Friday, February 3, 2012

Two new toys - cheap but good

These are my two new toys. The Baofeng UV-200 arrived from China about two months ago and I've enjoyed it so much I decided to get the new UV-3R which is an upgrade of sorts, the main update being a dual display. Both these radios are two watt dualband handhelds. They cost around 50 euro apiece - including postage! - and take about a week to come from China.

I bought a longer dualband whip about 30cm long also which increases the gain massively. With just two watts these are great little performers. With the longer whip I was able to open EI2KPR Kippure Repeater in Dublin from the centre of Dundalk, a distance of approximately 95 kilometres! OK, I was on the top of the little hill in Ice House park, but it was impressive. I can open the Dundalk 70cm repeater EI7LHR from my home in Drogheda even with the shorter antenna.

These radios can also be used to listen to the commercial FM band. But if you leave the radio on a frequency, say 145.400, and then turn on the radio and listen to, for example RTE1, if someone comes up on 145.400 the radio automatically switches over to two metres so you can have a chat. Very nice.

They also come with a little blue LED light which is handy but runs down the battery much quicker.

They are both very easy to program and it took me just a few minutes the other day to program in 12 memories on the UV-3R which would include 70cm and 2m simplex and repeater frequencies.

The Baofeng UV-200 with the LED light on
They are small too, at just 9cm tall. The standard dualband antenna is a further 12cm. They easily fit into the palm of your hand or your pocket. The Baofeng covers 136-173 Mhz on VHF and 400-469 on UHF which includes the licence-free 446 walkie talkie frequencies. The receive is excellent. There are plenty of videos on YouTube showing these radios receiving the International Space Station. The TX range with the longer whip is very good too, although handheld-to-handheld with the standard antenna covers about a mile before degrading, depending on terrain.

These are probably the best handhelds I have owned - and I have owned only a few. They are smaller, lighter and cheaper than my previous handheld transceivers and the addition of the commercial FM band plus the little light makes them that bit more useful.

For the more adventurous ham among you the UV-3R is available in a range of colours to suit your tastes! As well as black, they come in blue, red, yellow and camouflage. I'm not why a licenced amateur would want to be clambering around in the woods for, and I'm puzzled about the military colouring, but everyone's different! Below is a photo showing the different colours available. You can buy the UV-3R and accessories at

Here are the specifications in brief:

  • Frequency Range: 136-174 / 400-470MHz
  • Dual-Band Display, Dual Freq. Display, Dual-Standby
  • Output Power: 2 Watts
  • 99 Channels + 1 Emergency Channel
  • 50 CTCSS and 104 CDCSS
  • Built-in VOX Function
  • 1750Hz Brust Tone
  • FM Radio (87.0MHz-108.0MHz)
  • LED Flashlight
  • Large LCD Display
  • Hight /Low Power Switchable
  • 25KHz/12.5KHz Switchable
  • Emergency Alert
  • Low Battery Alert
  • Battery Saver
  • Time-out Timer
  • Keypad Lock
  • Monitor Channel
  • Channel Step: 5/6.25/12.5/25KHz


  1. Looks like a great little rig Anthony and very nice review as well. I have seen these little rigs advertised and have read other reviews about them as well.

  2. Hi Tony, guess what? oh, you can only guess once and there is no prize to win! 73, Bas

  3. Yes Mike, a great little handie. Cheap and cheerful but respectable performance too. Good fun to have. The fact that I bought a second one probably indicates how much I liked the first one !!

  4. Bas, that's hilarious! Have you just received a Baofeng handheld also ??

    1. Yes I received 2. One for a friend and one for myself. But didn't have time to test them. Only unpacked everything to see if all items ordered were there. If I have time I try them this weekend. These are much more handy as the Alinco I already have. And I already heard many operators on the air with these small HTs. Best feature is that you can listen to the radio and monitor another amateur frequency. Like you already wrote. Did you order the USB programming cable as well? 73, Bas

  5. No Bas, I didn't order the USB programming cable. In fact, I didn't know about it - dang!! I wonder what elements of the software are programmable? The Baofeng is great fun for the money. Obviously designed to look a little something like the Yaesu VX-3R - or am I just imagining things?

  6. Hi Anthony, I have one of these too. Great little rig and always gets good reports on TX audio too. I believe some Yaesu VX3 accessories fit the Baofeng also.

    73 Kevin

  7. Thanks Kevin, good to know that. These handies are not without their faults. Apparently the harmonic suppression is not good. (Although some argue that at 2 watts and a small rubber duck the harmonics won't be causing anyone any problems). Also there is a problem with the supplied earpiece/mic which jams the rig on VHF on PTT for some reason. However, the Baofeng has been a good experience for me. I always have it on me no matter where I go!


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