Review Baofeng UV-82

UV-82-1After some initial problems and a busy weekend I finally got around finishing the review of this new radio. If you hate lengthy reviews: this is mainly a Baofeng UV-5R in disguise. If this is all you wanted to know you can leave now.

Still here? Some things changed for the better, some for the worse, but most things (including notorious UV-5R flaws) didn’t change at all. Below are my findings in a nutshell. I didn’t make many pictures yet, but will add a few later.

UV-5R vs UV-82: differences

  • One thing you can’t miss is the size of the radio. In my experience this is one of the strong points of the radio. The UV-82 feels much more comfortable in your hands, the keys are larger and RX audio sounds slightly better, probably as a result of better acoustics.
  • Instead of one dual-color LED at the front of the radio the UV-82 has two separate LEDs located on top.
  • The flashlight now includes a strobe function.
  • The VFO/MR key disappeared. Holding Menu while turning on the radio switches from VFO to memory and vice versa.
  • The Band key disappeared. Band can be selected in the menu.
  • TX audio is improved when compared to some UV-5R versions (mine never had such problems BTW)
  • The battery is bigger and shaped differently.
  • Longer antenna, supposedly suitable for use up to 520 MHz.
  • Dual PTT keys. Press the upper one to transmit on VFO A, press the lower one to transmit on VFO B.
  • RX roger beep (see menu 40)
  • Higher power output, but harmonic suppression suffered
  • Improved manual, but content can still be confusing at times.

UV-5R vs UV-82: similarities

  • Programming memories still awkward
  • Still no option to add alpha tags without using software
  • ‘Rounding Down’ bug still there when entering frequencies by hand
  • Sensitivity unchanged (was excellent anyway)
  • Front end quality unchanged (still poor)
  • Squelch levels don’t mean much, if anything at all
  • S-meter still isn’t one (on/off effect, full deflection when Monitor button is pressed on a quiet frequency)
  • Regardless of what’s printed on the label, the battery capacity is still 1800mAH.
  • Both radios use the same .dat format for programming.

Power Output

VHF (145 MHz)
Low: 2.5 Watts
High: 5.3 Watts

UHF (435 MHz)
Low: 1.4 Watts
High: 3.9 Watts

On average there’s a gain of 1 Watt when compared to the UV-5R. Contrary to popular belief this won’t translate into a better range. Only antenna quality and antenna height can make a difference, and so does the lack of obstacles (buildings, trees, hills).

Harmonic Suppression

All UV-5R models I own perform quite good. This radio behaves a bit differently, possibly due to the higher power output. There are more visible peaks in the spectrum and overall suppression suffered a bit. I had to make an extra screenshot to show a 4th harmonics on VHF. Interestingly, it’s stronger than the second.

UV-82-VHF1

VHF second harmonics: -55dBm. Acceptable.

UV-82-VHF2

VHF third harmonics: -48dBm. Room for improvement..

UV-82-VHF3

VHF fourth harmonics: -55dBm. I don’t want to see this one at all.

UV-82-UHF1

UHF second harmonics: -50dBm. Acceptable (but only just).

UV-82-UHF2

UHF third harmonics: -57dBm. Acceptable.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a Baofeng UV-5R in a bigger package delivering more RF power, this radio might be just for you. There are some changes I don’t like, such as the disappearance of the VFO/MR button. Switching the radio off and on to switch back and forth? Come on, give me a break!

The dual PTT system as a replacement for the ‘preferred TX VFO’ option looks nice, but proved to be confusing at times. If you don’t pay attention you’ll press the wrong button more often than not. It’s probably just a matter of getting used to.

Improvements I really hoped to see (better front end like the UV-B5, no rounding down bug, user-friendly programming, alpha tagging from the keyboard) didn’t materialize. Improvements blind ham radio operators would love to see (hear!) aren’t there either. Menus still are announced in such a way that it is of no use to them. Go to the parameter menus for example and you won’t hear anything at all. How can they find out which CTCSS tone is displayed in the screeen? As far as they’re concerned, the voice prompt is pretty much useless.

