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eHam Forums => Misc => Topic started by: KK6GNP on September 26, 2013, 08:25:37 AM



Title: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 26, 2013, 08:25:37 AM
I'm posting this simply as a report, so it can be weighed along with all the *GREAT* reports from people who bought these.  Your mileage may vary!

Given the positive reports on these inexpensive little dual banders, I decided to pull the trigger on one and check it out.  I am a "hacker" of sorts.  I don't mind experimenting with hardware, no matter where it comes from.  I often do things like change the firmware on my $600 smartphones, and install open source firmware and 3rd party apps, for example.  I generally don't complain about things, especially when I experiment with less expensive alternatives to over-priced tech.  I'm also a 20-year IT Pro and programmer, so working with computers and servers is second nature to me.

Having said all of that, my first experience with the Baofeng UV-5RA (one of the "newer" models), was a complete disaster.  I knew going in that I was purchasing a Chinese knockoff type device, and I knew I was going to have to put up with a quirky interface for programming it, and using 3rd party software, such as Chirp.  Nothing new for me, and no big deal in my world.

However, I never even got that far.  For starters, the desktop charger was completely DOA.  I saw reports about people having to solder the internal connections, so I opened it up, noted the crappy cold soldering, splatter, and weak connections.  I fired up my iron, and went to work correcting these issues as best I could.  This did not help.  The thing was simply dead, no LED light, nothing.

Ok, I said, fine, I'll just have it replaced with the same one, or the better TYT model I've seen posts about.

I moved on to the programming cable and software.  Plugging the cable in to the radio caused it to key the transmitter (or it seemed to).  After a while plugged in, it would stop.  The cable was pressed all the way in, and had no obstructions to cause a poor connection.  After tracking down the appropriate software, laughing at the software mess on the CD that came with the radio, and booting up an old Windows 7 laptop (couldn't get the drivers to work on two different Windows 8 machines), I was finally able to get the computer to recognize the cable's built-in USB chip.  However, with the strange connection problem to the radio itself, the computer was unable to talk to the radio.  Chirp could not download or upload a config on the proper COM port.

After spending a bunch of time on this, I simply decided to return it.  Again, I don't mind playing around with hardware to get it to do what I want, but when so many things are going wrong, I know when it's time to get out and move on.  I know a lot of you have had great experiences with these, and I realize I probably just had a lemon, so I haven't completely discounted buying another Boafeng in the future.  I'll probably try another one after I get a Yaesu that I know works.

Cheap, broken charger aside, I might have been able to spend more time, maybe replace the programming cable, and get this stuff all working, but I have other things to do.  I expected at least a good connection to the computer so I could use Chirp.  All told, it was a bad experience. I'll try again in the future, when I don't have a stack of other things to do on my desk.

Edit:  On the positive side, the construction of the radio itself was much better than I expected.  It felt very sturdy to me, and wasn't bad to look at either.  Too bad I had so many other issues.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KJ6ZOL on September 26, 2013, 09:38:35 AM
The Baofengs generally can't be programmed via PC. Mine couldn't be, either. If you want to program your HT via PC, get a Wouxun, I think the latest model is the KG6. It's about $120 on ebay. Or you could get a Yaesu for an extra $30. Occasionally you'll get a Yaesu that is DOA, and I think the new ones are made in China anyway. You can also try Craigslist for slightly used HT's. Many of them still have the packaging and accessories included, the sellers are usually guys who got their Tech ticket only to find that nobody uses VHF/UHF anymore.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 26, 2013, 09:48:02 AM
The Baofengs generally can't be programmed via PC. Mine couldn't be, either. If you want to program your HT via PC, get a Wouxun, I think the latest model is the KG6. It's about $120 on ebay. Or you could get a Yaesu for an extra $30. Occasionally you'll get a Yaesu that is DOA, and I think the new ones are made in China anyway. You can also try Craigslist for slightly used HT's. Many of them still have the packaging and accessories included, the sellers are usually guys who got their Tech ticket only to find that nobody uses VHF/UHF anymore.

My understanding was that people were programming the Baofengs just fine via Chirp, if everything is working correctly.  I bought this to try it out.  The radio itself seemed pretty well built.  I don't know if the programming cable or the radio on the inside was hosed, preventing programming and causing the key down issue. 

I wouldn't pay $120 for a Wouxun when the FT-60R is so close in price. As for nobody using VHF/UHF, repeaters are used quite a bit in California, and not just for EmComms.  Can't speak for other places.  The two clubs in my area use these frequencies as well.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: N5INP on September 26, 2013, 10:08:58 AM
Baofeng defenders to the rescue!!!  :D

OK, the charger was bad. Sometimes things arrive broken with many manufacturer's products.

I moved on to the programming cable and software.  Plugging the cable in to the radio caused it to key the transmitter (or it seemed to).  After a while plugged in, it would stop.  The cable was pressed all the way in, and had no obstructions to cause a poor connection.

If you don't have the right driver installed beforehand, the radio will key up when you plug in the programming cable. I've seen that here. So the problem wasn't with the radio or the cable. You didn't read up on the procedure here -

http://www.miklor.com/COM/UV_Drivers.php

Quote
Edit:  On the positive side, the construction of the radio itself was much better than I expected.  It felt very sturdy to me, and wasn't bad to look at either.  Too bad I had so many other issues.

There was really only one real issue, and I'm not arguing about that, but your post hardly even addressed the actual radio product. A complete disaster? I don't think so.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: NO2A on September 26, 2013, 10:22:31 AM
Why can`t people program an ht without using a cd? Unless you`re talking about 100 repeaters or more. Are they that difficult?


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 26, 2013, 10:27:37 AM
Baofeng defenders to the rescue!!!  :D

OK, the charger was bad. Sometimes things arrive broken with many manufacturer's products.

I moved on to the programming cable and software.  Plugging the cable in to the radio caused it to key the transmitter (or it seemed to).  After a while plugged in, it would stop.  The cable was pressed all the way in, and had no obstructions to cause a poor connection.

If you don't have the right driver installed beforehand, the radio will key up when you plug in the programming cable. I've seen that here. So the problem wasn't with the radio or the cable. You didn't read up on the procedure here -

http://www.miklor.com/COM/UV_Drivers.php

Quote
Edit:  On the positive side, the construction of the radio itself was much better than I expected.  It felt very sturdy to me, and wasn't bad to look at either.  Too bad I had so many other issues.

