Today my UV-5R arrived. Time for the first impressions, and a few measurements. For a start, comparing the new UV-5R with the UV-3R seems pointless. The full-featured UV-5R is a totally different ball game, and comparing this handheld with a Wouxun or a Quansheng would make much more sense.
In the box
The transceiver itself, one 1800mAH Li-Ion battery, a sturdy belt clip, a desktop charger with separate power supply, a dual band antenna, a headset, a small wrist strap and a manual.
- Very nicely built, looks quite sturdy, especially when compared to the rather flimsy UV-3R
- Excellent dual frequency display with three background colors (Amber, Blue and Purple)
- Quality antenna
- Good ergonomics overall (but it’s very easy to hit the FM radio key instead of the ptt key)
- Decent desktop charger
- A not-too-bad FM radio
The manual states that the battery is not pre-charged and needs to be charged for about five hours. The lamp went green here after spending just two hours in the charger. The first thing I had to do was diving into the menu to set the channel spacing to 12.5KHz on VHF, and 6.25KHz on UHF. Piece of cake. Then I programmed the repeater shifts used in the Netherlands: 600KHz on VHF, and 1.6MHz on UHF. No problems at all.
The first UV-5R bug
I rarely program frequencies into memories. The reason is that I only use just a few local frequencies, which are just as easily accessed from a keypad. That doesn’t work well in the UV-5R. In spite of the fact that I set 12.5KHz channel spacing as default, it proved impossible to enter a frequency like 144.5125. On any other handheld, entering ’144.512′ is enough, and the missing ’5′ will be added automatically. The Baofeng on the other hand sets the frequency to 144.500, after which I have to use the ‘up’ button to increase the frequency by 12.5KHz. The same problem occurs on UHF. Silly.
Programming a frequency into one of the memories is no easy task, especially because the correct procedure isn’t described in the manual. I quickly found out that I had to erase the existing memories first by accessing menu 28. Secondly, only frequencies visible in VFO A can be programmed. Normally you can program a repeater by setting all the necessary parameters and writing it into the memory only once. With the UV-5R, you have to program it twice into the same memory: the receive frequency has to be stored first, the second time the transmit frequency will be stored.
This might seem odd (and it is, in a way), but this system does allow you to make odd splits. When you have the voice prompt switched on, you can actually hear a female say whether you store a transmit or a receive frequency when accessing menu 27.
Both fine. There’s no volume problem to report, nor a muffled TX audio. No distortion to report either; the speaker does a good job.
Sensitivity appears to be on par with any other quality handheld. Contrary to the UV-3R, the new UV-5R is perfectly capable of handling strong out-of-band signals. That is a relief; bad front ends and RX filters would be a real deal breaker for me.
I checked a few things today: power output, frequency accuracy and stability. Only calibrated test equipment was used.
Power output VHF:
136.000 MHz: High=3.4 Watts, Low=1.6 Watts
155.000 MHz: High=4.0 Watts, Low=1,75 Watts
175.000 MHz: High=3.8 Watts, Low=1,8 Watts
Power output UHF
400.000 MHz: High=3.0 Watts, Low=1,75 Watts
440.000 MHz: High=3.1 Watts, Low=1.1 Watts
480.000 MHz: High=2.3 Watts, Low=1.0 Watts
Frequency accuracy and stability (room temperature)
Display frequency 145.000 MHz, Counter frequency = 145.0000 MHz
Display frequency 440.000 MHz, Counter frequency = 440.0000 MHz
Stability: +/- 0.00001 MHz (which could as well be a minuscule rounding error of my frequency counter)
This is excellent and way better than I expected. If time permits, we will fire up the HP spectrum analyzer tomorrow and check the harmonic suppression. Click here for part II.