The S-meter still isn’t one, and squelch levels still don’t mean much. The RX roger beep is silly, and so is the strobe function on the flashlight. Then there is the drop-in charger, which is constructed in such a way that it will be the first thing to fail prematurely. Dear Baofeng, we know you can do better. We will gladly pay you a few bucks more.

So, is the Baofeng UV-82 a bad radio? No, not at only $50. There’s just not enough progression to warrant dumping your UV-5Rs and replace them by this one.

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96 comments on “Review Baofeng UV-82

  1. So what is your current favorite Baofeng if you were buying new without owning anything? What is your current favorite Chinese HT overall?

    • For ham radio use the UV-B5 / UV-B6. While boring in appearance and lacking fancy options, these radios deliver. When price is less important, Wouxun is still the way to go (or maybe the Quansheng TG-UV2 if you don’t need DTMF).

      • From all cheap radios you like the UV-B5 / UV-B6 best, or is the UV-82 the better radio.
        I have to decide i thake the UV-B6 or UV-82, i like the more power, but the UV-B6 is easier to get here, i am from the Netherlands.
        What would you take the UV-B6 or UV-82.

      • Hello Jos,

        the UV-B5 is the better radio in terms of receiver quality and modulation. The receiver of UV-B5 will stand its ground in difficult circumstances, the UV-82 might fail (overload). The amount of overload depends on where you live. You won’t notice it in the middle of nowhere. My location is notorious for receiver overload problems.

        The one Watt extra makes no difference in real life. To gain just one S-point, the output would have to be 16 Watts… in reality all it does is drain you battery faster.

      • Thx Hans for your fast answer, now I now what to do, i will get a UV-B5 or UV-B6, the UV-B5 its not easy to get here, maybe ebay.

  2. I had some high hopes, but kinda of felt this wasn’t going to be much of a upgrade. I now wonder how they let the uv b5 slip out of the factory. Maybe someone else designed it for them :)

    I mod the Yahoo uv b5 group and approving new members at a pretty fast pace now, I think the word is getting out.

    Anyway… 50 greenbacks… Of course I’ll get one.

  3. Good detailed review however I took a few mins out and I believe no two radios are the same,, all very similar, re the harmonics did you try more than one rig?
    RX sensitivity is certainly up on the 5 series
    Overall reports have been excellent, I prefer it over the 5 series to be honest :)
    Price is excellent for what this thing does
    Martyn

    • Hi Martyn,

      I can’t afford buying a whole bunch of them, of course, but I often can borrow one later in time.

      Sensitivity of both the UV-5R and the UV-82 is -129 dBm on VHF, it’s technically almost impossible to improve on that.

    • No problem, I didn’ t mention availability. To the best of my knowledge you’re the cheapest source so far.

      For Europeans eBay or Aliexpress might be a better choice (shipping costs).

  4. “The flashlight now includes a strobe function.”
    Actually my UV-5R does have a strobe function, the firmware on yours must be older.

  5. Temptation got the better of me, just ordered one off ebay at £32 ($48). I guess they hid the VFO/MR switching, which could be a good idea once they are programmed up on Memory, they can be locked and left there without little fingers messing and causing unknown interferance to other services on other freqs out of the users band.

    73 Steve

  6. How does the UV-82 compare with the UV-82L? Two specs I can see for the UV-82L (http://www.radioddity.com/us/baofeng-uv-82l-two-way-radio-dual-band-uhf-vhf-136-174-400-520mhz.html) and (http://www.ebay.com/itm/2014-Baofeng-UV-82L-VHF-UHF-136-174-4-00-520MHz-Ham-Two-way-Radio-Walkie-Talkie-/190900120922?hash=item2c7288ad5a) show that the TX power max for the UV-82L is 8W. But they’re the same price (ebay, Amazon, Radioddity, etc.), so maybe a little better “progression to warrant dumping your UV-5Rs” ?