There was really only one real issue, and I'm not arguing about that, but your post hardly even addressed the actual radio product. A complete disaster? I don't think so.
Incorrect. I am an accomplished, methodical troubleshooter. I had the proper driver installed, and the USB COM port (COM 4 in my case) shows up in the Windows device manager.  As far as the computer was concerned, it was happy with the programming cable, once I tracked down working drivers.

The keying problem happened no matter what state the radio and computer are in, with or without the proper drivers, plugged in to the computer or not.

The disaster was the whole experience, beginning with e DOA charger which would cause me to send the whole radio back and get a new unit to replace it, or spend more money and wait 5-10 days for a TYT charger from Hong Kong.  Then looking at the garbage software CD and instructions made me laugh.  I've seen better presentations on software written by children.  The cable problem was the last straw for me.

One thing you should note is that I am a technologist through and through, and I deal with all levels of tech these days.  I'm not easily put off (you should have seen what it took to hack my HTC Rezound phone).  Point is, you shouldn't assume I just made a half-hearted attempt.  My free time for projects is worth much more to me than a $60 HT though, and I know when to cut my losses.  I don't feel like I am saving any money in a deal like this, because I place a dollar value on my time.  It's the same reason I hired a gardener at $80 per month to take care of my front yard every week.  My time is worth much more than that $80.

I made great effort in my original post here to acknowledge that I likely had a lemon, and that I was not completely put off by Baofeng.  I also noted, twice, that many people have had great experiences with these.  My poor experience with this device is valid nonetheless, and should not be seen as my way of dismissing Baofeng.  I felt my experience was worth posting, no matter whose feelings it hurts.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 26, 2013, 10:29:51 AM
Why can`t people program an ht without using a cd? Unless you`re talking about 100 repeaters or more. Are they that difficult?

Not a matter of can or cant.  For me, it saves time.  Why would I want to sit there and key a bunch of repeaters in by hand (and change them when I travel) when I should be able to do it in a couple minutes with software?


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: N5INP on September 26, 2013, 10:58:11 AM
Incorrect. I am an accomplished, methodical troubleshooter. I had the proper driver installed, ...

You neither said which specific driver you had installed in the first post, nor even in your latest post. I still have doubts as to whether you had (have) the proper driver installed or if you have a driver that seems to satisfy Windows, yet still isn't the proper driver for the chip in the cable. I don't doubt you made a valiant effort, yet that doesn't in and of itself guarantee you solved the problem correctly.

Quote
Then looking at the garbage software CD and instructions made me laugh.

Sure, it makes me laugh too - but who uses that?


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: N7AF on September 26, 2013, 11:59:33 AM
I've programmed four Baofeng UV-5R's, seven BF-888S's, and one UV-B5 using both the Baofeng and the CHIRP software with no problem.  In fact, the only problem I had with one of the radios was the charger which turned out to be a broken lead between the wall wart charger and the charging base.  The total cost for all of these radios was less than the price of my Kenwood TH-F6A.  Baofeng has done an amazing job producing radios that perform as well as they do for a fraction of the price we're used to paying.  Sure, there's a few lemons out there but it's still an amazing value in handheld radios.  I used to hate Chinese products, especially those made for American and Japanese companies trying to make believe they were something they weren't.   These, however, are original designs with a few funny Chinese quirks but they are nicely packaged and work well.  Yes, I am a Baofeng fan!


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: W4KYR on September 26, 2013, 12:43:11 PM
 I have the 5RA I haven't had the programming issues mentioned here. I will suggest that if anyone considers keeping them for any length of time is to get the AA battery case. Cost ? $10 to $13. Try getting an AA battery case from Icom, Yaesu or Kenwood for $10...Remember that dead rechargeable batteries are useless if you have no way to charge them in the field.

The UV3R sucked because the volume control could not be turned down further, and even worse was the lack of a AA or AAA alkaline battery pack thus rendering that radio nearly useless to throw in a  'bug out bag'  or tool box for 'just in case' emergencies.

Overall I wonder about the reliability of these radios and if they continue work 5, 10 or 15 years down the road...Then again, maybe it won't matter to be out of $25 or $35. I remember spending around $400 on the Alinco DJ 580T back in 1995. I still have the radio even though the keyboard is worn out, it still works. However I could have bought a 'bakers dozen' of Baofengs with $400. Actually I just wish there were affordable dual band radios back in the 1990's.

Hint: anyone wishing to spend LESS than what Amazon or E-Bay is selling the UV5 or UV5RA new .... look for USED ones selling for $25 free shipping on E-Bay (as BUY IT NOW). You will see them every other day or so from some company out of California...


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KJ6ZOL on September 26, 2013, 12:49:07 PM
The Baofengs generally can't be programmed via PC. Mine couldn't be, either. If you want to program your HT via PC, get a Wouxun, I think the latest model is the KG6. It's about $120 on ebay. Or you could get a Yaesu for an extra $30. Occasionally you'll get a Yaesu that is DOA, and I think the new ones are made in China anyway. You can also try Craigslist for slightly used HT's. Many of them still have the packaging and accessories included, the sellers are usually guys who got their Tech ticket only to find that nobody uses VHF/UHF anymore.

My understanding was that people were programming the Baofengs just fine via Chirp, if everything is working correctly.  I bought this to try it out.  The radio itself seemed pretty well built.  I don't know if the programming cable or the radio on the inside was hosed, preventing programming and causing the key down issue. 

I wouldn't pay $120 for a Wouxun when the FT-60R is so close in price. As for nobody using VHF/UHF, repeaters are used quite a bit in California, and not just for EmComms.  Can't speak for other places.  The two clubs in my area use these frequencies as well.

Chirp only works on the UV-3R, IIRC. The 5 series Baofengs (UV-5R, UV-5RA, etc) it doesn't. My understanding is that the radio doesn't recognize the cable, or vice versa. It's a bug. Checked your call, you're in the south state. I'm up north, Sacramento area. More people = more repeater use. SoCal has more disasters than we do up here, you guys have devastating fires every year, and more frequent earthquakes. Up here it may be a flood or quake every 10-20 years. Wildfires occur in the mountains, away from population centers. Down there you have hundreds of thousands of people living in the forests and chaparral. If not being able to use your PC to program your HT bugs you, get a Yaesu. I really don't care about that.

W4KYR, if the company in CA is the one I'm thinking of, their stuff is hit or miss. We had somebody on this forum a couple months ago complaining that they sold her a bad Tecsun SW radio. Buy new.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KE4JOY on September 26, 2013, 01:27:27 PM
You have to make sure you get the proper chip/cable that is 'compatible' with windows 7. There were a ton of knockoff chips/cables out there that just wont work on anything but XP and even sometimes that was iffy.

