Real versus fake Baofengs

Last update 17 Nov 2016

This page is still "under construction" as new information is found, or old information is changed or updated, I make changes as needed. In some cases my old links or pages are no longer accessible so I need to find the same information elsewhere, or use a service like to find it again. I also have some fun on here so do not take anything personally.

As time passes, the term "fake radio" is eventually heard. In some cases it is an obvious fake like a "Vaesu UV8DR", in other cases it is very hard to show or prove the fakes from real radios, sometimes it is another company's name on the outside. What I am trying to do here is compile information needed to try to help show how there is a LOT of fake Baofengs flooding the market today, and try to avoid them at all costs.

I will start with the 3 key models for sale today that are fake.

  1. UV-5R
  2. BF-F9 (usually as BF-F9V2+ or some other F9 variation)
  3. anything with TP in the name

So what makes these radios fakes? Well this take a little extra time to explain. First people need to understand that all currently sold Baofeng radios fall under one of 3 categories:

  1. real/official models which are made and sold by Baofeng corporate (aka Fujian Nanan Baofeng Electronic Co., Ltd), usually to resellers;
  2. then there are 3rd party models which are essentially the official models rebranded to another company name and model, but 3rd party are still official models on the inside;
  3. and then the fakes.

The official models includes current and previously made radios. Some sellers may be selling old stock of a since discontinued model (like the UV-5R). According to my source within Baofeng corporate, the UV-5R was officially discontinued in December 2014, and most stock had been shipped and sold to resellers by early Jan 2015. The reason behind this is they wanted the official model line to conform to a specific prefix for specific external case characteristics. The UV-5R was replaced with the BF-F8, since they wanted the "BF" line to be the simple square case most commonly associated with the UV-5R/BF-F8. For the "UV" line, they wanted to keep that as the rounded upright style most commonly used with the UV-82 series, and then the "GT" series for most everything else. There are a few that go outside of this baseline design scheme such as the BF-888 series. Still, this means officially, almost every UV-5R sold since mid 2015 has been a fake.

So you're asking again, "what makes it a fake?" Some people have no patience, some want a simple word or sentence explaining it, some want that single sentence with a smoking gun where the company admits fraud (like that will happen), other people want to know so they can come back with some opinionated statement to try to disprove the facts, a remote few have something against me due to their own ignorance, or some just hate Chinese radios and want to lump them all into one category as a basis for their unfounded hatred.

  • If you have no patience, bravo for reading this far into this page, I doubt you will make it much farther.
  • Want a simple word or sentence, well that comes at the end of this paragraph.
  • Those that want the "smoking gun", well that will not happen unless one of their servers are hacked and the hacker group posts the information online, but these types of companies are so low on their list, it is unlikely this would ever happen. It would take a major lawsuit for this information to come out publicly from the company themselves.
  • Oh you think your opinion overrides facts, well tell me more buttercup. (Please don't, I really do not care to speak to these mentally disturbed types)
  • Don't like me for whatever reason? Why the hell are you reading my website then?
  • I call this last group "lumpies", as in they lump all these Chinese radios together. To them there is no fake Baofeng, somehow their opinion override the facts and nothing we can do will change their mind. Of course these same lumpy idiots when shown the Vaesu UV8DR, say that is an obvious fake solely because the name and model is different. To these types, I just shake my head, and if you're one of these types, just close your browser and have a popsicle in your parents basement.

Lets break this down into the simplest possible explanation: Baofeng (aka Fujian Nanan Baofeng Electronic Co., Ltd) makes the radios, other companies either have a reseller license to sell the official models, and/or some have a 3rd party model license to sell their custom models. Anything that falls outside of this means it is a fake, the reseller license does not give them the right or permission to make their own models. This is where the fakes have caused so much commotion and given Baofeng such a bad name.


So how do we find out? One easy way is to read from your radio in Chirp and check the firmware version, if it starts with ANYTHING except BFB, BFS, N5R, B82 or U82, it is almost guaranteed a fake. If it starts with H, 2014, 2015, 2016 or anything else, it is a fake. Some of the fakes use NSR or BF5 (using the letter "S" in NSR instead of number "5", or vice versa like BF5). Some official third party models like the new UV-5X3 have their own firmware which all start with UVV. Another way is look at the licensed 3rd party company. BaofengTech has the exclusive license to be the ONLY reseller of radios that use the 8W power out capability. This literally means if the 8W model (F8HP or 82HP) comes from BaofengTech, it is an official 3rd party model, if it is sold by anyone else under F9 or TP in the name, it is a fake (and illegally made and sold as well).

