Baofeng BF-A5

It appears that the Baofeng BF-666S / 777S / 888S series got a successor: the BF-A5. I spotted the radio earlier, but didn’t care because I assumed that it was the same radio with different looks. That might not be the case.

Baofeng BF-A5Apart from the cosmetic changes this radio appears to have an upgraded chipset. Quote from AliExpress sellers:

Chipset more advanced than radio transmitter Baofeng bf-888s.

BF-A5-BackWhat improvements (if any) we can expect is unclear, but I noticed something interesting when reading the label on the back of the new radio. On the old model the label stated that the power output was less than 5 Watts, which meant that it could be anything between zero and five Watts. Tests showed that it was 2 Watts only.

On the new model the ‘less than’ sign disappeared. This could imply that the power output is now around 5 Watts instead of 2 Watts, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Other welcome improvements would be 1) Less phase noise (= less intermod) and smoother RX audio. We won’t know for sure until we can get our hands on one.

Prices on AliExpress vary between $20 and $30. Note: the cheapest sources are those without any customer feedback; please spend a few bucks more and get it from a reliable seller. 409shop.com lists the radio for $27.50, shipping included.

Pofung (Baofeng) hybrid: CT-3

Brick discovered yet another Pofung/Baofeng model: the CT-3. Most of the specifications are identical to whatever UV-5R variety you pick, but not all. It’s a bit of a hybrid.

Baofeng-CT-3

This version is equipped with dual-PTT, just like the UV-82. Possibly the power output is identical to the UV-82 too (1 Watt more on each band when compared to a UV-5R), but that’s far from certain.

Unfortunately the CT-3 does not use standard UV-5R batteries. This will prevent us from exchanging chargers, batteries and battery eliminators. Pity.

Muddying the waters: Pofung

Baofeng-Pofung

BF-9500Pofung? A new name, but don’t expect anything interesting to happen. From what I could find all Pofung radios are identical to the ones we already know. The name was spotted by Craig N7LB on the Baofeng website.

What Baofeng can do now – and already does – is re-branding products from other manufacturers. One of these products is a mono-band mobile transceiver we all know to be manufactured by Anytone, the AT-588.

In my opinion all of this is only muddying the waters even further, which is the last thing we want.

Baofeng DA-77: Dual-band DMR radio

Baofeng DA-77Jason KC5HWB, Joop PA2JM, Carel PA3EHA and I had some pre-production pictures of this radio for quite a while, but some preliminary specs are now public.

The good
The most interesting fact is that the Baofeng DA-77 is a dual-band radio, something which didn’t exist so far. The second most interesting fact is the expected price point: $129,00.

The bad
Things bothering me a bit: only 160 memory positions and a meager 50 zones. Enough for professional use, but compared to the Connect Systems CS-700 (250 zones of 16 channels each) it’s far from impressive.

The ugly
The shell is identical to that of the UV-82, something I don’t like either. I do understand the decision though; re-using existing shells is much more cost effective than designing a new one. Another advantage is that accessories such as batteries are interchangeable.

Both Jason KC5HWB (Grapevine Ham Radio) and me are on Baofeng’s list for getting a review sample. To be honest I hope Jason gets one first, as he’s much more knowledgeable in this area than I am. Keep an eye on his blog.

Specifications

Dual-band, dual standby, mixed mode (DMR/FM) possible
– VOX
– CTCSS / DCS
– PC Programming
– FM
– Flashlight
– Single, group and general call
– Kill, Stun and revive
– Monitor, remote control
– Scanning
– Power saving
– Noise suppression function
– Manual dialing and storage dialing
– SMS
– AMBE+2TM vocoder

Frequency Range: VHF:136-174MHz AND 400-470MHz
– Memory channels: 160
– Zones: 50
– Operating Voltage: 7.4V
– Battery Capacity: 1800mAh
– Battery Average Working Time(5/5/90): 16 hours
– Frequency Stability: ±1.5ppm
– Antenna Impedance: 50Ω

- Power Output: 5/1 Watt (VHF), 4/1 Watt (UHF)
– Spurious Emission: – 36dBm1GHz/ – 30dBm≥1GHz
– Vocoder: AMBE+2TM

- Receiver Sensitivity: Digital 5%BER ≤0.3µV Analog ≤0.35µV
– Audio Distortion: <3%
– Conducted Radiation: –57dBm

STANDARD PACKAGE:

1. Baofeng DA-77 DMR Two-Way Transceiver
2. Dual-band Antenna
3. 110-240V Desktop Charger
4. Belt clip
5. User Manual
6. 1800mAh batterypack

Baofeng Bluetooth Adapter

It looks like the accessories for Baofeng radios just got a bit more interesting — but it comes with a *very* hefty price tag.

When you can easily buy two UV-5R radios for the price of this adapter, it might be wise to pass on this gadget until the price goes down to a more reasonable level.

Baofeng BlueTooth

  • Genuine BaoFeng Tech Bluetooth Dongle (Only Sold by BaofengTech – insure BaofengTech is your selected distributor to guarantee accuracy in receiving what is described)
  • Easy pairing process. Stores paired connection to the wireless headset even if the Radio is powered off or adapter is removed from the two-way radio.
  • No time delay on either Transmit or Received Audio messages
  • Several Push-To-Talk options: use the PTT button on the BaoFeng Tech bluetooth adapter to initiate transmissions or just use your PTT right on your radio
  • Compatible with thousands of readily available Bluetooth headsets and other audio accessories. (audio accessories not included)

Price: $84.99, seen on Amazon.com.