I haven't had any issues with the 5R and using chirp. The disk that came with the cable would not work but chirp worked just fine.

The only issue I have with the 5R is "low audio" reports they really tightened the deviation, a consequence of the audio/michrophone filter design. There are some hacks out there to over come that but there not for the faint of heart. The other 'work around' is to locate the tiney hole that is the mike opening and speaking loudly right into it. /shrug.

Other than that I had no issues with the radio, charger, or software/hardware interface.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: W4KYR on September 26, 2013, 01:47:52 PM

W4KYR, if the company in CA is the one I'm thinking of, their stuff is hit or miss. We had somebody on this forum a couple months ago complaining that they sold her a bad Tecsun SW radio. Buy new.


One of the companies from Chatsworth CA, sold the UV5RA for $27 free shipping.  If anyone is interested seeing what these sold for just plug in Baofeng UV5RA and in the search parameters click used and then click sold in E-bay.


The one I have seen the most on sale used is the UV5 selling for $25 free shipping. That company is KingRecyclers out of Calabasas CA .



http://www.ebay.com/itm/BaoFeng-UV-5R-136-174-400-480MHz-Dual-Band-CTCSS-DCS-DTMF-FM-Two-Way-Radio-/190913221109?pt=2_Way_Radios_FRS&hash=item2c735091f5&nma=true&si=U9a9JKIRvp4jh1V1h19PaFXJqUA%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557




Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: N5INP on September 26, 2013, 02:36:18 PM
Chirp only works on the UV-3R, IIRC. The 5 series Baofengs (UV-5R, UV-5RA, etc) it doesn't.

Absolutely incorrect.

Not only does the official Chirp site say different, so do I , since I've had ZERO problems programming both my UV-5Rs using Chirp!


Quote
Supported Radio Models

Baofeng

    F-11 (in daily builds)
    UV-3R
    UV-5R
    UV-82 (in daily builds)
    UV-B5/B6 (in daily builds)
    BF-888 (in daily builds)

http://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/wiki/Home


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: K1CJS on September 26, 2013, 02:51:30 PM
I didn't luck out either, Cory, but you got further than I did.  I ordered and got one of those 'gems' and it was DOA.  Didn't even turn on when the battery was fresh off the charger--at least the charger was OK.

That did it for me--I sent it back and got a refund.  Fini.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 26, 2013, 03:07:11 PM
I've programmed four Baofeng UV-5R's, seven BF-888S's, and one UV-B5 using both the Baofeng and the CHIRP software with no problem.  In fact, the only problem I had with one of the radios was the charger which turned out to be a broken lead between the wall wart charger and the charging base.  The total cost for all of these radios was less than the price of my Kenwood TH-F6A.  Baofeng has done an amazing job producing radios that perform as well as they do for a fraction of the price we're used to paying.  Sure, there's a few lemons out there but it's still an amazing value in handheld radios.  I used to hate Chinese products, especially those made for American and Japanese companies trying to make believe they were something they weren't.   These, however, are original designs with a few funny Chinese quirks but they are nicely packaged and work well.  Yes, I am a Baofeng fan!

I don't disagree with you at all.  In fact, I would say that it is OUR DUTY to report problems with these devices so that they can be improved.  If we all sit around here like a bunch of fanboys dismissing obvious problems with the radios and accessories, then why would Baofeng ever bother to fix them, or improve QA?

As someone who has come to believe that most of the radios on the market are ludicrously overpriced, I would love to see a couple companies come in here and make some great bang for the buck transceivers at all levels.  I'm planning to buy a YouKits 5 band SSB radio soon to play with that, and I love the idea of the functionality there with such a great price point.

I have no brand loyalty here.  This Baofeng is literally the first ham radio I have purchased (because I'm being careful about how I spend my money on my base station).  I have no desire to bash them for the sake of bashing them.  


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: W4KYR on September 26, 2013, 04:05:01 PM
 I'm planning to buy a YouKits 5 band SSB radio soon to play with that, and I love the idea of the functionality there with such a great price point.
 

Are you talking about the TJ2B-MK2 SSB 5 band HT ? They are taking pre-order and will ship Oct 15.


http://www.ebay.com/itm/Youkits-TJ2B-MK2-HF-5-BAND-SSB-HANDHELD-TRANSCEIVER-Assembled-Pre-order-/281159731864


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 26, 2013, 04:19:28 PM
 I'm planning to buy a YouKits 5 band SSB radio soon to play with that, and I love the idea of the functionality there with such a great price point.
 

Are you talking about the TJ2B-MK2 SSB 5 band HT ? They are taking pre-order and will ship Oct 15.


http://www.ebay.com/itm/Youkits-TJ2B-MK2-HF-5-BAND-SSB-HANDHELD-TRANSCEIVER-Assembled-Pre-order-/281159731864

Yes... I'm also interested in the MK2 - TJ4A 4 BAND BACKPACK TRANSCEIVER when it comes out.  I like keeping an eye on their products.  I know they aren't the best things out there, but seems like there may be some value for the money spent.

I'm getting ready to buy my first home base rig, but I'm also into outdoors activities, so I want an SSB capable QRP rig.  The KX3 is a bit much considering all the other stuff I have to get right now.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 26, 2013, 05:15:59 PM
I wanted to come back here and tell you all this myself...

SUCCESS:  I was finally able to get my UV-5RA to talk to Chirp on my main Windows 8 64bit monster computer here.  I can't explain it.  I tried this on two other Windows 8 laptops (both 64bit) and a Windows 7 32bit laptop, and none of them work.  All seem to be running the same 3.2.0.0 driver, but it's only working on my main desktop, which I had not previously tried because I don't use it for experimenting with hardware.

I'm going to go back, when I have time, and expunge the 3.2.0.0 drivers from one of the non-working computers, then reload again and see if that helps.

I'm glad I was able to get this working with Chirp, but I still say it's a pretty strange situation for anyone to tolerate.  The only reason I unboxed this radio to try again today is because some of you reported similar problems and were able to correct them.  I'm not happy about having to fight with the driver on the other computers, but so be it.

I spent a little time listening to some folks on one of our active local repeaters here, and it sounded pretty good.  I'm going to get to know the "regulars" around here before I transmit. (I have been wisely told to listen for a while, as a new ham, before I worry about transmitting.)

I had also purchased the Nagoya NA-701 antenna to replace the rubber duck.  Switching between the two shows the Nagoya to have superior receive over the rubber duck, as many people have reported. The headset that comes with the Baofeng sounds awful, but works.  The handset also has poor sound quality compared to the radio's speaker, but works. Understandable considering the price for all this stuff, I suppose.

