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Baofeng Reviews

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5 comments to Review: Baofeng GT-3 Handheld Ham Radio

The following post was originally published HERE1 in MSO.

The importance of communication in preparedness cannot be overstated. If it all comes crashing down and normal methods of communication are thrown out the window Ham radio is one solution. Ham radio has been as mystifying to me over the past several years as trying to read hieroglyphics off an Egyptian pyramid wall.

Talking to a lot people, reading a few articles, and watching a ton of video s has helped a lot. It is all starting to come together. Search the net and you can find tons of information on Ham radio.

I am no expert and still have a lot to learn.

Baofeng is a name that is extremely popular with Ham operators as they provide inexpensive, entry-level radio s starting at around $30. Yes a license is required to TRANSMIT on most any frequency but listening is not a problem.


Out of the Box: My out of the box impression of the Baofeng GT-3 Mark II Handheld Ham radio2 was very positive. Build quality appears to be first rate.

Everything fits, turns, and operates as it should. The included accessories are quite impressive at this price point charging stand, belt clip, wrist strap, high performance antenna, combo mic/earpiece, and a car charger.


Programming: If you are unfamiliar with programming frequencies into a handheld it can be very intimidating. YouTube and the website miklor.com3 can be a huge help.

Following manual programming steps can be tedious but once learned is not that difficult.

Most all of the programming I do is using a laptop along with special software and a programing cable4. The software can be downloaded HERE5. Again Youtube has been a huge help and once I programmed a few Baofeng radios it was a breeze.

By the way I use the exact same cable and software on the GT-3 as I do my other Baofeng UV-5R s6. I have had no issue with compatibility which is a huge benefit.

What am I programming in these radios? There are several local repeaters I have programed into the GT-3 as well as all FRS/GMRS, MURS, Marine, and a few other frequencies specific to my locale. A total of 128 channels can be stored.


Antenna/Performance: The included SainSonic antenna that comes with the Baofeng GT-37 is a huge improvement over the Baofeng standard antenna.

To put this in perspective I have a group member that lives approx 25 miles from our local repeater. With the standard Baofeng antenna he needed to find the tallest spot on his land and actually hold the radio up a couple feet to obtain clear transmission with the repeater. During comm checks the GT-3 with the antenna SainSonic antenna he was able to reach the repeater 25 miles away without a problem without holding his radio up in the air.

The GT-3 has upgraded internal electronics that are intended to allow it to communicate clearer and further.

25 miles.

Not bad for a handheld with a short antenna .


LED Flashlight: Certainly having nothing to do with communication but it is a feature of the radio is the inclusion of an LED flashlight at the top between the volume knob and the antenna. Redundancy is something relished by myself and other survivalists and having another option for illumination is certainly not a bad thing. The light on the Baofeng GT-3 is an upgrade over the UV-5R.

It is plenty bright enough to walk the dog or make your way through the house in a power outage.


Antenna Mount: The GT-3 has a standard SMA female connector. This provides a huge assortment of antenna options including one of my personal favorites the Nagoya UT-106 UHF/VHF Mobile Antenna8.

Many antenna s are available and are relatively inexpensive.


Belt Clip: I played with the notion of leaving the belt clip off but to be honest it comes in handy. I never carry any of my radios on a belt however I do clip it to pack straps, my pocket, as well as numerous other spots of convenience.

It mounts with two small Phillips-head screws securely to the back of the radio and the spring loaded clip is very strong.


Battery: The battery life of the Baofeng GT-3 simply awesome. I have left the radio on for a couple days by mistake and it still had power to receive and transmit. The battery is a 7.4V 1800mAh lithium-ion which provides this performance. Extra batteries9 are inexpensive at around $16.00.


The battery is removed from GT-3 by pressing down on the button just above the clip and then pushing the battery downward.


Placing the battery back in the radio is a breeze.

With the clip installed it needs to be moved out of the way while the battery is slid into place. The battery s are not heavy or large. Carrying an extra one of two would be no problem.


Exterior Buttons/Displays/Ports:

Call Button Pressing the Call Button quickly turns on the FM radio.

Yes it has a built-in FM radio. Guess I didn t mention that. Again redundancy is in play here.

