2019 note $2: the radio is not available from what I can find.
2019 note #3: the radio has been replaced by the BaoFeng BF-F8HP which I will be doing a review on very shortly.
2019 note #4: this article still contains useful information that you may find interesting.
2019 note #5: over the next several days I will be posting a number of articles on handheld radios…specifically Baofeng…and which is the best to buy. Hold off buying any radio until you’ve read all the articles. You will be glad you waited.
We all want power! If we have some power, we want more power!
No, I am not talking about government, the police state, or our former Dictator-In-Chief Barry, or anything along those lines. I am simply talking about a way cooler subject…radios!
Over and over again I have told you how much I like the Baofeng UV-5RA radio…I think it is simply the best price/performance handheld radio on the market today. Yes, there are better quality radios such as the Yaesu FT-60r but the Yaesu also costs about 6 times as much at the Baofeng. True, if I could only have one handheld radio and the money wasn’t a real factor I would choose the Yaesu. But for many of us mere mortals money is a factor. And, I would rather each family member and all of my close friends have a radio rather than just one or two having a radio. Hence, the Baofeng UV-5RA handhelds are an amazing combination of price and performance.
But, there was always that talk swirling around by other Baofeng users claiming that their radio was a 5watt or an 8 watt, etc. I began to suffer from “watt envy”!
I have already shown where the UV-5RA radio outperformed both the UV-6 and UV-8 version of the radio in previous reviews. But, the venerable UV-5RA radio has finally met its match. Well actually, the radio that outperformed the UV-5RA is just its bigger brother…the UV-5RMHP.
I acquired an evaluation version of this radio a few months back. I started testing it and really couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Well, that isn’t 100% true. When I tried to program it with my RT Systems software…it failed. I looked to see if CHIRP had a version and NOPE, they didn’t.
I called RT Systems about the programming problem and within two days they had their UV-5 programming software humming along just fine with the new UV-5RMHP radio. Now that is why I like RT Systems software…they respond and they are professional programmers maintaining critical software.
So, I programmed up the UV-5RMHP with my standard channel plan and began the testing for performance. Wow!
I was very pleasantly surprised with the radio. First, it operates exactly like the UV-5RA so that eliminated any learning curve. It also programmed exactly the same with one exception, in the “Tx Power” column there were three choices vs. only two with the UV-5RA. The UV-5RMHP has three settings “L, M, H.” Which translates into 1w, 4w, 7w of power programmable for each channel. SWEET!
Back, to the testing…I looked over the radios to find any differences and couldn’t find a single operational difference other than the key that first locks/unlocks the radio, then is used to switch between “high” and “low” power on the UV-5RA radio. On the UV-5RMHP that key still locks/unlocks the radio, but it now switches the power; “high” “low” “medium.” Which corresponds to the new wattage capability while transmitting.
So naturally I had to test the new wattage with various antennas…
If you look that chart over and you are a tech geek you will see that there is vastly improved power being delivered to the antenna. For all of us non-tech geeks the chart shows 50 – 100% more power to the antenna in some frequency ranges. Not only that but the SWR readings are terrific with only a couple of exceptions. And even then the SWR readings are still well within operational parameters.
Some Technical Specs –
- FirmWare: 2015
- Frequency Range: 136-174 / 400-520MHz
- Dual-Band Display
- Dual Frequency Display
- 7 / 4 / 1 watts of Output Power
- 128 Memory Channels
- 50 CTCSS and 104 DCS
- Built-in VOX Function
- Burst Tone 1750Hz
- FM Radio (65MHz-108MHz)
- LED Flashlight
- Large LCD Display
- High/Medium/Low Power Switchable
- 25KHz/12.5KHz Switchable
- Emergency Alert
- Low Battery Alert
- Battery Saver
- Time-out Timer
- Keypad Lock
- Monitor Channel
- Channel Steps: 2.5/5/6.25/10/12.5/25KHz
More Info –
Field testing was amazing! But, since my field testing environment is different than your environment I am not going to say I was able to get X more distance with the UV-5RMHP over the UV-5RA. I will just say that I clearly got more distance with the UV-5RMHP.
And now one of the greatest aspects to this new model of the UV-5R radio…the UV-5RMHP uses all of the same accessories as the UV-5RA radio! Every single accessory works on either radio just fine.
And another great feature…the RT system programming software of the UV-5R works on both models as well! I just have three options now on the “Tx Power” column when programming a UV-5RMHP vs. two when programming a UV-5RA.
So where are we on the price/performance benchmark? Not bad, not bad at all.
- The UV-5RA retails right now for about $25. That is $6.25 per watt of output.
- The UV-5RMHP retails for $40. That is $5.72 per watt of output. (note: radio is not available as of 2019)
But when you consider there are times you can 11watts going out the antenna, then that makes it $3.64 per watt of output. Although, I would stick with the more realistic and consistent $5.72 per output watt performance. That makes the UV-5RMHP a better performance for the price while being only about $15 overall more expensive than the UV-5RA.
So which radio do you buy?
- If $15 is no big deal, buy the UV-5RMHP !
- If you need to buy 5 radios for your family the $15 difference comes to $200 vs. $125. With the $75 difference can buy three additional UV-5RA radios. So you might be better off with the UV-5RA radios.
- If you are not going to be using the radio over longer distances the UV-5RA is just fine.
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