2020 seems to be the year of ham radio! I’ve had so many people reaching out to me this year to get more information about ham radio and I’m happy to offer it!
The Baofeng handheld ham radios are pretty much the standard among the preparedness community. It’s easy to use, affordable on any budget and can be customized and programmed pretty easily.
While there are a few different types of Baofengs, the Baofeng UV-5R is a good one to start off with.
The basic Baofeng handheld radio comes with a standard battery, charging port and a ducky antenna. The standard radio works just fine as is. However, just like with most things, there are some upgrades you can make to it to make it even better.
Here are a few accessories to upgrade your Baofeng:
The antenna that the radio comes with is fine, however, if you put this longer whip antenna on, your range will increase significantly. There’s quite a large difference between the standard antenna that it comes with and this one. Highly recommend getting this.
The battery that comes with the radio doesn’t last terribly long. I highly recommend getting these extended batteries. Just like with the batteries that come with the radio, these are also rechargeable.
The standard way to charge is through the port, but it can only be hooked into a wall socket. By getting the USB charging cable, you’ll be able to charge it in the vehicle (with an inverter) or even with a solar panel.
Instead of programming it manually, use CHIRP to program it! You’ll need this programming cable and your computer to do so.
And here’s a great instructional video on how to program your Baofeng with CHIRP:
In addition to the above items, you may want to consider a carrying case, there aren’t too many on the market, you’ll have to make your own using a pelican case or really, any type of hard or soft case. Be sure to keep in mind that you may need to take off the whip antenna to fit in a case, you want to avoid bending the whip antenna.
You may also want to consider a belt clip, earpiece with microphone or a handheld mic (we haven’t had terribly good luck with these, but look around at the options out there and the reviews) or even an additional charger to have extra ones around your vehicle, in a kit or in your home.
Friendly reminder, you need a ham radio license to transmit on a Beofeng, however, you can always listen without a license.
Are there any other Baofeng upgrades that you recommend?