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Budget and Entry Level Transceivers For discussion of budget or entry level radios such as Baofeng, Wouxun, Puxing and other radio communications designated as commercial but not targeted for Amateur or GMRS. Also included are MURS and ISM 900MHz designed radios.

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Old 05-24-2013, 4:10 PM
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Default Baofeng UV-B5

Well this is my first time posting in the Amateur Radio sections here at RR. I had posted some pics and initial impressions of my new Baofeng UV-B5 in the Shack Photos sections here at RR. I've only seen one other thread here referencing the radio and the person that started that thread had just ordered his. There is also a model UV-B6 that has a flashlight on top that replaces the channel/encoder knob. If anyone is interested here is a link to the thread I posted in the Shack Photo's section here at RR :
http://forums.radioreference.com/pic...eng-uv-b5.html

Link to the Baofeng website with radio specs :
Product_BAOFENG official website_baofengradio.com

This little radio packs an awesome punch. It covers from 136-174 and 400-470 continuously. I'm going soon to take my ham exam, but I also am involved with emergency services as well as the Red Cross in local disaster response and currently working on training for the Disaster Services Technology team. One of the main reasons I picked the UV-B5 was the wide freq coverage & I needed something that was "frequency agile" that could be set up in a pinch in case I didn't have time to get my Motorola's or Kenwoods set up, or if something changed while in the field.

It will do 5 watts on both VHF & UHF, and I've not noticed any degredation in performance even at the edges of the coverage bands. It will do scanning of the 99 memory channels, but it is somewhat slow. It also has a dual watch feature where you can select 2 different channels and it will "bounce" back and forth about every 1.5 - 2 seconds, which could be perceived as a "dual receive" by some but it's not truly a dual receive capable unit. It is programmable from the radio itself (VFO mode), PC software from Baofeng or the daily CHIRP software. You can assign alpha tags from the PC software or manually from the radio itself but it is limited to only 5 characters which can hamper things if you're trying to tag a ham repeater by the call sign if it exceeds that number. The radio comes with a 2000mah Li-Ion battery and drop in "intelligent charger". Only thing I've noticed about the charger is that the green light stays on all the time until you drop in the radio. I've gotten almost 36 hours out of one charge with moderate transmitting before the battery dropped to an unusable level. It has a dual band whip with the standard SMA connectors like Motorola and KW use. It has an orange button on top that acts as an emergency alarm. When pressed it transmits an alert "siren" type noise on the selected channel and gives you a hot mic until you press the orange button again to clear it. On the left side of the body it has a PTT and 2 side buttons. As of right now only one of the side buttons works and it's assigned a momentary monitor which breaks squelch and then goes back to CTCSS/DCS when released. Hopefully somewhere along the way someone will come up with a way to use the other button.

I can't think of anything else obvious to hit on but if you have any questions please feel free to ask. If anyone wants I'll be happy to shoot you guys more pictures other than what I posted in the other thread. Thanks for looking !!!

** I forgot to mention that I purchased the radio on Amazon for $49.99 shipped from China. From the night I ordered it until it arrived at my doorstep was roughly 7 or 8 days.

EDIT - I decided to repost the pics here also to save everyone from having to go to another page. Hope you enjoy them and if anyone wants a more specific shot please let me know !!!

Full front shot


Close up shot of the UV-B5 display and buttons


Top


Antenna connector showing frequencies covered


Chasis shot showing factory sticker


Back of radio and battery


Radio in charger


Box and manual (Ignore the flashlight reference on the box as they use the same one for the B5 & B6
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Last edited by FD5722; 05-24-2013 at 4:24 PM.. Reason: Decided to repost the pics here too
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Old 05-25-2013, 5:32 PM
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My only wish would be for a GOOD AA battery back for emergency use. It's one of the main issues I have with the Baofeng / Wouxun radios. But for affordable everyday use, it looks good.

No better bang for a buck than these things, that's for sure.
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Old 05-25-2013, 6:54 PM
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Originally Posted by KG7DOT View Post
My only wish would be for a GOOD AA battery back for emergency use. It's one of the main issues I have with the Baofeng / Wouxun radios. But for affordable everyday use, it looks good.