The charger is still, of course, dead.  With that being the only big issue now, I've decided to keep this unit, and purchase a TYT charger for it.  Hell, I might even make one using an Arduino mini or something.  I still feel this was a valid discussion, because at least for me, this unit was more problematic than I'm normally willing to tolerate on a commercial product, even when it's a great deal.  I'd like to see Baofeng improve their QA, and continue providing inexpensive units for people.

I'm also going ahead with my purchase of a Yaesu HT, but haven't decided on model yet.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: N5INP on September 26, 2013, 05:52:30 PM
I wanted to come back here and tell you all this myself...

SUCCESS:  I was finally able to get my UV-5RA to talk to Chirp on my main Windows 8 64bit monster computer here.  I can't explain it.  I tried this on two other Windows 8 laptops (both 64bit) and a Windows 7 32bit laptop, and none of them work.  All seem to be running the same 3.2.0.0 driver, but it's only working on my main desktop, which I had not previously tried because I don't use it for experimenting with hardware.

Thanks for telling us and I'm glad you got it going. Sorry about the charger experience, but hopefully it isn't spoiling your experience too much.  :)


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 26, 2013, 08:07:12 PM
I wanted to come back here and tell you all this myself...

SUCCESS:  I was finally able to get my UV-5RA to talk to Chirp on my main Windows 8 64bit monster computer here.  I can't explain it.  I tried this on two other Windows 8 laptops (both 64bit) and a Windows 7 32bit laptop, and none of them work.  All seem to be running the same 3.2.0.0 driver, but it's only working on my main desktop, which I had not previously tried because I don't use it for experimenting with hardware.

Thanks for telling us and I'm glad you got it going. Sorry about the charger experience, but hopefully it isn't spoiling your experience too much.  :)

Thanks for your input as well. I'm going to carry this around a lot when I get a charger going. As I said, it seems like a well built little rig. More so than I expected for the price.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: K7KBN on September 27, 2013, 07:18:03 AM
One receives that for which one tenders remuneration.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 27, 2013, 07:24:26 AM
Being the glutton for punishment I often am, I ended up pulling the trigger on a second UV-5RA last night, from Amazon.  It was going to cost me $15 + 1-2 weeks wait for a new charger from China.

I figured for a little more money, I'd have a cheap backup HT, a second battery, and hopefully, a working charger. It will be here in a couple days.  Rolling the dice..... let's see what comes up.. hahah!

Side Note:  I'm paying with microcontrollers and PCB's these days, so I was looking around for a homebrew Li-ion charger project online.  I found this cool little board over at Adafruit:

http://learn.adafruit.com/li-ion-and-lipoly-batteries/proper-charging

Since I have a defunct desktop charger, I'm thinking about modifying it with my own internals.



Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: N3AEG on September 27, 2013, 08:09:34 AM
I had the radio and CHIRP working fine.  I then tried to get the cable/CHIRP to work on a Mac.  Every time I plugged it into the radio, the radio transmitted.  I moved it to my old laptop that previously worked and had the same problem.  I think this was either a problem with the driver or the cable.  In any case, I replaced the cable with the Baofeng labeled USB cable, installed the drivers and all was well.

Your problem is most likely the driver or the cable.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KE4JOY on September 27, 2013, 09:49:23 AM
As I mentioned earlier the cable is not just a cable there is a chip in there. There were lots of bootleg knock off chips that are quite particular to the operating system and the firmware version of the radio you have.

You have to make sure you get the proper USB drivers for both the radio and computer/OS you are using. Also be very wary of 'bargin' cables.

There is a website that cuts through some of the confusion.

http://www.uv-5r.com/

Scrolll down to the how to guides.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 27, 2013, 10:28:24 AM
The most troubling aspect of all of this is that you need a cable and software driver from 2007, to program a radio manufactured in 2013.    This is something I've noticed with a lot of ham radio gear in general.  The manufactures just want to keep churning out the same old designs, for the same old large sums of money, rather than keeping them up to date.  I think ham radio is one of the few markets where this is even remotely acceptable for electronics devices.

Ultimately, this is why SDR is such a big deal, in my opinion.  Put all the more common radio electronics in a box, and let software and peripherals, easily updated, do the rest.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: K7KBN on September 27, 2013, 05:29:47 PM
Being the glutton for punishment I often am, I ended up pulling the trigger on a second UV-5RA last night, from Amazon.  It was going to cost me $15 + 1-2 weeks wait for a new charger from China.

I figured for a little more money, I'd have a cheap backup HT, a second battery, and hopefully, a working charger. It will be here in a couple days.  Rolling the dice..... let's see what comes up.. hahah!

Side Note:  I'm paying with microcontrollers and PCB's these days, so I was looking around for a homebrew Li-ion charger project online.  I found this cool little board over at Adafruit:

http://learn.adafruit.com/li-ion-and-lipoly-batteries/proper-charging

Since I have a defunct desktop charger, I'm thinking about modifying it with my own internals.

You mean like your own spleen? Duodenum?  Stuff like that?   ;D  Keep us posted!




Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: WA7KGX on September 27, 2013, 09:41:09 PM
I have a Beofeng USB programming cable.  It apparently has an illegal
copy of a Prolific USB chip.  I've read that the Prolific driver in Win 7
tests for an illegal chip and refuses to work without saying why.  Linux
works fine with that cable, and the CHIRP "nightly builds" support both
the uv5rplus and b6.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 28, 2013, 12:16:10 PM
My second UV-5RA came today, and it works great.  I now have a working charger, and a second (backup) HT and battery all for less than $100.

I'm going to end up with a tri-band HT here for local use eventually, but I need to invest money in my HF setup before I spend any more on uhf/vhf.  I'm glad I was able to buy the Baofengs to get me up and running, allowing me to put more money towards my first HF transceiver.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KG6BRG on September 29, 2013, 05:47:27 AM
My second UV-5RA came today, and it works great.  I now have a working charger, and a second (backup) HT and battery all for less than $100.

I'm going to end up with a tri-band HT here for local use eventually, but I need to invest money in my HF setup before I spend any more on uhf/vhf.  I'm glad I was able to buy the Baofengs to get me up and running, allowing me to put more money towards my first HF transceiver.

From disaster to happy in 2 days.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: K6LCS on September 29, 2013, 07:21:32 AM
>> ... most of the radios on the market are ludicrously overpriced ...

Really?

I ran across a QST comparison of five then-popular HTs. Classics: the Alinco DJ-580T,
Icom IC-W21a, Kenwood TH-78, Standard C558a (my first dual-band ham HT!) and the
Yaesu FT-530 are long out of production. In their day, they offered ...

