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Baofeng UV-5R vs UV-B5

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temchik

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Hi All,

I am a new ham but wanted to share my thoughts on two HTs I have used for the past month. I know, there's loads of reviews and opinions on those handhelds, but there are some quirks that I discovered that are not discussed much but may be useful to other newbies trying to decide where to spend there $35 :D

It seems it is universally accepted that the newer UV-B5 is a better version than the tried UV-5R, but my usage did not yield the same results.

- I like 5R's body better, it feels better constructed, even though B5 is claimed to be somewhat whaterproof. I wouldn't count on that thought :)

- While layout of B5 is a bit more ergonomic, the display, however, cannot be compared to the 5R. I name my stations by location and band, so FRAMV and FRAMU look almost identical on the B5 low resolution display.

- Stock antenna looks a little better on B5 (at least it is 1/4 wave UHF length), but here's the catch - None of my Nagoya antennas fit on B5! The socket is just too deep into the body and connectors don't seem to reach. I get no RX with 771 and barely any with 701. My Nagoya antennas are from BaofengTech with white letters and fit perfectly on both 5Rs.

- There is a bug in Chirp that always resets the Beep option to On upon upload to B5. Not related to the radio itself, but still a nuisance

- Weak signal RX is better on 5R. B5 will be silent in parts of my house on 2 distant repeaters, but 5R will receive legible voice. Played with Squelch setting, that does not seem to do much at all apart from setting 0. 1-9 seem to do the exact same thing in my case

- Random squelch problem on UHF is still ever so present on B5 as it is on 5R. Dual channel monitoring is basically useless on both of them as it will randomly switch the "preferred TX" to the UHF channel. Even during a conversation on VHF I had to constantly check the arrow to make sure I am still on VHF.

- B5 Menu system got more complicated, I prefer 5R's Menu button to B5 Menu and "AB" buttons system

- I have read that B5 is better at intermod rejection (well, that it actually rejects), but I have not experienced this yet, so I cannot comment. If you are having problems with strong signals overloading your HT on either one of them, please comment.

All in all, I would choose 5R over B5 any day, just my newbie 2c, I hope these comments help someone

Cheers!
 

JustLou

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I've had both for some time now, and my experience is not the same as yours on most things. The only thing I find better on the 5R is the display is easier to read. Everything else I find better on the B5. The antenna is improved. The squelch at least does do something on the B5. It receives better on both VHF and UHF, but that could be because of the better antenna. I still think the 5R is a great radio for the price, but if I could keep only one it would be the B5.
 

KC9HI

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- There is a bug in Chirp that always resets the Beep option to On upon upload to B5. Not related to the radio itself, but still a nuisance
CHIRP Daily-20140131, released January 31, corrected this issue. Even CHIRP v0.4.0 Stable, released in April, would have this issue corrected. Testing done with my UV-B5 and CHIRP Daily-20140724 a few minutes ago appears to validate that the Beep setting works as expected. It might be time to upgrade your CHIRP. ;)

Other than that, I pretty much agree. If I could keep only one, the UV-B5 would be the radio to go.

Jim KC9HI
 

temchik

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I am using some recent daily build and the beep gets reset.. I will try an upgrade...

The stock antenna does seem better on b5 but 5R with Nagoya 771 beats it. And it does not fit on B5...
 

KC9HI

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I am using some recent daily build and the beep gets reset.. I will try an upgrade...

The stock antenna does seem better on b5 but 5R with Nagoya 771 beats it. And it does not fit on B5...
The daily builds available in the CHIRP downloads area in date order. That puts the newest at the bottom of the page.

Index of /chirp_daily

A copy of the most recent daily build is normally always in the /LATEST/ directory.

Index of /chirp_daily/LATEST

Jim KC9HI
 

jonwienke

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The newer 5R series (BF-F8+) radios will stay on A to transmit even if you receive something on B. And vice versa. This makes dual-monitor a lot more useful.

I have 6 of the BF-F8+ radios, They have the widest variety of accessories and better control system tha the Baofeng's other product line. The only thing they don't have is dual PTT, but it's easy enough to hit A/B to switch, and they have one-button VFO/channel mode switch, as opposed to having to shut the radio off and reboot while holding a button.
 

JustLou

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I briefly had the GT3 and won't buy another Baofeng Radio like the F8+ that has the awful inverted display.
 

jonwienke

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Some people don't like the inverted display, but others do. I don't have issues reading the display, so it's not a negative for me.
 

KC9HI

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The newer 5R series (BF-F8+) radios will stay on A to transmit even if you receive something on B. And vice versa. This makes dual-monitor a lot more useful.
All UV-5R radios will do this (even my 2+ year old UV-5R with BFB231 firmware). All you do is set menu 34 (TDR-AB) to A or B. Then when menu 7 (TDR) is set to ON, the selected display will always have priority (stay selected) even if something is received on the opposite display.

Reference for UV-5R Menus

I have a soon-to-be-released model here that has a TDR-AB menu with no OFF setting (only A and B). The A or B setting automatically tracks the selected display (basically making the TDR-AB menu obsolete). So if you tap the [A/B] key to select the bottom display, B has priority. If you tap the [A/B] key to select the top display, A has priority. I'm curious, is this the way your BF-F8+ works? If so, what is your firmware version (as displayed in the CHIRP Settings->Other Settings menu if you use CHIRP)?

