Baofeng UV 5RV2+ Review: Why Baofeng Radios are a Bad Choice for Preppers

When it comes to emergency communications there’s a lot of advice out there on what types of emergency radios you should carry in your bugout bags. But sadly, the recommendations are usually coming from people who have little to no experience in emergency communications – and most of them have no experience with ham radio.

I’ve been a Licensed Ham Radio operator for over 20 years now, I’ve had numerous radios and talked to people from around the globe; I’ve done so on equipment that ranged from high-tech top of the line gear to cobbled together radio parts and antennas that looked like some sort of mad science fair project. I’m not telling you this to brag, I just want you to know that when I recommend a product, or in this case tell you to stay away from a product, I do so from experience.

The Preppers Radio: The Infamous Baofeng Ham Radio

Baofeng UV 5RV2 Ham Radio

Baofeng Radios are infamous in the prepping community. Go to almost any prepping website and you will see read an article from someone telling you how you need these little radios in your bag, claiming they are the perfect prepping radio: BULLSHIT!

Buying Preparedness gear isn’t something that should be taken lightly, and counting on some cheaply made Chinese crap is only asking for trouble.

Listen, I really wanted to like these radios; I mean who wouldn’t want a radio that often times sells for a tenth of the price of the big boys? But when it comes to preparedness, price is often a reliable indicator of what you can expect.

Baofeng Review from a Real Ham Radio Operator

I planned on doing a couple of videos showing real-world tests, showing you what you can expect from these radios during an emergency; but why bother? When you are shipped multiple units that won’t even reliably hold the battery pack without duct taping it to the radio, is there really even a point to going any further? Is that a radio that you would really trust in an emergency situation?

Baofeng has some of the worst quality control issues that I have ever seen. The radios are mass produced in China, and performance is really a crapshoot from radio to radio.

  • The radios suck as transmitters and the power output widely varies from radio to radio. (Transmit power is rated at 5 Watt; according to my meter it’s putting out about 3)
  • The receiver filtering is BAD! In A/B testing against other brands (Yaesu, Icom, & Kenwood) with identical power and antenna setups, you quickly realize how little the Baofeng actually picks up.
  • Factory Antenna if Horrible! I knew that going in so I ordered a Nagoya Whip Antenna which did help.
  • Baofeng Battery Packs are apparently notorious for not fitting the actual radios! Even during normal operation, the battery will not stay in the radio tight enough to maintain constant power. There are actually websites dedicated to modding the battery pack so it will fit, but again, why bother? If you have to mod a brand new battery pack to fit the radio, is it really a radio that you can count on during an emergency? And because I noticed a few people in the comments claim this isn’t a manufacturer battery — IT IS! The battery came directly from Baofeng, sealed in the box with the radio. I’ve had 3 factory batteries that would not fit right without shaving them down and rigging them to prevent them from falling out during a hike.

Baofeng Alternatives: Ham Radios that Preppers can actually count on!

When it comes to buying a radio that is specifically for preparedness purposes I recommend sticking with the big three: Kenwood, Yaesu, or Icom. Yes, the radios are more expensive, but the quality control doesn’t get much better. I also recommend looking for something that is specifically made for outdoor use in the elements, like the below Yaesu Radios.

58 Comments

  1. Why does everyone seem to support use of products like these from China, when and if a full blown shtf situation occurs, the very country making these products could be the one causing the shtf scenario? I have nothing but problems with anything electronic from China. Likewise in a shtf situation any backdoor programing in the software could render it useless. Shouldn’t we buy American made equipment?

    • I remember the same was said about products from Japan when I was younger. They were crap. So, what are you driving today? American made or Japanese, or shudder Korean? I gave several fine Chinese made SW radios. Sure some of the stuff is bad but we know that if we’re smart and informed consumers.

    • Just Curious How You Can Backdoor Into A HT Radio made in China. Ummmm you can’t so the backdoors you speak of would be electronics, computers, routers, switches that are actually hooked up to wired internet or wi-fi enabled equipment via addon or 3G/4G/LTE, etc. Please do not just jump to conclusions that they can backdoor into a HT radio.

      • No jumping to conclusions needed. Many models of HAM radios have a Kill/Stun feature built in (especially mobile radios). It would be childs-play for the chinese to “backdoor” a certain PLL tone sequence and then flood all frequencies with the sequence thus rendering all chinese-made radios (with this feature) inoperable. Hell, there’s no saying our own Gov’t hasn’t done this. Our own guys have intercepted Fedex and UPS/USPS packages in order to open up electronics and insert pre-fabricated/compromised chips to allow them remote access – so don’t say that his is not possible.

