Baofeng UV-B6: 144/432MHz for under £30 – you can’t really say no!

My Baofeng UV-5R has been an unqualified success. I’ve always liked it as a simple, no-nonsense handheld. Since the summer, connected to my Elk hand held yagi, it has become my satellite transceiver of choice for making contacts on SO-50.

As I have commented before, I have enough handhelds really. However, Sunday night saw me on the Handy Radio website (a UK based vendor of Chinese handheld radios and accessories) looking around for an after market antenna to stick on my tiny Baofeng UV-3R. I couldn’t help but notice the Baofeng UV-B5 on sale at £28.99. It would have been silly not to, really.

Looking slightly sleeker than the UV-5R, it arrived today. The firmware is pretty much the same and I quickly found my way around it. I found I needed to program it with different software to the UV-5R although the same programming lead could be used.
Incidentally, the software is bilingual – English and Chinese. Look for the EN/CN icon on the toolbar! It took me a while to work out how to switch when it came up first in Chinese!
I also ‘invested’ in a speaker/microphone for the grand sum of £5.99, wondering whether this would improve the audio on the UV-5R which I know can be a bit muffled.
So, it’s all programmed up! With any luck, I will be able to try it out on SO-50 at the weekend. In the meantime, it seems to be hearing the usual VHF/UHF repeaters at around the right strength and is able to bring them up ok – so looks like it’s working ok.
When I unpacked it, the instruction manual said it was a UV-B6. I’m not quite sure what the difference is between that an the 5. Whatever it is, it seems good value for a 5W dual band handheld!

Tim Kirby, G4VXE, is a regular contributor to and writes from Oxfordshire, England. Contact him at [email protected].

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