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Which Baofeng model is right for me?

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jk77

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Feb 2, 2013
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Ohio
I am a new ham (General Class), and I am preparing to buy my first radio. Specifically, I am looking at Baofeng radios. Please don't suggest the Yaseau FT-60R or more expensive radios because I just can't justify putting that much into a radio at this point in time. In the future, maybe. I know it is a better radio, but as I said, I just can't afford putting that much in a handheld at this point in time.

I have narrowed my list down to the Baofeng UV-5R V2+, Baofeng 997-S, and Baofeng BF-F8HP. I live in a rural area with only one repeater for our county which I suppose is 15-20 miles from my QTH as the crow flies. I know that without a doubt I will have to replace the stock antenna. But what worries me is the power. The Baofeng UV-5R V2+ is only rated at 4 watts which it may or may not actually achieve. The 997-S is rated at 5 watts, but it's drawback is that it is incompatible with UV-5R accessories. Finally, the BF-F8HP is 8 watts and can use the 5R accessories, but it costs substantially more, and I'm not sure what it has more than the UV-5R other than transmit power.

So what would you advise among these three radios? I have studied them – even reading their manuals – and my head is swimming over which would be the best. I do realize that this is a petty question because these radios are so cheap that it's tough to go wrong, but I really would like to get it right and have a decent first experience.
 

nd5y

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How good can you hear the repeater on a hand held scanner with the stock antenna?
If you live 15-20 miles from the repeater then any hand held may not be any good unless the repeater is well engineered and the site is high enough to provide decent coverage in your area. You might be better off getting a mobile radio.

The difference between 4 and 5 watts is only 0.96 dB. That is not enough to make a noticeable difference in the field.

The UV-5R is rated at 4 W UHF and 5 W VHF and 1 W low power. With a fully charged battery mine puts out 6.5 W VHF, 5.5 W UHF and 2.2 W low power on both bands. It gets warm when making long transmissions even on low power. I can't imagine how hot the F8HP gets running 8 W. I don't see how a radio that small with no heat sink to speak of can be any good.

I wouldn't buy another Baofeng/Pofung product until they fix the firmware bugs and I wouldn't hold my breath on that happening any time soon.
 

WQPW689

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Palm Beach Co., FL
Baofeng

Are there any feature reasons you've limited it the three?

I have a Baofeng UV-82 which consistently hits a 16 mile repeater. It's Florida, which is flat as heck, so I don't know how that would fit your situation. More expensive than the UV-5R, but cheaper than the BF-F8HP.

I've been part of a couple of net nights without the radio heating up noticeably, but I don't talk that much anyway.
 

jk77

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Ohio
I have a GRECOM handheld conventional scanner, and I don't really have a problem picking up the repeater even on the scanner's rubber duck antenna.

I am willing to consider the UV-82. I just restricted it to those 3 based on aesthetics and personal preferences and based on reviews that I've read. Plus, I'm trying to thin out the options.
 

jk77

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Also, today I took a look at the UV-B5/B6 radios. Any thoughts on these radios?

I am totally confused with all these Baofeng radios and really can't see much difference in them other than cosmetic differences.

The only thing that I do like is the channel selector knob on the B5. But I won't trade performance for it.
 

pinballwiz86

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First of all, congratulations on getting your General Class license! Welcome to amateur radio.

UV-5B is the best in the line-up, IMO. Best reception, best sounding audio, and least toy looking of the bunch.

Get a Diamond SRJ77CA antenna for it. Looks sharp as all get out and the performance is great on 70 CM and 2 Meters.

If you need more performance look at getting a mag mount antenna and placing it near a window.


To be honest, if you live in a rural area...you really need an outdoor vertical antenna up on your roof with a 50 watt mobile radio, and power supply, and coax. Budget about $200-300 for this. But, you'll have great performance out to 50 miles and up with good propagation!

Save the little HT for when you go into town or a ham fest or if you have someone you can talk "simplex" within 10 miles or so.
 
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jk77

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Ohio
First of all, congratulations on getting your General Class license! Welcome to amateur radio.

UV-5B is the best in the line-up, IMO. Best reception, best sounding audio, and least toy looking of the bunch.

Get a Diamond SRJ77CA antenna for it. Looks sharp as all get out and the performance is great on 70 CM and 2 Meters.

If you need more performance look at getting a mag mount antenna and placing it near a window.


To be honest, if you live in a rural area...you really need an outdoor vertical antenna up on your roof with a 50 watt mobile radio, and power supply, and coax. Budget about $200-300 for this. But, you'll have great performance out to 50 miles and up with good propagation!

Save the little HT for when you go into town or a ham fest or if you have someone you can talk "simplex" within 10 miles or so.
Thank you!

