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Reviews Categories | Transceivers: VHF/UHF+ Amateur Hand-held | Baofeng UV3R Help

Reviews Summary for Baofeng UV3R
Baofeng UV3R Reviews: 126 Average rating: 3.9/5 MSRP: $55
Description: Tiny dual band radio like the Yaesu VX3R.
Product is in production.
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N8ZEE Rating: 4/5 Jun 20, 2013 20:44 Send this review to a friend
Great little radio  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
Was given one and liked it so much, bought another. I wonder what people expect for the price. It does everything I want and expect. The programming works great, I am using Chirp.
I easily put in 9 repeaters, all murs, and it works fine.

I would reccomend this radio to everyone.
I also have two uv-5s and am pleased with them to.
Not up to my Yaesu ft-6,and ft-7, but did not cost $300.00.
Get one of these and you will be pleased.
Any questions, e-mail me.
KK4GCK Rating: 4/5 Feb 28, 2013 19:02 Send this review to a friend
Try the duct tape mod!  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I bought one of these little guys as a back up HT and liked it enough to get my Dad one to play with. It works great with the supplied antenna but even better with an adapter and diamond antenna. I paid right around $35 and have had a ton of fun with this thing. For instance, I drop it in a shirt pocket while at the local zoo to monitor their frequency.
The volume is way to loud on the lowest setting and saying it's way to loud is an understatement.
My solution was not the resistor mod but a layer of gorilla tape duct tape over the speaker grill. It cost next to nothing and really made the radio usable. Don't skimp on the duct tape, gorilla tape is much thicker, denser and stickier.
I highly recommend this radio for a tiny HT niche.
Enjoy and 73!
W4KYR Rating: 4/5 Jan 3, 2013 10:46 Send this review to a friend
If you can get it for $30 Used....  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Baofeng UV3R Mark One

I got this used on Ebay for $29 plus shipping. This came with 2 separate antennas, one for two meters and another the 440 band. In addition it came with the charger, and a charger base and manual.


1.It is small and cheap.

2.Not too difficult to program manually.

3.Good sensitive receiver.

4.Accessories (if you want them) are inexpensive.

5.It has 2 meter and 440 in addition to NWS radio and the FM broadcast band ( as well as a flashlight).

6.You can get these in different colors.


1. Volume needs modification because the lowest volume is not low enough. (There is a video called "UV-3R volume modification" on Youtube that explains how to fix it by soldering in a resistor).

2.This radio lacks alkaline battery capability for 'bug out bags' or 'just in case' emergencies. Radios that have dead rechargeable batteries are useless unless you have a spare charged battery or a cigarette lighter adapter/charger. Baofeng could have made the radio a bit bigger to accommodate three AAA alkaline batteries.

3.This version, UV3R Mark 1 came with a VHF and a UHF antenna. A dual band antenna would have been better. Maybe they went to a dual band antenna in the Mark 2.


If you can get a used one for $30 then go for it. You do get a lot of features for the money.

There are two different UV3R models that I am aware of. Mark 1 and a Mark 2. I am reviewing the Mark 1. Hopefully they fixed the volume control issue in the Mark 2 or with the UV5.

Overall It is an OK rig to for the money just to mess around with. Just make sure you have a cigarette lighter or charger with you if you plan to use it for an emergency.

If you are planning on getting a radio for a 'bug out bag' or to throw in the glove compartment 'just in case'. Look on Ebay for a good used single or dual band that runs on alkaline batteries for $50 to $125.

I would have rated it a 5 if it didn't have the volume control issue. But it gets a 4 for the amount of features it has for the money.

KT4WO Rating: 0/5 Dec 13, 2012 13:29 Send this review to a friend
Good IF  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Good radio for a ham that does not know what is/or has never owned a "good" radio.

Waste of 55 bucks for me...I'll stick with Icom or one of the other big three.

