I currently have a programming cable for a Midland CT-790 here. Now that looks to be a clone of a Wouxun radio and I knew that the Baofeng UV-5R was supposed to use the same programming cable as a Wouxun. Would it work, I wondered?
I grabbed the Baofeng UV-5R software from the link on http://www.uv-5r.com and installed it. There was an initial problem, because the programming lead installed itself as COM11 and the UV-5R programming software only went up to COM8. I managed to convince the cable to be COM1 (that takes me back to packet days, playing with COM1....) and then fired up the software.
What I thought were error messages were in fact not! They are clearly interesting translations. After a couple of false starts, I managed to get the computer to read the UV-5R and download the memories into the programming software. From there, it was relatively straighforward to modify the memories and upload them back into the radio without incident. The UV-5R software is pretty basic, but it's functional. Don't expect handholding, but it beats trying to program the radio manually.
Since I had the Midland CT-790 (Wouxun KG-UV1P) here, I was curious about the antennas. I swapped the Midland's antenna onto the Baofeng. Where I had struggled to blip up GB3UK on 430MHz with the Baofeng antenna, it worked better with the Midland. Same story on GB3WH on 145MHz. So it may be that the UV-5R antenna is worth replacing - although it's certainly adequate. The Midland antenna is slightly longer and more flexible. The Midland antenna, if fitted on the UV-5R has a slight gap at the base which might not be ideal for longer term use.
All good fun and interesting - remembering this was a radio that cost less than £40. As K0NR comments in his blog on the UV-5R, a rig for the price of a tank of petrol/gas. Way less, for us.....!!