Model names

The "fake makers" also use common model names (like UV-5R) with modified firmware, which is why at the top I mentioned firmware revisions. The fakes may use similar looking firmware like HN5R3407 or BF5389, many use fake firmware versions since it was modified or programmed from scratch by the "fake maker" in order to tell the firmware to ignore the failed part or to compensate for it in other ways (which still means they fail on the spectrum analyzer). These usually have completely unrelated firmware versions. They use failed parts with fake firmware in common models like the UV-5R. Also the UV-5R itself (as well as UV-B5, B6 and B7) was discontinued by Baofeng in 2014 in favor the BF-F8 series, sticking to the BF prefix for the square body models. The new "square body" models made since 2014 will always be BF-xxx, so anytime you see a "new 2015 UV-5R, or new for 2016 UV-5R, it is guaranteed to be a fake. Also, the BF and UV lettering will NEVER be in the model name together, such as some fakes like "BF-UV82" going around.

I have most models listed here which covers most of them.


  • UV-5R (includes UV-5RA, UV-6R, UV-5R V2+, UV-5RE, UV-5RAX+) with BFS, BFB, or N5R firmware versions
  • BF-F8+ (includes GT-3 Mark II, A-52, 997-S)
  • BF-F8HP (with N5R firmware versions)
  • UV-82, UV-82C, UV-82HP, UV-82X (with N82 or B82 firmware versions)
  • BF-888S (includes GT-1, F3+)
  • UV-B5, UV-B6, UV-6 and UV-7 (discontinued in 2014)
  • UV-3R (discontinued late 2015)

3rd Party brand and named variations based on real official models (not fakes):

  • Zastone, Cignus, Tonfa, various others
  • Some third party models, in this case from BaofengTech:
  • UV-82HP (U82 firmware)
  • BF-F8HP (N5R firmware)
  • UV-5X3 (UVV firmware)

Known fakes:

  • UV-5R sold after March-April 2015 (although some older stock may have been sold after this timeframe)
  • BF-F9v2+ - link goes to one of many pages describing how it is a known fake
  • Anything with "TP" in the name such as UV-5RTP, GT-5TP, etc.
  • UV-5RTP
  • GT-3TP
  • GT-5TP
  • UV-82TP
  • BF 777
  • UV-5R5
  • BF-UV82
  • UV-82HW
  • Anything with the actual word "PLUS" in the name, official models always used the character "+", not the word PLUS


Here it says "discontinued" for the UV-5R: LINK, same for the UV-5RA. Even Foscam shows most of these radios are discontinued, yet somehow they continue selling these discontinued radios on Amazon? Some of the resellers got their models from fake makers like Foscam or Sanatop, but have since discontinued their sales due to them having a conscience and recognizing these fakes do not comply with spectral purity under Part 97, one such company is RadioCity in Minnesota, Associated Radio in Kansas, and plenty of others. Well who else says they're discontinued? Plenty of websites, such as radioaficionado, and plenty of others, I am sure you can use the search engine of your choice, type in "UV-5R discontinued" and look through all the pages that have discontinued selling it, most of them because Baofeng corporate stopped making them.

Some people refuse to believe there are fakes, I feel sorry for their loss of mental capacity to learn facts. The most common company doing so is Foscam out of Texas. They get their fakes from their parent company ShenZhen Foscam in China, who buys broken and quality control failed boards and parts, assemble them into official looking cases, names them whatever they want, then ships them to their US based company to be sold as new. Most of these fakes will work for a while then die or have constant problems, also most of these fakes also horribly fail the FCC based spectrum analysis. Sadly some people are so bent on saving that $2 they buy the fakes and then constantly complain when they have problems. From an unofficial poll I ran over the course of 3 months time, I have found that the real models typically still work like new well past 2 years, versus the fakes tend to die within 9 months after purchase, with 26% of them dying within 3 months of purchase. Another major issue that people eventually find out is the charger base ends up overheating and dies (see below picture of a charger from a fake model).

The biggest problem is these fakes have become such a big part of sales, it is no wonder so many claimed to have failed at the hamfest testing in Daytona. I can guarantee that of those that (legitimately) failed, less than 1% of the failures were legitimate models, and 99% of the failures were the fakes. Of course it was documented that someone saw suspicious things going on at the 2015 and 2016 hamfests (they weren't sure in 2014), whomever was doing the testing was tampering with the analyzer on most Chinese models forcing almost all of them to fail, even legitimate ones.


Many times, you can look at the seller on Amazon or Ebay, if it is from Foscam, it is guaranteed to be a fake. Another common seller of fake models is Sanatop and Radioddity (who partnered up to make the fake Baofeng DM-5R). Certain models are certified for use outside of the US, usually Europe, which are not for legal commercial sale or use in the US due to different emissions standards (will very likely fail FCC Part 15 and 97 emission standards). These may be real models but are based on emission standards outside of the US and not the FCC standards. None of these will have any legal FCC compliance or certification, if it does, it is a fake and the Part 15 compliance FCC logo used illegally. The European models that I know of is the UV-82L and UV-82HX.