Programming via the computer- Half the values do not
"take" ... Like setting the PL tone.. then checking via the LCD...the tone is NOT set. Set the offset...check... not there.

Antenna is trash.

SQ. is always opening even with a PL set.

I can go on and on....
AF5C Rating: 5/5 Dec 10, 2012 09:19 Send this review to a friend
Great for a $49 HT  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
"If one purchases the UV-3R as their primary/only handheld radio, they've seriously shortchanged themselves."

This is my onlyi handheld radio, and I don't feel shortchanged at all. This is from someone who has owned probably 75 different HTs in the 32 years I have been a ham.

I picked up one of these at the 2012 Oklahoma City Hamfest from the Main Trading Company. Mine actually says MTC on it instead of Baofeng, but it is the same HT. My daughter wanted me to get the blue one, so I did. How many other radio manufacturers let you choose the color of the radio? It was $49 new there so I couldn't pass it up.

I had one of the Wouxun HTs and figured I would get this to travel with since it was smaller and you can plug the wall charger directly into the HT instead of having to carry a drop in charger along with you. After a few weeks I liked the UV3R enough that I sold the Wouxun.

This does almost everything I wanted in an HT and more-dual receive when you set up the dual watch, FM broadcast band receive (which will switch to the ham bands when a signal comes on), 2 watts which beats the VX3R on UHF, good receive and transmit audio, and a decent performing stock antenna-very good for its size.

I wish it did receive broadcast band AM as well, but that doesn't seem to be something that any of the Chinese HTs do. I agree with the previous reviewer as well that it can be confusing at times how the transmit band switches back and forth during dual receive. This may lead you to temporarily transmit on the other band.

Programming by hand is not difficult at all-much better than the Wouxun was, and also easier to change between memory and VFO than it was on the Wouxun as well.

For $49 this HT rocks! Look how far we have come for less money. When I was first licensed, the HT to have was an Icom 2AT. Without the TTP it was $220 new. It did 1.5 watts on 2m. No memories, no scanning, no out of band receive, no digital display, no UHF. Yes, it was more rugged than the Baofeng, though. Not sure this HT will still be operational in 30 years, but we will see.
AB0RE Rating: 4/5 Dec 8, 2012 10:05 Send this review to a friend
You got what you paid for, and maybe a bit more.  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I won a UV-3R MkII from the HamCity giveaway a couple months ago. Having owned more handhelds than I'd like to admit, I was anxious to try it out to see what a sub $50 HT could do.

The "dual-display" of the UV-3R adds confusion. It doesn't actually receive both shown frequencies at once, unless Dual Watch is enabled. When you go to transmit when in Dual Watch mode, it's anybody's guess which of the two frequencies you'll end up on. I think I'd have preferred the single-display model. Also adding to the confusion is the fact the keypad is not labeled to show how to save a memory channel or initiate scanning. This, coupled with the fact my UV-3R was shipped without an instruction manual, made the "break-in period" much more difficult than it had to be.

With that out of the way, there are several quite noticeable shortcomings of the radio. First, the knob on my radio broke the first night. The knob consists of an inner knob, outer knob, and a spring & steel ball to keep the knob correctly set in the up or down (locked) position. My outer knob separated from the inner and the spring and steel ball went flying. After much searching for the small parts and a dab of super glue, I was able to repair the knob. Also, the SMA connector threads into the body of the radio, but is not locked into place with a nut or anything. I once screwed an antenna on too tightly and when I went to remove it the SMA connector came unthreaded. I had to take the entire radio apart to correct this problem, which would've been avoided completely had a locking nut or a little "Loctite" been used on the threads at the time of manufacturing.

Some non-hardware shortcomings I've noticed are a buzz noise on receive when in NarrowFM mode. Also, many times the radio requires a button to be pressed twice in order for its feature to be activated, or the selector knob be turned two clicks for the memory channel to advance just one time.

