Day 1 with the UV-82HP

21 June 2015


This morning, the UV-82HP arrived on my doorstep, courtesy of Sunday delivery by USPS. I've spent the last few hours playing with it and getting some initial impressions of the radio. I will not go over the specs too much as that has already been covered by their official announcement, which I mirrored here on the UV-82HP release announcement. What I will go over is some of my first day initial impressions of the functionality, and the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Unpacking

The box itself comes with new styling thanks to BaofengTech design staff. Inside we find the usual items, radio, battery, belt clip, antenna, charger and so on.





The high power rating is one issue of contention. The Radio itself shows "8W/7W MAX" as shown in the below picture, but the BaofengTech website lists it as 7W. I hope in the next few weeks I will gain access to a power meter so I can test it to get some definite measurements.
Also the battery is still the mislabeled "2800mah", when in reality it is closer to 1800-2000mah.




The good

Those already familiar with the Baofeng radios, this is essentially an updated version of the UV-82C radio. It is manufactured specifically for and solely sold by BaofengTech (and their approved outlets) within the US, and possibly Canada (no verification on Canadian sales options yet). The box, manual, and the label on the radio specifically mention BaofengTech.com. Many tend to prefer the 82 series radios over the 5R based radios for a few reasons. One is due to its slightly larger vertical size, and the "standard" layout of the numbered buttons more common with phones (with the 0 key at the bottom center on the 82 series, instead of the right side middle button of the 5R). The 82HP is 2.38 inches wide (60.5mm), and 5.16 inches (131mm) tall (bottom to top of rotary switch, not including antenna), by comparison the UV-5R is 2.3 inches (58.5mm) wide, and only 4.31 inches (109.55mm) tall (bottom to top of rotary switch, not including antenna). That other item that seems to be a much appreciated option is the dual PTT buttons, press upper button for top "A" transmit, lower button for bottom "B" transmitting. For those that prefer single PTT, the dual PTT can be disabled in the Menu, or via software like Chirp, and when set this way, regardless of which PTT button is pressed it only transmits on the "active frequency" like other single PTT radios.
Build quality of this radio seems to feel on par with all other Baofeng radios I have held on to, where it feels like fairly light plastic but with no bumps, bangs, or rattles, so it is still solid. Only time will tell for the long term quality of this unit, but so far I have 2 UV-5R radios that are 7-9 months old and still work like new even after several drops to the ground, and my BF-F8HP 8W which I have had since Christmas-time 2014 (6 months now) and even after being knocked over by one of my cats off the clothes dresser and bring dropped to the cement ground once or twice, they all still work like new. Only time will tell if this 82HP also holds up to the same occasional accidents.
For some time now, BaofengTech has worked closely with the crews at the miklor.com and Chirp websites to help make the user experience much easier. The result of this is a much better expanded manual with a lot more information and much clearer instructions for the average user. The first time they worked with an outside source was to produce the manual for the BF-F8HP, which came out as an excellent offline resource and well explained descriptions and usage. Then they repeated this with the 82HP manual, which includes the extra options not found with the 5R/F8 series radios. For programming, they wanted the release to be as painless as possible, so they worked closely with the crew that handles the programming of the free Chirp program, and ensured that Chirp was compatible with this new model on the day of release. This is an amazing way of working with the community of users to help everyone have a much better and fruitful experience with these radios, compared to others like Icom and Kenwood that keep everything in house, and discourage reverse engineering their products (or providing the code for programming) to provide outside resources (like Chirp does for the Baofeng line). On the flip side, this is also what helps ensure the Baofeng radios are able to provide decent quality units at a price half or a quarter of what the big boys sell them for, and in this case with options the big boys do not even provide such as higher power output.

The bad

Many tend to attribute cheap Chinese radios with poor quality, although typically that is more of an opinionated perception based on price rather than real world use. With that said, the 82HP does have the same lack of selectivity common with Baofeng radios, so wideband rogue signals like from LCD monitors, wifi routers and many vehicles means the intermod is a continued issue with this radio. This can be minimized to an extent by using the latest version of Chirp and entering some custom squelch levels for the radio, and luckily it provides 2 sections, one for VHF, and another for UHF. That means in cases like mine where there is a lot of VHF interference but little to no UHF interference, I can increase the squelch levels, but still keep the UHF sensitivity a bit lower with different values. Driving around town with this 82HP in my 2004 Dodge Durango, which has plenty of rogue frequencies causing intermod on all my handhelds (including the better quality AnytoneTech OBLTR-8R), this 82HP is no different, it is still subject to the same intermod at certain frequencies.
Luckily when mobile, I also have a Tram 1185 antenna and the SMA to 239 adapter, and by keeping the antenna above the roof of the vehicle, it is much less subject to intermod caused by the vehicle. Of course in my area with the military base so close and controlling thousands of acres, there are still plenty of sporadic areas where their signals cause some intermod, but it is usually tied to specific areas and no longer affects the radio after an eighth of a mile.

The ugly

I really only have one serious issue. While driving around today and calling out testing on some local repeaters, I was getting a light burning sensation (RF burn) from the negative post where the battery charges. I was holding it in my right hand, pressing B side PTT, and the negative post was in contact with the lower edge of my slightly sweaty palm (due to the 90F temperatures and high humidity common here in Florida). Doing the same indoors with dry hands does not get the same effect, but this is still something that may be worth putting a length of electrical tape or some temporary cover over the charge contacts if you find you will be using it outside in the humidity, fog, or light rain. Some companies make leather, "real imitation" leather (a joke), or plastic covers for these radios, which would be recommended if you will be working outside in the humidity.

Overall impression

After using several UV-5Rs, BF-F8HP, OBLTR-8R as well as borrowing other HTs, this 82HP falls in line with most mid range handhelds available. I had used one truly cheap Chinese HT from another manufacturer ($10, ships from China, 2W, 10 channels, very cheap plastic exterior), and that thing makes Baofengs look like the Mustang GT of handheld radios, not a Ferrari but still sturdy and works well with rare issues. To use an analogy, you could look at the baseline 5R/F8/82 radios as the V6 Ford Mustang, and the F8HP and 82HP as the higher power V8 Mustang GT... Then the fake F9-V2+, 5RTP, GT-3TP as go-carts that transplanted a Mustang engine with 100,000 miles inside.
Over the next month I will use this 82HP next to my F8HP, and sometimes with my OBLTR-8R, to give a review and comparison with real world usage. As I did with the OBLTR-8R, I am not one to rush in and give all these expansive reviews when the model has only been out a few days, or only been in my hands for a few days. I prefer to give more long term regular usage reviews, so mid to late July, watch for that here on km4fmk.com.

Legality

As always, practice safe and legal transmitting. These Baofeng radios are not legal for use on Part 95 bands, also known as FRS, GMRS and MURS. Also the label does NOT have an FCC ID, so therefore it is also not legal for Part 90 commercial use. That leaves this specific 82HP model as legal for only amateur radio use. If you need Part 90 commercial, or emergency personnel (police, fire, EMT), then I would recommend the UV-82C which is Part 90 legal and displays the FCC ID on the label. Receiving and listening (without transmitting) is legal for other frequencies, as I do with my local city police and sheriffs, but ensure you use Chirp to disable the transmit capabilities on those frequencies. The manual itself also covers the aspect of Part 95 and states it very clearly:


Thank you and God Bless!
Mike de K4ISR



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