    • I have seen lots of supposedly 7-8 Watt hand helds, but none of them delivered. What I also see in the specs is that spurious radiation (harmonics) is 7 Watts! Now that would really ruin your day, and would draw (unwanted) attention of authorities from day 1.

      Basically you can’t trust these specs. They’re clearly written by someone who doesn’t know sh*t, can’t translate, or tries to make things look nicer than they really are.

      When looking at the history of the UV-5R, which now has countless varieties which are technically 100% identical, it looks more like another Baofeng variety soap in the making.

      • Apparently you were right! I took both Radioddity and ebay to task on these two ‘specs’ based on your reply, and they have both since corrected their specs to read 5W instead of 8W. Radioddity actually issued a written apology to me for the misleading spec.

      • 7-8 watts ???????
        7-8W output ?????
        I’d be happy if mine managed half that, on my meter ( yes IT IS calibrated and accurate to within 0.15W ) i get 0.75W on low power and 1.1W on high power….which is rubbish…but having 3 other chinese made HT’s that all claim 4-5W output, and none peak over 2.1W i’m not surprise this UV-82L is any different.
        I also have to mobile “Professional” radios, both chinese made, one claiming 45W out on HIGH power, the other 65W on HIGH, and neither of them can hit 23W flat out…..
        These chinese radio’s are a con, and are buyer beware items, one in ten MIGHT work as claimed, the rest in my experience are well below claimed figures.
        I have seen more than 15 UV82 radio’s in the last 4 months, and the HIGHEST output any obtained on my meter was 2.85W on high power.

  7. 8 watts from a 7.4 volt battery is nonsense!
    For this you need other hardware (amplifiers) and higher voltage (11.8 volts).
    The most powerful handheld radio I had was Linton LT 9800th
    Had almost 70cm 6 watts on 2 meters and about 5 watts …
    It still buzzing various devices around the Baofeng Haosheng or about 6.8 watts
    Have output.
    But that is about 100% of possible performance.
    Longer passages and improper antenna and it smokes.
    The Chinese are funny to see the details!!
    Just like in Russia.
    Device receives a different name and there are 2 watts it popped.

    You just have to believe it!
    Walter

    • I am curious as to who on earth said it would do 6 to 8 watts? that preson/company needs educating.
      Its a heck of a good transceiver and selling very well and we have now just been advised it has been granted FCC approval :)

      • When it comes to advertising, you’ve seen nothing yet… Most buyers aren’t even hams, and probably have no clue how to measure output power.

        No knowledge, no complaints, seller gets away with it!

  8. Hi Hans

    In a previous comment on your blog when asked about the UV-5R vs UB-B5 you said

    “I don’t take fancy menu options, colors or looks into account. I don’t even care about FM radio. I mainly look at RX and TX quality. The UV-5R would score a 6, the UV-B5 around 8. All other things are subjective.”

    I am Curious what you would rate the UV-82 out of 10?

    The reason I ask is because they Baofeng makes the following claim about the UV-82L

    “1:The 2014 Baofeng * UV-82L * transmit and receive signals more sensitive than other walkie-talkies, with the new circuit design, stronger stability and anti-interference ability.

    2: Equipped with high quality SMP Speaker, perfect sound quality (Same with the MOTOROLA walkie-talkies)”

    I am curious if this new UV-82L will have similar radio RX and TX performance of the UV-B5/B6

    PS I love your blog, it’s fantastic!

    • Hi,

      the UV-82(L) is not more sensitive than the UV-5R. Actually, most (if not all) Chinese radios show identical sensitivity. The reason for being better than the UV-5R is the better stock antenna, which is identical to the one delivered with the UV-B5.