No better bang for a buck than these things, that's for sure.
I've heard rumor that a couple of the aftermarket manufacturers are looking at making something like that since this is becoming one of Baofeng's more popular portables since it was released. I really wish it has the bigger battery option like UV-5R has but with the way the battery release is set up on the B5 I don't see that happening.

And as far as affordable you are correct. I didn't expect by any means that it would have the same features of my Motorola's or Kenwood's, but for something in a pinch that I can program on the fly with a broad range of coverage it fits the bill. And it can serve as a backup as needed if one of my other VHF or UHF radios is down. I can get into a couple repeaters that I had issues with on my everyday units. For the money you can't go wrong, just don't expect it to have all the bells & whistles of the higher model Yaesu, Kenwood, Alinco, etc, but you can expect it to do what it's supposed to. Talk. Audio from the speaker isn't bad at all but could be a little better.

With all that being I'd buy another in a heartbeat. Matter of fact I've found a seller on Amazon that sells them in a 2 pack and I'm planning on ordering them because my son has expressed an interest in getting his ham license as well
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Old 05-28-2013, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: Baofeng UV-B5

I just got in my B5 a couple of weeks ago, and I am very happy with my first little ham radio! I am studying for my first exam coming up in mid-June, and in the meantime I am monitoring several repeaters using a magnetic base antenna that I have inside my house.

I heard someone talking from Concord, NC to a person in Dillon, SC last week. That repeater is 35 to 40 miles from me, and those guys were at least 100 miles apart. I can't wait to get my license to start talking!

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Barry

Jeremiah 29:11-13 / John 3:16
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by mrstangblb View Post
I just got in my B5 a couple of weeks ago, and I am very happy with my first little ham radio! I am studying for my first exam coming up in mid-June, and in the meantime I am monitoring several repeaters using a magnetic base antenna that I have inside my house.

I heard someone talking from Concord, NC to a person in Dillon, SC last week. That repeater is 35 to 40 miles from me, and those guys were at least 100 miles apart. I can't wait to get my license to start talking!

------------

Barry

Jeremiah 29:11-13 / John 3:16

I've been happy with it as well. It isn't hard to program from the keypad as some of the previous Baofeng's have been. It's a super sensitive radio that can pull in some weak signals, and it packs a punch when you transmit. I live in Salisbury (NC) and I can nail repeaters in both Concord, Statesville, and Lexington. On Monday I was in Lenoir and hiked up Hibritten Mountain and was able to tag repeaters in Charlotte, but I have no doubt that the elevation helped. But even at only 5 watts that's not to shabby.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one. Matter of fact my son is starting to show interest in the hobby and if he decides to pursue it this is probably be what I purchase for him.
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Old 05-30-2013, 1:08 PM
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Originally Posted by FD5722 View Post
I've been happy with it as well. It isn't hard to program from the keypad as some of the previous Baofeng's have been. It's a super sensitive radio that can pull in some weak signals, and it packs a punch when you transmit. I live in Salisbury (NC) and I can nail repeaters in both Concord, Statesville, and Lexington. On Monday I was in Lenoir and hiked up Hibritten Mountain and was able to tag repeaters in Charlotte, but I have no doubt that the elevation helped. But even at only 5 watts that's not to shabby.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one. Matter of fact my son is starting to show interest in the hobby and if he decides to pursue it this is probably be what I purchase for him.
Nice! It really is very easy to program. It didn't take long at all for me to program from both the keypad and from my computer when I got the PC cable in. After seeing several reviews on the other Baofengs on YouTube I thought I might could figure the older ones out, but the reviews on the UV-B5 were too good to pass up.

I'm very impressed with my little radio, and was listening to lots of emergency channels last night to see what was going on around the neighborhood. It's incredibly versatile.

I can't wait to get my license next month so I can talk on it!
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Old 05-31-2013, 1:21 PM
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Originally Posted by mrstangblb View Post
Nice! It really is very easy to program. It didn't take long at all for me to program from both the keypad and from my computer when I got the PC cable in. After seeing several reviews on the other Baofengs on YouTube I thought I might could figure the older ones out, but the reviews on the UV-B5 were too good to pass up.

I'm very impressed with my little radio, and was listening to lots of emergency channels last night to see what was going on around the neighborhood. It's incredibly versatile.

