Review – BTech UV-5X3 TriBand Handheld

by John ‘Miklor
5X3 front 4UV-5X3
Although the case design is familiar, the radio inside is not.  BTech has recently introduced the new UV-5X3 to the US Ham Radio market.  This radio is a true triband transceiver with internal filters specifically configured for triband operation.The firmware in this radio has been reworked to include several new features not found in similar appearing radios.
In the Box

Included with the radio are the:
–  1500mAh Li-Ion Battery **
–  85 page User Guide – English
–  Charger base & AC adapter
–  Hand strap
–  Belt clip
–  PTT Earpiece / Microphone
–  Antenna (1) – VHF / UHF  6  5/8″ (16.9cm)   A-V85
–  Antenna (2) –  220 MHz    6  3/4″ (17.4cm)
** This is the identical battery that is commonly mislabeled as 1800mAh on some handhelds.
Tri-Band – VHF  220  UHF
The UV-5X3 was specifically designed as a Tri-Band transceiver.  The internal filtering allows not only the traditional VHF and UHF frequencies, but also includes the 222-225 MHz Ham band for the US.
.   5X3 label 2Case Design
The UV-5X3 has the traditional case design, which allows me to use my high capacity  BL-5L  3800mAh battery with no alteration to the base. Accessories such as my mobile battery eliminator, Spkr/Micr, etc. are fully compatible.
The frequency range is VHF 130-176 / 222-225 / UHF 400-480 MHz, supporting both Wide and Narrowband with 2.5kHz steps.The radio’s filtering scheme allows for full power on all bands. My OTA audio reports have been clean with clear with mellow audio.  Power levels are respectable using a Bird VHF/UHF Termaline.
UV-5X3 146
High 5.2 4.2 4.6
Low 1.7 1.6 1.6
DTMF / IRLP Access

Something new also appearing on this model is a DTMF gain adjustment, allowing me to adjust the DTMF audio to the transmitter to a comfortable level for both repeater control and IRLP access.
Tone Burst
If you are in a area that requires tone burst for repeater or network access, the 1000Hz, 1450Hz, 1750Hz, and 2000Hz burst are accessible by pressing the PTT along with one of the four pre-assigned keypad keys.
The receiver sensitivity is excellent, and the audio quality is clear, loud, and undistorted. Along with the 3 TX/RX bands, the receiver also includes the traditional commercial FM radio band. (65MHz-108MHz)
Tone Scanning – The receiver also has the ability to identify the tone of a repeater being transmitted by a received signal.
Scan Add / Delete
This feature gives me the ability to add / delete channels from the scanning list using the keypad. No longer a software only function. The more I can do from the keypad, the better I like it.
A Long Press of the [*SCN] button will start the scanning process.Channel Mode – When scanning with the Display Sync set to ON, the upper and lower display will scan together. This is explained below under Display Synchronization.Frequency Mode – When entering Scan, the image below will appear on the screen. Enter the first 3 digits set the range start, the second 3 digits sets the stop.
Example: Entering   146 : 146
Start  the scan range at  146.000
Ends the scan range at  146.999
5X3 scan rangeAntenna
I found two antennas included with the radio. One was the standard upgraded A-V85 antenna, and a slightly longer one for the 220MHz band.
Antenna (1) – VHF / UHF  6  5/4″ (16.9cm)   A-V85
Antenna (2) –  220 MHz    6  3/4″ (17.4cm)
The separate antenna specifically tuned for 220 MHz is a great addition. The SWR shows 1.3 which is excellent. No compromise. I labeled my 220 antenna, as they are very close in appearance.