        • Who are you referring to when you say “Our own guys have intercepted Fedex and UPS/USPS packages in order to open up electronics and insert pre-fabricated/compromised chips to allow them remote access”? What evidence (links, articles) do you have to back up that statement? Bottomline is any and every electronic device is subject to tampering, jamming, hacking etc etc.

          • Our government did it on computers going to foreign countries. Computers are intercepted at the company they are bought from (with the companies knowledge) or once in shipment, and then back door devices/software are installed so they can be tracked and keystroke loggers etc, used.

        • your paranoid commentary is delusional at best. these radios are HARDWARE controlled not software. Further not “every electronic device” is subject to electronic tampering. Go get a real education and learn what you are talking about. Just because a computer can set the registers for the frequencies does not mean they can alter the operations of the radio, this is simply the digital equivalent of turning on and off a series of switches to set the frequencies on older scanners. it is not like loading an operating system on a computer. the word PROGRAM can mean many things, just like someone saying you are “smart”.

    • Sorry to say but the “cheap Chinese radios” now include Japans Yaesu. The FT2900 was discontinued at short time ago…great 2m 70 watt unit. It’s replacement, the FT2980, is MADE IN CHINA. Yup.

      As was mentioned, there was a time that Japanese products were considered junk. Now they’re superior to anything available in the US and they’re moving production to China. LOL

      AND to add insult to injury, though perhaps it’s some KARMA…… the Chinese (kings of the “knock off” for so long) radio manufactures are now having to deal with their own products being copied. I suspect this is the reason the author of the article had so many problems. As an Amateur Extra, VE, and VP of our local club….I’ve had ZERO problems with the Baofeng UV-5R. Most issues with the UV-5R are OPERATOR issues or the result of getting a “fake” radio.

  2. I must have gotten the cream of the crop on every Baofeng purchase I’ve made. Let me state out front that I LOVE my Yaesu units. My HF and primary vehicle units are Yaesu. That being said, I’ve run 3 Baofeng UV5-RE Plus units and a BF-F8HP.

    The only problem I’ve ever had is the transmit connection got overpowered on the charger and I have to use an external mic. The pick up vs. similar unit was on par, the power output was great, and the clarity was great. I’ve enjoyed the ability to listen in on FRS and GMRS frequencies. With an adapter, I set mine up with my home 2 Meter mast and could hear an FRS unit 15 miles away on a mountain side (line of sight was direct and he and I were in cell contact).

    While I’m willing to accept that the author’s experience is just what he wrote, and I agree that you shouldn’t go cheap on comms, I have had a different experience with the Baofeng. It should also be noted that the units I’ve played with are not the same he is reviewing.

    • I’m a HAM operator and I LOVE my BaoFeng – yes they are not Yaesu, ICOM or Motorola but a pair of radios, wall and car chargers, data programming cables and an external antenna for under a $90 shipped? That’s a lot of capability – mine work great but if they are ever destroyed… meh +- $40 a copy. Plus, although not legal in most situations to transmit outside of HAM or on HAM without a license, should an emergency arise, you can jump on HAM, GMRS, FRS or even some local emergency first responder frequencies (and it’s always legal to listen). While you can’t talk on those channels regularly, there is an exception for life or death situations. For that matter, in an emergency, you can even daisy chain two together and make a mini repeater. My GTIII’s have 8 watts Tx advertised and I have hit repeaters 5-20 miles away. You don’t need a hand held radio to reach Outer Mongolia, but if you reach an Internet Radio Linking Project repeater you just might be able to hit Outer Mongolia – I know for a fact you can reach Australia from USA…

      Think of it this way – In a gun fight would you rather have a $2,500 suppressed Nove$ke or LaRue AR over a $800 Smith and Wesson – Of course you would. Would you rather have a $800 Smith and Wesson over nothing because you couldn’t afford a hand assembled precision rifle – uh yeah. You fight with what you have not with what is ideal. If you can afford ideal – go for it – if not BaoFeng is a good option and if at some point you are unhappy and want to go large – it was only $40. PS my batteries fit tight and last for 3 days continuous receiving, 1 long day with moderate transmission.