I can't wait to get my license next month so I can talk on it!
I did a lot of looking between Baofeng, Wouxun, & a few others and finally decided on the B5. I just about jumped on the Baofeng UV-5R with the 3800mah battery but it just looked more like a kids toy to me than a radio. I came across the UV-B5 by accident on Google and knew that was the one I wanted right away. I liked the fact that it had a channel/encoder knob on the top and that it looks more like a top of the line radio instead of the cheap look of some of its brothers. The only downfall that I don't care for is the segmented type display and that you only have 5 characters that you can tag memory channels by. Seems like since you input 6 characters when you put in a frequency they'd let you use that 6th position.

All in all I'm very impressed with the radio. It feels durable, looks great and I've great battery life since I've started using it. I've usually averaged between 24-36 hours on a charge depending on how my I transmit & how busy it gets receive wise. I don't use the scan option to often because it's just to slow to be of much use, but I do use the dual watch feature everyday. I mainly use the DW feature to monitor Rowan County (NC) Fire Dispatch & Rowan County EMS dispatch. I also like the fact that if you press the "Emergency Button" that after the alert tone if gives you a hot mic so you don't even have to pick up the radio to talk. I've not tried the busy channel lockout feature yet mainly due to the fact that I don't use scan that often. One oddity that I've noticed is after I remove the radio from the charger the green light stays on all the time but when I put the radio in the green light stay on along with the red charge light, so it actually looks kinda orange. But once it's finished charging it turns back to green. Does your's do that?

As far as software I've tried both the CHIRP daily build and the factory UV-B5 software that I downloaded from the Baofeng site at the following link :

Services_BAOFENG official website_baofengradio.com

I like the actual Baofeng software a lot better. One other thing that I think the manufacturer dropped the ball on was not enabling both the buttons on the left side under the PTT. The one "dot" button doesn't do anything and the two "dot" button breaks squelch. Hopefully somewhere along the way in the CHIRP builds maybe someone will find a way to enable that button.

With all that said and my rambling (LOL) I think it is a great radio, especially for the money. As I stated before my son is starting to show interest in radio and if he decides to pursue it then I'll be getting him one of these. I found a seller on Amazon that is selling these in a pack of 2 for only $80 so that's who I'll be buying the next round from. That'll give my son one & then give me an extra because we all know you can NEVER have to many radios, though my wife has a different opinion on that than I do, LOL.
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:56 PM
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Thumbs up UV-B5 Programming

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstangblb View Post
I just got in my B5 a couple of weeks ago, and I am very happy with my first little ham radio! I am studying for my first exam coming up in mid-June, and in the meantime I am monitoring several repeaters using a magnetic base antenna that I have inside my house.

I heard someone talking from Concord, NC to a person in Dillon, SC last week. That repeater is 35 to 40 miles from me, and those guys were at least 100 miles apart. I can't wait to get my license to start talking!

------------

Barry

Jeremiah 29:11-13 / John 3:16
_______________________________________________

Hi Barry!

I thought your profile picture looked familiar, then reading your post, seeing the name Barry ... this had to be the same Barry I know!

I'm Josh from ERBC.

I have been coming here last few days verifying EMS, Fire Dept, and Sheriff frequencies for my new UV-B5.

Looks like you had yours about a week longer than mine. I didn't even know about this new model until the beginning of May. When I saw reviews about the stronger audio section than older models, I ordered one from aliexpress . com.

Another thing that sold me: My cousin from Sumter (K4SPL) straightened me out about DCS (digital coded squelch) the Motorola(s) use. Its the same DCS used by all the dual-band radios. In other words, now I can use the UV-B5 and be heard by the guys using the Motorola(s) when we have the overflow section in use.

My cousin with years experience using Motorola(s) as volunteer fireman was very familiar with DCS.

DCS is not a mode used with UHF/VHF amateur radio repeaters. It was all new to me as well. Ham repeaters use the tone squelch system.

If you have a USB programming cable with your UV-B5, I will send you my channel program I created with alpha numeric channel names which make scanning all the local EMS and Fire, etc. frequencies much easier than with primitive scanners.

Congrats on studying for your ham license! You will love the hobby. Looks like you have all the gear you will need.

73's!

Josh (KF4BF)
Greenville, SC
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Old 06-08-2013, 1:58 PM
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Nice kit. Is it also tunable from the keyboard (like the 5R) or are you stuck using the rotary dial? (Dumb question.)

