First impressions Baofeng GT-3 Mark II

GT-3 Mark II Stock PhotoToo many things under review: bunch of switching power supplies, TYT digtal radios, Baofeng GT-3 Mark II, and a new QYT dual-band mobile.  Because some things require more preparation or research (= time), it’s not always possible to publish articles in the same order as the stuff arrives.

Back to the Baofeng GT-3 Mark II, which is a project of a company called Sainsonic.  Their goal was to improve the original UV-5R design to something worthy boasting about. The first GT-3 didn’t really impress me – too much UV-5R behavior survived in that model, up to the sub-par antenna. The Mark II is a different story.

I finished the field tests. The Baofeng GT-3 Mark II solves a number of flaws present in the early model, while preventing the introduction of new problems such as the ‘beep’ bug found the the latest UV-5R models.

So far I found out that:

  1. The new stock antenna is a major improvement over the short UV-5R antenna
  2. The quality of the front-end improved
  3. TX audio is so good that it’s almost indistinguishable from a good mobile radio
  4. There’s no ’rounding down’ bug anymore when entering frequencies by hand

If there are no nasty surprises regarding output, sensitivity and harmonic suppression, the Baofeng GT-3 Mark II might well be the best Baofeng to date. Back to the shack, where I will dissect the thing further.

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20 comments on “First impressions Baofeng GT-3 Mark II

    • John,

      I already found out the hard way. I never noticed that with the first GT-3, because at that time I was using a home made cable which doesn’t have that problem.

      Good link, will be included in the final review.

  1. Hans, in your review, can you please check the following:
    1. What settings are there for the backlight? Can you set it to stay on for an extended period? The UV-B5 is a pain in this regard.
    2. Can it have cross band offsets, to allow TX on 2m and RX on 70cm or vice versa for satellite use.

    • 1. You can fine tune backlight duration up to 10 seconds.
      2. Yes you can program an ‘odd split’. Most Chinese radios can do that.

  2. Any details about the front-end changes ? I find it hard to believe there is any significant improvement unless they change the design completely, performance is limited by the RDA1846, a transceiver-on-a-chip rated at -6dBm input IP3.

    Have they fixed the squelch settings ?

    • No other details about the front-end performance other than a direct comparison between a standard UV-5R, the first GT-3, and the Mark II. It’s the same chip, so whatever is responsible, it’s not the chip. I have a theory, but have to test it first.

      The squelch levels are about the same, unfortunately. Actually I didn’t expect this version to do much better because the squelch system is noiselevel-based. While cheap, this way to implement squelch has serious limitations. Even the slightest whisper from a modem, router or similar equipment is enough to open up the squelch, even at level 9.

      A better way to implement squelch would be based on signal strength, much like the system used in the Yaesu FT-60/VX-170/VX-177. In these radios you can set a S-value, which acts as a threshold.

      This isn’t possible in radios based on UV-5R designs — there is no circuit capable of measuring signal strength.

    • chip is one thing, but those chinese radios have hardly ANY filters installed, adding few switchable filters would cost them maaaybe $2 in components, but would make radios a lot better

      • Where do you get this info ? It is very obvious from the schematic of the UV-5R that there are 7-pole low-pass Cauer filters in series with some series band-pass networks for each band. Or you mean to split each band in several sub-bands and use narrower filters for each ? If so, it’s like using a hammer to break an egg: you are overdoing it, it will be messy and you won’t get the result you were hoping for. It’s simpler to implement better dynamic range in the RF chain, much much more benefits.

  3. You guys get any info on the GT-5? Looks alot like a spiffied up UV-82. Wonder if they added the auto mode select the newer 5R’s got. That was really the only thing that swung me away from the 82.

    • The ABCD DTMF keys are these, they’re just not labeled as such. They are horizontal across the top of the keypad (Menu, Up, Down, Exit) instead of vertical down the right side.

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