      • ABSOLUTELY AGREE. I have EIGHT Baofengs. I’ve used them in a number of experiments and operations. 3 weeks on a tactical operation (a real tactical operation not some BS “training”). An experimental field expedient repeater. A “Fox Box” for hidden transmitter location. And, for several years, along with a mag mount, as the only mobile rig in a vehicle my gal wouldn’t let me drill holes in.

        The Baofeng UV-5R is perfectly acceptable but you better understand how to use it. Operator error and ignorance is the biggest reason people have issues with them. They have a few idiosyncrasies that will drive the ignorant insane trying to program them. For that reason I went to the trouble of creating online tutorials to help folks.

        I’m an Amateur Extra, a VE, teach HAM classes for Tech and General, and am currently the VP of our local HAM club.

  3. I have to say that the author was correct about one thing, most of us preppers are not Ham licensed operators. There in lies a main issue. I’ll be dammed if I’m going to spend $200.00-$350.00 on a two way radio for my bug out bag. Come on now! I have two Boateng radios, and both appear to be doing fine so far. In a real SHTF situation, most of what I’ll be using them for is listening not transmitting. Not being a Ham I realize I shouldn’t transmit, but, kiss my ass if I’m going to care when the balloon goes up. I was in the military for over 14 years so I know how to properly operate a radio in the field. I’m throughly aware that the Ham community will look down on me but so what? I don’t need a expensive radio, and I don’t need a Ham ticket to transmit if I want to in an emergency situation. I am totally aware of COMSEC and OPSEC issues in the field. DONT WORRY MR. HAM, I won’t step on your transmission with my cheap Boefeng radio.

    • I don’t think anyone is going to look down on you for using the radio during an emergency situation; at that point, all laws go out the window.

      And as for being a Ham operator, it’s really no different than going to the gun range or practicing any other preparedness related skill. You have a leg up on the average person because you have military experience with radios, most people don’t. For those that don’t have experience becoming a licensed operator can teach you a lot! With little more than a wire, a nine-volt battery, and some basic parts you can literally transmit and receive signals from around the world.

      • I agree with this. You don’t hear too many people say “I’ll become proficient with my guns when I really need them”. But I hear it all the time (foolishly) with radios. Military or not, there is stuff to learn and practice. The Baofengs are a good, inexpensive learning tool. I’ve advanced beyond them but I have one as a spare in every car and every bag – that affordability is their best attribute.

      • According to the FCC rules, in an emergency, and unlicensed operator can operate on any band without a license or authorization.

    • I will have to say I have had a year’s worth experience from the Boafeng UV-5R series radios. They are extremly easy to program using CHIRP software. I’ve programmed in the NOAA, FRS, GMRS, and MURS stations along with several repeaters in my area using the entire 128 alpha channel memory settings. I will have to say in my experience these radios receive (rx) a whole lot better than they transmit (tx). So if you are going to have a couple of radios to listen to intel and traffic in your area Post-SHTF these are great little radios. With that being said I would also recommend you spend a little more money and either get the 8Watt Baofeng Radio or just spend a tad bit more and get a nice hand held Yaesu unit. This is coming from a Ham Radio and AmRRON operator and Lifetime Oath Keeper member.

      • Don’t forget your $5 cheap-o Chinese extended car antenna – yes it’s still Chinese crap but it does make a world of difference hitting repeaters.

  4. For what most people are going to use the Baofeng for the price is right and it functions just fine. Most people want more bang for their buck that’s why they choose the Baofeng. I don’t plan on spending 900.00 for 3 handheld radios when that extra 800.00 can go towards other preps like 4 hi-point pistols to use as barter items.

  5. When the SHTF, most likely we are talking about life threatening circumstances for you and your family and I think it is extraordinary to think that anyone would consider using any piece of equipment for that purpose if it had the slightest possibility of not functioning properly. I would wait an save a few more bucks to buy something that I know will not fail.

    • Consider this though, while you are waiting to save up those extra bucks for that one you KNOW will not fail, what happens if the situation you are wanting the radios for in the first place occurs?

  6. I got the regular model and it works fine. No problem. They have a new one that they call stubborn. Meaning tough. Don’t know about that one.

  7. I have a few of the Baoefeng BF-8HP radios and no problems with those. The batteries seem to fit just fine and they are very economical. Would a more expensive radio be better; no doubt.