The radio has a tri-color display, allowing the color options of the blue, orange and purple.  The LCD can be formatted in either of three formats. Choices are Frequency, Channel number, or up to 6 Alpha Characters.
Display Synchronization
The UV-5X3 supports display syncing, which gives ability to track both the upper and lower LCD. I keep mine set to display the channel name in display A, and the frequency in display B. When you change the channel, both the upper and lower displays move together.5X3 sync.
Manual programming is pretty straight forward once you enter a few channels. A programming guide can be found at Manual Programming with a Menu Definition summary available at Menu Definitions.
The software support for the UV-5X3 can be found in the Latest Daily Build of CHIRP. There are a few new options that will be added to the 5X3 in the near future. One is the ability to Stun, Kill, Revive. This gives you the ability to disable your radio remotely.
3rd Generation Chipset
The new chipset (RDA1846S and RDA5802N) provides reduced AGC switching noise and a low-IF digital audio processor for improved sound quality.
Programming Cable
The programming cable requires a traditional two pin Baofeng / Kenwood style. There are several cable available. The generic cables may require special drivers, due to the use of cloned chips. For Plug and Play, a cable using an FTDI chip is recommended.cableK2 Conclusion
The UV-5X3 firmware has obviously been reworked to include:
–  Tri-Band Support: VHF/1.25M/UHF
–  D-ANI  (Display incoming DTMF Tones)
–  Synchronized Displays
–  DTMF audio gain level adjustment
–  Add / Remove Channels from Scanning list via keypad (LCD Dot Indication)
–  On the Fly scanning by Frequency Range
–  4 Tone Burst options
–  Remote Stun, Kill, Revive
It appears that BTech has once again managed to stay one step ahead of the curve. With the 220 MHz ham band operation back on the rise in the US, this radio hit the market at the right time.  Even if 220 isn’t popular in your area, the additional new features still give it an edge over the traditional dual band series.
More Information:,  BaofengTech,  CHIRP

19 comments on “Review – BTech UV-5X3 TriBand Handheld

  1. I received my Radio today and in 10 min I was on the air. I programmed it using CHIRP and put in both 70cm, 2m and 1.25m freq the all work great it a great new radio

    • @Bill KS4MX – Would you happen to have a UV-5R before getting the UV-5X3? If so, are you using the same cable to connect to Chirp?

      I just received my UV-5X3. I am getting “Radio did not respond” when using Chirp. I noticed the jacks are slightly off to the right. On my UV-5R, the jacks are centered and communicates with Chirp just fine. I think I will return and wait for the next version of the UV-5X3, whenever that may be.

  2. I am buying my first amature radio. How does the performance of this radio on 2meter and 70 cm compare to the UV-82HP and the BF-F8HP? Which do you recommend?

  3. The basic internal board designs are very similar on each.
    Although the 82HP and F8HP are both 7-8W, there are several extra features in the 5X3, such as the synchronized display, add/delete scan channels via the keypad, and of course the 1.25m band.
    My go to radio today is the 5X3 for the 3 reasons above.


    • If we exclude 220 band support, would you choose the 5X3 or the Anytone NSTIG-8R? Looking at one of those two as my first handheld.

      Thanks, and great site.

  4. I just got mine…. I did find out it will NOT display incoming DTMF tones as advertised…. or so far, I haven’t discovered it, even though the option is enabled. It easily programmed with Chirp. I use the USB chip as suggested as a cheap alternative by Miklor. The functions need described/documented for the Chirp settings. The stock 220 antenna isn’t bad;but I use my 2meter/220 antennas that I used on my other Baofengs.

    • John, to display the CTCSS tone being sent by a repeater, try the following.
      –   Radio must be in VFO mode, not MR (channel) mode.
      – Enter frequency
      – MENU 11 (CTCSS)
      – MENU
      – select 67.0 Hz
      – Press SCAN
      This will start the scanning process. I hope this assists.
      Reference item (5.2) at

      • Didn’t help… question was DTMF tones, NOT CTCSS 🙂 I have noticed, however, random digits going across my screen at times, like it is receiving some weird tones sent by ghosts.

      • Yeah. Did that. Just tried again. It works; but you have to key fast. Plus, earlier I may have descended mine.

        Have you noticed random numbers appear on yours when you have that function enabled? Doesn’t happen all the time.

  5. You have to key them in quickly to test, as the actual ANI codes come through approx 5 chars per second.
    I haven’t noticed any extra characters, but I don’t use ANI here, John, so menu 40 is turned OFF.

    • Forgot to follow up. Yes.. it needed a fast sequence to display them. Works fine. I really don’t need the function; but it does increase the cool factor. Thanks for the guidance.

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