-MAXIMUM of 50 memories per band out of the box
-Average battery capacity of stock battery packs? About 750mAH.
-Wide receive out of the box? Not all of 'em
-Street price average? AVERAGE $468.
-Alphanumerics in display? Not all of 'em, if any.
-Computer programming? Hahahahahahah!
-Ease of manual programming? Another laugher ...

Yes, the good old days, indeed. When the '558a with spare battery, memory
chip to DOUBLE capacity to a whopping 200 memories, and a speaker mic
set me back about $700.

What's available today?

How about the Yaesu FT-60R? Since 2004, one of the finest values in the industry.

-1,000 memories - alphanumeric, too
-receives (essentially) 108-to-a-gig
-receives aircraft band in AM, too.
-1400mAH NiMH pack standard
-bulletproof case design*
-strongest belt clip of ANY amateur radio chassis on the market
-easy to manually program
-and its GREAT battery situation - when using the optional FBA-25 AA alkaline/NiMH
case, you have FULL TX POWER available to you (if you really need it)! Try that on,
say, a Kenwood TH-F6a, and you only have one-half of a Watt TX power ...

All that for less than $150.

We have a classic HT available to us right now - at an incredible price.

Clint K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com

(*) - Not literally bulletproof ... but many audiences have seen me toss/roll a
FT-60R across the room to show off its durability. Do not try that at home: it's
a "trick" - it is a controlled rolling of the HT across carpet floors. But there are
MANY HTs in production that I would NEVER try that with!


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: K5TED on September 29, 2013, 12:19:15 PM
IMO, I got what I paid for with my one and only Baofeng, model BF-666, and the separately purchased programming cable, all for the wallet-buster price of $30.

Why the 666? No display, mono-band.. WTH? Well, first it was a $20 radio. 16 channels, and looks like a mini VX-160. Two knobs. What can go wrong?

First thing was to charge it up. No problem.

Then, try programming cable. Grab BF ZT-V68 software recommended from the internet, not the one on the CD.

Software doesn't see radio.

Problem. Noticed programming cable plug isn't going all the way in. Trim a bit of PVC from the end of the plug so it fits all the way in the radio port. Solved.

Run program again, try to read from radio.. Problem. Software just sits there then times out. Try several times. Start to formulate plan involving placing radio under car wheel....

Stupid. Click the OK button. Config read now. Populate table with new info. Write to radio. Click OK. Done.

Play with radio. Get good reports. Take radio on a few road trips, remembering to program it for the different destinations. Remember to Click OK button.

Notice radio has really nice battery shelf life. It stayed in the glove box for a month, then I took it out and ran it almost all all day.

This is a radio that I probably would not take as my primary on a hiking expedition or space travel, but for $30 it's not bad.



Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 29, 2013, 12:57:12 PM
>> ... most of the radios on the market are ludicrously overpriced ...

Really?

I ran across a QST comparison of five then-popular HTs. Classics: the Alinco DJ-580T,
Icom IC-W21a, Kenwood TH-78, Standard C558a (my first dual-band ham HT!) and the
Yaesu FT-530 are long out of production. In their day, they offered ...

-MAXIMUM of 50 memories per band out of the box
-Average battery capacity of stock battery packs? About 750mAH.
-Wide receive out of the box? Not all of 'em
-Street price average? AVERAGE $468.
-Alphanumerics in display? Not all of 'em, if any.
-Computer programming? Hahahahahahah!
-Ease of manual programming? Another laugher ...

Yes, the good old days, indeed. When the '558a with spare battery, memory
chip to DOUBLE capacity to a whopping 200 memories, and a speaker mic
set me back about $700.

What's available today?

How about the Yaesu FT-60R? Since 2004, one of the finest values in the industry.

-1,000 memories - alphanumeric, too
-receives (essentially) 108-to-a-gig
-receives aircraft band in AM, too.
-1400mAH NiMH pack standard
-bulletproof case design*
-strongest belt clip of ANY amateur radio chassis on the market
-easy to manually program
-and its GREAT battery situation - when using the optional FBA-25 AA alkaline/NiMH
case, you have FULL TX POWER available to you (if you really need it)! Try that on,
say, a Kenwood TH-F6a, and you only have one-half of a Watt TX power ...

All that for less than $150.

We have a classic HT available to us right now - at an incredible price.

Clint K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com

(*) - Not literally bulletproof ... but many audiences have seen me toss/roll a
FT-60R across the room to show off its durability. Do not try that at home: it's
a "trick" - it is a controlled rolling of the HT across carpet floors. But there are
MANY HTs in production that I would NEVER try that with!

I was referring to ham radio equipment in general, not just HTs.  I know there are some fairly priced HT's.  It's relative anyway.  When you compare the costs of electronics outside of ham radio, things are much, much cheaper.    I've seen people around here wonder why newly licensed hams often drop off shortly after getting into it.  Well, I can tell you as a brand new ham, that getting into HF is pretty daunting from a cost perspective, especially if you have other places you need to spend discretionary money. 

My point was that I would like to see more companies come out and offer good bang for the buck gear that gets the job done at a lower price point, even if it's not perfect. I like the idea of companies like YouKits selling HF equipment for much less than the big brands who are, in my opinion, a little bit too comfortable with their current pricing.

Keeping an eye on things like HackRF too, where they will be adding expansion boards for the HF bands in the near future.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 29, 2013, 12:58:56 PM
My second UV-5RA came today, and it works great.  I now have a working charger, and a second (backup) HT and battery all for less than $100.

I'm going to end up with a tri-band HT here for local use eventually, but I need to invest money in my HF setup before I spend any more on uhf/vhf.  I'm glad I was able to buy the Baofengs to get me up and running, allowing me to put more money towards my first HF transceiver.

From disaster to happy in 2 days.

Yeah, I try not to sit around and live in constant misery like a lot of people do.  I still consider the experience with these devices as completely unacceptable from a commercial standpoint.  I surely wouldn't direct anyone non-technical to get one.  That being said, I have solved my issues and am moving on with my life.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: WB8VLC on September 29, 2013, 01:24:04 PM
It's good that you are an itpro but your complaints leave a lot to be desired, mainly because there are so many more issues with this radio than a poor software interface and poorly written programming software.

For instance everything you mention is software related; however, I see no mention of any rf performance test that you have performed.

Did you not perforn any receiver dynamic range, adjacent channel, audio distortion test or transmitter harmonic, spurious or frequency stability measurements either?

