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 Post subject: Baofeng Radios.
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:42 pm 
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Hello all.

It's been a while since I was last looking for a cheap vhf/uhf handheld. last time I looked there was the baofeng UV-5R. Now there are so many options. UV-5R, UV-5RB, RC, RD GT-3, GT-5

so, from the baofeng line, which radio would be the best bang for the buck? Does the humble UV-5R still reign supreme, or has it been knocked off its perch?

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 Post subject: Re: Baofeng Radios.
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:35 pm 
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I think you need to get a radio from a reputable dealer and just call it good. There are a bunch of models and upgrades. A bunch of my buddies have different versions of the Baofeng. I think I have a simple UV-5R. Mine does not accept tones when I program into channel memory, but it does keep frequency and offset. So there are some things which are pretty ridiculous. I understand why some people say to buy a better radio. But I"m ok with the radio. I can receive fairly well and broadcast transmit fairly well. I am becoming more aware of it's limitations in comparison to my Yeasu 2980R, even when both are on "5w." The receive ability of the Yeasu is much better on the same antennas and the transmit is better on the Yeasu on 5w with the same antennas.

All this to say I'd think about getting the UV-8 or whatever it is called. A 8w version I think would be better, but in the US, about $40 more. I think I paid $25 for my radio and then $20 for the extended battery and $20 for a 1/4 wave antenna, so $65+ some shipping. I think it was worth that, but I really would never consider the radio without the extra battery and better antenna. I have been in plenty of situations where the 5w was not quite enough to get the job done, so I think an antenna better than the one I bought and maybe some extra wattage would be very beneficial. Also, my buddy with the 8w version has been able to get into repeaters I was completely unable to get into with the 5w version. That may be partly because of terrain, but I do think those extra few watts really make a difference.

As far as recommendations on firmware or any of that, I don't bother with those details. I don't trust the units to be consistent enough between batches for that info to matter. I could be wrong.

There was a "waterproof" Baofeng 5w. Tests indicated it was not as waterproof as they claimed, and I don't see anyone selling that unit anymore. I know Wouxon makes a US $100 radio that people have found to be much more durable than the Baofengs, if that interests you. But I think plenty of people like the Baofeng as a cheap beater with the understanding it has a shelf life and WILL reach the end of that shelf life well before you reach the end of yours.


I just LOVE the run time with the 3800 mA battery! I really feel confident with it's run time. I use it all the time as an FM radio. I do talk occasionally, but really prefer my Yeasu for anything past maybe 8km. I have got 30-35km with a tiger tail and good location. I can hit some repeaters 16km out, but I need an acceptable location.

Just my US $.02. I don't regret buying my Baofeng. I wish I had better, but I don't have the cash and I think I can make this work in a bug out or other disaster scenario. But when I can I"ll upgrade. And I seriously think my radio's limit is the sensitivity of it's receiver. My Yeasu is not the best but it pulls in much weaker signals with the same antennas. I have tried a well known ladder line antenna, a yagi, and a 1/4 wave mounted on a mag mount (not grounded though), with both radios.


EDIT:

Not only do the Chinese make cheap knockoffs of foreign goods, but they make cheap knockoffs of Chinese goods too. At this point I will only buy Baofeng radios and accessories from reputable, established dealers. It would be nice to pay $7 for a battery, but I"ll spring the extra and pay $15-$20 for something I know will actually work, even if it is not quite Japanese or Korean or American quality.

This is aimed more at those preppers interested in Baofengs and less at you directly, taipan21.

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 Post subject: Re: Baofeng Radios.
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 6:51 am 
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woodsghost wrote:
Not only do the Chinese make cheap knockoffs of foreign goods, but they make cheap knockoffs of Chinese goods too. At this point I will only buy Baofeng radios and accessories from reputable, established dealers. It would be nice to pay $7 for a battery, but I"ll spring the extra and pay $15-$20 for something I know will actually work, even if it is not quite Japanese or Korean or American quality.

This is aimed more at those preppers interested in Baofengs and less at you directly, taipan21.


First thing woodghost, that was an excellent reply. I'll see about rewording the original post to reflect this as a more general "My first Baofeng Radio" topic.

Follow up question for you woodghost, any reputable, established dealers you would recommend, a quick google search of UV-5R brings up too many sellers to count.

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Tropical Cyclone Ita: Category 5 landfall 2014
Tropical Cyclone Marcia: Category 5 landfall 2015
Tropical Cyclone Nathan: Category 3 landfall 2015
Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie: Category 4 landfall 2017


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 Post subject: Re: Baofeng Radios.
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2018 7:17 am 
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taipan821 wrote:
woodsghost wrote:
Not only do the Chinese make cheap knockoffs of foreign goods, but they make cheap knockoffs of Chinese goods too. At this point I will only buy Baofeng radios and accessories from reputable, established dealers. It would be nice to pay $7 for a battery, but I"ll spring the extra and pay $15-$20 for something I know will actually work, even if it is not quite Japanese or Korean or American quality.

This is aimed more at those preppers interested in Baofengs and less at you directly, taipan21.


First thing woodghost, that was an excellent reply. I'll see about rewording the original post to reflect this as a more general "My first Baofeng Radio" topic.

Follow up question for you woodghost, any reputable, established dealers you would recommend, a quick google search of UV-5R brings up too many sellers to count.


Great question! I'm cautious because I don't know that Australia has the same dealers that America has.

In the US, we have BaoFeng Tech.

https://baofengtech.com/baofeng-radio

We have Buy Two-Way Radios.

https://www.buytwowayradios.com/

They also host articles for using the Baofeng series of radios, and I really appreciate their support.


My rule of thumb is if a place is larger and you can find them and get a return if the product is defective, then it is probably worth buying from them. If they carry a wide range of Baofeng products and they look like they have a connection to the actual factory then I"m much more comfortable.

Finally, if the price seems too good to be true, I"m not interested. People in the UK commonly talk about antennas for $3 (pounds) on Ebay. They talk about how many of those products are knockoffs, but a few people have found the knockoffs to work better than the real deal. Most find the knockoffs suck. My buddy bought a programming cable which was a fake and did not work at all :x So if a place is more accessible to smaller retailers (Ebay, Amazon, Alibaba), I"m not buying from them. Unless I get a really good vibe. I know there are smaller retailers who are good people. My dad is one of those. But a bigger, more established retailer gives me more confidence, especially if they seem to specialize in Chinese HTs or specifically in Baofengs.

Just my experience and what I"ve read from others.


When it comes to Chinese HTs, I think reputation counts for everything. And even with that said, Chinese QC will be more variable than Korean, Japanese, or US QC.

And to be clear, nothing makes me a special expert on all this. I'm just sharing my observations from too much reading about Baofengs and then playing with my one and my different friend's.

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*Remember: I'm just a guy on the internet :)
*Don't go to stupid places with stupid people & do stupid things.
*Be courteous. Look normal. Be in bed by 10'clock.

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” -Bilbo Baggins.


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