Review Baofeng UV-B5 / Baofeng UV-B6

baofeng uv-b5When I first spotted the Baofeng UV-B5 I was slightly more interested than normal. I kinda liked the ‘no frills’ design with the rotary encoder on top. I never got used to the system of pressing Up and Down buttons for changing frequencies or channels, and this model promised to address this issue. Its sibling, the UV-B6, is technically identical but features a flashlight instead of the alarm button and rotary encoder. The choice is yours.

For the rest I expected the UV-B5 and UV-B6 to be more of the same: never perfect but value for money, with all the pros and cons we got used to. One of the cons – one I slowly started to accept as something inevitable – is a design based on SDR and DSP. SDR is considered cutting edge technology and cheap to produce, but so far the implementation was flawed.  Most of these radios lack a decent front end or produce a lot of phase noise. As a result these radios are overloaded in a heartbeat. The Wouxun KG-UVD1P and the Quansheng TG-UV2 are well known exceptions to the rule, but their price reflects this. You get what you pay for.

Something changed. From the moment I switched on the Baofeng UV-B5 it was clear that engineers in China heard our cries and did something about these crappy front ends. First of all I never lost the signal of our regional 70cm repeater while walking through my house, a trick not even the Wouxun or Quansheng can pull off. Only my Yaesu VX-177 and Icom IC-U82, both expensive mono band HTs, are capable of doing that. Secondly, I never lost signal outside either. That’s not something I can take for granted here. My QTH is known as ‘Intermod Alley’ and for good reasons. Most receivers are overloaded immediately here, making it impossible to listen into any 70cm signal below S9+20.

Look & Feel
While the UV-5R never feels comfortable in my hand due to its square shape and sharp edges, the UV-B5’s rounded shape makes the radio fit like a glove. It reminded me of the comfort associated with the Baofeng BF-666S/777S/888S series, and both models certainly share some design features. They’re identical in size, the batteries have a similar shape and both radios share the same great belt clip. The batteries are not interchangeable though, and the belt clip has a little problem. The M2 screws which come with the radio are way too short, making it impossible to attach the belt clip to the body of the HT. Fortunately I had a few longer ones in stock.

UV-B5-UV-5R

UV-B5 next to the UV-5R

At the left we find three keys, but only two of them are functional: PTT and Monitor. When both keys are pressed simultaneously a 1750Hz burst tone is transmitted. The third key has no function on the UV-B5, on the UV-B6 this key acts as a switch for the flashlight. Baofeng could have used this key on the UV-B5 to activate the LCD backlight, but they didn’t. Pity. At the right we have the standard Kenwood compatible 3.5mm and 2.5mm jacks for speaker/microphones and programming cables. The UV-B5 / UV-B6 software (download here) worked right out of the box, but don’t forget to click the red button to change the language from Chinese to English.

On top we find a rotary encoder which can be used to change frequency, channel, or menus and underlying parameters. A conventional on/off/volume pot is located at the right. When the volume is completely turned down there’s still some audio present, but you’ll have to put your ear close to the speaker if you want to listen to the conversation.

The stock antenna (SMA-F) is sturdy and does a remarkably good job. Replacing it with a Nagoya NA-701 or the $3.79 antenna didn’t improve performance at all, which means that there’s no need to shop for a replacement.

Batteries are rated 2000 mAh, but at this stage there’s no way for me to verify these claims. As is usual with Li-Ion batteries, you need to deplete and charge the battery at least three times in a row before maximum capacity is reached. After that you can charge the battery whenever you want. An intelligent desktop charger is part of the package; charging takes about 5 hours when a battery is fully depleted.

Memories
The UV-B5 offers 99 memory positions in total, plus an additional 16 channels to store FM stations. You can overwrite memories without the need of deleting them first.

Manual
Baofeng manuals have a reputation of being incomplete and impossible to understand. This one is actually quite decent: all features, menus and parameters are described in detail. No funny ChinEnglish either, just plain English with few grammar problems. The manual is not without errors though. Some things are repeated twice on the same page, and according to the manual you must hold the Monitor key if you want to change the volume. That’s not the case.

Operating and programming the UV-B5
In VFO mode you just type in the frequency you want and you’re done. Contrary to the UV-5R there’s no ’rounding down bug’ to deal with when entering a frequency which doesn’t end in a 0 or 5. This happens often when a UV-5R is set to either 12.5KHz or 6.25KHz channel spacing. On the UV-B5 the frequency is correctly predicted and set without having to enter the last digit(s).

UV-B5 Software

UV-B5 Software

Contrary to many other radios you can program all of the UV-B5’s parameters without having to use computers and software. This includes adding alphanumeric descriptions to the memories and setting ANI codes. However, a description cannot be longer than 5 characters. Because many call signs are six characters in length, this feature isn’t as useful as I hoped for. Programming with software doesn’t change things.

Menus
A total of 29 menus reside in this HT. Most of them are common across similar HTs, only the Compander and the Name function stand out. The compander is a noise reduction system which does a nice job when you’re dealing with weak signals. It works both ways: RX and TX. When used with stronger signals some distortion is introduced. The Name function, of course, is there to access the (crippled) system for adding names to memories.

Transmitter

Power Output
Nothing fancy here: you can choose between High and Low. Measurements done with fully charged battery at 145MHz and 435MHz respectively.

Power Output VHF:
High: 4.0 Watts
Low: 1.8 Watts

Power Output UHF:
High: 2.9 Watts
Low: 1.7 Watts

This is less output than the manufacturer claims, from the looks of it the power output is identical to the UV-5R. Fine with me.

TX Audio:
Excellent reports. Modulation is loud, bright with no distortion.

Spectrum Analysis
Looking good: harmonic suppression 2nd order -59dBm on VHF, -53dBm on UHF.

VHF

UHF

Receiver

Sensitivity:
VHF: -130dBm
UHF: -128dBm

Excellent. Please be advised that the tolerance of most RF generators in this range is +/- 1 dBm. Even in the worst case scenario this would translate into a perfect score.

Front End:
This is where the UV-B5 shines. For now this is the HT to compare others with – the receiver is at least as good as the Wouxun KG-UVD1P and outperforms the Quansheng TG-UV2. Overloading is not impossible, but far from easy – almost unreal for an HT this price.

Conclusion
The Baofeng UV-B5 is close to perfect. The only two niggles are the 5-character limit for alphanumeric descriptions and the belt clip screws which are too short. For the rest: best value for money to date. Needless to say, I’m keeping this one.

Price (includes shipping):
$53 at 409shop.com
$42.50 at AliExpress (but you have to buy 2 of them)

Specifications Baofeng UV-B5 (PDF)

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264 comments on “Review Baofeng UV-B5 / Baofeng UV-B6

  1. Pingback: Test du baofeng UV-B5 | Actu-Radioamateur Test du baofeng UV-B5 | Revue de presse de l'actualité radioamateur, et nouvelles technologies…

  2. Have you checked the charger of UV-3R+ is intelligent or not? I know the charger of UV-3R is not intelligent.
    But I had opened the charger of UV-3R+, there is a chip “2YL6″ inside.
    I found this link http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UV-3R/message/7336
    there are some useful info. in that link, but no conclusion.
    The 2YL6 is another name of IN4054. It seemed is the same chip produced from another company Belling name it BL4054. http://www.ecranic.com/files/BL4054_en.pdf
    From the pdf, the UV-3R+ charger seemed an intelligent one.
    But I am not good at this, can not make a conclusion.
    What is your opinion? Thanks.

    • I never had a UV-3R+. However, a chip normally indicates some intelligence. If a charger has a LED going from red to green during the charging process, it’s safe to assume that you have an intelligent charger.

      The ‘charger’ of the UV-3R relied on the protection electronics embedded in the battery. That works too, until you run into a battery where this circuit is defective or absent.

    • Hans, I would like you opinion on a comparison between the UV-B5 and the UV-82. Supposedly it’s a more commercial grade case, larger screen, 6 character display but how does the receive and transmit compare?