  8. Another possible problem with these radios, is most of them are not even FCC Part §97.307 Complaint. While I doubt most people who buy them care, the fact is it’s just one more example of the quality control issues with these radios.

    The ARRL conducted tests at the Daytona Hamfest which showed that only around 25% of Baofeng radios were actually FCC Complaint — That means the radios are technically not even legal because they produce strong harmonic content or spurious emissions.

    Listen, if you live out in a rural area it probably doesn’t matter, but if you live in an urban area it can cause harmful interference with other emergency radio services!

    • I wonder what the transmit deviation is on these piles of junk is anyway. These radios are also software defined and navigating through the the menus to find and use the VFO function is a pain. Ft270, 150$, water proof, full 5 watts, tons of features and you don’t need to program it to tx.

    • The Dayton tests are not valid.

      1) The tests were conducted by connecting the radios directly to the analyzer. The radios were certified with the antenna attached. Attach the antenna then make the readings and they pass.

      There was no data collected on whether the radios tested were actually FCC certified versions or “knock offs”. Yes, the Chinese (king of the knock offs) radios are now being knocked off…Karma?

      The amount of spurious RF in the environment at Dayton precludes the PROPER scientific measurement of the Baofeng radio AS CERTIFIED because measuring the emmissions in a non controllable environment (not inside an RF “clean” room) is not possible in that environment.

      To Pumpkin….the Baofeng is NOT “software defined” as you purport. Yes it uses a software MENU but that is not the definition of a “software defined” radio. I should know, I TEACH HAM radio.

    • their compliance has absolutely NOTHING to to with QC so smell the coffee, the FCC Compliance is based soley on their ability of them being able to be programmed right out of the box for frequencies the government wants restricted from the private citizens and nothing more.

  9. These are EXCEPTIONAL radios for the money. I’ve had two of them for going on 4 years now. Zero problems with them except the range with the stock antenna. The battery life is great, I’ve charged them about 5 times each in that time.

    Your post is akin to saying a Datsun is not a good prepper car, you should get a BMW instead. Honestly, you completely missed the boat on this one.

    • a Datsun isn’t a good prepper car.. little to no real space for survival items, among several other issues, like ground clearance.

      in a SHTF scenario the option to go off the road and off trail is probably the best options for a BOV, luckily my area has a buggy supply store for dune buggies and other extreme off road vehicles.

  10. The Baofeng UV series has a definite purpose, in my humble opinion. They can and will provide communications from one point to another. And do it fairly well for minimum dollars. And…..you get what you pay for. I have a few of the UV-5Rs, and they function quite nicely. My desire was for a hand-held radio. (“Walkie-Talkies” are like “trix”…..they are for kids.) It provides SHORT RANGE communications for a minimal investment. They cover two bands, plus quite a bit beyond the band limits for amateur radios, you can change frequencies quickly, and with a little ingenuity make a solar charger that gets you ‘free’ power. I personally DO NOT my communications to be heard beyond 1/2 mile or so. I want to be able to tell those in my group a status WITHOUT those I am warning about hearing me. A VHF hand-held with 1 or 2 watts will do just fine for my purposes. If there is any reason to “talk” farther, I have 50 watt, 150 watt, and 1kw Radios to use for that purpose. The Baofeng UV series is a very decent ‘throw-away’ radio that provides short range comms, ability to change frequencies quickly, and a VERY IMPORTANT feature, you can turn off all the useless, juvenile, and functionless features that you need to get rid of. I am waiting to find more UV series radios that people don’t like, or can’t figure out how to use, and offer them 1/2 or less (again) to get a few more.

    In summary: Yes, the radios are inexpensive. Yes, they cannot communicate over 10 miles. Yes, there are features they don’t have. But, what are you looking for in the price raenge of the Baofeng UV series? You won’t get a Lamborghini for the price of a POS chevy. You will get communications that can/will cover a 5, or even 10, mile radius. Do you want a bunch of scumbag, ill prepared, freeloading, degenerates hearing you say that you are down to 600 quarts of beef stew? Not me. I would prefer they never hear one word of my comms.

    • The term “walkie talkie” came from their first MILITARY uses….big cumbersome things compared to today but tiny by the standard of the day. The term has NOTHING to do with kids……unless you include the 17-23 year old “kids” that fought the wars in which “Walkie Talkies” were used.

  11. Is there no middle ground with these things? I mean, it seems you either go on the cheap with a $40 Beofeng unit that may or may not be a total piece of crap…or you go all in on a $300 quality unit. That a pretty big price spread.