If you had performed any rf test then i can tell you that would be more than dissapointed with the radios rf performance, in fact more so than with only the software issues that you are focusing on.

To complain about poor software issues only is not acceptable, especially considering that this is also a poorly performing rf device.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KJ6ZOL on September 29, 2013, 03:20:36 PM
I was referring to ham radio equipment in general, not just HTs.  I know there are some fairly priced HT's.  It's relative anyway.  When you compare the costs of electronics outside of ham radio, things are much, much cheaper.    I've seen people around here wonder why newly licensed hams often drop off shortly after getting into it.  Well, I can tell you as a brand new ham, that getting into HF is pretty daunting from a cost perspective, especially if you have other places you need to spend discretionary money. 

My point was that I would like to see more companies come out and offer good bang for the buck gear that gets the job done at a lower price point, even if it's not perfect. I like the idea of companies like YouKits selling HF equipment for much less than the big brands who are, in my opinion, a little bit too comfortable with their current pricing.

Keeping an eye on things like HackRF too, where they will be adding expansion boards for the HF bands in the near future.

That may be why guys get their Tech, then balk at General. You can find some fairly priced HF transceivers out there, even on Ebay, but you have to know what to search for. The average Joe will search Ebay for "HF transceiver" and up pops a bunch of outrageously priced, barely functional tube gear. He doesn't know that you can get an early all-transistor rig for $150. All he sees is people asking $500 for some beat up Drake TR-4.

I got my HF rig free from a guy who had rigs donated to him for a high school amateur radio program, when he was a teacher. He lost his house and needed to get rid of rigs NOW, so he put an ad in the local swap section of a local club's online newsletter, and was offering used rigs cheap. I got my TS130 AND a nonworking Heathkit SB-102, with power supply. When he moved to Texas, and I realized the amount of work the Heathkit would need, I put it on Ebay. He thought it was worth $50, but I sold it for $270! That's simply stupid, although I was glad to have the cash. People are paying dumb prices for old gear, simply to relive their childhoods. Some people have so little common sense, it makes you wonder where their money comes from.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KJ6ZOL on September 29, 2013, 03:24:10 PM
It's good that you are an itpro but your complaints leave a lot to be desired, mainly because there are so many more issues with this radio than a poor software interface and poorly written programming software.

For instance everything you mention is software related; however, I see no mention of any rf performance test that you have performed.

Did you not perforn any receiver dynamic range, adjacent channel, audio distortion test or transmitter harmonic, spurious or frequency stability measurements either?

If you had performed any rf test then i can tell you that would be more than dissapointed with the radios rf performance, in fact more so than with only the software issues that you are focusing on.

To complain about poor software issues only is not acceptable, especially considering that this is also a poorly performing rf device.

When I first got my UV-5R, I could easily hit the River City ARCS 2m repeater. It's a ways away. The range between two HT's will NEVER go past a mile or so, due to geography. That holds true for FRS or licensed HT's. I didn't do much testing of the Baofeng, but it seemed to be acceptable for a $45 radio. You want better, shell out $400 for a VX series Yaesu.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 29, 2013, 08:21:58 PM
It's good that you are an itpro but your complaints leave a lot to be desired, mainly because there are so many more issues with this radio than a poor software interface and poorly written programming software.

For instance everything you mention is software related; however, I see no mention of any rf performance test that you have performed.

Did you not perforn any receiver dynamic range, adjacent channel, audio distortion test or transmitter harmonic, spurious or frequency stability measurements either?

If you had performed any rf test then i can tell you that would be more than dissapointed with the radios rf performance, in fact more so than with only the software issues that you are focusing on.

To complain about poor software issues only is not acceptable, especially considering that this is also a poorly performing rf device.

Seriously?  It's a $35 HT.  Here's my performance test:  I'm able to hear my local repeaters, and they can hear me.  Sound quality is great (in my opinion).

Not really sure what you are expecting here.  I'm a brand new ham.  I have no bench test equipment for the minutia of 2m/70cm RF quality, and frankly, as long as it works for my desired uses, and it's not splattering all over the place, I'm happy.  None of the locals mentioned any negatives about my signal.  Your mileage may vary.

I"m well aware this is basically a cheaply made HT, though the handheld itself feels pretty stout in my hands, for the price.  I bought it to satisfy my uhf/vhf needs locally while I get ready to spend a bunch of money on HF gear.  My near future plans include adding a Kenwood tri-band HT and a Yaesu mobile dual bander.  Some people have multiple thousands of dollars to spend on ham gear.  I have several other personal hobbies and activities to spend money on, so I balance that out as I can.

As far as me being an IT pro, if you want to talk about the finer points of computer technology, let's go.  As a brand new ham, I don't expect to be able to satisfy your apparent need for an in depth review of cheap Chinese gear.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on September 29, 2013, 08:25:34 PM
I was referring to ham radio equipment in general, not just HTs.  I know there are some fairly priced HT's.  It's relative anyway.  When you compare the costs of electronics outside of ham radio, things are much, much cheaper.    I've seen people around here wonder why newly licensed hams often drop off shortly after getting into it.  Well, I can tell you as a brand new ham, that getting into HF is pretty daunting from a cost perspective, especially if you have other places you need to spend discretionary money. 

My point was that I would like to see more companies come out and offer good bang for the buck gear that gets the job done at a lower price point, even if it's not perfect. I like the idea of companies like YouKits selling HF equipment for much less than the big brands who are, in my opinion, a little bit too comfortable with their current pricing.

Keeping an eye on things like HackRF too, where they will be adding expansion boards for the HF bands in the near future.

That may be why guys get their Tech, then balk at General. You can find some fairly priced HF transceivers out there, even on Ebay, but you have to know what to search for. The average Joe will search Ebay for "HF transceiver" and up pops a bunch of outrageously priced, barely functional tube gear. He doesn't know that you can get an early all-transistor rig for $150. All he sees is people asking $500 for some beat up Drake TR-4.

I got my HF rig free from a guy who had rigs donated to him for a high school amateur radio program, when he was a teacher. He lost his house and needed to get rid of rigs NOW, so he put an ad in the local swap section of a local club's online newsletter, and was offering used rigs cheap. I got my TS130 AND a nonworking Heathkit SB-102, with power supply. When he moved to Texas, and I realized the amount of work the Heathkit would need, I put it on Ebay. He thought it was worth $50, but I sold it for $270! That's simply stupid, although I was glad to have the cash. People are paying dumb prices for old gear, simply to relive their childhoods. Some people have so little common sense, it makes you wonder where their money comes from.

