UV-5R’s latest bug: listen to the beep

When it comes to keeping track of Baofeng / Pofung flaws, the Miklor page is way ahead of me. I only run into newer models by accident, but don’t order them anymore. It’s just too expensive.

The latest UV-5R bug pointed out by John K3NXU involves muted RX audio when the keyboard beep is switched off. Personally I find keyboard beeps very annoying, and always switch it off. No new model for me, that’s for sure…

It’s a bit of a silly bug, created by a sloppy programmer, and never caught by other Baofeng employees responsible for intercepting these things – if such employees actually exist. Let’s face it: the UV-5R is a dirt cheap product, having competent QA personnel on the payroll might not be feasible.

Not the first time
Since its inception the UV-5R had its fair share of bugs, from being off-frequency on receive to muffled TX audio to meaningless squelch levels. Under ideal circumstances bugs wouldn’t be a problem: just update the firmware and you’re fine. Unfortunately this can’t be done: UV-5R firmware can’t be updated afterwards.

If you can’t live with the bug, the only thing you can do is send it back or wait for a new version to come to market. If you bought directly from China, sending back the radio is often more expensive than buying a new one. Basically you’re screwed. Food for thought if you love conspiracy theories: Baofeng does it on purpose!

business

Which one? UV-5R vs UV-82 vs GT-3

There are now so many radios build around Baofeng UV-5R circuitry and software that potential buyers don’t know which one to pick. Most questions I get by e-mail are about choosing one of these three Baofeng radios: UV-5R (whatever variety), UV-82 and the new GT-3.

UV-5R-UV-82-GT-3

My personal opinion is: get the Baofeng UV-82.

  • Big, professional looking radio, dual PTT key is located where it should be,
  • Better overall performance thanks to more efficient stock antenna
  • One Watt of extra power output on both bands (5 Watts VHF, 4 Watts UHF),
  • Display located where it should be, doesn’t go dark after long transmissions,
  • Better designed keyboard with the 0 (zero) in the right place,
  • Better RX audio thanks to the bigger enclosure (improved acoustics),
  • No issues with muffled or low TX audio,
  • Battery life as good as the other two contenders.

Issues

  • Poorly designed charger. If you buy a UV-82, be prepared to fix it from the moment you pull it out of the box. It’s an easy job, click here to find out why and how.
  • Front-end just as poor as the other two, which means that the receiver overloads quickly. If you need a better receiver, buy a Baofeng UV-B5/B6.
  • New and/or after-market batteries are often labeled and advertised incorrectly. Whatever the label says or whatever the seller says, the battery is 1800mAh, not 2800mAh.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse

Relying on sources here and elsewhere, I had a hunch that the base charger could be powered from a 9v battery.  I have a 9v attached to a type M barrel connector for an Arduino (another neat bit of kit), so I plugged it into the base unit. The LED went red, as if it had been plugged in to the wallwart.  I dropped the UV-5R into the base, and the LED went out, as if under load.
- A 9-volt battery isn’t much of a power house, huh? -

(Seen on the UV-5R group)