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Baofeng UV-5R 8 Watt (3rd Gen) Review

I recently got my hands on the Baofeng UV-5R 8 Watt third generation Handheld Ham Radio. If you’re looking to buy a budget dual-band ham radio with long-range capabilities, this could be the one for you.

In today’s article, we will explore the Baofeng UV 5R 3rd gen handheld transceiver. You may be curious to know about its performance. As someone who has tried and tested the UV5R, I will share my experience with the transceiver and the various accessories that come with it.

Jump to: Unboxing | Rating | Price | Conclusion | Features | Pros-and-Cons | My Personal Review

Baofeng UV-5R Review

Baofeng UV-5R Review

Without any further Ado, lets dive into the review of Baofeng UV-5R.

The Baofeng UV-5R is FCC certified and offers high, medium, and low power transmission options, with an output of up to 8 watts. It can also accommodate 128 groups of storage channels, making it compatible with a lot of different handheld walkie-talkies.

Note: You will need HAM Radio License to use some of the UV5R frequencies.

Unboxing the Baofeng UV5R

The UV5R comes in two color options: Black and an attractive army camo green color. I choose the black one. The package came with all essential accessories. It included two batteries, which makes it perfect for those long days outdoors

What’s in the Box:

  • UV-5R radio
  • Two 1 Lithium-ion battery
  • Accessories: One AR-771 Antenna,  a desktop charger, One Programming Cable, One Speaker Mic, Belt clip, an earpiece, a flexible stock antenna (with female socket), and a wrist strap
  • a user manual

Specs and Features:

  • Power Output: 8 Watts
  • Battery capacity:1800mAh
  • Antenna impedance: 50 OHMS
  • 128 groups of storage channels
  • Supports CHIRP & Keypad Programming
  • Flashlight and an useless Alarm


  • Suitable for Beginners
  • Full Value For Money: Budget-Friendly Option
  • 8W Power Output
  • Two 1800mAh Batteries
  • Easy to use Program Frequencies(Supports Manual & CHIRP Software)


  • Challenging to find local frequencies
  • Range is good but not great
  • Not Suitable for Professionals

If you are a beginner then operating the UV-5R will take a bit of time to get used to it. It requires a bit of navigation through menus and settings rather than using only a couple of buttons like modern Ham Radios. It becomes quite easier, If You program a repeater or two and saved some channels.

My Personal Opinion of Baofeng UV-5R

The BaoFeng UV-5R is an affordable and popular choice for a beginners ham radio. This radio is incredibly cheap for it offers.

The build quality is not great but this is expected from a Ham radio of this price. If you want a Budget Ham Radio with better build quality, I recommend you get the BF-F8HP.

The radio is simple to use, with the volume control serving as the on/off switch. It also features a built-in voice prompt, which makes it user-friendly for individuals who may be visually impaired.

UV-5R manages to pack a lot of features into a compact frame With VFO and memory channels, as well as a keypad for DTMF and other functions.


The UV-5R offers fairly reliable reception. There were few reports of spurious transmissions and overall not being the cleanest in terms of transmitting. This particular model seems is the second version of that radio with fewer issues than earlier models.

UV-5R operates on three amateur bands in the United States: two meters, 1.25 meters, and seventy centimeters.

To test the transceiver function, I connected the 2-meter and 70-centimeter antenna and turned on the radio. The audio quality is okay but not great. If you need better quality audio then try other Ham radios.

Baofeng UV-5R pairs well with different radios on distinct bands. The extra battery, antenna options, and compatibility with other walkie-talkies makes Baofeng UV-5R a great choice for activities like hiking, camping, and other outdoor adventures.

The ability to program frequencies directly on the device or via the CHIRP software offers added convenience.

Operating the BaoFeng UV-5R

As a user of the BaoFeng UV-5R, let me guide you through operating this affordable and popular ham radio.

As I turn on the radio, I notice it’s quite handy for visually impaired users as it reads back the frequency and inputs aloud. The keypad has various functions, and the radio also features a call button, LED light, and PTT (Push To Talk) button. It has VFO (Variable Frequency Oscillator) and memory modes, as well as a band button to switch between bands.

To dial up the local repeater and perform an on-air test, the radio provides clear audio while receiving. However, it’s important to note that the call button’s ring may be quite distinct and slightly annoying for some users. In a comparison test with the Yaesu VX-8, the BaoFeng UV-5R performs well in terms of transmission and reception, making it an excellent choice for a first ham radio.

