UV-5R EX - New model from Baofeng Corporate

September 2018

My apologies for taking so long to post a review, but with a new job, teenagers, and real life, other things have kept me busy. Anyways, I recently came across a chance to pick up a new style UV-5R EX under a promotional price. This "EX" is a new Baofeng corporate (Fujian Nan'an Baofeng Technology) design, it is an alteration to the standard UV-5R line, and primarily carried/sold through Radioddity (as of August 2018). Baofeng also announced another new release based on the BTECH UV-5X3, the tri-band UV-5RX3. With the 5RX3, I suspect they had a contract with BTECH stating Baofeng corporate cannot make or sell a tri-band until the 5X3 had been on the market for 2 years (the 5X3 was released August 2016).

So a simple TL;DR: If you do not want to read through the entire review, the simplest description of this 5R EX is that it is a UV-5R in a new outside shell and slightly better stock antenna, thats it. May have some firmware upgrades, but I am not sure.

Some standard specs which is the same across most Baofeng UV-5R and clones:

  • 128 channels
  • 136-174MHz and 400-520MHz (and 65-108 MHz commercial broadcast FM radio)
  • 5W high, 1W low power
  • 50 CTCSS and 105 DCS tone capabilities
  • 9 level squelch (recommended to be changed in Chirp, stock goes from 21-33 which is way too low, I run mine at 15-70)
  • If bought through Radioddity website (not amazon): 18 month warranty, 60 day "no excuse" return policy
  • In one interesting bit is on the Radioddity website, it states:
  • "FREE!!! Programming Service
  • From now on, you can get FREE programming service from Radioddity if you meet one of the following requirements:
  • 1. Purchased at least 5 pack radios at a time at radioddity.com
  • or
  • 2. VIP member of radioddity.com"

As it says, this is only possible if you purchase from China, fill in the form within 2 hours of order and various other requirements. Even with faster shipping from China to the US, you're still looking at 2-4 weeks from order to delivery, versus 1-3 days when shipped via Amazon Prime, and just use Chirp to program it yourself.

UV-5R EX picture

UV-5R EX image

On the left is the BTECH MURS-v1, middle is the UV-5R EX, and the right is the BTECH UV-5X3 (with the Nagoya NA-320A antenna).

Now getting into more detail, I have found mostly similarities, as well as a few peculiarities about this specific model. On the outside, the first immediate difference is the external body style. It has a much more rounded softer body style compared to the standard blocky UV-5R line, while remaining nearly the same size overall. The buttons are in the same place but have different appearances. One appreciated change that should be standard on the entire line is the taller volume/power knob as well as the inclusion of the rubber bit around the lower portion of the knob, this helps the grasp of the knob, which is especially helpful for people with bigger hands like mine. I am sure someone will ask, yes the knobs are interchangeable, I took it off the EX and put it on my 5X3. It sits a touch high since the hole is likely shallower (or metal shaft shorter on the EX), but it works. Another physical difference is the antenna, it is definitely much longer than the standard 5R antenna, and close to the length of the V85 antenna. This should allow for better transmit and reception, although doubtful if it will come close to the NA-701, 771 nor aftermarket longer antennas. I was not able to do any tests with it but it seems to receive and transmit close to the V85.
One other major item worth mentioning is that the ONLY items shared with the 5R line is the antenna connector and the programming cable connector. Any of the other extras like battery related items or square case pouches/protectors will not work from a standard series UV-5R.
Now when it comes to the previously mentioned peculiarities of this radio, I found the first major issue when I attempted to connect and program it in Chirp. I used the same Prolific cable I use to program at least a dozen other models with no problems, yet I continuously received messages about "radio did not respond". I tested the cable with my 5X3 and it worked fine. So I checked the Radioddity website and they stated it is Chirp compatible (via poorly translated English). Their site links to a version from May 2018, but I have the latest version from a few days ago. So out of other options, I pulled out one of the other clone programming cables that I picked up 2 for $2.10 from China. they have the fake Prolific chip in them so I have to use the driver installed just to allow the PC to recognize them at all. These cables do not work on any other model of radio I have here so I tossed them aside, but I figured for testing purposes, lets give it a shot. So I have no idea how or why but these cheap ass cables worked with the EX, when they wouldn't with any other model. the only thing I can figure is the cheap Chinese clone cable does not fit far enough to the better quality models, versus the EX may use the cheaper slightly shallower cable ports so it works with the lower quality cables. I am not sure how often I will be using this model but I will just have to remember the programing cable issue. Otherwise just as I do with every new radio, I download the stock config and save that file in case something happens I need to reset the programming. Everything else is the same as any other dual band UV-5R.

Now another point of contention I have is their site claims "FCC certification", but does not say what certification until much further down the page where it says "FCC Part 15B certified". Their claim is "UV-5R EX is a FCC-certified commercial model, complying with the Part 15B legal rules, the FCC ID is 2AJGM." The mention of "commercial model" puts this in the realm of false advertising since commercial models require Part 90 certification (AND Part 15 compliance). The only certification they qualify under is the UV-5R Part 15B as a "scanning receiver" listed under Section B, in 15.101 and 15.121. NOT Part 90 commercial usage.

In the end this is a UV-5R in a new style case and slightly better antenna, nothing more. It works just as well as the rest of my Baofeng radios and has no discernible bugs or problems with regular usage (but then of course neither do the models I bought back in 2014 or 2015 either). If you're looking for a newer model then this may work well for you, but if you have other 5R models, then I would avoid it since it is not compatible with many of the accessories (like the 3800mAh battery for 5R models).

I appreciate you looking over this information, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to join me in the Facebook Baofeng "BARN" group and let me know, or send me an email at km4fmk -at- gmail -dot- com.
Thank you and 73!