Baofeng UV5RA Handheld Ham Radio Review

Baofeng UV5RA ReviewThe best thing about the Baofeng UV5RA is its astoundingly low price. This model has everything you need to communicate via shortwave radio on the go. Despite the low cost, the plastic case and the buttons are very well made and responsive. Located on the bottom of the UV5RA you’ll find four tiny nubs that prevent the phone from falling over when you stand it upright.

The UV5RA has a built-in flashlight and a FM radio mode. The colored LED display is easy to read. You can choose whatever color backlight you want: red, blue or purple. The UV5RA also features a synthetic English voice that sounds clear and realistic when it makes announcements.

The only downside to the UV5RA is that it is a bit difficult to enter in frequencies manually. However, there is a free program called CHIRP that mitigates this downside. CHIRP allows you to enter data into a spreadsheet and download it into your phone through its connection cable.

The USV5RA runs on 6 AAA batteries. But it also comes with a charging pack and a charging stand that you can use with it as well. Another thing to like about the USV5RA is that it’s much smaller than most other portable ham radios.


  • Great value. This little radio matches up very well with high-end ham radios, but it costs a fraction of the price.
  • Compact size. The UV5RA will fit in your pocket or in the palm of your hand. Other ham radios are much chunkier.
  • Responsive controls. Even though this unit is cheap, its construction is very solid. The buttons respond nicely to touch.
  • Built in FM radio and flashlight. Flip to FM mode if you want to hear some tunes. Use the flashlight if you get lost in the dark.
  • English language robotic voice. Unlike many synthetic voice programs, the USV5RA’s is loud, clear and easy to understand.
  • 3 color customizable LED display. The colored backlight makes the display easy to read. Easily flip between red, blue or purple.


  • Difficult to manually program. For best results, connect this ham to your computer and download your frequency list.
  • It’s not as powerful as high-end ham radios. This little radio has decent power, but it can’t match more expensive ham radio models.
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