    For non-HAM operators who are just looking for something bare bones, isn’t there something in the $100 price range that is decent?

    • Here’s an option, well, two:
      Quansheng TG-UV2 – If you order them from the manufacturer (go in with some friends) you can get them for about $65 each and WITH a scrambler. Now, this is just a voice-inversion scrambler (but it’s legal in the US), but it’s better than nothing.
      Wouxun KG-UV8D or KG-UV9DPlus – These are great, but closer to $100 for the 8D and $200 for the 9D, but you get about all band receive on the 9D and what is really nice is that these are little hand-held repeaters – they include cross-band repeat in the radio! My experience is with all except the 9D, hard to spend $200 on a handheld. Still Chinese-made, but hell, tons of gear is nowadays.

    • The $35 Beofeng comes with stand-charger, several ear/headset accessories, a decent-capacity basic battery. The antenna is lossy, thus crap. The solution to the factory shortcomings is to buy an aftertmarket antenna, an extra identical battery per radio, and a box of freezer-grade ziplock gallon bags to make the radios dustproof/water-resistant. You should also consider a deluxe programmer like from FT Systems ($50, includes cable), if you have any trouble with the free solutions. Don’t attempt to do “front-panel” programming if you are less than obsessively perfect in buttonology and have unlimited time available.

      If you buy $300 worth of Beofengs, you will have most of 6 radios. Six terminals is worth more than one. You may have some parts fail. So what? I had one of 6 chargers DOA. Not even worth whining about, since I have 12 battery packs and 5 chargers to rotate through.

      Like you should understand the cost of magazines for your rifle as a significant part of the expense of using it, batteries and accessories are a large part of radio operating cost. Valmet pre-ban or kit-built AR? Is it a safe-hanger “investment” or a hard-use wear-out weapon?

  12. Frankly, the reason I bought the Baofeng was the /capability/ to transmit on local public-service frequencies (5 MHz offset, folks) should the need arise: WROL, pranking Martial Law situations imposed by tyranny, you get the picture. Do /that/ with your recommended radios.

  13. They can transmit on 462-467 MHz so they can talk to any bubble pack FRS/GMRS radio something I can’t do on my FT-60r…just saying.
    No one thinks this are great radios but I have never had a problem hitting my local repeaters with the $8 better antenna so if the option isn’t radio or these go ahead and buy one. Plus I learned for $35 what features I wanted on my first “big dollar” radio by using the Baofeng.
    I hate a lot of things and the list grows every day but the UV-5r isn’t on it (yet, lol).

      • Your MARS/CAP mod on the Yaesu FT-60R (I’ve owned 3 of them over the years) will still not allow 2.5KHz band steps, so you will be 2.5KHz high (or low) on several FRS/GMRS frequencies that many preppers use for comms, plus the FT-60R doesn’t ship with the newer, longer lasting Li-Ion battery (it is available as a pricey option). 2.5Khz off-frequency is like losing power at any distance, especially if you are running with the newer narrow band settings on FRS or MURS channels 1-3.

        For a truly rugged IP67 WATERPROOF handheld (without having to spend $300 or more for a Yaesu), I still prefer my 2 new TYT TH-UV8200 10 watt dual-band HT’s for $129.95 (plus I get 256 memories, two good antennas, and a larger Li-Ion battery as standard equipment in the box). Got my 2 TYT radios at RF Gear 2 Go in Mesa, AZ, plus they offered radio programming as well.

    • Veritas, Yaesu FT-60R owner here too. It’s a great radio (easy to manually program) but has the shortcomings you noted. MURS is popular with our local AmRRON families on a limited budget. Regrettably I can’t talk to nor listen to them. I am a newbie but still should have taken this into consideration.

        • MIKE

          That modification would still not allow LEGAL coms on MURS and GMRS for several reasons (emergency yes but not in normal and practice use). To transmit on GMRS and MURS requires certification for use on those services. The radio may be capable of the transmission but that does not make it legal unless for the immediate protection of life or property.

  14. I have an early Baofeng (we call them Butt-Thongs). The jacket came off of my factory antenna and behold……a 5 watt 50 Ohm resistor coupled through a capacitor. The helical wire was wound around the resistor, then up the inside of the jacket. That way the transmitter was always looking into something approximating a 50 ohm load. With a decent antenna transmits and receives OK. Not an Icom, Kenwood or Yaesu. Using it is like carrying a .25 cal auto. Not as good as a 9mm Ruger but better than nothing. BTW, I’ve been licensed 58 years.

