do not like this radio for various reasons so I wanted to share my experiences with it.
When looking at price, the Baofeng UV-5RA beats most other products like it on the market. A comparable Yaesu FT-60R is around $150.00; so, $25.00 is a very attractive price. Amazon is probably the biggest seller of this radio. This radio is not a name brand like Yaesu and Kenwood. There website says they are in Arlington, South Dakota. The factory is in China.
This radio has some nice features like a dual frequency display. The power levels for this radio are 5/1 Watts. Most come with a 1800mAh Li-ion battery pack. There are alot of different optional battery packs compatible with this radio. Many accessories can be found with a quick search.
The menu interface is not bad to navigate. Using the literature provided with the radio, I have successfully been able to save repeaters and frequencies to channels. It is much easier to program with a computer. The software that comes with the programing cable is trash. CHIRP is by far superior software. This radio was very easy to connect to CHIRP. In a later post we will go over programming with CHIRP.
I have heard many hams complain about the quality of these radios but after owning 5 and helping many other operators program thiers, I have had no issues. In the picture the radio without the antenna is the original radio I bought. The antenna was damaged by getting closed in a car door. Do not do that! This radio has also been dropped off the top of my garage. The battery clip was damaged but other than that it is fine. The radio still works. It is hooked to a mag mount antenna and in my work truck.
Overall I recommend this to anyone that is getting into the hobby. This is a very easy buy when on a budget. The only downfall I have found is the computer software that comes with the programing cable. CHIRP works much better and is capable of programming many different radios. There is now a 8 watt version of this radio. After more testing I will be doing a review on it. Next Week we will look into the Yaesu FT-891.