I recently purchased Baofeng UV-5R hand held transceiver. With intent of using this as my go to radio instead of the regular Uniden GMRS radios. This give me the capability to communicate using the FRS, GMRS and HAM frequencies. I am currently working on the Technician license to operate it legally on HAM frequencies. The wattage is higher than FRS radios. Low power is 1 watt compared to 1/2 watt for FRS radios so you are transmitting at a high power. With a available 4 watts for HAM use. I am really pleased with the quality of the radio. I did get to put my hands on one at a recent 85th Lightfoot Battalion meeting that a team member brought and shifted me towards a purchase. Our unit has decided upon using them for our radio communications. You will definitely want to use the programming cable and CHIRP software. It can be programmed manually, but there are functions that will not be available unless you have the cable and software. For prepper communications I believe it has way more potential as a emergency radio than using regular FRS -GMRS radios. And a lot less expensive than going with purchased or leased radios for a larger group..
The Baofeng UV-5R is a hand held transceiver providing 4 watts in the frequency range of 136-174 MHz and 400-480 MHz. Includes a special VHF receive band from 65 – 108 MHz which includes the regular FM broadcast band. Dual watch and dual reception is supported. 128 programmable channel memories. Selectable wide/narrow, VOX, DCS/CTCSS encode, key lock and built in flashlight. Selectable frequency steps include: 2.5, 5, 6.25, 10, 12.5 and 25 kHz. RF power may be selected at 4 or 1 watts. This radio comes with ANT5 SMA-J flexible antenna, BL-5 Li-ion battery (7.4V 1800 mAh), belt clip, wrist strap, AC adapter (8.4V 600ma) and drop-in charging tray. Earbud with microphone, I highly advise purchase of the USB programming cable and downloading of CHIRP software prior to use to save yourself a lot of time. It is usable with a broad range of different type home, vehicle and portable antennas.
Upgrades and Accessories:
Upgrades and accessories are available like you wouldn’t believe. I recently ordered a larger battery pack, Throat microphone and a Nagoya 701 DUAL BAND 144/430Mhz SMA-F UV Ham Radio Antenna. Once they arrive I will review those parts on an update to this article. And for the price of the radios being less than $40.00 you cant go wrong. They are even cheap enough to buy several for your group.
Downloads and Programming Cable:
Chirp Software Very detailed Programming instructions compared to the factory instruction booklet. Purchase Baofeng uv-5r Here! If you purchased the USB cable the driver will be on the CD included with the cable in the USB Cable Driver folder.