Toxicantidote Baofeng BF-UV10R power test

Baofeng BF-UV10R power test

May 2023

Recently I was in need of a cheap handheld UHF radio for short range comms at remote locations, with dual-watch ability (to monitor two channels at once). Normally I'd turn to 409shop, but for some reason their cart system didn't seem to be working. So, off to eBay then...

After some searching, the Baofeng BF-UV10R seemed to fit the bill. There were many listings on eBay, offering this radio for about AU$45-50. Deciding that I'd like to see it in the same month, I opted for a on-shore seller.

The product page proudly proclaims that it can pump out 300W of power. Additionally, it claims a range of 180km, and then strangely, in small text, mentions that this range is only possible in a vacuum. Sounds a bit suspicious already. Still, it's cheap, and seems to fit my needs, so I purchased it, knowing that the range and power claims are likely outrageous. It arrived quickly, well packaged and with no missing parts.

My first issue came when I powered it on for the first time - it had not been programmed with UHF channels. It looked vaugely like there were a few test channels programmed, presumably from manufacturing tests. There are apparently programming cables and software available for these, but I didn't have them, so I endured the gruelling process of programming all of the UHF channels from the handset.

Now it's time to get this unit on a test bench and see what it can really do. For this test, I connected the antenna port via a 30dB attenuator to a Keysight N9020B signal analyser. Note that this unit has a valid and current calibration. All of the results below refer to the carrier power:

ChannelFrequencyPower settingMeasured powerSecond harmonic level
UHF 40477.4MHzHigh35.4dBm (3.47W)-49.8dBc
30.1dBm (1.02W)Not measured
UHF 80477.4125MHzHigh35.3dBm (3.39W)-49.9dBc
30dBm (1W)Not measured

Predictably, the unit falls well short of the advertised power output. This is a brand new unit, fully charged before testing. You don't even get 5W from it! That said, it has enough power for most situations, so it will still be useful. The user interface isn't too bad to use once you're used to it, and the included earpiece makes it easy to use while carrying tools or equipment.

The conclusion? The cost was cheap, the performance was cheap. A classic case of getting what I paid for.