Review of the Baofeng UV-82

I recently picked up one of these radios from Amazon.  This is actually the first Baofeng radio I have owned; I neveruv82-2 bought the infamous UV-5R, although I have tested one for evaluation. Most of the people I know who have a Baofeng have the UV-5R.  At the time of this post, the BaoFeng UV-5R is selling for under $30.
This newer model is a bit more, with a price tag of $49 on Amazon, but I think the extra $17 is money well-spent. The first thing I noticed about the UV-82 is the larger size, and more bulky frame.  This isn’t a bad thing, in my opinion, because I always thought the UV-5R felt a bit fragile.  For under $30 you can’t really complain, but if you were to take this radio out in the field and drop it, you would probably be soon spending your money again.  The UV-82, while not the most sturdy radio I have, is probably more durable than the UV-5R.The antenna is also much better.  I can hear repeaters better, and hit repeaters from locations where I couldn’t with the UV-5R.  I contribute this fact to the larger antenna that the UV-82 has.  More than an additional watt or 2, the antenna makes the biggest difference on an HT radio.  Some Hams do QRP contests from HTs and use Yagi directional antennas to talk dozens of miles on simplex, so your antenna is arguably the most important piece of your HT radio.The UV-82 has the standard 5W/4W output on dual band and 128 memory channels.  It is programmable with the CHIRP software, although you have to get one of the daily builds to allow the software to recognize this model.  The current production version doesn’t have this model listed.  I attempted to make it read while using the UV-5R profile, but the software wouldn’t read the radio.The UV-82 will also allow you to monitor both of your bands at the same time.  If memory serves, the UV-5R wouldn’t do this.  You could have each bank set to a specific frequency, but only the selected band would be in receive mode.  If someone was talking on the second band, you wouldn’t hear the audio, if you had the first band selected.  This is one of the attributes that I didn’t like about the UV-5R.The UV-82 also has a toggle PTT button, meaning you can press it down at the top or the bottom of the button.  Pressing each way allows you to key up on the top or bottom selected frequency bank.  So you don’t have to tab between bands A and B in order to key up, you can key up from either band at any time.  This was a neat new feature that I hadn’t seen before, and I have grown to like it very much.

The volume knob is very tight.  The potentiometer works well enough, but it is somewhat hard to turn.  I think after using it for a few days it has loosened up a tad, but at first I thought it was going to break.  It never did, and seems to be improving, but be aware of this fact.  It might just be specific to this one unit I have, and not the model as a whole. I don’t have another UV-82 to test with.

So far I have only found one item that I do not like about this radio.  To make it worse, the user manual doesn’t tell you this, so I had to Google it to find the answer.  There is no apparent way to switch from Frequency Mode to Channel Mode.  What I found is that you have to turn the radio off, then hold down the Menu button, and turn the radio back on.  This will toggle modes from whichever current mode you are in, to the other mode (Freq/Chan or Chan/Freq)
This was a bit dumb.  Turning the radio off?  Really?  But we have a button on the side for a flashlight, which you can toggle off and on, and into strobe mode.  That is highly useful >.> – seriously, lose the stupid flashlight and make the radio interface easier to use.  And PLEASE put the instructions for toggling between modes into the user manual.

After testing for a week or so, I have found it impossible to store memory channels in this radio manually.  Using the CHIRP software, or the Baofeng software (I assume), will allow you to program frequencies, along with offsets and PL tones, and save them to the memory of the radio.  However, when attempting to do this manually, the settings never store.  I found a note in the manual that said you had to make sure there is no existing channel in that memory bank (in other words, if you want to store a freq to memory channel 99, make sure 99 is empty).  I tried this also, but the channel never saved. I put the radio back into Channel mode and turn the dial to 99, but 99 is blank.  This is very annoying and limiting, if you are traveling and want to store memory channels in your radio when you arrive in a new area.
I’m glad I got this radio, it works well once you get it programmed and setup like you want.  But like all other Chinese HTs, it has its own idiosyncrasies.