The other "dot" key that doesn't do anything might be the one that would activate the flashlight if it had one. Rather than redesign the moulds for the chassis and the side keys, they probably reuse the same one across both models and disable one of the keys electrically or in firmware. Well, it's cheaper to do that, anyways; that's why electronics manufacturers do it so often.

So apart from that, how different is this one from the B6?

Last edited by Darth_vader; 06-08-2013 at 2:10 PM..
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Old 06-08-2013, 2:18 PM
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Nice kit. Is it also tunable from the keyboard (like the 5R) or are you stuck using the rotary dial? (Dumb question.)

The other "dot" key that doesn't do anything might be the one that would activate the flashlight if it had one. Rather than redesign the moulds for the chassis and the side keys, they probably reuse the same one across both models and disable one of the keys electrically or in firmware. Well, it's cheaper to do that, anyways; that's why electronics manufacturers do it so often.

So apart from that, how different is this one from the B6?
As far as any difference from the B6 the only thing is them swapping out the encoder knob for the flashlight. I kinda felt the same way that they're using the same mold and my hope is that someone will figure out along the way how to enable the second button. On the B6 it's used to control the flashlight as you suspect.

The B5 can be tuned/programmed from the keypad & it's fairly easy once you do it a few times. Myself, I prefer to do the programming from the computer but that's not always an option.

All & all I really like the radio.
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Old 06-08-2013, 5:41 PM
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Default Re: Baofeng UV-B5

Josh! Great to see you on here! I had no idea you were a ham guy. I have always wanted to get into it and finally decided I would.

I'm studying for the exams next Saturday at the Red Cross, but I probably will only pass the Tech exam. I haven’t had time to study much for the General. I can't wait to talk on this B5, though!

Yeah, send me what you have. You can email it to the ERBC email and I will import it.

What repeater do you use most often and when? I'll hook up with you after I get my call letters!

I also bought 2 base stations from my great Uncle last week: a Kenwood TS -820 and a Yaesu FT -757GX. They both have some cool extras with them. I hope to clean up the insides of the Kenwood tonight to see if it improves it a little, but both are doing great.

I heard a guy in Kuwait talking to a guy in Mexico Wednesday, and a guy in Gloucester was on Sunday night. That's only with a 75' copper wire out to a tree in the front yard. Way too cool! THAT's why I want my license - for some long range talking.

Hope to see you tomorrow,

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Barry

Jeremiah 29:11-13 / John 3:16
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Old 06-09-2013, 2:09 AM
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Default Repeater issue!!!!

I have a baofeng uv-5r and a uv-b5, I have both radios programmed exactly the same but the uv-b5 will not kick the repeater. The 5R does not have a single problem other than the reception issue they all have, when I take the B5 out of narrow band mode and place it into wide band it will hit the repeater. I am afraid that narrow banding is to blame for this issue, so would anybody have any idea?
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Old 06-09-2013, 9:39 PM
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I have a baofeng uv-5r and a uv-b5, I have both radios programmed exactly the same but the uv-b5 will not kick the repeater. The 5R does not have a single problem other than the reception issue they all have, when I take the B5 out of narrow band mode and place it into wide band it will hit the repeater. I am afraid that narrow banding is to blame for this issue, so would anybody have any idea?
If it's a ham repeater you're trying to hit with the B5 then you shouldn't have it programmed for narrowband as the ham stuff the way I understand doesn't fall under any type of narrowbanding restrictions, unless the owner of the repeater has it set up that way. I've not come across a ham repeater yet that was narrowband.

It would be my guess if you can hit it with the radio in wide band then that's where it needs to be.

What type of service (ham, public safety, other, etc) is it used for? It would help a little more to know what you're wanting to use it on.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:02 AM
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I forgot to add in my last response that I've got a pretty good chunk of narrowband channels, both simplex & repeaters, programmed in my B5 and I've not had the first issue with being able to access any repeaters. Mine's been working like a champ since day 1.
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:29 AM
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Could it be that the radio's frequency is a little off so that when it is in narrow, it is outside the frequency band that the repeater is listening for? But then when it is in wide, there is enough signal inside the repeater's frequency that it hears the radio? I guess you'd need a spectrum analyzer to be able to check for that?