      Jonathan

      • The receiver of the UV-B5 will perform better under pressure (good front-end). Sensitivity is the same. The UV-82 delivers one Watt more on both bands. Because this model is build around UV-5R hard- and software, it behaves the same and shares notorious UV-5R flaws. Yet it’s a nice radio for the price.

        Many owners of the UV-82 had to fix the poorly constructed charger before they could use the radio. No technical experience required to fix it, anyone can do it.

  3. One note: A compander is typically used on narrow band to increase fidelity. The audio signal is compressed to fit into the narrow bandwidth. The receiving radio also must have a compander, which takes the compressed signal and expands it to the proper audio levels. It is not a noise reduction circuit or speech processor. I also noticed this radio does not have narrow band capability, which kind of defeats the reason for a compander.

    • Interesting, thanks. Switching on the compander on did improve the reception of a very weak signal. However, when a signal is close to full quieting, the system starts to work against you because RX audio becomes distorted.

      What narrow band specification are you referring to? 12.5KHz or 2.5KHz? I know this is a hot topic in the USA, but at this stage I’m a stupid foreigner. From what I understood there are different requirements for hams compared to other land mobile applications.

    • See the specs: it has 2 bandwith modes… —>>> Maximum Frequency Deviation (W/N Band)
      <5KHz(W), <2.5KHz(N)

      Ehh Hans, can you confirm that it has only 99 memory channels? ? or is it 99 on vhf + 99 on uhf?

  4. Hi Hans, thank you for your in-depth review. I wanted a decent Chinese HT for some time now, but the lack of finding one that uses a reliable power system prevented me from jumping into the Chinese market. I really like the way some Chinese manufacturers allow to charge the battery directly from an AC wall plug, DC adapter, or USB port like TYT does with their TH-UV3R and TH-UVF9. If you travel a lot, the portability of these types of power systems makes it very convenient. If the charging electronics that are built into the battery fail, you can just buy another battery for cheap. The charging bases most manufacturers supply seem unreliable at best, this includes Wouxun. How does the charging base look on this Baofeng UV-B5/UV-B6? Is there a connection for a DC car adapter? Thanks.

    • The charger is simple and directly connects to mains, there’s no DC connector. It gets a little warmer while charging, but it doesn’t run hot. Reliability is always an issue with switching power supplies, but it’s too early to tell. I just charged the UV-B5 for the third time, so far so good.

  5. Hans, do you have plans to review the “new and improved) UV920R? Also I have heard that the UV920R has an AM detector and can receive AM between 66MHz-220Mhz? I am in the US and need to receive aircraft AM 118Mhz-125Mhz.Would you know if this is true? I am trying to locate the specs for the improved UV920R but no success. Also the UV-B5 sounds like a great product for ham use. Hope it is available in the US.73WaltAC2H Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2012 21:15:31 +0000 To: ac2h@arrl.net

    • Hi Walt,

      I have no knowledge of an improved ‘R’ version. To the best of my knowledge the R version is history and replaced by the ‘P’ version. I reviewed that one recently. This model has no AM detection, nor an extended RX range.

    • Hans, the UV-B5 looks mighty similar the “new” Anytone AT-3318UV. Not much info on the AT-3318UV. What do you think? BTW I am also ex Agilent (TMO) and HP. Retired twice from HP. 30+ yrs

      • Technically I don’t expect the Anytone to be identical or even similar to the UV-B5. These two factories don’t exchange designs.

  6. Pingback: Examen du Baofeng UV-B5 / Baofeng UV- B6 « F6OYU

  7. Hi Hans.

    Does this radio have multiple squelch levels, or is it ‘squelch on’ ‘squelch off’ like the Baofeng-UV-5R?
    Does the up/down arrow buttons change channels as well as the rotary encoder? and when in VFO, how do you go from VHF to UHF?
    Does the radio actually have two simultanios receivers, or does it still work as a dual watch like the Baofeng-UV-5R?
    What does the orange button on top do?
    Does this radio still have the audible feedback in spoken English, and how do you get the diplay to light up?

    Nate.

    • Hi Nate,

      yes, it does gave multiple squelch levels. The difference between the various levels still isn’t large, but better than we know of the UV-5R. The rotary encoder performs the same function as Up and Down; you can use both.

      There’s only one VFO and two displays, as is usual at this price level. All it does in Dual Watch is switching quickly between the two frequencies you entered. There’s no ‘Band’ key to switch from VHF to UHF. Instead you just type in the frequency you want. I think this is a better system, there’s less room for errors and confusion.

      The Voice Prompt is there and as useless as all the other implementations we saw so far. Some menu items aren’t announced, neither are underlying parameters.

      Switching on the LCD backlight is a problem. It will light up when you change frequency or channel, but I’d prefer a ‘dead’ key to do that. I’m pretty sure though that we can utilize the Flashlight key, it probably involves soldering one resistor to make this key useful. This mod is on my ‘To Do’ list, but I don’t have not much spare time during the holidays.

  8. please tell me the difference between the
    UV-5R RA RB RC 5RA-PLUS UV-5R E MARK II UV5RUU and CC, etc, etc
    Also is the UV-B5 better than the UV-R5 and does the UV-B5 have optional 3800mah battery?
    thanks

    73’s

    • Internally all UV-5R’s are the same, they just look different. The UU version has a slightly larger frequency range, up to 520MHz.

      The UV-B6 has a better receiver and better modulation. There’s no larger battery available at this point.

      • Is there anything that the uv5r can do that uvb6 can not? I like the feature on the uv5r, it can talk on one channel and monitor another. Trying to decide between these two. Great review, thanks.

      • Features are about the same, which includes dual watch.

        The UV-5R has more fancy options, such as multi-color backlight. Alpha tags on the UV-5R can be 6 characters long, and only 5 on the new UV-B5.

        I have both, and like them equally. The strong point of the UV-B5 is the receiver.

      • Hans, I’m trying to decide between uv82, uv5R and uv-B5 for someone in heavily urban environment. That is –something that would be the best for receiving and transmitting in a large city. Of the three models which one would you recommend? thanks

      • When it comes to TX range, there will be no noticeable difference between the three radios. Both the UV-5R and the UV-82 share the same (easily overloaded) front-end. The UV-B5, while not perfect either, is much less prone to overload. This will result in better reception under challenging conditions.

        Even better are most Wouxun radios and the QuanSheng TG-UV2. At the top of the list are the (expensive) mono-band radios made by Yaesu, the FT-277R and FT-270R. These radios don’t care about interference at all.

  9. Hi Hans,

    The specs mention battery is 1800 mAh, but you say it’s 2000 mAh?
    The battery seems to be different from UV-5R, but are the chargers of the 2 models interchangable?
    Do you need a programming cable to use the software? Is this an accessory?
    Thank, Rico

    • Specs mentioned by webshops are confusing, aren’t they? The batteries are rated 2000mAh and the chargers are NOT compatible. You need a cable for programming, these are always optional.

  10. Hello Hans,

    when I saw your review of the Baofeng UV-B5, I fall in Love with these tiny little piece of technic.
    So I went to AliExpresss by your Link to buy two oh these and find out, that you can also buy one of these for 43 US$ incl. Shipping.

    Baofeng UV-B5: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/free-shipping-BaoFeng-Dual-Band-Dual-Display-walkie-talkie-handheld-Two-Way-Radio-UV-B5-2pcs/676431424.html

    Baofeng UV-B6: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/2012-New-arrival-Baofeng-dualband-UV-B6-Two-way-radio-136-174-400-470mHZ-UVB6-wholesale/720099865.html

    73
    Gunter

  11. Beste Hans,

    Na het lezen van jouw review zit ik er sterk aan te denken deze porto UV-B5 te kopen.
    Is de programmeer kabel dezelfde als die van de UV-5R dus zo’n Kenwood kabel?
    Die zal ik namelijk mee moeten bestellen.