The UV-3R is a basic radio, with just the most basic of features. It's missing some pretty substantial features that nearly every other HT on the market has. Its veeeery slow scan speed, coupled with its lack of a "Scan Skip" make the UV-3R nearly useless for scanning. There is no Auto Power Off, so just hope you don't leave your HT on to find it dead later. There are no DTMF tones, so no Echolink or IRLP with this radio (yes, I know the radio lacks a keypad, but it's "big brother" radio, the Yaesu VX-3R, has capabilities to program in DTMF strings). There are no provisions for CTCSS tone scan, either. And, there are no alpha tags, but that's not necessarily a deal-breaker for me.

Probably the biggest shortcoming of the radio is that it comes, out of the box, with FULL TX capabilities. This, coupled with the dumb "Alert" feature that is activated by holding the mysterious "F/A" button on the side of the radio, invites the possibility of UV-3R owners mistakingly transmitting a constant siren noise on their local public service frequencies. (Don't ask me how I know this.) I downloaded the free software and adjusted the TX and RX freqeuencies to the ham bands only, since the radio does not provide the capability to have separate ranges for transmit and receive.

After that long rant, I'm sure most who are still reading are wondering why I rated the radio a "4 - Good". Well, I thought I'd save the best for last...

The transmit audio sounds great! The receive audio is also great, with plenty of volume and plenty of "low end" from the radios tiny little speaker. I was really taken back by the audio quality of this radio.

Next, the LED "flashlight" is quite useful. I've found myself using it quite often.

This radio comes with a LiON battery that charges quickly and seems to provide a long usage period between chargings. The battery can be replaced for anywhere from $3 - $13, depending on whether you get the generic knockoff from China off eBay, or the "official" Baofeng battery. The battery charges on an outboard stand, so if one were to purchase a second battery you could literally use your UV-3R 24/7.

Once you figure out the programming sequence, the UV-3R is actually quite easy to program. If you make changes to a memory channel (tones, offset, etc) after it is programmed, you do not have to "re-save" the channel like you do with most other radios. The changes are saved automatically, which is a nice touch. The Baofeng UV-3R is *much* easier to program than the Wouxun dualbander I previously owned.

Finally, this radio is a phenomenal deal at ~$50. My radio even came with a little earbud microphone that sounds good. Yes, the UV-3R comes nowhere near holding a candle to the dualband HT offerings of Icom, Kenwood, and Yaesu, but it is 1/4 - 1/3 of the price.

If one purchases the UV-3R as their primary/only handheld radio, they've seriously shortchanged themselves. But if you're looking for a back-up/secondary HT to throw in the glove box, use for crossbanding around the house, or to loan to your clumsy ham friends, the UV-3R would make a great, inexpensive choice.
KF6HCD Rating: 0/5 Dec 7, 2012 17:59 Send this review to a friend
Junk  Time owned: more than 12 months
Update to my earlier review:

The buttons, including the PTT, have quit working. I've thrown the radio in the recycle bin.

I shan't buy another.
W3FIS Rating: 5/5 Nov 14, 2012 14:09 Send this review to a friend
Great little radio  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have owned two of them for over a year now. Perfect radio for travel. In metropolitan areas, it even works well with a "stubby" antenna, though 1/4 wave whip is a better bet. I have also programmed it with local police/fire frequencies, and the NOAA weather channels. Programming with the software or manually is a cinch.
KA3RCS Rating: 4/5 Nov 10, 2012 22:09 Send this review to a friend
Surprisingly good performance and fun to use  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I've been hearing more and more talk about these and similar radios for a while, but never really had any interest as I already have a variety of good handhelds.

That changed a few weeks ago when a friend brought one to the local radio club's weekly dinner. I had seen plenty of Wouxuns and others, which were as big as my flagship VX-7s, but this thing was intriguingly small. Of course, the form factor is virtually identical to that of the VX-3, but that radio never grabbed my attention due to its price and lack of features. The UV-3R struck a chord with its combination of very small size and very low price, so I decided to give one a try. It turns out that he had ordered extras to resell locally, so I grabbed one (and later a second).