Jim KC9HI
 

jonwienke

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I don't have the firmware version handy, but my BF-F8+ radios work as follows when dual-monitor is active:

Setting the priority to A or B essentially disables the A/B button and locks the radio to transmit on the menu selected slot. Transmissions received on the "other" freq/channel will not change which slot is used to transmit.

Setting the priority to OFF allows the A/B button to select slot A or B. Transmissions received on the "other" freq/channel will not change which slot is used to transmit. This is new behavior; in older firmware versions, receiving on B when A was selected would switch to B and the user might transmit on B when he intended to transmit on A.

With the new firmware, if A is selected, transmit will always be on channel/freq A, regardless of how many transmissions are received on B, even if priority is set to OFF. To switch to B, hit the A/B button. You do not need to go into the menu.
 

MDof2

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I don't have the firmware version handy, but my BF-F8+ radios work as follows when dual-monitor is active:

Setting the priority to A or B essentially disables the A/B button and locks the radio to transmit on the menu selected slot. Transmissions received on the "other" freq/channel will not change which slot is used to transmit.

Setting the priority to OFF allows the A/B button to select slot A or B. Transmissions received on the "other" freq/channel will not change which slot is used to transmit. This is new behavior; in older firmware versions, receiving on B when A was selected would switch to B and the user might transmit on B when he intended to transmit on A.

With the new firmware, if A is selected, transmit will always be on channel/freq A, regardless of how many transmissions are received on B, even if priority is set to OFF. To switch to B, hit the A/B button. You do not need to go into the menu.
After some hair pulling, this is the exact issue I'm having with two newly purchased radios. One of them (the culprit) has a really weird firmware version, which I can't tell how far off it is until my cable gets here to dig deeper.

I'm guessing I can take the firmware img file I create from my known / good radio, and put it on the suspect radio?
 

KC9HI

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I don't have the firmware version handy, but my BF-F8+ radios work as follows when dual-monitor is active:

Setting the priority to A or B essentially disables the A/B button and locks the radio to transmit on the menu selected slot. Transmissions received on the "other" freq/channel will not change which slot is used to transmit.

Setting the priority to OFF allows the A/B button to select slot A or B. Transmissions received on the "other" freq/channel will not change which slot is used to transmit. This is new behavior; in older firmware versions, receiving on B when A was selected would switch to B and the user might transmit on B when he intended to transmit on A.

With the new firmware, if A is selected, transmit will always be on channel/freq A, regardless of how many transmissions are received on B, even if priority is set to OFF. To switch to B, hit the A/B button. You do not need to go into the menu.
I like this. I sure would like to learn which firmware version was the first to provide this method of TDR-AB.

Jim KC9HI
 

KC9HI

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I'm guessing I can take the firmware img file I create from my known / good radio, and put it on the suspect radio?
This depends on the firmware version stored in the file and the firmware version of the radio.

These are not "firmware images." The firmware in these radios is not upgradable. The firmware version string is stored in the .img file and is only 100% compatible with a radio with that exact firmware version.

Some .img files will transfer the "main" block of memory to the radio but skip the "aux" block containing the "other" settings. With the very latest radios with N5R-20 firmware, you can't upload a .img from a radio with an older firmware at all.

What you can try to do is recover the "suspect" radio with these instructions on the miklor.com website

UV5R F8HP Recovery Baofeng Pofung UV5R

Then download from each radio to CHIRP. This will create a tab for each radio. Then copy and paste the channels from the tab of the good radio to the tab of the formerly "suspect" radio.

Good luck,
Jim KC9HI
 

MDof2

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Thank you Jim. I appreciate the info.
I've seen / read the page you referenced, and was planning on getting further into depot on it once the usb cabe came for my radios as I'd like to look at the version numbers from CHIRP.

One (correctly functioning menu option 34) is firmware version BFB297
The "suspect" radio is using BFS297 (power off #3 / power on)
The "BFS" version is the one that no matter what you use in menu setting 7 and 34, it will always TX on whichever freq is selected. Does not force it to default to the elected TX freq.

As I read more, I'm thinking the best option may simply be to backup the current config / image on the radio with the BFS297 firmware version, then download and install a fresh img file from the mfg with the current release firmware. Would you recommend otherwise?
 

KC9HI

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Thank you Jim. I appreciate the info.
I've seen / read the page you referenced, and was planning on getting further into depot on it once the usb cabe came for my radios as I'd like to look at the version numbers from CHIRP.

One (correctly functioning menu option 34) is firmware version BFB297
The "suspect" radio is using BFS297 (power off #3 / power on)
The "BFS" version is the one that no matter what you use in menu setting 7 and 34, it will always TX on whichever freq is selected. Does not force it to default to the elected TX freq.

