Hey, Should I Buy the Baofeng Radio?

Baofeng-UV-5R-150x300I keep getting asked about the Baofeng radios. Especially the new hams seem to be attracted to the low price. Even though I own several of them and make good use of them, I have been a little reluctant to recommend them. I put together my thoughts on these radios and a few tips to get started. Read the full story here on HamRadioSchool.com.

73, Bob K0NR

The post Hey, Should I Buy the Baofeng Radio? appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

15 Responses to “Hey, Should I Buy the Baofeng Radio?”

  • Kent May KK4TEW:

    I own two and they are good, buy the programming cable and it will be a good daily HT. If you want better performance or more features prices
    start at multiple hundreds of dollars.

  • Stacey Reece N4OVQ:

    I have 2, the uv5r and 5r plus. They work fine. A friend of mine just purchased the baofeng 8HP which is 1watt, 5 and 8watt. It works good and has a better ant and longer than the earlier ht. I say for the money to go for it. N4OVQ

  • Matt W1MST:

    I get a little overwhelmed by all the different model choices in the Baofeng (or Pofung) radios. You’ve got the UV-3R, the UV-5R, the BF-F8+, the UV-82, and even more I’ve left out.

    Which model offers the best features for the price at the moment?

  • Bill - WA8MEA:

    I bought one as a Christmas present for myself. It was $39.95 ppd from R & L. I bought a 2013 model from Amazon for $30 and gave it to a friend for Christmas. So far, so good. I am going to play around with programming mine today during my in-laws Christmas party. It gives me something to do since I have nothing really in common with these folks except my wife.

  • Peter kg5wy:

    I bought a UV-E5 from MTC for $40 on sale.
    It is worth much more than I paid for it.
    For that price, the features are limited.
    However, having said all that, I would not recommend VHF/UHF for a new ham.
    I would recommend HF instead, even if they need to borrow the HF radios.
    VHF/UHF is quiet and a new person could become discouraged with the limitations.

  • Paul, w3fis:

    I have 3. Great radios.

  • Bob KK8ZZ:

    These little guys seem good for the price, and I’ve owned most of them, but I would NEVER recommend one. Harder than heck to program w/o the cable and software, and even then, too easy to bump out of memory into the WTF mode. The F11 has a lock mode option that prevents that once the memories are stored, and that makes it a better option, but for the average new ham that buys one innocently and thinks they’ll be easy and fun, RUN ! I wonder how many good ops have been so discouraged that they quit ham radio ofter trying one of these cheap guys? The Kenwood K-20, among others, is a better long term buy for the quality and ease of programming…. YMMV…. Bob KK8ZZ

  • ww6l jeff:

    I have two of the uv5r+ they work well.
    the charger is not good though. 12v from car really stresses it.
    I suggest the addition of a 78m10 regulator.
    it can be added easily and protects the poorly designed charging circuits from anything above 10v.

    at home one uses the supplied wall wart, it puts out 10v.

    the non-supplied car charging cable is straight thru.

  • Joe KB3PHL:

    I don’t know how anyone else feels, but with all of the cyber hacking from China & Korea I’m more than a little suspicious about these radio’s from these countries. How do we know that they haven’t rigged these radio’s with some kind of secret chips or software that could let them disable them anytime they felt like it just by sending out a signal.

  • Kyle N4NSS:

    Very good rig BUT a pain in the keyster to program..hard to connect to computer

  • Matt W1MST:

    So, of all the Baofeng models is one more “newbie friendly” than the others? If I’m going to recommend one to a new ham, does one have an easier interface or a better build quality?

  • peter kg5wy:

    I must agree with the programming problems. It is cumbersome.
    I would suggest a new ham borrow a simple HF receiver and transmitter. They would find communicating more interesting than the quiet VHF/UHF bands.

  • Michael VA3OTA:

    Absolutely get a BaoFeng radio!

    For the price they are impossible to beat. As far as programming goes, spend $7 to get the cable and program with CHIRP.

    Most hams I know tend to have several to experiment with and take with them where they wouldn’t want to take their expensive HT. If you destroy one of these you really don’t care.

  • Fred AE2DX:

    I bought one off of Amazon for $29 tried to program it was able to do it but took a while, I then bought the cable and program from BaoFeng and it was a breeze to program have since bought another battery for standby for $7 off of Amazon can’t go wrong for the money, I call then throw away radios. I wouldn’t want to open it up with these eyes and fingers LOL.

  • Paul Griffith, KE5WMA:

    My UV-82 sounds a little better than my son’s UV-5R. I use Chirp to program them. Same comments here about manually programming them. Get at least one and use it. It will make a good backup HT if you decide to upgrade to Kenwood, Icom, or Yaesu. If you decide to put your $$ into a mobile rig because you don’t use your HT very often then you are not out of much $$.

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