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Baofeng UV-5RA 2M/440 Dual Band HT

TerryD

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So I've been out of the amateur radio game for a few years. Well, not that I was in it much anyways but I've not keyed a mic in two years. Anyways, I wanted something to carry around with me in the truck on troops and off road, figured I have my license may as well use it.

Browsing Amazon I stumbled on this radio for $30 new. Obviously I wasn't expecting a lot but after taking to Mitch (Jagged) I decided it was worth a shot as a throw away radio if nothing else. While I was at it I ordered the mic, programming cable, and a Diamond SRJ77CA replacement antenna for it.

Mitch pointed me towards the CHIRP software to program it with, which was a huge help after sorting the driver issues with the cable.

Firstly, its much heftier than I expected for $30. It seems rugged but time will tell that I guess. The FM radio receive is nice as well as receiving the weather band stations. The menu is not horrible but I've yet to figure out how to add channels from the key pad. The manual is lacking but not useless. Be ready to spend some time pecking around though. I wish the dual watch was easier to enable/disable but it's not impossible to do efficiently.

I made my first contact with it today and had a good report on it. I want to get it out a bit and and see what kind of range I can get out of it on top of a few local ranges. The 12v adapter for the charger and maybe a spare battery will be in my future. I'll try to get some pictures tomorrow.
 

kennyw

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I just bought my second one of these and two large capacity batteries. It has been a good radio so far considering the price and how easy Chirp makes it to program.
 

TerryD

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I'm trying to get my wife to get her tech license and if that happens, we'll probably get a second. I'll look into the highcap batteries, that sounds like something that would be good to have.
 

TerryD

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Took it out today on a little road trip with my BIL. I made a good contact with it as we headed out of Lexington. I cannot find details on the repeater I used to be able to locate it but I was about 16 miles from town when I started to break up a little and inside a E350 van. Again, I'm not sure of the exact location of the repeater but I'm pretty pleased with the performance.

It has been on for a couple days but not really operated and the battery didn't last much longer than the end of the contact so out looks like an extended battery or some means of charging it is in order. I'm wanting to get it out in the woods and try it out but I probably won't get a chance to this weekend.
 

TerryD

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I ordered two of the extend-use batteries tonight. I can use the factory battery around the house but have the two bigger ones to carry in the truck or K5 out on trips.

I've considered the 12v charger cables but I've read a lot of differing opinions about either the 12v pass cables will hurt the batteries vs the factory adopters 10v output.
 

TerryD

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Well the batteries did not fit the radio so they will be on their way back tomorrow. Try try again I guess.
 

TerryD

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I did some looking and modifying the batteries to fit is as easy as trimming some castings off the base where the radio sits in the battery.

I got the Dremel out with a sanding roll and set to work.

You have to remove all of the middle casting and outer lip between the front foot castings. Then you have to cut the two front foot castings down to about 1/3 their original height. After doing that I cleaned it up a bit with my pocket knife. One of them is on charge right now so we'll see how they do.

I was in the moment and didn't take any before pictures, sorry. But if anyone orders these batteries it will be easy to see what I was talking about.

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kennyw

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That is strange. Mine fits perfectly.

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TerryD

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Those batteries don't fit some of the later versions. They made some changes to the case and have not released a battery upgrade for them that I can find. I was ready to return the and get another factory capacity battery when I started seeing where people were cutting these to work with the UV-5RA and other versions.
 

TerryD

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First battery finished charging. Here it is on the radio. I'm hoping two of these will get me through two days on the trail.

I think I'm going to buy an Alinco or other inexpensive dual band radio for permanent mounting in the K5 and a nicer Yeasu or Icom for the crew cab and Suburban now.
 

kennyw

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I see the difference now... I didn't realize I was buying the older generation radio. Still works though.
 

kennyw

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I have an Alinco DR-635 in my daily driver. It has been a good radio. One of these days I need to buy and install a better antenna though. I just run a mag mount currently.

The remote mount kit makes it easy to install anywhere in the car.

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TerryD

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I see the difference now... I didn't realize I was buying the older generation radio. Still works though.

From their website it looks like I have the first gen chip set where your BF-F8 is either a second or third gen with more range and updates.
 

kennyw

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Guess they are different models all together. The funny part is both "BF-F8+" and "UV-5R" was in the add I purchased from on Amazon. The BF-F8+ has a little more output power though. 5W vs 4W. I would have liked the amber LCD background better though. I find this one hard to read.
 

TerryD

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I've been playing with the radio more and have even gotten proficient at programming it from the keypad. I'm hoping I can get it up to the lookout at my parents house this weekend and see what I can do with it up there. If I can dress warm enough to stay up there a while, I may even try a bit of simplex.

I was going to rig up a quick 2m yagi on a tripod to play with but didn't get the chance to. I haven't ordered the sma-so-239 adapter yet either.
 

TerryD

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I'm still using this little radio. I've programmed in the FRS frequencies as well as the WX stations and all the repeaters in a 50 mile radius of home. Had it out camping last weekend and listened to the local net, used it as a FM radio while roasting s'mores and my daughter took a little hand held and we talked as she walked around the campsite with her sisters.

It's a very nifty little radio and I'm going to be ordering another soon I think.

I'm getting good distances with it with both the stock antenna and the Diamond 18" whip I got for it. I've also picked up an adapter to run a vehicle mounted antenna with it but I've got issues with my setup right now I have to square away first before I try too much of that. :waytogo:
 

kennyw

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I ran two of these radios on the FRS frequencies for over 24 hours with non-stop use before the large batteries died. I then swapped in the smaller batteries and kept going. They worked great for road trip communication between two cars.

I often check into a Seattle repeater that is 55 miles away with one as well with good reports. I must live in the perfect spot though because I don't have as much luck when 15 miles away from the same repeater.
 

campfire

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You guys make me wanna get back into this. I haven't been on much lately, and I haven't left 2 meters for a couple of years now. Was playing with PSK and OLIVIA waveforms on 7 & 14MHz a couple moves ago. Perhaps I will unpack that box and play around with it again this winter. :thinking:


For VHF/UHF use, are you both pleased with your units? I was recently thinking about the 20-yr-old Radioshack handhelds that my family has been using for...I guess about 20 years. :haha: They are bulky by modern standards, and I will always default to my 8-yr-old Kenwood (<1/2 the size). My thought at the last family meetup was that pocket-friendly radios would be a really nice upgrade. If they've dropped that much in price, and you are happy with them, I will seriously consider getting one.
 
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