Baofeng UV-B5 / UV-B6 additional notes

Battery life
I couldn’t comment on this at first due to the necessary three deplete/charge cycles. The battery life of the Baofeng UV-B5 is reasonable, but not as good as my UV-5R. I can use the UV-B5 for about one day, after which I need to change or recharge the battery. The UV-5R standard battery (rated 1800mAH) lives about two days. Either the 2000mAH is a bit on the optimistic side, or the UV-B5 is a real energy sucker.

Buying a spare battery seems to be a good idea, just like with the Wouxun KG-UVD1P. I have some spare batteries for the UV-B5 on order; let’s see if they’re any better.

Belt Clip screws
Baofeng listened: the latest batches of UV-B5 radios are now equipped with screws of sufficient length.

FM Radio
Normally I don’t review the FM radio section of these cheap HTs, because I don’t care. Naturally at some point in time I start to play around with them. Before posting my findings, I cross-checked with both Carel PA3EHA and Bob K0NR (if you don’t follow his blog already: you really should).

Problem 1: scanning the FM band works fine. When it stops on one of my favorite stations, I can add it the memory system. So far so good. When I recall an FM station however, I often hear hiss and noise instead of the stored station. Pressing the Menu button twice clears up things. Very odd.

Problem 2: when tuning the FM band manually, the UV-B5 is unwilling to leave the initial frequency. It is as if there’s an AFC system built in with the the determination of a Pit bull. Pressing the FM button twice clears up the situation.

These findings do not in any way change my opinion about this radio as expressed in my review, but Baofeng should fix it nonetheless.

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12 comments on “Baofeng UV-B5 / UV-B6 additional notes

  1. Bedankt voor de aanvulling.
    Die van mij is onderweg en er komt ook een programmeerkabel en reserve batterij.
    Het zal wel een dagje of 10 duren.
    Ik laat je t.z.t. weten wat mijn bevindingen zijn.

  2. Hi Hans,

    Thanks for the thorough reviews of these LCRs! I received my B5 this week and have had a chance to play around a bit.

    I noticed the same FM problems you did, along with the [menu][menu] fix. I also cannot turn the volume all the way down on my B5 (like my first BFB231 UV-5R). It’s a little louder than you reported though. I would normally keep the volume at that level when indoors, maybe a bit louder.

    While the B5′s VHF receiver is better than the 5R, it still shuts down with strong nearby signals. It is completely deaf when connected to my external omni antenna (4.5 dBd gain on VHF).

    I think the audio quality of the radio is not very good. I will need to do some more detailed analysis. But initial results are that the audio quality does not permit good AFSK decoding.

    Cheers,

    Rob
    wx9o

    • Hi Rob,

      from what I noticed here, even the best mono band HTs will ‘shut down’ to some extent when connected to a good outdoor antenna. While the UV-3R and UV-5R will completely play dead when I connect them to my Diamond X-300, especially on UHF, the UV-B5 keeps receiving signals with just a little bit of noise. For an HT this price this is quite amazing.

      Although I agree this is a good field test, it is also a little bit extreme. After doing all the standard measurements, I prefer to look at the performance of an HT in its original configuration, e.g. while using a good quality helical antenna. After all, this is a dirt cheap hand held, not an expensive dual band mobile / base radio.

      I have no experience with AFSK decoding. Any results from your test will be appreciated.

      • Of course you are right. I am trying to compare this radio with a TH-D72, which works just fine when connected to my Diamond X-50AN. The TH-D72 is 10x the price of this radio. I picked up the B5 for $43 on aliexpress.com

        I am trying to construct an inexpensive APRS digipeater and iGate for remote locations. I would rather spend money on a good antenna than a powerful radio — for one because the power budget is a factor. In a remote location, this radio would probably work pretty well. However, I am testing this in a very RF-congested location in downtown Chicago. That leaves me at a bit of a disadvantage.

        My temporary solution for testing is a directional antenna pointed at a digipeater that is about 180* away from the biggest source of interference. I will let you know how the audio issue progresses.

      • Just a follow-up on AFSK decoding. It actually works quite well. But, for best results, the UV-B5 requires a lower volume setting than what I had been using on the UV-5R.

  3. Hello,
    The first impression is very nice. It fit very good in the hand, the beltclip is made to fit like this.
    Second: i don’t need any cable to proam it, (like UV-5R who can put names to the channels only by PC)
    I got the UV-B6 Radio one week ago and i do not regret at all for buyng it. It has a good stability on frequenty and a very good reception, instead of UV-5R. The antena that camed with the radio is twice as good as the original antena of UV-5R.
    I hit several repetears at >125 km in straight line with it, and i had a good reception also with the original antena. When i used the Nagoya NA-770 antena on top of my car, it worked fabulos.
    The batery is find, i can use it 2-3 days, not very mutch, or 1-2 days more more intensive use.
    I will order these days a microfone, headset and one more batery (for the time i travel).
    Just to mention that the Keypad Look button is MENU button, and reset combination is also different from the one in the manual: push the MENU button while turn it on.
    The thing i don’t like is the way it does the dual stand-by. It can be activated without PC (in the manual it say that it can be activated only by PC). I will try to do it with the programing cable to see if it change anything.
    Finally, i am glad i spent 35$ on it on Alibaba. Works find.

  4. Hi Hans, thanks for your effort. Ur test is the reason i decided to order one of these tiny things.
    Regards from the neighborhood ;O), Holger DL6ABM

  5. I just bought an UV-5R and there are some things that I find very annoying: first, you can’t really modify the parameters of a stored channel without deleting it first. Do you know if you can modify some of the settings, and then update the stored channel? For example I have for a certain frequency the transmit power set to low. Can I change the transmit power and have this stored in the memory without needing to erase the whole channel first? I find this feature VERY important and my current UV-5R simply can’t do this.
    Another problem is the channel name using only the PC (for UV-5R) but I understand that this problem is resolved on UV-B5. And i have another concern: can I cahnge the PTT-ID from the menu? or does it have such a thing as UV-5R?
    Thank you in advance

    • I now realize that I wasn’t very clear on the first line: I was talking about UV-5R, and I know that I can’t update the values from the menu. I am actually interested if UV-B5 can change that values from the menu and store those changes. Sorry for the confusion.

    • On the UV-B5 you can reprogram the contents memory position without deleting it first – you just overwrite them, and preferred power output will be stored along with it. PTT ID can be changed without software too.

      There’s once thing: after reprogramming a memory channel, you might have to re-enter the channel name. This can be done without software too.

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