      Unfortunately the front end hasn’t improved, which causes the UV-82 to overload just as quickly as the UV-5R. Notorious UV-5R flaws/bugs are still there also.

      So, what did we gain?

      1. Better antenna (hence better reception)
      2. Better RX audio (bigger case, better acoustics)
      3. Higher output power (5/4 Watts instead of 4/3 Watts).

      What did we lose?

      1. Charger reliability (already had to repair 2 of them)
      2. Battery life (more output power = lower battery life)

      All in all I see no reason to give the UV-82 more points than the UV-5R. The UV-B5 still wins by a generous margin, thanks to the excellent receiver. There’s no point pumping out more Watts if you can’t hear the other station due to overload.

      • Uh…for me, the UV-82L performs hands-down better than either my UV-B6 or UV-B5 or UV-5RA.

        Using my two favorite (146.76 and 147.08) Utah County repeaters, in direct line-of-site, at 32 miles monitors report difficult-to-hear with the 5RA, snowy with the B6, and full quieting with the 82L, all using the same Nagoya NA-775 1/4-wave whip. Using my home-grown four-radial ground plane (raised 16 feet), I get nearly the same results at 41 miles. With my Arrow OSJ 146/440 J-Pole (raised 9 feet) at 57 miles (no longer line-of-site, but just over the horizon to the north of the repeaters), they can’t hear anything from my 5RA or B5, but hear “some snow” with my 82L. (Results were similar using my Hustler SF-2 5/8-wave vertical raised 27 feet and much worse at 6 feet.)

        Bottom line: I’ll never buy another Baofeng besides the 82, unless I can get it for near-free. And no, I have no idea why the 82 seems to perform better for me than it did for you. These tests were all done on different days, but within a week of each other.

      • In the end it doesn’t matter at all what my findings are. All that counts is whatever works for you. If that’s a UV-82: great!

        Here the UV-82 is unusable due to high levels of RF pollution, combined with the UV-82’s poor front-end.

  9. Thanks for replying to my comment you cleared up what I was curious about.

    I have another generic question but wasn’t sure where to put it.

    I saw in the pictures of your shack you have a couple ICOM units.

    I’m looking for a two way radio/walkie talkie to be used in a rural area ( in Canada on a lake with line of sight) and hoping to communicate upwards of 8-10km distance from some hand held units. I know typically VHF will do better in open areas, but is there something I should be cautious about when some manufacturers claim 5w vs 7w? Will the extra 2 watts help improve distance or will it just add noise?

    I came across some of the marine ICOM IC-V85 units that are 7w with a nice length antenna. Would a unit like this possibly be able to get that range? Or is there another unit you might recommend for this type of application?

    • It is very unlikely that you will notice better range with only 2 Watts extra. You need to multiply the power by 4 to achieve just one s-point (6dB) of gain. Getting out 20 Watts of power out of an HT is not possible, for many technical reasons.

      So, basically, buying 2 Baofeng UV-B5 radios (my favorite at the time of writing) would achieve the same goal as 2 expensive Icom radios.

      Range varies depending on terrain, but when there aren’t any obstructions 10 Km doesn’t sound impossible. The best way to improve range is experimenting with antennas.

    • Hello Haywire —

      If you might be interested in a good quality, robust HT I have a commercial Icom IC-F30-GT with 250 channels VHF (130-174MHz). I have a commercial speaker mike, programming & service software with manuals, instructions for “dealer mode” (i.e., from the keyboard), etc. etc. I’m will to part with. Radio can be programmed for all 250 channels contiguously or programmed into 16 banks. Capable of bank scan according to bank scan lists. I’ve just got too many radio sna dwant to trim back a bit. Let me know whether or not you have any interest. 73!

  10. I want to select what channels I want the UV-82 to scan. I don’t want to scan 40 channels, how can I select what channels I want to scan?

      • Ralph, I’m using CHIRP on my UV-82.
        The Skip column appears blank, but if you click on the field at the far right, the dropdown menu with the S option will appear.

