Pofung UV-5R

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The Pofung UV-5R, originally known as the Baofeng UV-5R is an inexpensive, handheld, dual-band FM transceiver designed and manufactured by Fujian Nan'an Baofeng Electronics Co., Ltd. of Fujian, China and distributed in the United States by Foscam Digital Technologies, LLC of Houston, Texas. It is designed to transmit on the 2 meter band between 138 and 174 MHz and on the 70cm band between 400 and 480 MHz. It can receive transmissions in the public service and aircraft bands as well as the expanded FM broadcast band between 65 and 108 MHz.

Features include CTCSS and duplex operation for use with local repeaters, dual watch and dual reception, an LED flashlight, voice prompts in either English or Chinese and programmable LED lighting for the LCD display. Default colors are purple for standby for up to five seconds, blue for reception and orange for transmission. The keypad is backlit with a white LED when the display lighting is engaged. A separate LED glows green for reception and red for transmission. There is an alarm function which both sounds a siren tone and which transmits the same sound via whichever channel is selected at the time. This is presumably used for search and rescue operations.

DTMF tones may also be transmitted for use with IRLP-equipped repeaters. Though unmarked, the upper row of keys, i.e., "MENU," up arrow, down arrow and "EXIT" serve as the A, B, C and D keys respectively.

While it is possible to program the UV-5RA version to transmit on the General Mobile Radio Service and Family Radio Service bands, the radio is not FCC type accepted for use on these channels. Doing so may be illegal and should be done only in a dire emergency with no other radio communications options possible.

The UV-5R is perhaps best known for its low purchase price, averaging US$40 for a complete system including a 50-ohm rubber duck antenna with a female SMA connection, mic/headset, belt clip, wrist strap, 7.4V 1800mAh lithium ion battery and desktop battery charger with AC adapter. Options include a dual plug speaker mic similar to those used on Kenwood transceivers, a Windows-based CD-ROM for programming the unit via computer and a USB programming cable and a 12V adapter which takes the place of the battery; the UV-5R has no external 12V jack.

Output power is up to 4W on both VHF and UHF; the newer UV-5R V2+ operates at up to 5W. Up to 127 channels may be stored to memory, but the firmware is permanently programmed at the factory and cannot be upgraded. Users can easily check the firmware version by pressing and holding the "3" button while turning on the power.

Setup and operation

The UV-5R has a reputation for being difficult to program, due mostly to the poorly written documentation and difficult-to-use factory CD-ROM software. A rewritten manual under the Creative Commons license is available through the CHIRP project, an online organization which rewrites manuals and open source software for a number of inexpensive Chinese radios. The CHIRP software also works with most popular Japanese transceivers as well. Once programmed, the UV-5R is easily switched between VFO and channel select modes via the "VFO/MR" key. There is no separate squelch control, but the menu defaults to the squelch setting upon the pressing of the "MENU" key.

Parameters are manually set by pressing the "MENU" key and using the up and down arrow keys to select the individual parameter to be adjusted. Pressing the "MENU" key a second time allows adjustment of the parameter via the arrow keys. The "MENU" key is pressed a third time to store the parameter; the voice prompt, if activated, verifies the entry by saying "confirmed." The "EXIT" key returns the UV-5R to operating mode.

Programming via computer allows alphanumeric identification of individual memory settings and odd split programming used for private and emergency repeaters.

Signal strength and both transmit and receive quality are good, especially with the use of an aftermarket antenna. However, the opening for the microphone, located above the "A/B" switch used to select between channels being monitored, is very tiny and has a direct effect on the audio level.

Rebranding

In June 2014, the company announced a rebranding of all of its products sold outside of China, including the UV-5R. Current and future products will be sold under the Pofung brand name. "Baofeng" is a direct interpretation of the Chinese character on which the name is based. The new name is similarly pronounced, but is considered easier to pronouce for a worldwide market.

The company's web address will remain unchanged.

External links and references