Baofeng UV 5S Radio review

Here I have the Baofeng UV 5S which is a dual band FM radio covering VHF and UHF. I chose this particular radio because it is meant to be waterproof and it was cheap, so basically I’m looking for a good, cheap, waterproof radio.

Stick around because I will be testing whether the radio is waterproof later on in this video. So let’s first have a look around the radio. I think it has quite a rugged look. It has the standard dual line display that all of these dual band radios have, like the UV-5R. The keypad seems pretty solid. The logo up here and the model name down here seem like stickers though and they seem like I could easily pull them off.

Strangely, the radio has digital mobile radio written across the speaker. I don’t know why they put this here, as it isn’t a DMR radio, it only does FM. On the left side of the radio there is the push to talk button, which is plastic, and two function buttons which feel like rubber.

The top function button turns on the FM broadcast radio when you push it, or the alarm when you hold it. Both functions are exactly the same as the orange emergency button on the top here. The lower function button turns on the flashlight if you push it once, makes it flash if you push it another time, and then it goes off on the third push.

Holding this button allows you to open the squelch. On the back of the radio is the battery, which is 2800mAh. There is also the belt clip, which I quite like. It’s a different style to what most radios have. There is a separate part that you clip onto your belt, then the radio attaches to that. To remove the radio, you have to turn it to a certain angle to release the mechanism, then the radio just slides out. On the right of the radio is the accessory connector, which is actually a different type to normal. The majority of radios like this one have the two pin kenwood style connector, like the UV-5R here. This radio has a different connector, which is like this. I think this is actually the Motorola GP series radio connector.

The benefit of using this connector is that the radio stays waterproof at all times. With the kenwood style connector, water could easily get into the circuit board, but since this connector is flat, there is no way for water to get in. It also ensures that any accessory stays on the radio very well and definitely won’t fall off easily, but this also means it’s incredibly difficult to attach or remove an accessory.

You first have to unscrew the cover, then attach the accessory and finally screw it in, using the screw from the cover. On the top of the radio is the emergency button, which has no real use, since its function is the same as one of the side function buttons, the volume and power control, and an LED for the flashlight.

There is also the antenna, which is SMA female, so if you want to buy an aftermarket antenna, make sure to buy an SMA female one.

Fortunately, this is the same connector as most other Chinese dual band radios, so you should be able to swap their antennas fine if you have a few similar radios. Functionally, the radio has all the normal features you would expect.

It has CTCSS, DCS, 128 channels, adjustable squelch and repeater tone for opening old repeaters. It also has three different power options. On the back of the radio it says 8W, but according to the manual, the settings are 5W, 3W and 1W. There are a few other errors in the manual though, so I’m going to say the manual is probably wrong in this case.

To switch between frequency and channel modes, you have to hold the menu button while powering the radio on. This is nowhere near as easy as on the UV-5R for example, but on the other hand it allows you to give the radio to someone without worrying that they will accidentally switch it to frequency mode and start transmitting somewhere they aren’t meant to.

The radio also has a CTCSS and DCS scan function, but this only works when the radio is in VFO mode, and is not very fast. You can program channels from the keypad, but if you want to be able to name them or scan them you’ll have to use the programming software. So now let’s go and have a look at whether this radio actually is waterproof, as it claims to be.

Ok so here’s the radio. I’ve filled the sink up with water. The radio is on, the dust cover is on, so it should be fully waterproof in this state, as it is, and I’m gonna put it in the sink and see what happens.

So it’s a few hours later, I left the radio to dry off, and it’s now working fully. It was working immediately after I took it out of the water, but the received audio was just a bit muffled due to water in the speaker. So, to summarise this review, I really quite like this radio.

It’s cheap, waterproof, dual band and does at least 5W. I think this would be an ideal first radio for a new amateur radio operator, or could be used by people doing outdoor activities. If you enjoyed watching this video please click the like button and consider subscribing if you haven’t already.

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