Baofeng UV-5RA Handheld Radio

(updated July 2015)

(updated on July 2015)

Baofeng UV-5r handheld radioUV-5RA radio from Baofeng. I can’t say enough good things about this little radio!  This radio is compact, battery charge lasts a very long time, versatile, and so far it is proving itself to be very durable.  The downside? Yeah, made in China.

FYI…I spent about $130 for the radio and all the accessories to make this radio really work in every aspect for me.  This is a true bargain in every sense of the word. This radio, as I have outfitted it with accessories, goes very long way towards overcoming communications issues during emergencies and disasters. When it comes to “grid-down” I believe this little beauty will make a life-betting difference.

One of the highest priorities in any emergency or disaster (yes, including “grid-down”) is the ability to Boafeng UV-5r handheld Ham Radiocommunicate.  And this sweet little radio is fully programmable; it is wide open to programming on any of the standards 70cm and 2m frequencies available to Ham operators, plus a whole lot more!  It can also be programmed for all the NOAA, FRS, GMRS and MURS frequencies for use during emergencies.

This is a true dual-band radio as well.  You can monitor 2 frequencies at the same time, even frequencies on different bands.  The LCD screen clearly displays the frequencies or channel names. And switching between the two frequencies is very easy, push one button.

At under $40 per radio it is an unbelievable bargain. Easily affordable for each member of your family or group.

Some standard, web-based information and technical specifications…

The handheld radio is a micro-miniature multi-band FM transceiver with extensive receive frequency coverage, providing local-area two-way amateur communications along with incredible monitoring capability.

Tech Specs:Baofeng UV-5RA

  • Frequency Range: 136-174 / 400-479.995 MHz.
  • Full height two-color LED definition display. The screen has exquisite clarity.
  • Field programmable from keypad.
  • Programmable via computer software.

The Baofeng UV-5RA is a compact F.C.C. Part 90 hand held transceiver providing 4 watts in the frequency range of 136-174 MHz and 400-480 MHz. It is a compact, economical handie-talkie (HT) that includes a special VHF receive band from 65 – 108 MHz which includes the regular FM broadcast band. Dual-monitor and dual-reception is supported. You get up to 128 memories that are programmable from the keypad or via programming software.

Other features include:Baofeng UV-5r handheld radio

  • selectable wide/narrow,
  • battery save function,
  • VOX,
  • DCS/CTCSS encode,
  • keypad lock,
  • built in flashlight.

Selectable frequency steps include:  2.5, 5, 6.25, 10, 12.5 and 25 kHz. RF power may be selected at 1 or 4 watts depending on your field needs and battery life requirements.

This radio comes with:

  • ANT5 SMA-J flexible antenna (rubber ducky),
  • BL-5 Li-ion battery (7.4V 1800 mAh),
  • Ear piece and lapel microphone,
  • belt clip,
  • wrist strap,
  • drop-in charging tray with AC adapter (8.4V 600mA).

I loved this radio as soon as I took it out of the box! There is a “feel” to it that just gives that impression that it is a decent quality little radio. It doesn’t quite compete with my Yaesu FT-60R but my 60R was also SIX TIMES more expensive!

From a fully functional, field utility perspective, the UV-5RA competes just fine with the 60R. And I would rather every member of my family have a UV-5RA than only one member of the family have the better quality, far more expensive, Yaesu FT-60R.

I did some field programming from the keypad and it is OK but would be tedious and challenging to try and do to much of it without a manual right there and plenty of patience. I use the RT Systems software to program the UV-5RA. The RT Systems software works perfectly, easy to use, dependable, and I love the support from RT Systems folks if you ever have a question.

There is a huge bunch of accessories for this little gem. You can add-on to this radio to make it function in just about any role or perform any mission you need it to. Couple things that I did with this radio that might interest you:

  • Turned it into a vehicle based mobile radio with improved range.
  • Made a “mini-communications” center with it with way better antennas for improved range.
  • Increased its battery life by adding a 3800 mAh battery to it.
  • Added a AA battery tray to it making it more versatile with alkaline or rechargeable batteries.
  • Made it independent of internal power with a 12vDC adapter cord.