It simply works. Pressing the Call Button and holding it down sends out an annoying ALARM. It s there but I never use it.

MONI Button: This is the Monitor button.

Pressing the MONI button quickly turns on the flashlight. Pressing it again turns on a strobe function to the flashlight. Pressing it again shuts it off.

Pressing and holding the MONI button down will release the squelch on whatever frequency your monitoring . This feature I never use.

Push to Talk: The black Push to Talk button is located on the left side and is obviously what you push to transmit.


Ports: On the right-side of the GT-3 are the speaker and microphone ports. Standard earphones can be plugged into the speaker port.

The included earphone/microphone headset also plug into these ports.


The protective cover stays attached so as not to be lost. I removed it to take the picture above.


Speaker: One of the improvements the Baofeng GT-310 has over the standard UV-5R is the speaker. The sound is clearer and louder.

It just flat out sounds better than the UV-5R.


Keypad: The keypad just has a better feel to it than on the UV-5R. Not a big deal really. It also lights up differently than the UV-5R.

The keys light up as well as a small area around the keys. On the UV-5R only the keys light up. Not a big deal but I like the GT-3 better.


Feel: The GT-3 feels good in the hand.

Without the belt clip on it is a little slick. SOme friction tape would solve that. Since I always leave the clip on this is a non-issue.

The shape of the radio being wider at the top and narrow on the bottom conforms to my hand better than the Baofeng UV-5R. The UV-5R feels like I m holding a small piece of 2 4. The GT-3 is so much better.


Display: The display is an area of controversy to many users of the radio.

It looks phenomenal when you first turn it on as well as receiving and transmitting. When the radio sits idle the backlit display goes dark.


As can be seen in the picture above when the display goes dark the information can be seen, but it not easy depending on the light. If I could change one thing with the GT-3 it would be to have an option to leave the backlit display on constantly or just change it to the UV-5R display.

* * * * * * *

FINAL THOUGHTS: Costing around $45 the Baofeng GT-3 Mark II Handheld Ham radio11 is a bargain.

The radio has many more features to it not mentioned including its dual-band capability and dual output (4 watts/1 watt). For those looking to get into Ham radio and do not want to spend a fortune this is the way to go.

Back up communications should be an integral part of any preppers plans. I highly recommend getting a few Baofeng GT-3 radio s and learn how to use them.

Don t forget to transmit legally a license must be obtained.

For more information click HERE12.


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  1. ^ HERE (
  2. ^ Baofeng GT-3 Mark II Handheld Ham radio (
  3. ^ (
  4. ^ special software and a programing cable (
  5. ^ HERE (
  6. ^ Baofeng UV-5R s (
  7. ^ Baofeng GT-3 (
  8. ^ Nagoya UT-106 UHF/VHF Mobile Antenna (
  9. ^ Extra batteries (
  10. ^ Baofeng GT-3 (
  11. ^ Baofeng GT-3 Mark II Handheld Ham radio (
  12. ^ HERE (

Radio Review: Baofeng's UV-82HP

Can a measly few watts of power make much difference?

When folks at Baofeng Tech asked me if I d review the new 8 Watt UV-82HP UHF/VHF ham radio, the FIRST thing I thought of was comparing two different models against each other at their max power setting, and see how great a difference there was in range. A totally unscientific comparison, but doable, since I already own two Baofeng s, two Baofeng UV-5R s. I figured it would settle, (at least in my mind), the range question from a practical standpoint, plus give a reference point radio to compare.

Let s start with a first impression

: you can play the FM radio for three 8 hour days at work on a full battery charge.

For some, (like me), that s important. It s also a practical test of current drain, like keeping the radio turned on scanning memory banks all day.

Figure around 18 to 24 hours service between charges under light duty cycle. Audio volume and clarity is VERY impressive. I m also impressed with the radio s fit and feel.

There s substance to the radio, but because of it s slim form factor, there s no problem with it clipped to a pants pocket all day. It s not a bulky brick.

If ever I hear some blow-hard spout off about cheap Chinese Radios I d hit them with this one it d leave a dent.

The LED flashlight has an enclosed lens and reflector focusing the light. A radio with a built-in flashlight is occasionally more handy than the radio itself.

: (First this Crevat: I LOVE my ) The radio resembles a handheld radio version of a Sherman Tank, a small Sherman Tank.