    Groet, Ben

  12. Is het mogelijk om de CTCSS tonen te programmeren zonder software of is dat te ingewikkeld?
    Vreemd trouwens, bij de 409 shop staat in de specs niets over de CTCSS tonen…

    • Het is even weten hoe, maar CTCSS/DCS instellen is makkelijk te doen.

      Selecteer menu 12 en druk op A/B. Herhaaldelijk drukken op Menu schakelt tussen Off, CTCSS, DCS en Inverse DCS. Zodra je 67Hz in het scherm ziet, kun je met de rotary encoder de gewenste subtoon opzoeken. Nogmaals drukken op A/B bevestigt je keuze.

  13. Pingback: Yet Another HT From China (Baofeng UV-B5) | KØNR: Radio Enthusiast

  14. Pingback: The new Baofeng UV-B5 /UV-B6

  15. The FM radio is diffently BUGGY at best sometimes it can be a real PIA.

    Otherwise it appears to be a very good radio for $42. My mistake was ordering it right before Christmas it took a month to get to Fla, USA.

    Hans, thanks for the review, it was one of the references I used to acquire this rig.

    73
    Al/N4GOD

  16. I read somewhere that the battery life is only about 50-75% compared to the standard battery of the UV-5R.
    Can someone comment to this out of experience ?

  17. I am concerned about the battery life also.
    I am torn between the UV-5R with a 3800Mah battery and the UV-B5.
    I would also like the UV-5RA I hear it is a newer version, BUT the 3800Mah battery will not fit, I don’t see why not but I guess I won’t chance it.

    So between 3 radios, I have a choice of better receive but lower battery life on the B5 or the 5R with huge battery or the updated reliability of the -5RA but no big battery.

    This is a hard decision to make.

    • Better receiver AND better modulation versus battery life. I can use the new UV-B5 for about one day before I need to recharge it. To put this in perspective: one day of extensive use, receiving and transmitting. In fact it isn’t too bad. I just got spoiled, I guess.

      One cheap spare battery is all it takes to compensate. I did the same with the UV-5R. Personally I don’t like the 3800mAh battery much, too bulky and very long charging times (> 10 hours). Pretty brilliant idea though.

  18. Hans,

    Some questions:
    – If you compare the UV-5R and the UV-B5, how would you rate each porto on a scale from 1-10 ?
    – You mentioned that the stock antenna of the UV-B5 is great, what if you put that same antenna on the UV-5R how would that compare to the 3.79 USD antenna ?
    Thanks in advance.
    Rico

  19. I received my new UV-B5 today. My first impression is that it fits indeed better in my hand than the UV-5R, the keys are a bit smaller and also a bit more difficult to push than the UV-5R. The display light is only blue rather then the 3 colours of the UV-5R but that doesn’t bother me much.

    What I still can’t find out is how the scan memory channels: I switch from frequency mode to channel mode, according to the manual I then should push Menu and VM/Scan, however then nothing is happening… In frequency mode, the same procedure starts a bandsearch starting from the frequency in the display; that’s fine, but I also want to be able to scan all saved memories, anyone ??

    • Mine scans the memories fine. Did you program by hand or computer? I did it with the software, which has an option ‘Scan Add’. When this option is set to ‘On’, that specific channel will be scanned. When set to ‘Off’, that channel will be skipped.

      • Thanks for your fast answer, Hans. I did it by hand as I’m still waiting for the programming cable.. Ok, so I guess I have to wait for the cable as I don’t see a menu option “Scan Add”.

      • Scanning works for me now: I received my programming cable today and saved several frequencies into the channel memories, and I put Scan on. I can confirm that scanning of UV-B5 is faster than that of the UV-5R

    • You can configure the HT with the software in such a way that you can listen to a police frequency, but transmit on a legal frequency if PTT is accidentally pressed.

  20. Great stuff Hans and guests! Does anyone know if the UV-B5 will be sold by U.S. dealers anytime soon? Does the speaker mic and programming cable for the UV-5R work on the UV-B5? Who sells an extra battery for the UV-B5? Thanks so much for the great info and to all who respond.

    Best 73
    Bob, N7SGM

    • Until now I haven’t spotted a U.S. dealer, but I’m an ocean away… All Chinese sellers have spare batteries in stock. They charge about $12 / piece on average.

      • Thank you Hans. I did finally see where a U.S. outfit by the name of Radio Mart is selling the UV-B6 but not the B5. Radio Mart is a seller on Amazon. I also think one can buy directly from them. They are selling the B6 for 46.99 USD plus 6.49 USD for shipping. I’m more interested in the B5 but still torn between it and UV-5R Plus. Then too I see so many issues posted on Yahoo about the UV-5R. I’m not sure I need a project radio vs. one that works well. Bottom line is that I am just undecided! Thank you Hans.

        Best 73
        Bob, N7SGM

  21. Hey Nate,

    I knew he was in Kentucky but I didn’t know he made modification to the TYT TH-UV-F9 radio. Incidentally, I see the letters UV used often in the model number of these radios and wonder if that has a specific meaning. Sorry if that is a dumb question. Thank you Nate.

    Best 73
    Bob, N7SGM

  22. Hans:

    Thank you for your web page. It has been very useful to me since I recently got my ham license. Your reviews were essential in helping me choose the right (cheap) equipment to get me started.

    I recently got the Baofeng UV-B5, largely based on your opinion and test results, but I found it disappointing and quirky. Maybe I just got a lemon and this is to be expected at this price range.
    Here are my observations, hoping they might be useful to somebody:
    1.- Since your review of the UV-B5 was largely done in comparison to the UV-5R, we might mention that the “chareto mistake” at the bottom of the charger is gone. Since opinions on the entertainment value of this “warning” differ, this might be a plus or minus, depending on the user.
    2.- The display on the UV-B5 is in my opinion one of the worst in its class. It´s very small, blurry and with poor contrast, at least to my 50-year old eyes. Additionally it is very heat sensitive. Here in Valdivia, Chile we are suffering the worst heat wave in recorded history and ambient temperature above 32ºC causes discoloration and display fading, although it´s pretty even without hot spots.
    3.- The rotary encoder for frequency tuning is very loose and uneven, with about 30% of it´s rotation perimeter where it doesn’t register input. A bit of careful adjustment of the tightening ring on the outside cured about 95% of the problem, but it´s still very loose and occasionally still misses the input rotation. I partially disassembled the radio and found out that the rotary switch is precariously attached to the PCB. It decided not to mess with it until the problem gets worse or fails completely, something I expect will happen fairly soon.
    4.- I noticed the unit burns my hand by leaking RF thru the battery contact on the antenna side. Since I am fairly ambidextrous, I was puzzled this only happened when I used the radio with my left hand (i. e. pressing the PTT switch with my left thumb). It never happens when I transmit using the right hand (PTT with the right index). A bit of single-blind testing with friends and family confirmed this observation. Interestingly, the problem completely went away when I replaced the stock antenna with the “$3.75 wonder antenna”, of which I bought several on your recommendation. This is very puzzling to me. Is this a placebo effect or I just got a bad radio or a faulty antenna? Can somebody else reproduce this weird effect?

    Finally I would like to mention that of all the cheapo chinese HT´s I have bought (Wouxun KG-UVD1P, Baofengs UV-3R, UV-3R Mark II, UV-5R and the TYT-UV3R) my favourite is still the TYT UV3R. Small as the BF UV-3R, but with a useful keyboard, excellent and intuitive operation and menus, decent software and by far the best and nicest display. The only real con is the lack of cross band operation.

    Greetings form Valdivia and please keep up the great work!