Here is a list of accessories that I consider a “must buy” to really make the radio fully function for emergency, disaster and “grid-down” usage:

  • 14.5″ dual-band antenna – Significantly improves operational range and quality of reception.
  • Vehicle external antenna & connector/adapter cable – Allows the radio be operated from a vehicle with considerably more transmit and receive range.
  • Speaker Microphone – Makes radio operation in many circumstances way more convenient, especially during vehicle operation in conjunction with the vehicle external antenna & connector/adapter cable.
  • Programming software & cable – This is an absolute must as far as I am concerned to allow this radio to become fully functional for you. It opens up a whole lot of capability and “usability” for you.

Bottom line…

“BUY” this radio and you won’t ever regret it!

 

If you would like to buy a complete radio set-up that is programmed and ready to use then check out my store. Learn more →Baofeng UV-5RA radio for sale

If you would like to see the best price just for the UV-5RA radio visit Amazon →

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27 thoughts on “Baofeng UV-5RA Handheld Radio

  1. Pingback: Boafeng UV-5RA – Aweek Travel USB Adapter Charger | A.H. Trimble - Emergency preparedness information for disasters and grid-down

  2. Be advised but, don’t be alarmed or discouraged with this following information. I own a half dozed 5RA’s and was SF Commo in the Army and have a Ham Extra Class License. There was a concern brought to me recently from our local group about the Duty Cycle of the 5RA and later versions like the BF-F8HP (which I also own). The Duty Cycle on page 17 of the Manual states: 3/3/54, which meant 3 min TX/3min RX/and 54 min Standby. If you read this and take that at face value, it’s a pretty weak radio but… don’t let it discourage you. I’ve owned my radios for over 2 years and my last exercise was in the West Desert in Utah. I spent half a day out there putting on a Land Nav Class (compass and map no electronics except radios for safety purposes). During this training there was a period to where we were on the radios almost constantly for over an hour. Especially me being I was watching from on high observing and all communications were to and from me. At the end of the block of training during daylight at above 100 degrees temperature, there were no failures, missed communications, or voiced concerns. Depending on who I do the instruction with, depends on the frequencies we use. This day it was FRS UHF frequencies. UHF if you’re not aware is the weakest of the frequency spectrum as to transmit power in most radios. Anyway, I just wanted to put your minds at ease. The UV-5RA’s that we used that day and I use on almost a daily basis using voice and digital comm’s, I’ve yet to have any problems what-so-ever, and that with radios over 2 years old.
    As an added note, I put the 5R and the 8HP at a head to head test in the UHF band. It’s complicated for some to understand but, the difference of 5 watts and 8 watts is negligible. There’s a lot of formulas and techy language I could put in here to explain but for the every day operator, I like plain English and hope that my experience accounts for a little. Anyway pound for pound, dollar for dollar the 5RA is my radio of choice and it’s a difference of $25 vs $70+. If you want to go Moto, Yaesu, and a host of more expensive radios, by all means if you have the money and have to spend it, please do. I do have more expensive and all band radios but, they’re in a box and they’re my backup rather than my daily use communications equipment. You can’t do a good evaluation in a couple days because you can’t say it’s got years of reliable use.
    BTW, I speak only of the radios listed above. Not the Plus or any other model. I own one or two of the other models but find no advantages. Do your own research and see if you don’t come up with the same determination that I have……D

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Great question! And it’s not always about just increasing range, it’s also about improving the quality of reception and transmission. There are a couple antenna options out there for you. First – the 14.5″ replacement antenna ExpertPower XP-771 Elite 14.5-Inch Dual Band Antenna. Read more about that antenna here Then there is the vehicle antenna Tram 1185 Amateur Dual-Band Magnet Antenna. Read more about that antenna here Let me know if you are interested in some portable but larger antenna options…I got a couple ideas for you. AH (P.S. Would love to hear some feedback from you on the antenna options.)

      Like

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