FCC certification

To make matters worse, ShenZhen Foscam even illegally filed for Part 90 approval with their BF-F9 V2+ (and others), illegally using Baofeng name to gain the approval as an addendum to Baofengs existing UV-5R certification. I heard through the grapevine that Baofeng will likely be filing lawsuits in both China and the US against Foscam for illegally using their name and certification for their fake models. Look up the Part 90 paperwork filed for the official models several years ago, compared to what I believe is falsified paperwork from Foscam:

  1. First in 2011 was the Part 90 approval for commercial use for the UV-3R, FCC ID ZP5BF-3R;
  2. In 2012 the UV-5R under ZP5BF-5R;
  3. Late 2013 saw the UV-82C approval under ZP5BF-82;
  4. Then 2014 it was filed for the UV-B5 under ZP5UV-B5;

Baofeng corporate has not filed a FCC Part 90 certification since 1/10/2014, and if you look at the paperwork, the headers, the signatures for all models from 2011 up to 1/10/2014, they all match. Then in late 2014 through late 2015, we see a new series of Part 90 approvals coming through under ZP5BF-F9V2, ZP5BF-5RA, ZP5BF-888S, and ZP5BF-UV82L. Looking at each of these, it is a completely different format of paperwork, headers, signatures, and "testing methods explained". The only explanations of this means either 1. Baofeng fired all of its top level management staff and all of its engineers, creating new paperwork, headers, cover letters and so on, or 2. the paperwork was forged by another entity. Personally I believe it is #2 as the paperwork matches the format, header style, signatures and employees employed by ShenZhen Foscam (based on other FCC paperwork filed under ShenZhen Foscam). Plus, why approve different models? If it was from Baofeng corporate, the F9V2, UV5RA, and UVB5 would be covered under the UV5R approval, the 888S would be under the UV3R approval, and the UV82L would be covered under the UV82 approval. This is further proof of forged and faked paperwork to legitimize these fake models. Especially since the UV-82L is a European only model, not legal for sale, import or use in the US without being modified internally. Why would the UV-5RA have new Part 90 approval filed for it if that model had been discontinued by Baofeng corporate since late 2014?


Another way to tell is actually taking it apart. I have personally taken apart several real ones and fake ones, but so have a few other people and posted information on their website, so how are they wrong? They get it wrong because they are clearly clueless about what they are even looking at. Some base their conclusions on the displayed Part 90 FCC ID, but anyone licensed for more than a few months should know that Part 90 ONLY pertains to commercial use, NOT amateur radio which is governed under Part 97. Of course as mentioned above, several of those Part 90 filings were done so illegally so I suspect the FCC will be pulling those any day now. Others base it on some metal plate at the rear or other essentially useless parts that have minimal functionality.
So what is the real difference? Well if you compare them side by side, start tracing the chips and solder points, you quickly see that the fakes have a few parts missing, others very poorly altered or soldered where they shouldn't be. Those with a degree in advanced electronic theory already know that most Baofeng models have pretty bad IF filters resulting in intermod from other frequencies bleeding over, but at least the outgoing signal is fairly stable. Yet after tracing several of these boards from fakes, they will quickly see that the IF filtering is completely removed, the outgoing signal is greatly degraded or not filtered (resulting in a 8k wide signal), as well as other key components that are needed to keep the radio from failing. Thus without the parts needed and the other parts added inappropriately is why these fake models have a typical life span of less than a year.

So for those still reading, and claiming I am still full of s--t, let me guess, you expect me to give you every single detail, link, document, and paper that I have found over the past 2+ years of constant research? Tough. I have done this multiple times before, given someone a page, similar to this one, that had over 200 links and documents detailing this entire situation, fit for a legal firm to shut down several of these fake sellers for good (which I have forwarded that information to several firms and since it is not a case that would make them loads of money, they do not care). Even when given written details and accounts of this undeniable information, these mentally deficient types completely ignored the factual information given solely because it was not a simple single sentence with a "smoking gun" from one of these other companies admitting fraud. Some people do not like having to do the work and find the links for themselves, it has to be spelled out in plain English as a single sentence, or they refuse to believe the facts. That is your choice to remain ignorant, I have already given all that information to a legal team to contact Baofeng corporate, so now it is up to them to pursue it (or not). All I can do is give the factual information based on over 2 years of fact finding, wading through the crap to share with all of you. Choosing to ignore these facts after given the information is your own ignorance.

Thanks and 73 all,

As more blog entries are added, some get moved to the archived blog entries page. As this is a new website, this will probably not need to be done for a while.