    Alex (CD6377)

    • Hi Alex,

      1. I never paid attention to such ‘warnings’.
      2. I think the display isn’t bad at all, but my 57-year old eye are still perfect. The heat problem is something I only noticed with the UV-5R. Long transmission don’t degrade the display readability at all. But, it’s winter here.
      3. No issues so far (8 UV-5B’s bought and redistributed amongst other hams).
      4. The RF leak – I had the same effect with the BF-666S and wrote about that. RF should be blocked on the PCB. Strangely, I didn’t notice it with the UV-B5. I’ll check it out. It would be easy to fix; adding a micro version of the 6-hole ‘pig nose’ between the + of the PCB and the battery. Yet the factory should do such things, not us.

      From the looks of it you’re encountering problems unknown of till now.

      • I found out when I use a better antenna of a j-pole I dont get burn. Also the Baofeng UV-B5 will also burn ya. Just change the antenna.

  23. Extended RX + TX above 470 Nhz no Problem.
    Look Picture.

    http://s14.directupload.net/file/d/3162/gjh228gm_jpg.htm

    One need only adjust the ini settings in the program directory.
    then start the progam in administrator mode!
    After entering the frequencies the band limits are saved with the file!

    Here is my (revised Ini Settings)

    [setup]
    com=3
    language=english
    searchcom=1
    compander=0
    channel=0

    [ModelInfo]
    Freq0=[136-174/400-470]
    data0=6013401700400047

    Freq1=[144-148/430-450]
    data1=4014801400430045

    Freq2=[144-146/430-440]
    data2=4014601400430044

    Freq3=[136-174/245-246]
    data3=6013401750246024

    Freq4=[136-174/400-520]
    data4=6013401700400052

    Freq5=[144-146/430-432]
    data5=4014601400432043

    Good Luck
    Walter

    • You can use the software and optional programming USB cable to program your own DCS scanner with the UV-B5. Simply put the frequency you want to scan identical in all memory channels 1 – 99. For each channel use a different DCS code. Then just start scan or manually use the channel knob to step through each DCS code manually. Not as slick as a built-in scanner, but gets the job done. I used this method with my UV-B5 to discover and open a DCS squelched Motorola CP-200. With Motorola radios, only 84 of the 105 DCS codes are relevant, so you have more than enough channels with 99 memories on the UV-B5.

  24. I have revived my b5 today, sadly there are problems.
    The receive is very poor, if I put the radio down and not hold it in my hand, signal is lost.
    Second, some signals change tone from bass to treble with different signal strength, IE if I move the radio to a poor reception position, the tone goes bassy and if I raise the HT the tone goes higher treble with the better received signal.

    Lastly, and more severe is I can not hear or activate any repeater period.

    I ordered from aliexpress so I dunno if that makes a difference.

    It’s almost like the antenna connection isn’t connected inside the radio, maybe not soldered to the board?
    I don’t want to open it and void my “warranty” until I find out if I can return it or not.

    Anyone heard of this problems?

    very sad day for me.

    Chris

    • Hey Chris, Glad to have found your post regarding the bass to treble issue. I have the same extraordinarily annoying issue with my B6 I just received. Yours is the only specific mention of this on the net I could find but is likely part of the build in every B5 & B6. Less fussy operators may overlook the problem, and may have something to do with the pre and de- emphasis circuits in the radio. It is something I have never encountered in many years with massive quantities of transceivers and receivers. I actually posted a comment yesterday describing transmitting a significant warbling tone on all frequencies between 154-166 Mhz. Wonder if you have this same issue?

  25. I just fixed the low signal……MAKE SURE YOU CRANK THE ANTENNA TIGHT!
    Please disregard last message….testing further.
    I’m really having to tighten the antenna too much for my comfort…..
    the receive bass/treble issue is still present.
    Please advise.

    Chris

  26. The rubber sleeve cut down on the antenna slightly.
    Or enlarge the SMA connector on the housing slightly.
    It fits better.

    No bass?
    Maybe compander or Tail Cut active?.
    Can you turn off the menu.
    Walter

    • yes I trimmed the stock antenna a bit but my NA771 made a loud CRACK sound but now it fits great….not sure what I broke.
      I have COMP off I dont see tail cut, is it STE?

      The tone is hard to explain. If I have a low signal received, it sounds low tone or bassy, if the signal improves, the tone goes high with more hiss.

      So far the antenna issue was a big problem, maybe you could make a special page for it I could have fried my output transistors…..

      I also hear a buzzing sometimes when the squelch breaks.

  27. Is the perfect device not there ….
    Somewhere there is always something …
    The change with the pitch when receiving many new devices.
    Called DSP (Feature or nonsense?)
    If reception is weak takes the rush from the pitch (deeper playback)
    Is the reception better, then the NF is higher.

    Squelch the scan whistles ever ….. short
    Is settling from the DSP.
    All effects of RDA block.
    That’s the price of cheap devices.
    Nevertheless, the UV B5 is still one of the better units (others have a lot more bugs!)
    Walter

  28. I notice on the charger there is a M2 diode with a small crack in it, D2.
    I don’t know if that will cause trouble or not….you gotta really zoom in to see it.
    I think it’s a 1A/1000V I guess I’ll probably replace it one day.
    The power cord is very short on mine and its really flimsy, I wouldn’t trust more than 1 amp going through it, I don’t think it will draw that anyway but worth a mention.

  29. A juicy little bit that might be helpful to somebody:
    Today I absentmindedly stuck my UV-B5 in the UV-5R charger and left it there for 3 hours until it was charged.
    Only when I retrieved it I realized my error, thankfully without ill consequences.
    The radio fits a bit loosely, since it is narrower at the base, but the contacts lined OK (and thankfully with the proper polarity). This might be helpful if you are travelling with both radios, since you only need to carry the UV-5R charger.
    As a cautionary note, I have a plain (old) UV-5R. I don´t know if this trick will work with the newer UV-5R model chargers (-A, -B, -E, -UU, Plus, whatever). Try at your own risk and if your house burns down, It´s not my fault ;).

    Alex

  30. Does the smallest frequency step of 5 MHz cause any problems in programming repeater frequecies? I am comparing it to the 2.5 MHz frequency step offered by the UV-5R.

    Thanks very much!

    73
    Bob, N7SGM

    • Ham radio operators don’t use that 2.5 KHz steps, the UV-5R is actually an FCC part 90 commercial radio, that is why it has the 2.5 KHz steps.

      Nate.

      • Nate,

        Thanks for your reply. Thanks for not noticing that I wrote 2.5 MHz instead of 2.5KHz. So with the lowest frequency step being 5KHz, that won’t cause me any problems manually programming repeater frequncies?

        73
        Bob, N7SGM

      • No big deal, I figured it was a typo.
        Channel steps in the US are usually 30 KHz on VHF, and 25 KHz on UHF, you will find some odd ones too, but they will be 5 KHz or 10 KHz off (very rare to find 12.5 KHz ones), but in any of these cases you should be fine with the standard 5 KHz, 10 KHz and 12.5 KHz steps.
        I have yet to see proper ham radio equipment with 2.5 KHz steps, and when repeater builders put up a repeater, they consider that too.

        Nate.

      • US amateur 2m bandplan is generally channelized on 15kHz steps, 70cm on 25kHz steps.

        Land mobile radio services in the US are now mandated to use narrower bandwidth signals (2.5kHz FM deviation), and also need to be able to program to the 2.5kHz incremented frequencies as new frequencies are being assigned. This is also commonly called “12.5kHz spacing”, it’s very confusing.

  31. A small addition for your review: there is no cross band operation.
    Lack of cross band and a lousy display are the only things I have to complain about.
    UV5R is much better in those aspects. Software (PC and radio) is as the rest of Chinese software: mostly junk, but better than on UV5R.
    Hopefully CHIRP will support this radio soon.

    • I fully agree about the poor display, but I routinely use my UV-B5 for cross band operation. I always program the radio with the software, so I don’t know if you can do it from the keypad.

