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. lists the radio for $27.50, shipping included.

14 comments on “Baofeng BF-A5

  1. I wish they sold a VHF version of this that was equally as cheap. I wouldn’t mind having a few cheap, low-feature portables to program and give to family members.

    • It seems there was a VHF version once, but it never made it to the sales channels. I never was able to find, or get hold of one.

      On some BF-666S boxes the VHF version is still mentioned.

  2. Its a cheap piece of crap for cheap people. I wouldn’t buy anything with the name Beofung on it! I wish they would ban that crap for export into the USA. It does not teach anything, it does not do anything, it just lets people talk – which isn’t the real purpose of amateur radio.. We already have telephones and cell phones, which we can use to do that. It gives a false sense of being a real ham, because in an emergency, we have to believe that the repeater isn’t going to be there, and by itself – it doesn’t talk very far or for very long using high power – simplex. The repeater – not the radio, does all the work! No repeater means no ability to communicate with others. We have reduced amateur radio to just a bunch of know nothing Citizens Band people with a license. If they marketed this device for what it is good for – line of sight communications – such as to keep track of a group of people at a hamfest or field days – during a antenna party, and not market their product as a substitute for an actual transceiver, I wouldn’t have a problem with it! What good is a ham without a ham radio and antenna – good for nothing – that I can think of..

    • Yes, it is cheap, and yes, these radios are far from perfect. Most hams do not buy them to serve as a primary radio, at least not here in the Netherlands. It’s more of a cheap toy to play with, sitting next to a Kenwood or Yaesu radio. They’re just fun.

      That said, a ‘real’, high quality, brand name radio doesn’t teach you anything either.

    • You left out the part about how amateur radio was ruined when the FCC dropped the code requirement (sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

      Back on topic, these inexpensive BaoFeng/Pofung radios work surprisingly well for the cost. I can’t justify spending $100+ on a handheld, but for under $40 it’s hard to resist. Can’t wait for the inexpensive Chinese HF radios to come out (although it may be unrealistic to see a major price difference compared to the big three based on how many of the Chinese mobile radios are priced.)

    • Most HAMs that I know have at least one or two BaoFengs in their collection. For anywhere between $30 – $50 each they’re a fun toy to play with, and work reasonably well. They’re also perfect to use in situations where a radio might get broken or damaged, if you break these you just get another one. If you break your high end Kenwood then you have a problem. Also, these have been GREAT for the hobby – there’s an influx of new people in my area (myself included) that got their start off of one from eBay as they’re perfect for listening to the local repeaters. I suspect it’s the same in other places, as well.

      I also highly disagree with your statement that talking isn’t the real purpose of amateur radio. That’s exactly what it’s for! If you didn’t have the desire to communicate with others then you wouldn’t have bothered to begin with.

      You remind me a lot of the elitist audiophile guys – if it’s not expensive, it’s garbage. That isn’t true with them, and it isn’t true with amateur radio, either. These radios have been a godsend to what was previously a slowly dying hobby.

      • “I also highly disagree with your statement that talking isn’t the real purpose of amateur radio. That’s exactly what it’s for! If you didn’t have the desire to communicate with others then you wouldn’t have bothered to begin with.”

        The purpose of ham radio is always up for debate. First of all, it’s just a hobby. I’m one of those people who think that talking to other people is just a result of a successful experiment with equipment and antennas. In many ways I regard QSO’s to be secondary, not primary.

        Smart lawyers, paid by people or companies hating antennas, emphasize on the communication part and argue that you could as well pick up a phone or use Skype. If this hobby is just about communicating they’re right, and the few privileges we got left when we want to erect an antenna will one day dissipate into thin air.

    • Sorry B.O.!
      I believe you missed the mark by a huge margin. However valid your opinions might seem to you, I respectfully believe you philosophical approach is completely wrong. You start a hobby because one ore more of it´s aspects are appealing to you, not because of the opinionated beliefs of some self-appointed guru.
      If you enjoy collecting butterflies for instance, it might be because of the challenge in capturing them, for the beautiful colors or whatever floats your boat. As long as you don´t break any laws or endanger protected species, you won´t give a hoot if somebody tould you the reasons why you should be doing it or how to catalog your collection, would you?
      By the same token, ham radio is hobby practiced by different people with just as many different reasons and motivations. In my opinion, cheap sets fill a useful niche, as nobody in his right mind should blow half a paycheck to buy an expensive rig just to get started in a hobby they might abandon or dislike soon thereafter.
      If you can afford expensive sets right from the start and became a ham just for the experimentation/tech aspects, then more power to you. Other hams might and have the right to belive otherwise and enjoy other facets of the hobby.
      As a final comment it´s “Baofeng”, not “Beofung”. It might be useful to carefully check your facts before starting a rant or trashing a brand/equipment/activity.

    • Want to know what’s ruining this hobby? I’ll tell you. It’s not people with Baofengs, it’s people like you that treat new hams like crap. You come across as a bitter old ham that’s mad because he paid $200 for a Yaesu that can’t do anything more than what a $40 Baofeng can do.

      Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and realize that ham radio is a very broad hobby and not everyone will take the same approach to it that you do.

  3. Pingback: Baofeng BF-A5 : Un portable jetable | Radioamateurs-France

  4. I saw these on AliExpress about a month ago. Some dealer was doing a deal and they were coming out about £11 to £12 shipped (Dollar rate was slightly better then).

    Thought about buying them, because they were so cheap and then thought, what the hell am I buying them for, I really don’t have a use for them.

  5. I have a BF-A5 radio.
    Written on the battery – 7.4 V nominal voltage.
    In fact, there is – 3.7 V.
    Transmitter power is approximately – 3 W
    In general, a good radio.
    Bad that cheat and sell battery 3.7 V.

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