don't you just need a license to transmit? I think that you can monitor without a license ?
Yes, but if you hit the transmit button even once, you've technically violated federal law.
A technician's license is all you need to legally operate these radios and is not at all hard to get.
Learning enough to pass the (simple, actually) exam needed for your technician's ticket has the added benefit of exposing you to some of the amazing things you can do in Ham radio (ie, talk to the crew of the International Space Station, use repeaters to communicate with hams all over the world, join CERT/ARES and assist emergency response agencies in times of disaster, etc, etc).
You can't do all of those things easily with a little HT like the Baofeng UV-5R, but it's an amazingly capable little radio that can serve to pique your interest in a new hobby.
My sense is that functionally, the two really aren't that different. The UV-5R+ has a newer revision of the firmware, but at present that doesn't appear to add any additional operational features. The LED light on the newer model has a strobe function in addition to on/off. IMHO, a strobe function is next to worthless on a HT.
The newer version has a metal (vs plastic) subframe, or at least a metal back plate, visible when you remove the battery. Supposedly it makes the UV-5R+ model feel somewhat stronger and more rigid; whether that translates to extra durability is an open quesiton. The UV-5R+ is slightly taller and maybe a half an ounce heavier. All the accessories for the UV-5R fit the UV-5R+ with the exception of the extended life 3000 maH battery pack, which requires a little trimming to get it to snap into place.
The UV-5R has what is generally considered to be more attractive, colorful packaging, and perhaps a marginally better written manual. The former will matter to you for about 30 seconds. The latter likely won't matter in the slightest as either version of the manual is widely regarded as laughably-written and woefully-incomplete. Everyone goes to the numerous online resources to learn how to operate these radios, as they have a loyal internet following.
Last edited by majorhavoc; 02-18-2013 at 07:34 PM..
I do have a amateur license, so I don't have to worry about the xmit button
The way to make these radio's nice, is to get the larger capacity battery. Not only do they last quite a long time between charges, but it also adds some heft to the radio and fits your hand better. I have smaller sized hands, and with the std battery, it still is small to handle.
I bought 2 of these last week. I was using one of them last night for listening to the national weather radio during our heavy rain last night. I was at my shop and listening with the ear piece. I noticed when I turned on the key to my motorcycle, I received heavy interference similar to the whine that older cars would get. It was interesting because it did it with the bike not running but key on. Maybe has something to do with the coils. A few minutes later, I was using my 20V cordless drill and I noticed the same interference. I have not tried it in my car to see if i get the same interference.
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