  32. Does it outperformed TYT UV-F9 mainly on RX aspect or way better than Baofeng UV-5R? Now I’m think of getting a UV-B5 over the TYT…please help me to decide..Thanks for the review

  33. Hi Hans
    I have bought the UV-B5 radio and am having problems programming it can you help please. The problem seems to be on the disk which came with it does not have the info on it that I need. Thanks Ted G7PZS

    • Similar specs, true, but these are known to be very generic and often meaningless. Factory specs don’t mention things like pahes noise, intermod problems, quality of modulation and a lot of other important factors. These can only be determined in the lab.

      • Hans thanks for the reply:
        The Rec & Xmit specs are not similar, but identical.
        Hard to believe a manufacturer would make noticeable improvements in a new model and
        not advertise the new specs. Doesn’t say much for their manufacturing or engineering practice either.

      • I really enjoyed your review on the UV-B5. I had just purchased two UV-5R from the Amazon web site.
        They seem fine and I love the computer programming software. You’ve got me interested in trying one of the UV-B5. I really don’t need another HT, but curiosity has got the best of me.
        Thanks for your review and reply

  34. Hi Hans, thanks for all your efforts, it’s much appreciated. I’m set to order a UV-B5 over the UV-5R due mainly to your advice. My question is if all programming cables are the same for the all the UV-XX models? I can’t seem to find a cable for the UV-B5. Also, i’m not finding the software either. It seems the 409SHOP website doesn’t offer either the cable or the software, from what i can see. When i place my order, will a UV-5R cable and programming be ok for the UV-B5? Can you point me in the right direction?

  35. Lots of good info. Just ordered a UV-B5. Can you program a frequency such as FRS 462.5625 with or without software?

      • I am not trying to be a jerk here, so I apologize in advance to John.
        To give Steve a useful answer, yes you CAN directly program any frequency within the accepted range of the radio w/o using the software.
        You SHOULDN´T do it if your license or local regulations expressly forbids you from doing so. There is more to the world than just one country.

  36. I purchased one of these UV-B5 units also, and I think it’s good looking, like my Wouxun KG UV6D, but it’s a poor performer. I have a good receiver on mine, but the transmit audio is very low and weak, no where near the robust, loud, claims made on the reviews. The display is poor, it’s dim, and hard to read, because the lcd digits look pale and dull looking, nothing like the Baofeng UV 5R I have. The backlight does not come on when a signal comes in like the UV 5R does, and I’m forever pressing a key to get the backlight on so I can see what I’m doing in dim lighted rooms. I would prefer the UV 5R’s features into the UV B5 any day, they cheaped out on many features that my UV 5R has. About the only good thing I can say about the B5 is that it hears amazingly well but it does not talk well at all. I think I’ll end up putting it on Ebay and I’m have a FDC FD 880 dual band ht on order which from the videos I’ve seen can run circles around the B5, it has dedicated backlight features that can be ON, OFF or AUTO, plus a 3 color display which is brighter and crisper looking. So we’ll see when that one gets here. Thanks for the great in depth review on this B5, I was hoping for an amazing little radio, but it’s not even as good as my UV 5R…

    • Compared to the UV-5R, the UV-B5 is a boring no-frills looking radio. No argument from me here.

      If your sample does not perform the same as my UV-B5 and other review samples all over the Internet, you probably had bad luck. Most (if not all) sellers have no problem exchanging the radio in such a case. Worth a try.

      Hans

      • If operating in the amateur bands, make sure you are transmitting in the wide mode and not narrow mode. This can have a significant effect on how your audio is perceived by others as well as by monitoring yourself. Also make sure the compander setting is turned off.

  37. Then have fun with the FD880.
    Search errors, quiet modulation
    DSP problems, signal times higher, sometimes lower etc.etc.
    And radio reception is good and loud, but that’s it.
    Caution!
    Old software has quirks, only use version 2.03!
    I would rather have bought a second UV6D ….

    Walter from Germany

    • On the software for the FD 880 all I have found was version 1.0.3 which said it was current, so if they have a ver 2.03 I can’t locate it. I haven’t gotten the FD 880 yet but I expect to have it in 3 or 4 days.

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  39. So I am thinking of buying my first ham radio. I will be using this in a densely populated urban area. It looks like the uv-b5 may be the better choice over the uv-5r.

    Are both equally capable when it comes to working with bubble pack FMRS/GMRS radios?

    I am not concerned with bigger batteries. What do you guys think?

  40. UPDATE on my Baofeng UV B5 : I’m not sure what was wrong with the one I got but I but I did a factory reset on it, then I reprogrammed all the channels into it and presto! For whatever reasons the display looks brighter, the LCD looks a little better, and I also replaced the stock antenna with an RH-901S which has a center load and it’s 18 1/2 inches tall, and the upper 9 inches of it is ultra flexible and thin, but it does stay straight when the radio is set on the table. The thing I noticed most was a few guys on the local repeater asked me what I was using because it was so LOUD ! I told them it was the UV-B5 I had bought for $53 and they were amazed at the quality and loudness of the transmit audio. This radio hears things that the UV-5R and KG-UV6D have trouble hearing. ( I own both of those also) What also has impressed me was I’ve tested the stock antenna against the RH-901S and the 901S wins hands down, it punches into repeaters that are 30 miles away, whereas the stock antenna will not bring those repeaters up at all, it hears them, but wont bring those repeaters up like the RH-901S antenna will, so I’m convinced that this extra long center load antenna has more gain. Overall I’ve gotten used to not having the extra bells and whistles that my Wouxun, and Baofeng UV-5R have, and I have found myself using this UV-B5 more than the other two. Basically I really like the louder transmit audio, and the more sensitive receiver on this radio. I thought I had gotten a Monday morning special at first but after a Factory Reset, and reprogramming it’s performing beautifully. What I wish they had done on the B5 radio was use the side button that does nothing to activate the display lamp so you can turn that on and have it stay on a while as you’re checking things in a dim room or at night. The way I have to do it now is to hit the A/B button to cause the lamp to come on then I check it. So to sum it up I think it is a very good radio, it hears extremely well, and the transmit audio is loud and clear, and I also note that I can use it all day without draining the battery with moderate transmissions. I have a spare battery that I keep in the charger so battery power is not a problem at all. I got the RH-901S antenna on Ebay for $5.19 with free shipping from Hong Kong… If you have one of these radios and it’s not working properly, try the factory reset, it just might take care of the problems.

  41. hi hans i have a boafeng uv 5r and it was working great for work but than the mic stopped working i used the headset ear peace and that was working fine but lately i cant even transmit or receive more than half a km away and thats at the best of times what can i do to make it transmit and receive back to how it should be ????

    • The problem with the internal microphone is caused by the poor quality of the 3.5mm / 2.5mm connectors used in many Chinese radios. A contact is supposed to spring back in place after removing the external headset, but fails to do so. As a result, contact to the internal microphone is lost.

      About range: impossible to say. Check power output and antenna first.

  42. I think I’ll have to order another UV-B5 this one I have is ok, but it’s got some strange quirks to it lately. Occasionally if I have the “beep” turned on instead of a beep I get an open squelch noise. Also at times when I am transmitting I push the PTT button, and nothing happens, it sits there until I turn the radio off then back on again. There are some other bugs too such as a loud BUZZ sound momentarily after I key up when using the local repeater. I don’t know if any of you have experienced this, but it does get annoying when the radio won’t transmit when you are in a QSO… I may get one from AliExpress, this one came from 409shop, and this one came in a plain cardboard box marked Baofeng the same box that my UV-5R came in. The photo on their web site shows a fancy box. When asked about that they said they ship whatever box is available at the time. I wish I could check the firmware version on this one I bet it’s one of the first batch from a Monday morning run… lol… Oh well, for $41.86 I’ll just get another one because I know they do work very well when you get a good one… I tried factory resets, but can’t fix this problem..

  43. Hi hans, can i use UV-5R car charger with UV-B6? I prefer car charger than battery eliminator. One more thing, do you know the performance of Nagoya UT-106UV magnetic car antenna? Is it good?

    Thanks,

    Handy.

