Ham Radio Comparison UV-3R+, UV-5RA, VX-7R, and VX-6R

radios_compared_sm

  ModelUV-3R+UV-5RAVX-7RVX-6R
  BrandBaoFengBaoFengYaesuYaesu
TX 6 Mnono30-59MHzno
TX 2 M136-174MHz136-174MHz137-174MHz137-174MHz
TX 1.25 Mnono222-225MHz222-225MHz
TX 70 CM400-470MHz400-480MHz430-470MHz430-470MHz
Wideband ReceiveNoNo0.5-999MHz0.5-999MHz
Channels99127900900
TX Power2 Watts4 watts5 watts5 watts
Dual band displayyesyesyesno
Alphanumeric Displaynoyesyes (but not in dual)yes
Waterproofnonofully submersible fully submersible
Shortwave Radio RXnonoyesyes
AM Radio RXnonoyesyes
FM Radio RXyesyesyesyes
Part 90 Certifiedyesyesnono
Cost (New)$33$39$370$230

BaoFeng UV-3R+
Smallest and cheapest radio.  No DTMF keypad.  It doesn’t have the transmit power of the others but it is easy to pocket–the best radio is the one you have with you.  Part 90 means it can be used for ham and business.  Slow scanning.  This is the radio of choice for your pocket.  Accessories are very cheap.

BaoFeng UV-5RA
Best bang for the buck, not easy to program without a computer.  Part 90 Certified means it can be used for ham and business, it’s a great all-purpose radio and I have a few in my emergency kit.  Slow scanning.  I think this model is the best value for the dollar.  Accessories are very cheap.

Yaesu VX-7R
I found this radio to a little too complex for my tastes, I would constantly have to get out the manual to figure it out where the other three radios are pretty intuitive.  It just has too many options I don’t care about.  For being so complex, I couldn’t find that it had an advantage over the VX-6R other than dual receive.  Magnesium case, submersible.  This is the best radio for someone who likes to tinker with all the settings and learn it inside and out.

Yaesu VX-6R
This is my radio of choice and the one I take hiking, it’s easy to program on the field and relatively compact.  It can handle just about anything I want it to do including outside the amateur bands (shortwave, AM/FM radio, etc.).   Magnesium case, submersible.

One neat feature on the Yaesu radios is ARTS, I was curious about the simplex range I’d get so I put one on my desk and the other in my car and drove around town, the radio will tell you when they go in and out of range.