Followup-To: FRS vs GMRS vs 900 mhz radios ( performance)
Out of the box they go up to 470. They are capable of being "reprogrammed" to go wide simply by modifying some settings in the Baofeng programming software's \SETTINGS.INI file. The instructions for this procedure are widely circulated on the WWW as well as in a certain quarterly "computer security" magazine everybody knows and loves about a year ago, so I'm not going to post yet another rehash of it here. That said, even though they are capable of tuning up to 999 and I know for a fact that my friend's two year old 3R can at least hear stuff up in the 950ish range, it doesn't mean all are capable of actually receiving anything that high. I just found this afternoon that mine goes stone-deaf around 760 MHz. (There are a few data channels that I can hear on the 700 band, but that's it.) Some can and some can't, basically.
Then again, I've also seen (via Youtube) one that was alledegly freebanded to go from 10000 kHz up to 900-something MHz. Personally I don't really see the point of making an FM-only rig like the 3R go lower than <148 MHz, since almost everything analogue (to the best of my knowledge) on shortwave is either going to be AM or SSB; that, and you also have coverage of the wideband FM broadcast band and AM-only air band to contend with. I don't have the URL on hand (and don't have time to look for it) but you could probably get on the side and look for it. It's buried in there somewhere.
Obviously, individual results may (meaning: will) vary. It would have been nice if they had made the 5R that easy to freeband, but oh well. Still, at long last I've finally a handheld rig that I can also monitor military aircraft coming into and out of PDX with that I didn't have to win the lottery to buy.
That Alinco looks like it's build just as solidly as the Baofengs and can probably take a lot of abuse, but too bad that it's only available to the minority (read: lottery winners and others with lots of disposable income to blow.)