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Product Review
 
Baofeng BF-F8HP
VHF/UHF Handheld
 
Tri-Power 1/4/8W
Newest Chipset
 
August 2014



 
 
 
What's in the BOX
Included with the radio is an actual in-depth 76 page English User Manual. Something the traditional UV5R series owner has never seen included with the radio. The manual includes graphics and actual programming examples.

Along with the F8HP was the Newer style A-V85, 7.0 inch (17.5cm) flexible antenna, a sturdy belt clip, and the 7.4V *1800mAh Li-Ion battery and battery charger.  

*
UPDATE 12/20/14:
     Larger stock battery has 30% more capacity
     Now uses 3rd Generation Chipset

The antenna is terminated with a standard SMA Female connector, making it compatible with all prior Baofeng upgrade antennas. As with many dual band antennas, it is marked  136-174 / 400-520MHz, but on the air tests show its use on the hams bands is quite respectable.

The Li-Ion battery, charger and accessories are compatible with the original UV5R series.

Case Design
The F8HP has the traditional case design with the exception of the Band Button, which is not necessary on the newer models. It's dry weight (no battery or antenna) is 7g heavier than a UV-5RC, possibly for a heavier heat sink design.

The radio supports the high capacity  BL-5L  3800mAh battery with no alteration necessary to the base. This may prove to be a viable accessory if the radio will be running in the higher power mode for long periods of time.

The Display
The LCD is the traditional tri-color display with selectable colors (Blue, Orange, Purple). To support the Tri Power function, the new LCD shows  HML  in the upper left.
 
Click to Enlarge


The LCD supports Alpha characters but these can only be entered using software. Upper Case letters A > Z and numbers 0 > 9 can be shown as well as most special characters. @ # & ( ) - / etc. While the factory software allows you to store and display up to 6 characters, CHIRP software allows a max of 7.


New Function added - Battery Level Display
By Pressing and Holding the ZERO key, the radio will now display the battery voltage on the LCD.  No longer do you need to rely strictly upon the battery level icon in the upper right.
 
 
DTMF
It appears the ongoing Baofeng DTMF issue has been resolved. Using the upper row of keypad buttons generates the proper tones for DTMF A, B, C, D, in the proper order, through both the speaker and OTA.

2nd Generation Chipset
Note:
(Since original review, now uses 3rd Gen Chipset)
This is the same chipset that is currently used in the GT-3. The new chipset (RDA1846S and RDA5802N) provides reduced AGC switching noise and a low-IF digital audio processor for improved sound quality.


The Receiver
The receiver sensitivity is very good, but the selectivity is average. In a heavily RF congested area, the lack of filtering may become apparent. It does support CTCSS/DCS as well as Channel Scan which is a good thing.


The Transmitter
Here's where the rubber meets the road. The transmitter has three power level settings: Low, Mid, and High. The power levels shown below were taken at the same testing session using a recently calibrated Telewave 44A.

Model
UV
VHF
Low
VHF
Low/Mid
VHF
High
UHF
Low
UHF
Low/Mid
UHF
High
 
F8HP 1.1 3.9 7.4 1.1 4.5 6.0
F8+   1.3 5.0 1.8 4.8
UV82   2.5 5.2   1.4 3.9
5RC   1.1 3.9   1.2 3.2

Transmit power readings show a solid 7.4W VHF transmit with 6.0W UHF. That computes to a 2.5 dB gain over a standard 4W transmitter. I purchased a 3800mAh battery for mine for the extended battery life.
 
Frequency
The frequency capability of the F8HP programmed via the keypad is
130.000 - 176.995   400.000 - 520.995 MHz
The programming steps start at 2.5kHz and goes upward to 50.0kHz.
On the test radio, the UHF range was set at 400-479.995, but the factory software and CHIRP resolves this with a click of the mouse.

Software
The OEM software is easy to follow, but CHIRP developers have the F8HP supported in their Latest Daily Build which supports the menu changes.

As always, it is recommended to get a good quality programming cable so you spend more time talking on the radio and less time loading special drivers to your PC.

Summary of Upgrades
-  Tri-Power  1, 4, 8 watt
-  New 2nd Generation chipset
-  DTMF keypad issue resolved
-  Compatible with all UV5R battery options and accessories
-  Newer style stock antenna
-  New 76 page User Guide
-  CHIRP compatible

IMHO

The F8HP is a not just a rebranding, but an actual Upgraded Radio.
The newer style V85 antenna and 76 Manual are a definite plus.
 
Available from Amazon

For more detailed information:  Visit  Miklor F8HP
 



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