    • Unless something changed, UV-5R accessories are NOT compatible with the UV-B6. I’ve heard of the Nagoya but never had one myself, nor do I know someone who bought one. They’re cheap enough to take the plunge though.

      • Hi Hans, thanks for quick reply. I want to buy UV-B6 from ali express. I want to use it for car touring to someplace. I heard that if only using standard handheld antenna it can’t reach out far because the handheld is shut closely inside the car. That’s why i want to buy external antenna but don’t want a permanent one. At least the external antenna won’t be lesser performance than the standard one right?

        Thanks and sorry if my questions are basic :)

      • An outdoor antenna will always improve performance considerably.

        So yes, that Nagoya will be worth the money. Make sure you buy one with an SMA-F (female) connector.

  44. Based on your experience, how long will the standard battery last? More on RX than TX, maybe 70%RX and 30%TX.
    I’m a newbie in HT area. Do i need to buy USB programming cable? I only use for normal use, no signal scanning, etc. If normal use do i need it?

    • Under those conditions, the battery will last about a day – the UV-B5/B6 isn’t famous for battery life. Order a spare together with the HT!

      I don’t use the cable and software much. Contrary to the UV-5R, the UV-B6 is easy to program without the help of computers.

  45. Ok Hans, now i know exactly what accessories that i need to buy along with the UV-B6. Thanks a lot for your help :)

  46. hi hans,
    the housings of b5\b6 look like they have same size as the 888s. i wonder if batteries and eliminator fit both models. have you tried that before?
    73
    toby

  47. Hi Hans

    Great review and blog! How weather proof do you reckon the uv-b5 is? I can’t see any ref to in in vendors’ specs. (Kinda important with the summer weather we’re having in Europe right now!)

    Richard

      • Thanks. Have ordered one anyway (I wasn’t expecting a formal IP rating in this price range). Will keep it under wraps and use a speaker mic in wet conditions.
        Speaking of speaker mics, I found one online that incorporates an antenna extension (ie maintains antenna at shoulder height with radio inside my rucksack). Do you reckon this will be worthwhile, or will the gain be outweighed by the cable loss? Plus this will be the first dual band set I’ve used, and I’m wondering if the supplied antenna is a compromise between the two bands (ie can the TX performance output you measured be improved by optimising the antenna to the band in use)?

        Richard

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  49. My Baofeng UV-B5 transmits every time I plug the programming cable in…what’s with that? Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • Try turning the radio off before plugging in the cable, only afterwards, turn the radio on.
      Is there a difference?

      Nate.

      • Thanks for the reply. I tried what you said and it still transmits when I plug the programming cable in. I tried turning the power off first and then plugging it in, but that didn’t work either. Maybe I have a bad cable? Or worse, maybe I have a bad radio?

    • Make sure the cable is fully plugged in. If it is and it still causes the radio to transmit, I would replace the cable.

      Also make sure you have the correct driver installed. Installing the proper driver will sometimes cure this problem.

      I have a test cable here that, no matter what I do, causes the radios that it is connected to to transmit. It still uploads and downloads to the radio just fine. So when I use it (which is rare), I just tune the radio to a TX inhibited channel first.

    • I had the same problem. It turned out I had the wrong usb cable driver installed. Check miklor.com for the right driver.

  50. Try plugging the included earphone/mic. It the problem goes away, you probably have a faulty programming cable. If you still get stuck with TX on all the time, you possibly have a bad radio or more likely a faulty female TX connector on the radio (might be a simple thing like a small metal shaving that shorts the contacts; a bit of contact cleaner solvent or compressed air might solve your problem). Good luck!

  51. Hi, I just got my UB-V6 and planning to get a SMA-F to BNC adapter. But I wonder if adapter can decrease my signal or not, because I ses BNC has more variety choice of antenna. I want to try extendable antenna to at least 1 meter length. Do you think I can get better signal? thanks

    • Extendable antennas are notorious for damaging the transmitter section of hand held radios because of the bad/unpredictable SWR. Hence I will NEVER recommend them.

      An damage example: http://hamgear.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/rust-in-pieces/

      Even if you find a good, big antenna, the performance of the radio likely won’t improve. Hand held radios are designed to be very sensitive because of the relatively small antenna. The moment you connect a large high-gain antenna, the receiver will overload in a heartbeat. Instead of better signals all you get is noise.

      You might get away with it in the proverbial ‘middle of nowhere’, where no other signals are present. Other than that: just use the UV-B6 with the supplied antenna (which, BTW, is very good).

  52. Hi Hans, some friends and I have been banging our heads against the brick wall of ignorance trying to pick our first HT’s and your reviews of the B5/6 and PX-888 have been *incredibly* helpful and educational. Thanks to the information we’ve almost decided on the UV-B5/6 instead of a PX-777 or 888

    We just have one question: Which would you say would perform better across acres of forest and field or simulated urban area? You list the tradeoffs as the B5’s having better audio quality while the 888’s are more powerful.

    • Power output never equals range. In order to gain one lousy S-point (6 dB), you need to multiply RF power by a factor of 4. Let’s assume an HT delivers 5 Watts and you want to gain those 6 dB, you need to crank up RF power to 20 Watts – which is impossible given the design of an HT. Antenna quality, height and lack of obstacles are way more important.

      So, in short, the effect of 1 Watt extra power output is negligible. Both radios will perform about the same. The UV-B5 might even do slightly better thanks to the clear TX audio and better selectivity of the receiver.

  53. Hello Hans I have quick question for you. Which one would you preffer more? TG-UV2 or UV-B5? UV2 has more freq range, is it worth it? Price is not a big problem.

  54. Hello Hans,
    I am trying to disassemble UV-B5 to set RF power to lower values (0.2W LO, 1W HI) as 4W/1.5W is way too much for me and prefferably increase modulation volume, yet even after I unscrewed all four screws on the back and one under volume knob, it’s impossible to take it apart. Is there another screw under the sticker?
    Since no-one published images of the PCB, I just hope that I could do such adjustments.
    Could you please guide me on how to disassemble it?

    Thanks
    Andrew

    • I never took one apart, and I doubt you find anything there you can change. All these modern radios use SDR as the main technology. If you join the UV-B5 group on Yahoo, there’s a guy who did disassemble these radios and made pictures in the process.

      From what I could see there’s only one VR (pot) on the PCB, which could be either frequency adjustment or some form of VCO alignment.

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Baofeng-UV-B5/

  55. Just wanted to know if there is a way to modify the UV-B5 to transmit on 6m? Does anyone know how to do this, or where to find the information?

  56. Does anyone know if there is “electronic screwdriver” access on the B5, a sequence of certain key entries at switch on is provided on some rigs. Looking to reduce the output power on low setting to conserve battery life.

    What a value for money wireless this is, it compares really well with my Yaesu rigs on sensitivity, selectivity and TX audio, well done Baofeng and thanks to Hans for pointing me in the right direction with his excellent review.

  57. after trying to deal with building coaxial cable I have learned to hate sma connectors. I am looking for an sma to bnc adapter for my b5. I know some leave a big gap between the radio and adapter which could add stress to the sma jack.

    Does anyone know what the best adapter is (one that doesn’t leave a gap)? I was looking at this one:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/SMA-to-BNC-SMA-F-to-BNC-F-adaptor-for-KG-UVD1-TG-UV-/330947203767?pt=US_Radio_Comm_Coaxial_Cables_Connectors&hash=item4d0dfd92b7

    I know there are other models that have different dimensions.

    any ideas?

  58. Hi Hans wanted to use an antenna to the car connected to ht uv-b5. The Nagoya UT102 is good choice? I can damage my radio?
    regards

    Fernando
    Argentina

  59. Hi Hans,

    First of all, thank you for your detailed and scientific review. Based on your comments I bought a B5 and so far I’ve been pretty satisfied. I certainly prefer it to my older-3R+.

