After 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.
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).
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.
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.