As I read more, I'm thinking the best option may simply be to backup the current config / image on the radio with the BFS297 firmware version, then download and install a fresh img file from the mfg with the current release firmware. Would you recommend otherwise?
A radio that displays BFB297 can actually have BFB297, BFB299, BFB301, BFB305, BFB307, BFS311 or N5R20 firmware

A radio that displays BFS297 actually has BFS313 firmware.

There are no "fresh img file from the mfg". The firmware is not upgradable.

There recently has been an evolution of TDR-AB functionality. There are now at least three types.

The original version has 3 settings OFF/A/B. When set to OFF, priority was the display selected with the [A/B] key but it would also be automatically changed to the display with the most recent received signal. When set to A (or B), priority would always be forced to the selected display. You could not change it with the [A/B] key. A received signal could not change it.

Then the BF-F8HP introduced a variation that only had 2 settings, A and B (no OFF). The TDR-AB setting was automatically updated to match the display that was selected using the [A/B] key. Received signals had no affect on which display had priority. [this sounds like the way your BFS313 radios may be operating]

I've just recently been made aware that some of the newest radios combine the features of both of the above. The settings are once again OFF/A/B. When set to OFF, the feature behaves the same as the BF-F8HP. When set to A (or B) the feature behaves like the original version except you can switch priority between A and B using the [A/B] key and received signals have no affect on which display has priority. Unfortunately I have not tracked this latest functionality down to any particular firmware version(s) yet.

Jim KC9HI
 

MDof2

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Jim,
I appreciate the info. You nailed it in the last two paragraphs of your reply.
I understand now that I can not flash the firmware. So perhaps I'm stating / asking the wrong question.
Let me try this way:

I want both radios to have the same options (A/B/OFF), and work that same way. Always using the selected freq as the default for TX. Currently, one has A/B/OFF and works as you describe. The other has A/B and it makes no difference what the setting is. It will default to TX on last used, rather then programmed A or B setting.

Is this possible? Both radios are BF-F8+ models.
 

KC9HI

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Jim,
I appreciate the info. You nailed it in the last two paragraphs of your reply.
I understand now that I can not flash the firmware. So perhaps I'm stating / asking the wrong question.
Let me try this way:

I want both radios to have the same options (A/B/OFF), and work that same way. Always using the selected freq as the default for TX. Currently, one has A/B/OFF and works as you describe. The other has A/B and it makes no difference what the setting is. It will default to TX on last used, rather then programmed A or B setting.

Is this possible? Both radios are BF-F8+ models.
Actually, this discussion has strayed quite a bit from the thread subject. Why don't you either start another thread about TDR-AB or contact me via email (Rock.Unroe [at] gmail [dot] com) and I will be happy to discuss it further.

Jim KC9HI
 

temchik

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Jim, no problem, good info

As far as the original topic goes, I think my UV5B is defective because it's picking up random noise on 2m and generally behaving much worse than the 5R
 

KC9HI

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After receiving permission to continue...

Jim,
I appreciate the info. You nailed it in the last two paragraphs of your reply.
I understand now that I can not flash the firmware. So perhaps I'm stating / asking the wrong question.
Let me try this way:

I want both radios to have the same options (A/B/OFF), and work that same way. Always using the selected freq as the default for TX. Currently, one has A/B/OFF and works as you describe. The other has A/B and it makes no difference what the setting is. It will default to TX on last used, rather then programmed A or B setting.

Is this possible? Both radios are BF-F8+ models.
I think you are not quite clear on the differences of the 3 ways TDR-AB have been released.

The original TDR-AB with OFF/A/B settings, when set to A (or B) always forces priority back to A (or B) no matter what. So if it is set to A and you hear something on B that you want to reply back to quickly, sorry, you can't. This setting will not let you temporarily toggle to B with the [A/B] key. One thing you could do would be to switch A to the same channel as B, make your reply and then when finished, remember to switch A back to the original channel. The second option would be to set TDR-AB to B, make your reply and then when finished, remember to switch TDR-AB back to A. The third option would be to set TDR to OFF, then use the [A/B] key to switch to B, make your reply and then when finished, remember to set TDR back to ON. Unless you never, ever want to leave the channel selected on A, all 3 options can be a PITA.

The second version of TDR-AB with A/B settings only, improves upon this by automatically setting the display that you select with the [A/B] key as the display with priority. So if the A display is selected as in the scenario above, then all transmissions will be on A. If a signal is heard on B that you wish to reply to, you just tap the [A/B] key, make your reply and then when finished, tap the [A/B] key again to return priority back to the A display. You can easily change priority any time you want, on-the-fly, without having to access any menus. Much more convenient IMHO.

The third version of TDR-AB with OFF/A/B settings, allows you to choose from either of the above. Choosing the OFF setting lets the radio behave like the second version. Choosing the A (or B) setting lets the radio behave like the first version with the A (or B) setting selected.

==============

So if you want your two radios to have TDR-AB behave exactly the same, then you set TDR-AB of the radio with the third version to OFF. It will behave exactly like the radio with the second version.

But if you really, really want your TDR-AB to force priority to A (or B) no matter what and give up the convenience of being able to easily switch temporarily to the opposite display and back, then you will only be able to do that on the radio with the third version by setting TDR-AB to A (or B). Sorry.

Jim KC9HI
 
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