  11. Pingback: 2014 Baofeng UV-82L - The RadioReference.com Forums

  12. Thanks for your review. Just received a UV-82L and couldn’t figure out how to switch to VFO mode. A google search brought me here, thanks for that. I agree it’s not the best way to switch back and forth but for some users there may be a benefit to have a radio ‘locked’ into MR mode. A stretch. You have to wonder what goes on in the meetings where they decide to build a ‘better’ radio but then leave useful buttons out while in general making a better keyboard. Cultural differences perhaps. Still I am amazed at the apparent build quality of these $50 radios. The UV-5RA I got at the same time is also a very nice value. Perhaps there are benefits to the 82 I don’t see yet but right now it appears you might as well keep that $20 in your pocket and get the UV-5. It’s only my first experiment with these cheap HTs though, I’ll have to compare them with my TH-F6A and TH-D72A’s.

    73s,

    Sander W1SOP

  13. I understand you can Press the “EXIT/AB” switch in the upper right-hand corner to switch from VFO to memory without turning the unit off & on.

  14. Does anyone know what the difference between the Baofeng UV82 and UV82L.
    I ordered a 82L and received an 82, I don’t know if it’s worth returning it for the 82L.

    • No difference between the two models at all. Only the ‘X’ version is different (220MHz). I suspect we’ll see a lot more model numbers in the future, just like what happened with the UV-5R. Dozens of model numbers, all the same radio.

    • Mike there is no such model as a UV-82L,, there is the UV-82 and UV-82X and that’s it.. any other letters just ignore as that’s just hype from a retailer (some actually lie about improved specs and firmware) but they are all the same model

      • @ Martyn Allison,
        If what you say is true….then WHY does the sticker under my battery say UV-82L ????
        It’s a little thing called badge engineering, here in Australia we suffered it all the time in the 1990’s…..mostly with cars, and VCR’s….but it was the same….your comment that the type 82L does not exist is not correct…the label on my radio says clearly UV-82L…therefore it IS a UV-82L.
        The fact it is only a sticker, and with some judicious use of self adhesive labels, and a pen i could easily make my radio into a UV-PISSTAKE56B doesn’t make it one, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t either. It is what the label says it is
        It is identical inside to the UV-82, but is different to the 82X. In the same way the NISSAN utility was IDENTICAL to the FORD model of the same year, and just because the sticker on the tailgate said NISSAN, and had an oval shaped lump in the middle of it, which happened to say FORD on it if you removed the NISSAN sticker, didn’t make it less of a NISSAN….or did it ???? :-)

        ( Same way the FORD Maverick was a Nissan Patrol, and when you removed the SAMSUNG branded cover off your VCR, all the components inside had been poorly labelled at the factory, they all said SONY on them……) TEE-HEE

  15. Hi guys,

    I’m new to this and only recently came across UV-5R, which is “cheap-as-chips”, compared to what Radio’s were a few years ago. I am just wondering if the Power Output (5W) is the same for VHF and UHF Band on UV-5R? I have seen the “Power Out” specs above, but I’m assuming they refer to the UV-82 and not UV-5R.

    I love having a manual SQL for adjusting (without going into the Menu), but think that’s just me being old fashioned.

    P. S. Great thread. Very informative. Keep it up.

  16. Thats what I meant – battery.the best for winter and montains are Ni-Cd. Refering to Baofeng, under havy conditions as – 20 or -25 display may get creazy. Digits acting as slow ontion or….vanish at all, especialy in china radios. Try make some test by the way in minus degres condition.

  17. Couple questions:

    1. I noticed a note on this site: http://baofengtech.com/?gclid=CM6hpuGB_bsCFQWTfgod3BwARA regarding updated firmware “including the squelch” issue, and was curious if anyone noticed a difference before and after the S21 update.