  15. To borrow your own terminology, your article is “Bullshit.” I have no idea what your bias is, but I (and numerous other guys in my group) have multiple sets of Baofeng F9V2+ radios (which can produce an 8 watt output. None of the issues that you raised have ever come up with our units. We do include Nagoya 144/430 MHz antennas in our kit, and they are effective, as well. We also use the 3800 mAh Li-ion batteries for extended usage when in the field. After two years – no problems. But, what’s your problem?

  16. I am a ham radio operator, and have used the UV-3RA for several years and found it to be quite adequate as a secondary or back-up radio. I have Yaesu and Kenwood HT’ s as my primary units, and Yaesu mobile and base units.
    Three things stood out for the UV-3RA:
    1. Price-$30.00
    2. It is easy to program manually.
    3. The charger uses a USB power cable, allowing it to charge from a vehicle, jump-start pack, or home SUB supply.
    Any one that is interested in off-grid survival communication should get the entry level (Technian Class) license.

  17. Perhaps the author of this article should actually TRY one of the radios before GUESSING. The batteries fit perfectly. Some OFF brand extended batteries don’t fit properly, that has nothing to do with the radio.

    As for SHTF, again this author is full of it. These little radios are PERFECT for groups and individuals, especially to listen for information and to talk within their own group.

    As far as I am concerned, it is the BASE station and people like this author that are the fools IF they try to use their systems during SHTF. Who do you think the government is going to go after first if they want all communications shut down? Why they are going to go after all those law abiding licensed users broadcasting on static base stations to start.

    Try finding a small portable transmitter that is mobile compared to that. They are 5 watts for a reason.. THEY ARE HAND HELD portable.

    These radios are MUCH better than standard GMRS or FRS units and during a SHTF event, these Beofeng units are the perfect radio for individuals and small groups to use to get information and, sparingly, transmit data among their groups.

    I suggest the author actually try the product before talking about something and calling it worthless or with fault. I own 4 of these and they work great plus are EASILY programmed for any frequency I want to use or just listen in on.

    During a SHTF event, THAT is what you are going to need.. not something that can transmits over huge distances with lots of power than can be easily triangulated and found by anyone, government, nefarious or otherwise. The first lesson in survival during SHTF, don’t let yourself be found if you do not want to be.

    • Perhaps you should learn to read; if you have trouble with that there’s also a video that shows I own the radio. As for your comment on the battery, it is not an off brand battery it’s the factory battery.

      If you are going to come here pretending to be an expert, please at least have a basic understanding of radio and antenna theory. Anyone who thinks they can’t be tracked on one of these radios is living in fantasy land and doesn’t know the first thing about triangulation. And your comment about base stations is just weird since the radios I recommend are both portable handhelds, ones that are far more dependable than any Baofeng!

      Also, your first rule of survival is pretty idiotic. What if you became stranded somewhere and needed help, wouldn’t one of your fist priorities then become needing to be found?

      I think you’ve either read one too many fantasy novels or don’t actually understand anything about preparedness. Not every SHTF situation is a post-apocalyptic Hollywood movie; the reality of preparedness is that most people’s SHTF situations will be something like a natural disaster or a localized disaster. In those cases, you’re going to be wishing for something with a little more than the 4 watts of power these radios put out.

      • Of course the Gov. can track your transmissions, we did that all the time in the Army.

        I think the point the author is missing is that some of us don’t have the money to spend on a top of the line handheld radio for preps. I know I don’t. I understand power and wattage on these radios won’t let me transmit far, but they are adequate for some local nets, and receiving information on. I think that sometimes we are a little to elite in our equipment recommendations forgetting that some of us are unable to afford what you recommend, that’s the main point I was trying to get across. So, to be not totally unprepared I have a cheap Chinese radio that so far works well enough for my personal situation. Think a little more about the little guys who are trying hard to have at least a minimal level of preparedness instead of none at all.

        • Budget was actually the reason that I purchased the radio so I understand those concerns.

          For those on a budget, I recommend checking out local Ham clubs for used gear. I have some Yaesu and ICOM radios that are over 30 years old and still work as well as the day they were purchased. You can often find them used for cheaper than even the Baofengs.