All in all, I wholeheartedly recommend the BaoFeng UV-5R as a cost-effective and reliable option for those entering the world of amateur radio.

BaoFeng UV-5R Rating

My ratings are honest and based on my own experience and research. Keep in mind the ratings are based on the price of this radio.

  • Reliability – 4/5
  • Reception – 4/5
  • Features – 4.8/5
  • Audio Quality – 4/5
  • Value For Money – 5/5

You can Buy Baofeng UV-5R on Amazon.


I’ve personally used the Baofeng UV-5R and found it to be a reliable and efficient ham radio for this price point. It offers great value for money. I found the UV-5R to be durable, versatile with the extra battery and antenna options included. The range and clarity are commendable for a radio of this price.

Key Takeaways

  • BaoFeng UV-5R is a budget-friendly choice for beginner level ham radio enthusiasts.
  • The radio has overcome most controversies surrounding it’s transmission cleanliness and legality.
  • UV-5R comes with a complete package for starting their ham radio journey.

Is it Legal to use Baofeng UV-5R in USA?

There was talk of banning the import and sale of these made in china HAM radios, but they are not illegal for use by licensed amateur operators. Using this radio on HAM frequencies with a valid FCC amateur license is illegal.

How does the Baofeng UV-5R compare to BF-F8HP?

After using the Baofeng UV-5R, I found it quite similar to the BF-F8HP in terms of functionality and performance. Both radios have a high/medium/low power TX selectable feature, with the UV-5R having an 8W output. They both are compatible with each other and other Baofeng radios like UV-82 and UV-S9 Plus.

The Baofeng BF-F8HP have a slightly higher build quality and power output (8W vs. 5W) compared to the Baofeng UV-5R. Another main difference is that BF-F8HP has more range in real-world scenarios. Overall, the UV-5R is a budget-friendly and reliable option, standing up well against the BF-F8HP but I would choose BF-F8HP anyday.

You can also check out some of the best Baofeng radio reviews here.

What is the procedure to program a Baofeng UV-5R?

Baofeng UV-5R Ham Radio Radio programming is quite straightforward. Here’s a step by step guide to program a Baofeng UV 5R.

  1. Press the VFO/MR button to switch to “Frequency Mode.”
  2. Use the keypad to enter the desired frequency.
  3. Press the Menu button, followed by 1, and then Menu to access the “STEP” setting. Adjust the frequency step as needed, then press Menu to confirm.
  4. Press the Menu button, followed by 2, and then Menu to enter the ‘TXCTSS’ or ‘RXCTSS’ settings. Select the appropriate CTCSS tone, and confirm by pressing Menu.
  5. Press the A/B button to select the desired channel to save the frequency, and then press the Menu button, followed by 2, 7, and Menu to access the “Save Ch” setting.
  6. Enter the channel number using the keypad and confirm by pressing Menu.

And that’s it! Overall, I found the radio to be user-friendly with clear instructions. It’s quite a handy tool to have for long-range communication needs. However, the menu system might take a bit of time to get used to, but once you do, it’s plain sailing from there.

Why is the Baofeng UV-5R radio so popular?

The Baofeng UV-5R radio has gained popularity due to its price point, ease of use, and versatility. I’ve found that it’s a great entry-level option for anyone looking to get into ham radio without breaking the bank. With its dual band, dual display, and dual standby features, it offers a lot of flexibility. It is compatible with other Baofeng handheld walkie-talkies. All these things together make it an excellent choice.

Is the Baofeng UV-5R waterproof?

While the Baofeng UV-5R is not not Waterproof but it is built to withstand some degree of moisture and exposure to the nature elements. I’d recommend you to take care of your radio from moisture or heavy rainfall to maintain its longevity and performance.

Can I use Baofeng UV-5R without a license?

Technically, the Baofeng UV-5R can operate on both licensed and unlicensed frequencies. It is important to note that transmitting on Ham frequencies require a FCC Ham Radio license.

What is the difference between UV-5R and UV-5R Plus?

The main differences between the UV-5R and the UV-5R Plus are the build quality, design, and display. The UV-5R Plus features a more modern design and solid build quality with a metal frame.

The display on the UV-5R Plus is of higher quality, with improved clarity and brightness.Apart from the display and design, the core functionality and features of the radios are the same.

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