I won't buy tech used unless I know the owner personally.  That's just a rule I have about electronics, and it has served me well over two decades in computers. My HF gear will be new, though going that route is more expensive.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: N5INP on September 30, 2013, 05:13:17 AM
Did you not perforn any receiver dynamic range, adjacent channel, audio distortion test or transmitter harmonic, spurious or frequency stability measurements either ...

Seriously?  It's a $35 HT.  Here's my performance test:  I'm able to hear my local repeaters, and they can hear me.  Sound quality is great (in my opinion).

Not really sure what you are expecting here.  I'm a brand new ham.  I have no bench test equipment for the minutia of 2m/70cm RF quality, and frankly, as long as it works for my desired uses, and it's not splattering all over the place, I'm happy.  None of the locals mentioned any negatives about my signal.  

It's a good radio, technically speaking.

Here's a technical review of the UV-5R.

(http://hamgear.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/pa2tsl_test_equipment.jpg?w=912&h=615)

435MHz High Power: 57dB down

(http://hamgear.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/435-high.jpg?w=912&h=687)

other data here -

http://hamgear.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/review-baofeng-uv-5r-part-ii/



Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: K1DA on September 30, 2013, 06:58:56 AM
  I've had one for 6  months but I don't need every frequency under the sun in it and have had NO problem with manual programming.  I've seen a LOT more expensive things than a 40 dollar HT not live up to expectations. 


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on October 03, 2013, 08:02:41 AM
Update:

My primary UV-5RA stopped receiving yesterday.  I've been leaving it on one of our active local repeaters, and yesterday / this morning I didn't hear a peep on it, including the beacon transmission.  I decided to fire up the new one still in the box and see if the main one was dead.  Sure enough, the new one was receiving the repeater, but not the main one.

I decided to try reloading the config using Chirp in the main radio, and that fixed the issue.

Has anyone seen this problem before?


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KE4JOY on October 03, 2013, 02:06:53 PM
Ive heard a few complaints about "self discharge" of the battery while off but haven heard of the memory getting scrambled. Maybe you changed something by accident. /shrug

I just noticed that its real easy to hit the 'scan' button but only briefly and that sets the offset to reverse. Easy to do. (Its the */scan button) It requires to be pressed for a few seconds and china gal will announce "Scanning Begins".  ;)


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KK6GNP on October 03, 2013, 07:48:32 PM
Ive heard a few complaints about "self discharge" of the battery while off but haven heard of the memory getting scrambled. Maybe you changed something by accident. /shrug

I just noticed that its real easy to hit the 'scan' button but only briefly and that sets the offset to reverse. Easy to do. (Its the */scan button) It requires to be pressed for a few seconds and china gal will announce "Scanning Begins".  ;)

That's probably what happened.  Reloading the config would have set that back to my defaults.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KF8SJ on December 10, 2013, 09:35:04 AM
sorry you have had so many problems with this unit.
i use the vip programming software and have no problems
now have 12 of these units under my wing.  for  ema  and vol fire dept use.  all working well.
did have one charger bad out of the box.  replacement unit worked fine.
only problem was with mounting clips popping off.  a few drops of jb weld cured the problem.

73 jim kf8sj


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: K6CPO on December 19, 2013, 01:26:59 PM
I just got a UV-5RE for the exceptional price of FREE.  It was a raffle prize at a club meeting.  Even using the marginal manual that came with the radio, I was able to program in a couple of local repeaters with little effort.  As it turned out, I already had a compatible programming cable that is for the Part 90 Wouxun HT I have.  I downloaded CHIRP and installed it in my main WIN 7 computer.  The cable and software wouldn't read the radio at all.

After installing CHIRP in my WIN XP netbook, I was able to read from the radio.  Because I couldn't figure out how to get CHIRP to read the .csv file from my Yaesu HT programmer, I had to hand build my programming file, but once I had it done, I was able to write it back to the radio and I now have it fully programmed to match my other dual-band radios.

I did find out that RT Systems makes programming software and cable for the UV-5R and, based on my experience with RT Systems software for other radios, I think this is probably the way to go.

One thing I like about the UV-5R is that you can buy a larger, higher capacity battery for it that gives a bit more heft to the radio.  This thing is really tiny... 


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: K6CPO on December 20, 2013, 12:25:20 PM
The biggest difference between the hand programming of the Baofeng UV-5R and Yaesu's HTs is that with the Baofeng, the repeater shift direction and amount of offset has to be programmed manually.  It's not part of the firmware as it is with Yaesu.  Also, to write the channel to memory after setting all the parameters takes two steps, not just one.  Other than that the radio is fairly simple to program. 

There is a lot of good information (and downloadable enhanced manuals) at http://http://www.miklor.com/.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KJ6ZOL on December 20, 2013, 01:56:06 PM
I just got a UV-5RE for the exceptional price of FREE.  It was a raffle prize at a club meeting.  Even using the marginal manual that came with the radio, I was able to program in a couple of local repeaters with little effort.  As it turned out, I already had a compatible programming cable that is for the Part 90 Wouxun HT I have.  I downloaded CHIRP and installed it in my main WIN 7 computer.  The cable and software wouldn't read the radio at all.

After installing CHIRP in my WIN XP netbook, I was able to read from the radio.  Because I couldn't figure out how to get CHIRP to read the .csv file from my Yaesu HT programmer, I had to hand build my programming file, but once I had it done, I was able to write it back to the radio and I now have it fully programmed to match my other dual-band radios.

I did find out that RT Systems makes programming software and cable for the UV-5R and, based on my experience with RT Systems software for other radios, I think this is probably the way to go.

One thing I like about the UV-5R is that you can buy a larger, higher capacity battery for it that gives a bit more heft to the radio.  This thing is really tiny... 

I found out that the driver for the Baofeng cable is an obsolete driver from a company called Prolific. The chip has been alleged to be a bootleg chip, which is why the Win 7 drivers won't work with it. What I did was to search the net for the obsolete driver. I found a driver from early 2009 that works on XP, Vista, and all 64 bit OSes. I installed it, and lo and behold I can now use Chirp to program my UV-B5. I also have a UV-5R, but I bought the B5 because it's a better radio. If anybody wants this driver, email me, my email address is on QRZ. The only problem I can see is that there's no driver for 32 bit versions of 7, which was installed on some consumer oriented boxes in 2009.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: WD4CHP on December 21, 2013, 05:41:20 AM

One thing I like about the UV-5R is that you can buy a larger, higher capacity battery for it that gives a bit more heft to the radio.  This thing is really tiny... 