    I’m wondering whether there’s a way to thoroughly clear out the memory and put everything back to factory default condition… a “deeper” reset than the [Menu] + [Power switch on] combination. Perhaps something using a programming cable and an image file of the original factory contents. Do you have any thoughts about this?

    And finally, I’d welcome any comparison between the Baofeng UV-B5 and the TYT TH UVF9.

    Thanks again Hans, and also thanks to all other contributors to the blog.

    73
    Greg

    PS: I tried to post a few minutes ago using IE, with great frustration. The typing “lagged” quite badly, and after filling out the comment form, I got an error message. I’m typing this using Firefox, hopefully with better results.

    • Hi Greg,

      I’m sure there’s way for a hard reset, but that would require opening up the radio and find the reset line on the radio chip and short it. Not really user friendly. A programming cable + software can restore factory defaults and original programming, assuming you once read the original contents and saved it into a file. Not sure what would be the point / advantage though.

      I didn’t get any other complaints about IE so far. Might be a fluke. I use Linux/Firefox, so I’m not as knowledgeable on IE quirks as I used to be.

    • When you do the “menu”+”power” button reset, just make sure you select “all”. This will be your best bet for a “total” reset. Anyway , this is the only way I know of. I have used this method numerous times. Anyway, good luck. 73

  60. Thanks, John! The “all” function isn’t even mentioned in the manual (or at least I didn’t see it). Doing “reset all” seems to have cured my radio’s problems… although I won’t be 100% confident until it runs for a day or two.

  61. I’ve been fairly happy with the UV-B5. My main annoyance is the battery charger. The “red” “charging” light really looks yellow (red plus green) and is barely discernable from the green “charged” light. You have to watch the charger closely, and frequently, in order to remove the battery pack as soon as the charger indicates “charged.” I’ve found that if I don’t pull the battery right away, the charger will continue charging, and the battery ends up with a charge of over 8.3 volts! If I then use the radio with the voltage that high, the memory becomes scrambled and all hell breaks loose… strange and unpredictable operation. Luckily I’ve cured this with the recommended “reset all” process (thank you, John!) but that’s still a PITA.

    Incidentally, the vendor sent me a replacement charger, which was exactly the same as the original. So unless Baofeng comes up with a truly smart charger, that stops charging when it should at 7.4 volts. I honestly cannot recommend this radio to anyone.

    Next, I’m going to try a TYT UVF9. Hopefully its charging circuit works correctly. Besides, I want a radio that has an optional battery pack with greater mAH capacity, but from what I’ve heard and read the Baofeng UV-5 is not a great performer (especially with its wide-open front end). I have heard a few good things about the UVF9, and 409 Shop says they have a larger battery for that radio.

    If anyone has had problems with the TYT, please let me know! Otherwise I’m going to order one in a week or so, and I’ll report back here.

    Hans: thanks again for the good review and for providing this forum!

  62. When I set the pl decoder to 114.8 it will not open but when I try other pl’s like 110.9 it opens fine. I have verified this with the shop service monitor. Has anyone else noticed this issue with the pl decoder and if so is there a solution?

  63. The Tonfa UV-985 is an 8 watt dual band HT with a form factor / shape like the Baofeng UV-5R. The UV-985 is $50US. The Baofeng UV-5B is under $40US now. Looks like Baofeng and Tonfa are divisions of same company from the looks of radio and its nomenclature. It will be interesting to see reviews on it when they start coming in. I am most interested in the sound and selectivity of the UV-985 receiver and audio. The Baofeng UV-5B is plenty sensitive, audio sounds great, but could use improvement on selectivity as WiFi and cable modem noise nearby affects it. The Radio Shack HTX-245 (Icom) is less affected by this type of noise, for example. Excellent Baofeng blog and review!
    73’s!
    Josh (KF4BF)

  64. So, this is the new output-power (TX) for VHF with factory.img for UV-B5:
    136mhz: low: 1,51W-1,55W ; high: 3,98W
    144mhz: low: 1,78W-1,80W ; high: 5,01W
    145mhz: low: 1,78W-1,86W ; high: 4,90W
    146mhz: low: 1,86W-1,91W ; high: 5,01W
    174mhz: low: 2,40W-2,45W ; high: 5,75W

    No more output-power/TX for UHF, broken, sorry !
    TX only for 30-50 meters in UHF because i did play in test-mode at full-power.
    Use a dummy-load (50 ohms) or you will have the hottest battery in your life !!!

    • When my UV-B5 came in the mail, I could not get the latch to engage the battery pack at all. The latch would not engage and capture the battery pack. The battery pack would just fall off. So I took out my pocket knife and scraped the two rectangular holes in the battery pack where the latch engages. You have to make sure the two latch tabs have a flat surface to rest upon within in the two holes of the battery pack. The latch engages now, holding the battery pack sufficiently, but it is not a tight fit. The battery pack moves slightly with respect to the frame. Baofeng needs to improve on their latch design. It works fairly well though in the UV-B5.

  65. I’ve had my Baofeng UV-B5, two of them, one for my wife, for a week. We’re both new HAM licensee’s and these are our first radios. We’ve done a line of sight test with predictable results. I programmed a repeater 25 miles away and made my first “contact” this evening. Overall, I like the radio. Thanks for the discussion!

    • Update: I’ve been using the UV-B5 for a couple of weeks, mobile with an external mag mount and external speaker mic with almost no issues. For the money, I feel like I got the best radio I could have gotten thanks to your review. I could have spent more with varying results, but I couldn’t have spent any less for the comparable quality.

  66. Hi. Stupid question perhaps but I can’t find anywhere except on DHGate that the radio is a Digital tranceiver. Is It or isn’t it? Also the BF-888s, is that digital or analogue, will it work with a UVb5 or UVB6??

    Thanks
    Howard

      • Hi again Hans
        Thanks for that, I guess what I’m asking is “is the voice processing digital?”. The reason I’m asking is that I’m a motorcycle riding instructor and I’m having trouble getting clear, audible voice transmission on a motorcycle above 90K/h. Clear enough for my students to understand my instructions. I’ve been told that digitally processed voice will be greatly better than analogue voice processing, I’m looking to buy two higher quality transmitters (UVB6 perhaps?) and a bunch of cheaper receivers for my students to use , listen only (BF-888 perhaps). Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
        TIA

      • Yes, audio processing is digital by use of DSP chips. However, most DSP implementations (especially on the BF-888S) are very poor and inferior to conventional, analog processing. Being a biker too, I learned that the quality of the external microphone / headset is much more important than the way the audio is processed in the radio.

  67. Hello Hans and guests, I received my B6 today and have noticed that with some limited testing I am transmitting a significant warbling tone on all frequencies between 154-166 Mhz. Below and above appears to be clean as well as the UHF freqs. I tested with all tone settings off; both narrow & wide band as well. Anyone else have a similar issue? Thanks!

  68. I think I have a workaround to the 114.8 PL decode issue on this radio; likely a programming error. The 114.8 decode setting is dead on receive to all standard PL tones. It appears it has been mistakenly omitted on the chip during programming, but the 118.8 decode setting will pass both 114.8 & 118.8 perfectly. It doesn’t appear to be a “wide bandwidth” issue as some have theorized, as this phenomena doesn’t occur with sequential tones that are closer together than 4Hz. My B6 appears to transmit / encode 114.8 properly though, go figure !? Give it a try & let me know! Neal

    • No issues with DCS transmission encoding on the UV-B5 that I have found. However, DCS receive decoding works, but is slow to operate. When using DCS receive decoding, the squelch opens, but always after a second or two delay. By that time I have missed 3 or 4 words of the other person’s transmission. I have to disable DCS receive decoding to hear all the words in messages from others. It might be a processor speed issue on receive. When transmitting using DCS, response time is instantaneous.