    2. I read that the UV-82 has an improved antenna and was curious if there’s any reason to pickup the “$3.97″ (or was it $3.79) antenna if you buy a UV-82.

    3. You review above mentions that harmonic suppression has suffered, and I was curious how much of a concern that is when it comes to radio performance, range, battery life, interference with other devices, etc… Is it something to be really concerned about, just an annoyance, or a technical “technicality” that is interesting, but not worth thinking about if you like everything else about this radio? As a side note, I suspect it’s a hardware related thing that couldn’t be fixed by firmware, right?

    Thanks.

    -Mike

    • Mike,

      Squelch: no idea, maybe someone else?

      Antenna: the stock antenna of the UV-82 is as good as it gets. No reason to ‘upgrade’. More sturdy than the $3.79 antenna, too.

      Harmonic suppression: performance won’t likely suffer, nor battery life, but there’s always a chance that a harmonic interferes with other services. For that very reason I’m always concerned; it could cost me dearly if my signal is spotted somewhere where it’s not supposed to be. Most filtering is still done the old fashioned way – coils, caps and trimmers.

  18. Do you think the harmonic suppression is something they might fix over time in the same model once they start selling it (e.g. maybe better now than when you bought yours?), or do they typically not make further improvements other than firmware once they’ve released a given model of radio?

  19. Hans, Thanks for the review I do have the 82L was my first Baofeng. The question I have is with the scan function ,when I select it I don’t hear anything. The operation frequency arrows move up and down but as soon as I turn it off I hear transmissions. Do I have something set wrong??
    Thanks.
    Gerry

  20. Hans, just found your review. Excellent! I’ve been looking for a pair of HTs to use for a backcountry trip and in addition to the UV 5Rs and 5Bs I’ve come across the slightly upgraded GT-3 and clones like the Tonfa UV-985. I’ve also read about non-Baofeng clones like the Anytone AT-3318. Before reading your information I had believed I needed something with solid Tx of 5w or more and aftermarket antennas. But really what I’m looking for are good Tx and Rx performance, cheap and accessible extra batteries and decent keypad or laptop programability. Have you had any experience with the Tonfas and Anytones. What HT do you recommend at a low price point and if price weren’t as much of an issue what would you recommend for a higher price point? Thanks for all you’ve done to help spread the word on low cost HTs.

    • Tonfa has a rather poor reputation. The quality of Anytone HTs is unknown. If they’re as sloppy with HTs as they were with their first generation dual-band mobiles, you can expect to run into a few design flaws.

      The way I see it at this point in time (can change at any time, depending on new models!): buy the UV-82. Decent keyboard, good stock antenna, and plenty of output power. No major problems to report, except the construction of the charger (can be fixed easily).

      Back country trips, you say? If money would be no issue, I would go for a Yaesu FT-270R. Lots of power, great audio, and 100% waterproof (IPX7). I have its predecessor, and it appears to be indestructible.

  21. I’ve had my UV-82 for about a week now, and I’ve not seen any issue with charging on the charger yet. I’ve probably only charged it twice so far, but I’ve not seen any issue with doing so. Maybe they’ve fixed the charger in newer versions or maybe I’ve just been lucky so far. :-)

  22. I use Baofeng UV-82 in Romania and i cannot use it to transmit ,only to receive.I use it for example on 173.338 frequency and i cannot transmit anything.I don’t know the offset here, i tried many offsets but nothing worked.Can you help me? I cant use this transceiver.Thanks!

  23. Can it be that the people you are trying to talk to are using a different radio? Some radios (Motorola for example) have CTCSS aka PL tones programmed out of the box. They will only hear you if you transmit the same code.

  24. If anyone knows how to get the UV82 apart WITHOUT breaking the case, please let me know, i have removed the screws and tried to gently prise the cover off, but stopped short of the dreaded cracking sound i knew was coming if i persisted. If someone knows how to do it, and has acheived access to the mainboard components, please let me know.

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