You can also get a battery case that will take 6 AAA cells.
No need to mess with the charger.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: W4KYR on December 21, 2013, 08:10:17 AM

One thing I like about the UV-5R is that you can buy a larger, higher capacity battery for it that gives a bit more heft to the radio.  This thing is really tiny... 

You can also get a battery case that will take 6 AAA cells.
No need to mess with the charger.

And AA battery cases are also available.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: WD4CHP on December 21, 2013, 02:20:43 PM
I forgot to mention that the AAA case is the exact same size as the origional Li-ion battery.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: K6CPO on December 22, 2013, 12:20:31 PM

I found out that the driver for the Baofeng cable is an obsolete driver from a company called Prolific. The chip has been alleged to be a bootleg chip, which is why the Win 7 drivers won't work with it. What I did was to search the net for the obsolete driver. I found a driver from early 2009 that works on XP, Vista, and all 64 bit OSes. I installed it, and lo and behold I can now use Chirp to program my UV-B5. I also have a UV-5R, but I bought the B5 because it's a better radio. If anybody wants this driver, email me, my email address is on QRZ. The only problem I can see is that there's no driver for 32 bit versions of 7, which was installed on some consumer oriented boxes in 2009.

Some of the cables available for sale on places like e-Bay do have counterfeit Prolific chips in them and that's where a lot of the problems come from.  I'm using my Wouxun cable (that I purchased from Powerwerx) to program the Baofeng.  That particular cable has worked on my Windows 7 machine in the past, and I believe the issue I'm having now with it is in the computer and not the drivers or the cable.  I've been having other issues with this particular machine and it may be time for a purge and re-install.  It's really a moot point as the cable works on two other machines I have.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: WA6MHZ on December 27, 2013, 07:56:04 AM
Folks complaining about the UV-5Rx series tend to forget ONE THING!
They cost $35 BRAND NEW as compared to around $350 for a typical JAPANESE HT!!!!  SO U gotta expect a little LESS QUALITY!   At the price, U buy 2 or 3 of them, and be happy if ONE works!   I have 2 UV-5Rs and they both work FB!  And they are programmed using the BAOFENG Software (I couldn't get the CHIRP to work on my work computer)

YOU can't even buy a spare BATTERY for a YAEKENCOM HT for what the whole BAOFENG COSTS!!!!


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: K1CJS on December 28, 2013, 02:29:21 PM
Buy 2 or 3 of them and be happy if one works?  Two things--how long will that one work, and why waste money on junk in the first place.  The big three makes some HTs that don't cost $350 to begin with, and if I wanted to waste $40 or $50, I'd spend it on a good meal and a show, not to buy some thrown together junk--and then pray that it works.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KD0WZW on December 28, 2013, 02:36:24 PM
buy them from a store with a return policy, like everything else.  If something doesn't work, wether it's a $40 dollar radio or a $4000 radio, you return it and get a new one.  It's not that difficult.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: N5INP on December 28, 2013, 05:00:37 PM
Buy 2 or 3 of them and be happy if one works?  Two things--how long will that one work, and why waste money on junk in the first place.

B.S. - I've got two and have had no problems. They certainly are not junk, that's just hyperbole from a known Baofeng hater. Check his posts.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: W4KYR on December 28, 2013, 05:52:08 PM
Wouldn't it really be something if Baofeng could produce an HT that does both D-Star and APRS for under $200?  Imagine if they could make an rugged 20 watt HF rig for under $400.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: N0RAH on January 03, 2014, 08:09:05 AM
Chirp only works on the UV-3R, IIRC. The 5 series Baofengs (UV-5R, UV-5RA, etc) it doesn't.

Absolutely incorrect.

Not only does the official Chirp site say different, so do I , since I've had ZERO problems programming both my UV-5Rs using Chirp!


Quote
Supported Radio Models

Baofeng

    F-11 (in daily builds)
    UV-3R
    UV-5R
    UV-82 (in daily builds)
    UV-B5/B6 (in daily builds)
    BF-888 (in daily builds)

http://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/wiki/Home

First - it is a CHEAP radio. One I'd take out in the raft, on the lake and not worry about the thing getting lost or such.

If you're not happy get a refund. If you bought it from some place that doesn't offer refunds. Start shopping elsewhere.

Chirp works fine.

Would I buy it again? Perhaps... I've had 4 of them in the last year or so. Never a problem. My brother has two. One he keeps in his wifes car for emergencies and one he carries when he is out working. He can hit all his local repeaters and over all he's happy.

Agian... Cheap radio.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: KE5GAE on January 05, 2014, 05:49:07 AM
Long thread, lots of experiences, some good info, some not so good.  Just two cents more:

I just bought a couple of these.  Programming the memories from the keypad is not hard, just tedious.  Okay for a few stored frequencies, but if storing a lot, then software is the way to go.  In case it helps, I used CHIRP, and this cable from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008RZJHJU/ref=oh_details_o08_s01_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I tried installing drivers from the CD that came with the cable, and struggled at first, but eventually I just used Device Manager (this being a laptop with Windows 7) to update the driver from the Internet, and it installed the latest Prolific driver.  That combination -- CHIRP, the mentioned cable, and the latest Prolific driver -- works like a charm.

One "feature" not much discussed (if at all--I may have skimmed over something) is the ability to use non-Ham frequencies on these Chinese HT's.  I understand the legal implications (I have a GMRS license, and hope to use these with "bubble pack" GMRS radios, as well as local 2m/70cm repeaters).  They seem pretty popular with the SHTF crowd because of the open frequencies on these little radios.  They are not "cheap" radios, just inexpensive.  And for the price, worth it.  They are quirky as can be, compared to the Japanese HT's we're more used to (I have three different Yaesu models), and that can be a turnoff for some.  But for the price, they are fun to play around with. 

And that is half of what Ham Radio is all about, right?  Playing around with stuff, getting something to work without putting a lot of money into it?


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: VK6IS on January 05, 2014, 06:45:15 AM
Got a UV-5RC model
- the supplied compact antennae is useless !.

replace it with a 40cm whip
- couldn't get more than ONE repeater - now can get all three local repeaters.
- still can't get any citywide coverage, though.

- the supplied cd_software won't work on win 7
get the version for win_xp & both that & CHIRP will work just fine.

- do get used to programming it from the keypad & menu ..
but set most of your channels with your PC.


Title: RE: Baofeng UV-5RA report ~ Disaster
Post by: AF5CC on January 06, 2014, 01:35:16 PM
Imagine if they could make an rugged 20 watt HF rig for under $400.

Here you go!

http://bh3mde.com/en/List.asp?Shop_id=92