  18. Just passed my technician license and awaiting upon my call sign in the FCC database .

    Plan on buying Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band as my first radio to test the waters.

    Next up join my local HAm club and get RACES/ARES certified

    Need to learn and perfect emergency skills otherwise you won’t know how to use it

  19. Author.You are totally out to lunch on this. In the Ham Club I frequent you wouldn’t believe how many oldtimers think Baofeng is the greatest budget radio ever.Plus many comments on small size and light weight. As for signals, I get back very good reports.No, not 300 dollar plus reports, but very good nonetheless.
    Another elitist review.

    • Elitist Review? How about finally a review that tells the truth about these pile of junk radios from an actual Ham who seems to have a pretty good grasp on emergency communication. I bought three of these crappy radios because some of the other fake prepper sites went on and on about how great they are.

      2 had the same battery issue as in the video and the third crapped out on my after a week. Pretty sure that had a battery issue also and pretty sure it fried the board! I am glad to see a survival site that tells it how it is and doesn’t care about upsetting the “doomsday” type who don’t have a clue. Also refreshing to see a site that tells the truth instead of getting ad revenue.

      • You mean a survival site where the author didn’t give stats on sensitivity, noise filtering, etc., and no real world test with repeater sites or attempting to communicate with other similar make radios and NO price/trade off comparison? Yeah. Ok we got it.

        News Flash for you “elitists”: this radio costs 1/8 th that of others and provide FAR FAR FAR more than 1/8 the capability. For the author NOT to have mentioned this price/capability trade-off is unforgivable. For the price, this radio gets a radio of moderate capability into every bug out bag in America for those not having the financial means to buy a $300+ radio.

      • Japsumo

        I’m a HAM. An Amateur Extra (highest level). I teach HAM classes for Tech and General licenses. I’m also authorized to administer examinations for the licences (VE). AND I’m also the Vice President of the local HAM club.

        I HIGHLY recommend the Baofeng radios to both new and old HAM’s alike. They’re inexpensive (no tears when you drop it in the field or it doesn’t come back when you loan it to a noob), effective, allow monitoring (not transmitting except in an emergency) of numerous services, and are a lot of bang for the buck.

        I’ve made contact into a repeater 29 miles away on “high” power with just a Nagoya 771 antenna attached. I’ve also made it to that same repeater on “low” power with a homebrew vertical dipole and on “high” with both a barbed wire and a water (yes literally tubes of water) vertical dipole. I certainly wouldn’t have tried a $200 + radio on those experimental antenna. And when I say “made contact” with that repeater, I don’t mean just getting the squelch to open, I mean valid two way voice comms like checking in to a net and holding a conversation.

        I am yet to have a single failure in any of my EIGHT Baofeng radios or their accessories. I have had a few other users that have had an issue but those were operator issues.

        Perhaps you got fake radios from a knock off producer? Yes, the cheap Chinese Baofeng is being knocked off. LOL

    • You say:
      The radios suck as transmitters and the power output widely varies from radio to radio. (Transmit power is rated at 5 Watt; according to my meter it’s putting out about 3)
      I ask: Was the battery old? Was it fully charged? Anybody can make power, it’s the RX side that makes a great radio.

      You say:
      The receiver filtering is BAD!
      I ask:
      What do you mean? Are you talking selectivity or sensitivity? Do know the difference? How did you do the test? The selectivity on my UV-82 is excellent and the RX sensitivity measured less than -110 dBm. Astounding for a radio at this price. I know it’s not the UV-5R, but you seem to be lumping all Baofengs together.

      You say:
      Baofeng Battery Packs are apparently notorious for not fitting the actual radios!
      I ask:
      “Apparently”? You find one aftemarket extended battery that doesn’t fit and you make a blanket statement against all Baofeng radios? That’s irresponislbe. I own 4 Baofengs and all the batteries fit properly…and oh, by the way, they’re Li-Ion intead of the Ni-Cads.

      The Baofeng UV-82 is an astoundingly good value. Buy many while you can. This kind of quality at this price point won’t last forever.

  20. Also, the offroad motorcycle club I belong to. These Baofengs are everywhere, nd I haven’t heard one failure report yet.Seriously, not one.We cloned most all our Baofeng radios too, very simple, fast and CHEAP to do. With the ability to hit our repeater on the mountain we can communicate on both sides to the valleys below.I especially like the repeater option when my cell phone is a complete no show on comms.

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