I began to research this model as soon as I got one, and was quite surprised to learn that it is actually based on a rather advanced single-chip SDR platform. I have the Mark II version, which apparently corrects a few of the issues with the original. It obviously doesn't receive as well as a radio with helicals in the front end in a high RF environment, but then, neither do many much larger and more expensive Japanese radios.


- Incredibly small size
- Staggeringly low price for a dual-band HT
- Rather good RX and TX audio quality
- Good RX sensitivity
- Good choice of high power level (2 watts is almost indistinguishable from 4 or 5 watts on the other end, but results in much less heat and better battery life)
- Flashlight mode is handy, though obviously not comparable to my EDC Fenix or Surefire lights (which cost more and 3+ times more than the whole radio each, respectively!)
- USB charging cable is very convenient
- Free programming software (official and third party, including Linux support)
- Narrowband support (RX as well as TX)
- PL and DPL support
- Semi-standard Li-ion battery (similar to some camera batteries), rather than totally proprietary
- Proper gender of antenna connector, unlike most Chinese radios of this sort (which are incompatible with the vast array of male SMA HT antennas which I have accumulated)


- Lowest volume level is too high (can cure with resistor mod, no big deal)
- No channel lockout in scan
- Very slow scan speed (not sure if this is due to the lockup time of the SDR or just poor firmware coding, but annoying either way)
- No memory banks or select scan
- No memory tune mode (any change while in memory mode immediately committed to memory...annoying to say the least)
- No memory to VFO transfer function
- No indication of whether memory to be written is empty or not
- No ability to delete memories from radio UI
- No alpha tags for memories
- Low power level is too high (and erratic according to some reviews); really needs more settings, including ~50 mW and ~500 mW
- Limited receive frequency range and no AM mode (understandable due to design targets of SDR chip)
- Could have been compatible with standard Yaesu 4-pin speaker/mics and programming cables, but isn't

On the subject of programming, it is possible to program the radio from its UI, but much easier to do so from a computer. My source did not have any extra programming cables, so I decided to see what I could do with what I already had. Some research showed that, unlike virtually every other handheld (and some mobiles) in the real world which use TX and RX data on the same line, this one splits them into two lines. So, the cables I already had which work for numerous Yaesu transceivers and receivers, the Alinco DJ-G29T, and the Icom IC-2720H would not work with the UV-3R. However, I found that the TTL2USB CT-2 which I got with a used VX-7 has a jumper which can be set for separate RX and TX. I built a 3-pin to 4-pin 3.5 mm cable and changed the jumper, and it programs the UV-3R perfectly both with the official software and with Chirp. Additionally, as it uses the superior FTDI chipset, there are none of the driver issues caused by the Prolific (and knockoff) chips used in the various cables sold for these radios.

One of the first things I did with the main UV-3R was to install the Maldol Active Hunter antenna (currently known as the MH-209SMA) which I have had for many years. The performance of that antenna is surprisingly good for its small size. It is a perfect match for this radio, yielding an overall package even smaller (and easier to carry) than that with the stock antenna.

Had this radio cost $300-500+, as many of mine have over the years, I would have given it a much lower rating. However, the whole package costs less than a single OEM battery for the VX-7 (or a single tank of gasoline...). The ridiculously low price point (along with the tiny, convenient, and fun form factor) offsets its limitations such that I believe 4 is a fair rating. It could never begin to replace the VX-7, but it is so small that I can truly carry it everywhere. I like it more than I expected to, honestly. It will be interesting to see how it holds up in the long term.

KF7HCZ Rating: 1/5 Nov 4, 2012 18:39 Send this review to a friend
Don't waste you money...  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
The happiest day was when I gave it away. It is junk, pure and simple. Save your $$$ and get a Yaesu, Icom, or Kenwood.
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