Yeah, saving up for more expensive equipment is the reason I don't want to sink a lot on an HT. I do know at least one other ham in the area who uses a Yaesu FT-60R to hit the repeater, and he lives farther away than I do. I just want something cheap and quick to get on the air until I can decide on more serious equipment.
 

jk77

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Ohio
To update this thread, I went ahead and purchased the Baofeng UV-82 (or in my case it was the Pofung UV-82). I read countless reviews about the various low-cost Baofengs, and I decided to go ahead with the UV-82 because it appears to be the most consistently powerful according to performance tests I read whereas the other radios were all over the place in terms of TX power.

If this experiment is successful, I might purchase another radio, most likely the Baofeng UV-5R V2+ or the UV-B5. I like the looks of the 5R, but I'd also like to have the encoder knob on the B5.
 

jk77

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Good luck with your new radio!
Thank you. And I also have to thank you for putting me on to the UV-82. I honestly never gave it a thought before you brought it up.

I am still waiting to receive the radio. Should be sometime tomorrow. Sunday we have our local net so I'll post an update when I see how that goes for anyone else considering this radio.
 

jk77

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Ohio
UPDATE: I received the Pofung UV-82 and manually programmed in our local repeater. I don't know why exactly people say that this radio is very hard to manually program. There is a very good and detailed explanation on the Mikor site. After a few times, it becomes very intuitive. The UV-82 programs the same as the UV-5R.

Our net was tonight, and I managed to hit the repeater without any problem. The net controller said that my signal was fairly good with only a little interference. He was surprised that I was on an HT. I live 15-18 miles from the repeater, and I was using the stock antenna.

So I guess I made the right choice with the UV-82. Next I will buy a better antenna.
 

WQPW689

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Palm Beach Co., FL
Uv-82 Antenna

Glad to hear it's working out so far. The Diamond 77 family mentioned in an above post is a fine antenna (I have one on another HT). I happen to be using the Nagoya NA-771 on my 82 and find it works just great for my purposes.

If you go Nagoya, just make sure you order from a reputable dealer as I've heard some problem stories about counterfeits!
 

jk77

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Since I last posted, I ordered and received a Baofeng UV-B5 in additon to my UV-82. I love these radios! I think I'm becoming a Baofeng junkie. I will probably order another, and I know that I'm spending as much as I would for a Yaesu, but I've got multiple radios and the accessories are dirt cheap (as opposed to accessories from the "Big Three"). I am really happy with these radios and they perform well.

I am able to hit the repeater for our county and the repeater for our neighboring county to the east, and I partake in both nets. On a good day I can hit the repeater in the neighboring county to the north which is 30 miles away, although I have a lot of noise in my transmission. I think this is great for an HT with a 14" whip.

My next step is going to be to get a roll-up slim jim antenna and see if I can't hit that repeater 30 miles to the north more reliably and with less noise.
 

jk77

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They both have their pluses and minuses. I had thought that the encoder knob would be great to have on the UV-B5, but honestly I don't use it much. I'm used to the arrow keys now. I guess I'd say I like the UV-82 better because it just feels better in my hand and has a better display. But I sure do like the CH/VFO key on the B5. It's a pain to switch modes on the 82.
 

KC9HI

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Mar 13, 2013
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which one you like more UV-82 or UV-B5?
I have 7 Baofeng radios. If I had to get rid of just 1, it would be the UV-B5. If I had to get rid of all but one, I would be sure to keep one of the 3 UV-82 radios.

Jim KC9HI
 

jk77

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The B5 is supposed to have the better receiver (better front end), but since I'm out in the country, the receiver on the UV-82 is just fine for me. If you live in a populated environment, you might need to consider the B5.
 

Augus

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The B5 is supposed to have the better receiver (better front end), but since I'm out in the country, the receiver on the UV-82 is just fine for me. If you live in a populated environment, you might need to consider the B5.
did some reading and watching youtube, was going to get UV-82. With this comment, I have to search more on this.
 

teufler

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ST PETERS, MISSOURI
Don't over look the GT-3 Mark 2. Its about the same size as my older vx-7, dual band, dual receive, I like the fm radio to listen to music, though the readio reverts to the monitored frequency if a call come in. Alittle thgicked than the UV-5, same software. Had 0 problems with it. The 1 quicky deal is the software. The Baofeng zip software is fine but it lacks alot. Chirp is better but you will have Prolific drivers to install,then go into windows and turn off driver updates, different than turning off software updates. Then getting the radio to recognize what comm port and understanding plugged into a usb port, if not the same p;ort that worked before, you have isues again. Once these issues have been resolved, you will need to printg a list for reference. You will have to export to a spreadsheet program. The knowledge to get the most out of the UV-5 or the GT-3, is far greater than was required for the yaesu vx-7 or other radios I have had. The radios work fine, just a hole lot of tinkering to get the most out of the investment.
 
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