While the 82 is slim and curvy, the 5R is not. Part of it s appeal has been it s utilitarian chunkiness, however, I found the 5R to be a bit little top heavy clipped to my belt, the antenna trying to upend the radio, so I seldom kept the radio clipped to my side for long. I usually just carry them around.

As for volume, compared to the 82 it s no comparison, the 5R s speaker sounds thin and tinny, the female voice commands a mumble most of the time.

Please understand, while both radios have the same circuit design, I m comparing Apples to Oranges here, the is a different radio model from a feature standpoint, as well as performance, as I soon found out. First testing how both models compared working from a level playing field.

Rubber meets Road RF meets Ozone

Testing for typical performance, I used both of my stock HT s and the 82HP at the same power output, to compare signal reports through a local repeater about 5 miles away.

I discovered the receiver had some signal fading due to antenna orientation, vertical being distinctly stronger than horizontal. So did the , only not as much.

Holding the radio upright, the received signal clears up fine.

It s not a big problem, it just means I can t look cool holding the radio sideways like they do on TV or in the movies.

All things the same, only different

It turns out under identical power levels and operating conditions, the transmitted audio signal into the repeater was louder than both . This was confirmed through signal reports from my contact, who didn t know which radio I was using. Perhaps carrier deviation is just hotter in this particular HT, but over all, the UV-82HP had a better quality signal than both of my Actually, I m more lead to think it s the battery capacity of the different radio models making the difference, the using stock 1500 mAh.

batteries, vs the , with 1800 mAh. (That s a little radio tech secret you get a cleaner signal with greater battery capacity.) The batteries and supplied chargers are not interchangeable between the and the .

This may also explain the longer duration between recharge, just listening to the FM radio.

On testing extreme range, I tried all three radios the two , and the , to get into a distant repeater, each using the radio s highest transmit power.

It ended up being no contest

For this test, I worked into the 1500 blowtorch of the Pee Dee region, the W4PDE 2 meter repeater outside of Dillion SC. It s 57 miles away, and generally covers a 125 mile radius.

After several attempts, both couldn t raise the repeater, no response at all.

I expected that. It was quite a stretch to expect the 4 watt to get that far, especially with me standing at street level.

But surprisingly, the hit the repeater first time with ease. My contact, Tim W2SOC, reported my signal clear and readable with some white noise on my signal. Still, a VERY respectable report.

Later on that evening, back home in the woods, the reached the Dillion repeater again, this time at 50 miles away. But sadly, both couldn t cut the mustard again. I have to say in the past, I had reached the Dillion repeater from my front porch, with one of my on a good day.

But this wasn t one of those days for a , it was however, another day in paradise for the .

All things being the same, the has better signal quality overall than my . As for it s greater power settings, it s obvious the radio s range is significantly greater.

At this years local field day, the was the belle of the ball because it was NEW!

I got the radio in the hands of as many Hams as I could for their feedback. Owners of liked it s fit and finish, and everyone liked it s greater power output.

Those who own older UV-82 s were envious, but knew it was the logical next step in the model line.

The two-button PTT feature, used to select between two banks of memory, was initially confusing for owners, but they quickly caught on to how it eliminates need to manually select between memory banks, and allows you to work two separate stations, just by pressing one or the other key button. If you don t like the feature, you can turn it off in the settings using programming software.

One noted the 82 seemed more geared for using preset memories, which it is, arriving out of the box set up in channel mode. You hold down the menu button when turning on, to switch the radio to frequency mode. I also showed both radios to Hams who don t own neither radio, asked them to pick which one they like.

Most chose the over the because it felt more like a radio , (One even called the 5R a toy radio )

Assessing ease of use.

Right off the bat I noticed manual programming is more refined than with the series, however, a practiced hand is still needed to set up and load memories manually. It s obvious the radio begs to be programmed plugged into a computer, using programming software like . Incidentally, the 82 doesn t come with programming software or a .

Not a problem with those who already have a earlier model Baofeng, but if you re new to the brand, you should consider getting the too. Trust me, you ll want one, even with this radio. The included manual is thick, informative, and written by someone here in the US.

Using the most recent daily build of software, (it s very good free software BTW), and accessing for the local repeater list, I had the radio on the air, 5 minutes out of the box.

