I love the Baofeng UV-5RA handheld Ham radio as you well know. I think it is just the most awesomest prepper piece of gear that you can find…especially at that price of about $ 25 – $27 each. But, I have been on a long search to see if any other version of that radio is a better value or performs better than the UV-5RA. The Baofeng UV-6R is the target of this review.
Just to make sure you are aware of the demands I place on a radio to be used in the world of emergency preparedness, here is the mission –
“Provide reliable radio communication in a variety of emergency, disaster, and grid-down situations at the individual level.”
Restrictions & Requirements –
- Must be easy to use.
- Must be programmable.
- Must be battery powered and batteries must be easily recharged.
- Should be capable of UHF/VHF frequencies as well as FRS/GMRS/MURS frequencies.
- Should be lightweight and easily concealed.
First Impressions –
It looked like a toy radio as soon as I took it out of the box. The flap that protects the accessory jack was loose and rather than protect the jacks…well, it would funnel water, dirt, and dust directly into the jacks. The yellow highlights on the radio furthered the impression that it was more of a “toy” than a real radio.
The keys are different shapes and not evenly spaced. The back-lighting started out to look like a nice feature till I realized that there a lot of white light coming from around each key. That would make you a sitting duck if you were trying to keep a low profile at night. The keys are poorly laid out, poorly labeled, and some keys are not even marked with any indication of what they do.
My opinion changed a little bit when I saw the nice big volume knob that you can easily grab hold of. The knob also has a seriously high-quality feel to it.
The battery is much larger than the battery on the UV-5RA battery, but only in size, not in capacity. Both are rated at 1800mAh. The battery installs easy enough and is just as easy to remove. A serious bad note though…I had no luck finding any replacement batteries or any longer life battery such as a 3800mAh battery. That is itself is a deal killer.
The channel scan speed is slower than the UV-5RA and I can’t figure out any way to improve the scan speed.
I had no luck programming the radio. It doesn’t come with a programming cable and CHIRP users regularly complain that the software doesn’t work with the UV-6R. RT Systems does make a programming software version but I didn’t buy it just to test and review one radio that I already didn’t like. FYI…all of RT Systems software is the best out there…period! But, I have read where there are quite a few users having problems with their computer actually being able to communicate with the radio.
The antenna is the standard SMA connection and all UV5 compatible antennas fit the UV6 radio. That is a nice relief knowing all the antenna options that are available out there.
So, as of now what is my overall feeling about this radio? It sucks!
I got so frustrated trying to work with this radio I had to stop and go eat lunch. When I got back I tried to figure out why I was still reviewing the stupid thing when I already didn’t like it, it was poorly designed, hard to program, software problems, and the extremely poor jack protection. So why go on when I already know the radio just sucks?
This is huge step backwards for the Pofung/Baofeng line of radios!
So, am I giving the UV-6R a HUGE “do not buy” recommendation!!!!
Do not buy !
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