  69. got 4 uv-b5’s from amazon. They only had 28 menu settings. factory reset one and it now has 29 settings. It was missing setting #24 TXAB but now in dual standby mode the channel selection arrow cycles between the two current stations and you must set the TX priority of display1 or display2… its very annoying and I liked it better before as it would only activate when a signal on the other station was detected. I also noticed that before I facrory reset the radio that the squelch monitor button (the one below ptt) if short pressed would turn the back-light on and if long pressed it would turn the squelch off. Now when pressed no back-light and it instantly turns off the squelch. How do I get this back to the way it was, I see no options for this in the software or chirp. I think these were a newer batch that had been upgraded at the factory but when I reset they reverted to an earlier configuration, any thoughts on how to adjust?

  70. tried that but to no avail. It transferred the settings and frequencies that were stored but the behavior I described stayed the same and still had 29 menus.

  71. Hallo,
    Van de een op de andere dag heb ik een beduidend slechtere audio op ontvangst, van de lokale repeater, pi3hwd.
    Maar niet op de yaesu vx8
    Het lijkt wel op een slechtere ontvangst met een van laag en slecht verstaanbaar audio tot audio in de wat hogere tonen,frequenties.
    Iemand een idee?
    Ik ben heel dankbaar voor de juiste tip.
    Ik ben verder heel erg te spreken over de b5.
    Ik heb zelfs de imitatie programmeer kabel aan de gang gekregen onder Windows 7.
    Groeten, Hein pa3cuu

  72. Just wondering if anyone’s “emergency alarm button” operates correctly. When I depress the button, the radio sends a continuous string of 1/4 second transmit pulses with no alarm. Only if I hold the button for the duration of two or three pulses, then release. will the alarm activate. though sporadically.
    Is this behavior typical?

    • When I press the Emergency Call button on the UV-B5, I hear a voice prompt say “Emergency Call”… immediately afterwards a sinusoidal warbling tone (like American Highway Patrol Car Siren). If I monitor the transmission on another radio, the audio level of the alarm tone received is dependent on the volume level of the UV-B5. So try turning up your volume level on your UV-B5 when using the Emergency Call button.
      Josh/KF4BF

      • Thanks for the reply Josh. OK on the volume knob controlling the level of the alarm, that explains why it initially sounded so low. I have found that mine only reliably and repeatedly operates if I depress the button instantaneously, as if you were sending the letter “e” on a straight cw key, any longer it will not activate.
        Thanks again!

    • Yes, you can. I have not seen hard test results for the Midland FRS/GMRS radio and I never compare apples with oranges, so you are on your own.

      If specifications are worth anything: the Midland delivers 2 Watts more in the UHF band. Assuming all other things being equal, it might outperform the Baofeng.

      • I know of many who use these on FRS and GMRS but have
        Never known of anyone getting caught doing it so far.
        I’m not sure how they would be able to enforce
        that as long as you transmit on the correct power and frequencies at least on GMRS,
        They probably would never know, but who knows with big brother
        watching. I don’t think MURS is fCC approved on them either.

      • Sometimes you’re lucky, sometimes not. This $30.000 fine for illegal GMRS use dates just a few months ago. I’ve seen more examples, but I don’t keep track.

        1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, we find Remel, Inc. (Remel) and its
        corporate parent, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. (Thermo Fisher), apparently liable for a forfeiture in the
        amount of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) for their apparent willful and repeated violation of Section
        301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act), and Sections 1.903(a) and 95.3 of the
        Commission’s rules (Rules).

        2. The apparent violation involves the unlawful operation of radio frequency
        devices on a General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) frequency for more than nine years without
        Commission authority.

      • Yea mess with big brother at your own risk. Looks like that business was unlicenced for 9 years or somthing to that extent, i thougt gmrs was limted to immediate family only, so each employee must have a “licence” unless immediate “family” of the licensee…. But if you do have a GMRS licences, would they really even know if you used a “baofeng” so long as it was set within the correct power limits and frequencies settings for gmrs?…. at least for casual or emergancy use? With testing equipment , you can set these up to transmit under 500mw to be under FRS specs… Ever heard of anyone getting fined for specifically using a “baofeng” for GMRS , FRS murs, etc. ?

      • These folks were likely nabbed by the FCC field office in Kansas City Mo, as this company’s located on the outskirts of the metro area. OK here’s more..

        According to the FCC, GMRS is a land mobile radio service available to individuals for “short-distance, two-way communication to facilitate the activities of licensees and their immediate family members.” Part 95 GMRS licenses are only available to individuals. “Entities primarily engaged in communications associated with commercial activity, such as the companies, must instead apply for Commission authorization under the Industrial/Business Pool of the PLMRS [Private Land Mobile Radio Service],” the FCC told the companies. The FCC warned Thermo Fisher in 2012 about its operation of an unlicensed base station repeater on 462.575 MHz at its facility in Lenexa, Kansas. Thermo Fisher told the FCC that it had operated handheld radio transmitters “for a number of years” but discontinued their operation last year as soon as the firm became aware that the radios were not properly licensed.

        So, in essence the unlicensed repeater was the beginning of the end. No Morse or verbal station I,D. and the fact the nature of their radio traffic and use was unauthorized for the service they were operating within. Now, I’m not advocating using a radio that is not type accepted, but total flagrant willful ignorance was the motivational factor behind this enforcement action.

        http://hamgear.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/review-baofeng-uv-b5-baofeng-uv-b6/?replytocom=5157#comment-form-load-service:WordPress.com

  73. Hallo, Hans.
    Even Een Vraag over de UV-b5.
    Ik heb het idee dat de mijne iets naast frequentie staat tijdens ontvangst.
    Pas zag ik een keer iets van een error melding over unlock.
    Is er een manier om dit te controleren?

    Ik hoor het graag.
    Vast de beste wensen en mijn dank
    Hein.
    Pa3cuu

    • Hallo Hein,

      wat een enkele keer voorkomt is dat het bandkabeltje wat de beide printen met elkaar verbindt, niet helemaal lekker in de connectors zit. Dat kan leiden tot verschillende problemen die op het eerste gezicht niet aan elkaar gerelateerd lijken te zijn.

      Controleer / fix de bandkabel eerst, en doe daarna een volledige reset. Als het probleem blijft bestaan zal je met je leverancier moeten praten over garantie / vervanging.

  74. Hans,
    In Nederland worden veel Baofeng porto’s gekocht.
    Ik zit vaak te luisteren over problemen met het instellen van frequenties.
    De handleiding is erg summier.
    Is het mogelijk dat er een goede handleiding kan komen in het Nederlands.
    Ook voor de software via de PC.
    Veel amateurs zullen je dankbaar zijn.

    Mvg,
    Karel

    • It depends on where you live. That might sound weird, but it isn’t. The UV-B5 has a much better receiver, capable of handling strong out-of-band signals, something you often run into in a big city. It’s a no frills no thrills radio.

      As soon as you are in ‘the clear’, the UV-82 is a good buy as well. It’s generally a nice radio for the money, and has one extra Watt of output on both bands. The receiver however is easily overloaded.

      • Worse or better is nothing!
        If you focus on sensitivity and the reception is good and the volume is not so important you take the B5 or B6.In near the PC and plasma TV, the search but ever hang.

        If you focus on robustness and good audio volume and you want to do in the vicinity of electronic devices operating one takes the UV82.
        Also has a bit more power, not so important, but sometimes crucial …
        It’s that simple …

  75. Thanks for the info. It is too bad they didnt beef up the receiver on the 82. It is supposed to have a completely different board than the 5 series.

    • Sorry if I ruin your party: this is typical Baofeng marketing. One radio, many model numbers. They want people to believe that there are new, upgraded models. There aren’t.

  76. Ik had hier de uv-b5 en de yaesu vx-8 naast elkaar op tafel staan toevallig.
    beide op de lokale 70 cm repeater.
    Toen de callgever van het relais in de lucht kwam, gaf de yaesu hem weer gebroken in stukjes met een hoop gekraak, en de uv-b5 gaf hem netjes weer, zonder weg te vallen in de squelch.
    Dan krab je toch eens achter je oor, zo van he?

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