Just spit-balling. I'm new to ham, so still trying to figure out how it all works in the real world.
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Old 06-10-2013, 12:33 PM
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Could it be that the radio's frequency is a little off so that when it is in narrow, it is outside the frequency band that the repeater is listening for? But then when it is in wide, there is enough signal inside the repeater's frequency that it hears the radio? I guess you'd need a spectrum analyzer to be able to check for that?

Just spit-balling. I'm new to ham, so still trying to figure out how it all works in the real world.
I don't think that could be the problem unless he's got a bad radio. I had the chance to put mine on a service monitor just to run it through the paces to see if it was actually going to be reliable enough to be a daily use radio and everything was right on the money with it. Even in narrow it was spot on where it should be.

My suggestion to the person that posted that issue is if he's still got warranty on the radio to have it replaced, or buy a new one. I mean even as good as mine is working if it got messed up and it wasn't something I could fix myself (if it was outside the warranty period) then I'd just buy another one. At $50 a pop they're truly a throw away radio so to speak.
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Old 06-10-2013, 1:18 PM
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I had problems with my B5 when I got it about a month ago. I was unable to bring up local repeaters unless I was about a mile away from them and unable to hear them unless I was just as close. I also couldn't hear local high power FM radio stations. I thought I had a bad antenna. Maybe even a bad antenna connection. I was going to take the antenna off and try putting a paper clip or something else on the center connector to see if I could pick up better with it than without, to test if their was a broken antenna connection inside. Before I did that a friend who had a couple of Baofengs told me to turn the radio off, hold down the MENU key and turn it back on. This reset the radio and suddenly I was hearing and transmitting better than any HT I've had. I'm not sure exactly what was wrong but my friend says he recommends this reset procedure to anyone he knows who buys a Chinese radio. This is now my favorite radio and my daily carry radio. I love the FM radio receive which allows me to monitor a repeater and listen to my tunes at the same time.
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Old 06-10-2013, 1:52 PM
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I had problems with my B5 when I got it about a month ago. I was unable to bring up local repeaters unless I was about a mile away from them and unable to hear them unless I was just as close. I also couldn't hear local high power FM radio stations. I thought I had a bad antenna. Maybe even a bad antenna connection. I was going to take the antenna off and try putting a paper clip or something else on the center connector to see if I could pick up better with it than without, to test if their was a broken antenna connection inside. Before I did that a friend who had a couple of Baofengs told me to turn the radio off, hold down the MENU key and turn it back on. This reset the radio and suddenly I was hearing and transmitting better than any HT I've had. I'm not sure exactly what was wrong but my friend says he recommends this reset procedure to anyone he knows who buys a Chinese radio. This is now my favorite radio and my daily carry radio. I love the FM radio receive which allows me to monitor a repeater and listen to my tunes at the same time.
You give an awesome suggestion that I had completely forgotten about. I've gotten to the point where the 3 radios that go with me when I leave are my B5, my Uniden 396XT & my Kenwood TK-380. My VHF Systems Saber 3 has been retired to desk duty.
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Old 06-12-2013, 8:55 AM
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Default Sorry for the delay!

Okay so obviously I am new to radioreference and forgot to put some info in there. I am trying to access our fire dept repeater which is line of sight maybe three miles away. I took the antenna off and placed it on my other baofeng and it checked out. The strange thing about this situation is when programmed it will access another repeater over 14 miles away which is below the mountain range we are on top of. So that is why I am at a loss! I tried the reset, and then set the offset and tone in vfo mode that also didn't change anything. Since last time I didn't do a very good job of giving important information I will just break it down. The repeater I can access is at a distance of around 14 miles not los with a RX of 155.95500 and TX of 153.90500. The repeater the is LOS and only 3 miles away has a RX of 158.8050 and TX of 153.84500. Both repeaters are public safety, same brand and model.
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Old 06-12-2013, 3:28 PM
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I figured I'd post what I put in the Slickdeals.net Hot Deals forum a while ago:

Baofeng VHF/UHF UV-B5 Ham/Amateur Radio Walkie Talkie Transceiver $38.01 plus $3.17 shipping on ebay 06-12-2013 - Slickdeals.net

Less than $42 shipped from a vendor on ebay for the UV-B5. I put several helpful links there regarding equipment and general ham info in that post, too, if it might help somebody here.
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