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Baofeng UV-5R

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Post by tuberadiogeek on Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:28 pm

I'm seriously considering getting a Baofeng UV-5R to use as a scanner for railfanning and occasional FRS use. I've read reviews and watched videos on them and they have mixed reviews and opinions. They are fairly inexpensive at between 30 and 40.00 depending on if you get a programming cable or speaker mic with it. It's supposed to cover 136-174 mhz and then 400-520 mhz. Now I don't expect it to operate like a Kenwood or even a Motorola for it's price but I expect it to have decent reception and decent transmit and last at least a year or two. I believe it's supposed to have a scan function but I can't remember. My questions are if anyone has any experience with one: Should I get one with a programming cable? How difficult are they to manually program? Are they worth the cost? If they are not worth the cost, am I better off getting a 20-25 year old portable scanner that is in the same price range?
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Post by 75X11 on Wed Oct 14, 2015 4:12 pm

This is the first time I've heard of these, but I would recommend studying their reviews on amazon as they are usually a good source of actual user reports.
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Post by willy3486 on Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:25 am

Baofeng? I have never heard of them. Baofeng sounds like some long dead philosopher, long dead economist or someone Indiana Jones would have trouble with. But seriously though my experience with modern day electronics is that if its cheap it truly is cheap and won't last long. I can get a new Apple laptop for around 1000 bucks. If I take care of it I can get about 10 years use, it may be obsolete but will work. A chrome book runs about 300 bucks and at the most I have seen them last 2 years. A lot of folks look at the cheap price and go for it but its cheap.

You can look at this the way I do the really cheap harbor freight tools. Sometimes I will buy a new type of tool or one I don't have. I bought a cheap saw all type saw from them as I didn't know if I would ever use one. I used it all the time and wore it out. I picked up a better made saw after that because I knew I would use it. I one time picked up a biscuit cutting saw that was cheap to try it out. I haven't used it much but if I get another one I probably will get a better one as the one I have really is made too cheap. If I wanted to get into listening but not sure I might take a chance and get one to try one out. But if I wanted one to last I would look for a good used one. One thing I am seeing over the last few years is stuff made to barely work sold cheap and doesn't last more than a few days. Hopefully this won't be that type.

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Post by 75X11 on Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:34 am

After looking into it, it looks like you won't do better pricewise on a stand alone unit. But I would get the necessary accessories to program it and see if the transmit feature could be locked on it as using that without authorization can get you into trouble as those freqs are still considered public safety.
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Post by willy3486 on Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:43 am

75X11 wrote:After looking into it, it looks like you won't do better pricewise on a stand alone unit.  But I would get the necessary accessories to program it and see if the transmit feature could be locked on it as using that without authorization can get you into trouble as those freqs are still considered public safety.

There was a young guy, in his 20s probably around here where I live that did that. He thought it would be cute to talk and play music on the same frequency the police use here locally. It went on for weeks as he would play music and talk nonsense on it. He got caught one day he was keying on the mic and playing a cd while driving. A cop passed him and heard the music blairing through his car radio and the music was the same as what was playing on his police radio. He turned around and pulled him over. He had the radio in the car set to the same frequency. I guess he doesn't find it so funny now.

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Post by Motorola man on Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:25 pm

I've heard mixed review on the Baofeng radios. I'm a firm believer in the rule, you get what you pay for. For $40, you probably can't find anything else out there that will do as much as the Baofeng do, but I wouldn't expect it to last more than a couple of years. If you decide to get it, go ahead & get the U.S. programming software & cable. I have programmed one using some bootleg software, but it was rather confusing, and Asian software is impossible unless you are fluent in Mandarin (which I'm not). Of course, by the time you invest in all of that, you might be in the price range of an entry level scanner.
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Post by rocketeer on Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:36 pm

For some reason I missed this thread first time around. I have 2 of them, a Baofeng UV-B5 and a Etekcity UV-5RA (re-badged Baofeng). I love em, they work great. I would, however, recommend changing the antenna to a NAGOYA UT-108UV. From inside my house I can hit 2 repeaters that are more than 20 miles from here (in different directions) and have talked directly with Hams up to 50 miles distant. For how inexpensive they are they work great. I keep one in the house and one in the car. It compliments my Kenwood TM-281A very nicely.
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