BaoFeng portable two-way radio UV-5RE Review

BaoFeng UV.5RE ReviewWhen it comes to survival and preparing for disasters and storms, there are many options for communications. Often people will say "well I will just call on my cell phone" but this shows how little they know. In a real emergency cell towers can be down and as anyone who owns a cell will tell you even at the best of times they will not work when you need them!

BaoFeng UV.5RE ReviewThere is one option that has been used for over 100 years and that's longer than we've been alive. That's HAM radio or amateur radio. Although the name suggests someone who is an amateur, Ham radios can be very complicated; you have tons of setting and frequencies, and it's often a good idea to get both a quality manual and a cable to program the radio from your computer.

BaoFeng UV.5RE ReviewFRS is good, CB also know as Citizens Band radio is also a good option, but when it comes to a real SHTF (Sh!t Hits The Fan) scenario, every expert will tell you UHF/VHF are the way to go! There are a lot of options out there, but these radios coming out of China are a very affordable and versatile option like the BaoFeng portable two-way radio UV-5RE.



BaoFeng UV.5RE ReviewI like these radios for so many reasons; they're very good for the money and the options you get are vast. The first option I will talk about is you can get all 14 channels for FRS with UV-5RE, and I will list them here:








FRS Designated Frequencies US and Canada
Channel 1 462.5625
Channel 2 462.5875
Channel 3 462.6125
Channel 4 462.6375
Channel 5 462.6625
Channel 6 462.6875
Channel 7 462.7125
Channel 8 467.5625
Channel 9 467.5875
Channel 10 467.6125
Channel 11 467.6375
Channel 12 467.6625
Channel 13 467.6875
Channel 14 467.7125

BaoFeng UV.5RE ReviewAll you need to do to get the same channel as you would with an FRS radio is to input the corresponding frequencies to get that channel in the UHF/VHF radio, so you can see for 80 bucks you have already combined two sets of radios in one, cutting down on weight and cost.



BaoFeng UV.5RE ReviewNext option is Weather, with the UV-5RE you can also tune into weather alert channels or frequencies AKA NOAA weather Radio Frequencies.




These include:

• 162.400 MHz
• 162.425 MHz
• 162.450 MHz
• 162.475 MHz
• 162.500 MHz
• 162.525 MHz
• 162.550 MHz

BaoFeng UV.5RE ReviewAnother feature is FM radio, Yep you can even pick up FM get with the BaoFeng UV-5RE. With just a click of a button you can tune into all your favorite music stations turning your BaoFeng portable two-way radio in to a standard FM radio to listen to music, and if you're counting you have now combined three versions of radios into one small portable and very compact package! This is something I really like, you can pack this small radio in a survival or B.O.B. (Bug Out Bag) and for such a small foot print you get a ton of capability and cut down on carrying a lot of weight!

BaoFeng UV.5RE ReviewWith the BaoFeng UV-5RE, you also get a flashlight that doubles as a emergency flasher along with a siren. This can come in handy if you find yourself in the dark or unable to speak, at least you can turn on the emergency siren and attract help.



BaoFeng UV.5RE ReviewSomething that newcomers will find useful, and to anyone who has had these radios for awhile will surely be tired of, is you can set the radio to speak each mode and setting. This also helps to let you know what the abbreviation's on the radio mean when you're using it for the first time. This feature can be turned off and on depending on what your needs are.


BaoFeng UV.5RE ReviewYou also get the standard features like VOX (voice operated transmission) is a setting that will detect when someone is speaking and push the button down for you saving you from have to push the button each time you speak. This comes in handy if you're climbing or using weapons or tools.



BaoFeng UV.5RE ReviewThe UV-5RE has an A/B button for shifting between two channels and a VFO/MR for shifting between channel mode and frequency mode. On the side of the radio you have your standard PTT or push to talk button (only one – some radios have two), a call button that when quickly pressed can switch your radio from FM and back, but if held down, gives you a loud alarm sounding while flashing both indicators on the radio and the flashlight. This functions kind of like an emergency button for help. You also have a button called MONI - this button turns on the flashlight with a quick click and other click turns the flashlight to a strobe or flasher, but if the MONI button is held down it activates the squelch.

With the UV-5RE you have 128 memory channels that will allow you to program in repeater towers and your favorite channels like I do for ambulance, and other local channels. You also get 50 privacy channel codes CTCSS, I have not used this feature but from what I've read it allows you to use a number for radios on the same channel, but allows you to block out or set radios to a certain channel to allow many people to use the same channel, and not interfere with each other.

The BaoFeng UV-5RE has simplified controls if that's possible to say with these radios. Some like the other one I have has two knobs for adjusting settings but I've found these are not necessary as all the settings can be adjusted by the up and down buttons, and the added adjustment knobs can just make it over complicated.

This radio comes with a built-in clip which needs to be installed so you will need a Phillips screwdriver along with an over the ear head set, carrying strap and of course the charging station. You will need to buy the programming cable separately if you want to program it that way which is much faster.

The UV-5RE also has something that a lot of people will like and that's a Li-ion battery. This makes the radio not just lighter but smaller and more compact keeping the footprint of the total radio small. I can tell you that having the lead style or older battery types can really increase the weight as my CB radio has double AAs and this radio weighs 5 times what the UV-5RE radio does.

This is not without its down side, if your radio should run out of power you will need a spare battery or a way to charge because you can't just pick up some double AAs and put them in. I will say though, I had this radio on standby for over a long time and that was out of the box! You will get around 12 hours battery life.

This model is a dual band, which means you can basically use and watch two frequencies at the same time (UHF stands for Ultra High Frequency and VHF stands for Very High Frequency). This also becomes a factor if you use dual bands, as some people broadcast on one channel and receive on another. Another nice feature is you can listen to FM radio while still watching your channel, and if there's any talk on the channel, the radio will cut FM off and switch automatically to your radio frequency that has the traffic, which is nice if you're waiting for a transmission as you have something to do!

I recommend both programming your radio with all surrounding repeaters and channels you need, and also making a small card with all the channels and repeaters printed out on it along with any setting you want to add to it. Then get the card laminated so that this card can serve as a reference for you, should you have to reset your radio or you do something wrong in the field! And keep it with your radio in your bug out bag or wherever your radio is stored!

Now one thing that turns people away from radios like the BaoFeng is having to be licensed to use them. To use a HAM radio you need to take a short test and get a call sign and be licensed. This shouldn't turn you away, because this radio is capable of doing a wide range of channels. You can use the FRS channels and other channels freely as they don't require you to have a license, and you can always listen to channels like a scanner or even listen to FM radio, and all this can be done while you study or wait for your test. So if you don't have a License yet you still have a lot of functions that the radio can do in the meantime. After all, you will want to practice using the radio and its functions, so you have some idea what you're doing when you take the test!

I have to say I've just scratched the surface of what these radios can do and you really need to get one to see all that a UHF/VHF radio can offer. After using the BaoFeng for a few weeks now I can tell you it's very user friendly, I've had no problem getting it up and running in about 10 minutes even without reading the manual, so you can rest assured if this is your first radio you can be up and running in no time!


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