Summing Up

I m impressed with the , it s a big step up from the , with a more refined design.

Overall, the radio is easy to set up using programming software and a USB cable, (which most Baofeng radio owners already own), and it has plenty of transmit power. It s a perfect alternative to the popular high power variant of the , the Baofeng . It appears cross-compatibility of batteries and chargers between same model series radios would be a factor.

If your comfortable with how a operates, and seek greater power, then go with the .

However if you seek a more refined design in functions and form, along with very respectable range, you should take a serious look at the , I think you ll be very glad you did.

Review Pofung (Baofeng) UV-82HP

by John Miklor K3NXU

Not just a Power Upgrade
The new UV-82HP is not just a power upgrade, but a combination of all major features of both the UV82 and UV5R series in one package.

82HPWhat s in the Box
The UV82HP
Newer upgraded A-V85 Antenna
7.4V 1800mAh Li-Ion Battery
Upright Charger and wall-wart
Manual written in English
Belt Clip
Hand Strap

The radio sports all traditional features of the UV82 design, with the larger keypad buttons and the zero at the bottom of the number pad where it belongs, etc. It also is built using the latest generation chipset.

The frequency range is the full 136-174.99 MHz, 400-520.99 MHz range.
VHF output on the test unit clocks in at 7.3W with UHF at 6.0W
The Dual PTT button is now an option that can be turned off. Previously only available with the commercial version (UV82C)
Live On-the-Air audio reports are exc
Alpha tags can be added with the required software below.
The receiver sensitivity is still excellent.

So, What makes this version an upgrade?
The original UV82 took a traditional UV5R, and added design features such as an upgraded case and Dual PTT switch. (comparison1)
Next came the UV82C which included options to synchronize the Dual PTT function to emulate a Single PTT, and the ability to lock out the VFO to prevent accidental field programming.
Next came the 8W F8HP, the first of the high power Baofengs.
An expanded feature added is R-Tone, a repeater tone for those requiring a 1000, 1450, 1750 or 2000Hz audible tone for access.

This is not to be confused with CTCSS or DCS. Prior models provided Burst for 1750Hz only.

The UV-82HP now includes all of the above features in one package. The PTT synchronizing, VFO lockout, High Power, R-Tone, and newest generation chipset.

It has kept the traditional UV82 case design to ensure compatibility between all existing options, including Dual PTT Spkr/Micr, battery cases, holsters, battery eliminators, etc.

Feature UV82HP UV82 UV82C F8HP UV5R High Power 7-8W Yes Yes Dual PTT Yes Yes Yes Single PTT Sync Option Yes Yes VFO Mode Disable Yes Yes Repeater Access Tones
1000, 1450, 1750, 2100Hz Yes 1750Hz 1750Hz 1750Hz 1750Hz As mentioned above, with software, the UV-82HP can lockout the VFO mode to prevent accidental changes.

The Factory Software has been added to the Software2 section. The radio has also now included in the Latest Daily Build of CHIRP3. Note: A programming cable is required to run the software. Acquiring a quality cable is highly recommended. You will spend more time using the radio and less time trying to load special backdated drivers to your PC.

A generic cable is less expensive, but a cable with an FTDI chip is Plug n Play. The UV82HP allows locking the PTT Button to simulate a Single PTT and override the Dual PTT feature. Software Note
As you may have expected, running the UV82HP software will not activate or create new features on an older UV-82/82C. Compatibility
All of my accessories for the standard UV82 are compatible, including the Dual PTT speaker/micr. With the exception of the battery and charger, all UV5R accessories work as well. Conclusion
You can always run this radio in low/mid power to conserve battery, but when you need the extra power, it s there.It s nice to see a true upgrade of features to the UV82 series, and not just a fancy case or the addition of extra letters and numbers to the UV82 label.

A Feature Comparison published between the standard UV82 and its predecessor can be found at UV82_vs_UV5R4 A full in-depth Technical Review5 of the Original UV-82 was done by Hans last year. About these ads6


  1. ^ comparison (
  2. ^ Software (
  3. ^ CHIRP (
  4. ^ UV82_vs_UV5R (
  5. ^ Technical Review (
  6. ^ About these ads (