UV 5R Review

Review: Baofeng UV-5R

Originally from radioforeveryone.com

"I've bought a UV-5R Qualette model nearly three years ago, and it works flawlessly.

What is it?

Handheld radio covering 137-174 MHz and 400-520 MHz, costs 55 USD / 40 EUR / 34 GBP including external speaker microphone, USB cable and protective cover, free shipping from Hong Kong took 2 weeks to Europe.
Transmits and receives on Marine Channels, Personal Mobile Radio, Amateur bands, Family Radio Service, GMRS, practically any analog frequency used by ordinary folks.

Useful features

Weight: 244 g / 8.62 oz with battery and protective cover, fits in your palm, size equivalent to a digital camera. Icom lists the M87E as "compact and lightweight", this is 36g lighter and about the same size.
Quality feels: the first impression is "heavy, well built". Fit and finish is excellent, pushing buttons and rotating knob feels positive and reassuring.
Flashlight: LED on top, a dedicated button for continuous light or strobe. Surprisingly strong light and usable torch, one less item to carry on duty.
FM radio: Listen to Broadcast Radio from 65 to 108 MHz. Automatically muted if incoming transmission detected.
Loud: 1000 mW audio output power. Fills a room easily.
Alarm: flashing white light, siren and automatically transmits on last selected frequency.
Display: standby / receive/transmit glows in different colours, user selectable. Alphanumeric display, so instead of 156.800, you can enter CH 16.
Dual watch: monitor two frequencies at the same time.
External speaker microphone: keep the radio in your pocket, speaker mic on the shoulder. No armpit rope, no fumbling on your belt.
Power: selectable Low 1W and High 5W, independent reviews confirmed 10% less in real life, still on par with radios costing minimum 2-3 times more.
Computer programmable: via free software.
Long battery life: standby over 2 days, full charge in 4 hours. Half charge in 2 hours.
Cost: radio under 50 dollars. Dropped, overboard, destroyed - 50 dollars gone.

To improve the performance of any handheld antenna uses the following:

Tiger tail, rat tail, counterpoise, different names for same stuff, a piece of wire connected to antenna ground: metal surrounding the centre pin around the antenna socket.
Length should be 75 divided by MHz of interest, for maximum efficiency on marine channels use 20" / 50 cm length wire - if no measure available roughly three palm's length, wrist to elbow distance or shorter and the longer side of regular A4 paper together.
Above 400 MHz use 7" / 17.5 cm length of wire, palm's length, safe bet.
Connect the wire to the metal base, round wire connectors shown are a perfect fit. The plastic surrounding the socket needs to be cut, screw the antenna on and mark at the back of the radio first.
If using non-standard antennas, due to gap tiger tail is not flush and moves around, washers needed for a tight fit.
Tiger tail effectiveness: 50 % to 100 % improvement on both transmit and receive."