I received the brand new Baofeng RD-5R Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) yesterday and wanted to give my first impressions of it. This is the replacement radio for the DM-5R that had some issues previously and is made from a partnership between Baofeng and Radioddity.
The RD-5R is a budget-friendly DMR radio that sells for $75 directly from Radioddity or it is also available from them on Amazon for the same price. I chose the Amazon route so that I would not have to wait for shipping from China.
If you are familiar with the popular UV-5R dual-band handheld radio from Baofeng, then you will notice a lot of similarities with the RD-5R. They are very similar in design.
The RD-5R is basically a UV-5R radio with the addition of a dual-band DMR radio inside it. Most DMR radios are single-band, here in the United States being 70cm however lately 2-meter DMR repeaters are starting to appear so having a dual-band radio that is able to operate on both 2-meter and 70cm is a plus.
When I received the radio I noticed that there was no programming software, and no user manual included. Both of these items have to be downloaded from the Radioddity.com website now.
I downloaded the programming software and immediately ran into my first problem. There apparently is an issue with the software which did not load properly. All of the buttons in the software were marked with "????" instead of saying what they were, so I could not distinguish one button from another.
I went back to the Radioddity website to contact Tech Support but their contact form for Tech Support did not work. Apparently they have an issue with the Captcha system on their website and you cant send the contact request form without the Captcha field completed.
I was able to manually send an email to them which they responded to today. They forwarded links to the programming software and user manual in an email.
This time I was able to install the software and start getting all of the channels setup to be downloaded into the radio. Then I hit the second problem.
I got the first 30 channels all set up and downloaded it all into the radio, but the radio only shows that 7 channels were programmed instead of 30. I downloaded the channels again, same result. Only channels 1 through 7 were copied to the radio.
I reinstalled the programming software once again to see if that was the problem then downloaded the channels to the radio, same thing again. I attempted to re-download the channels to the radio another dozen times with the exact same result, only the first 7 channels are loaded.
I finally decided to upload from the radio to see if I could determine the problem, but when the upload showed on the computer screen everything was normal, all 30 channels were there. The radio has all 30 channels loaded into it, but it doesn't know it. It only sees 7 channels programmed in the radio.
While I was trying to figure this situation out I noticed another problem. The radio had gotten extremely warm while it was plugged into the computer being programmed. Any metal surfaces on the radio were very hot to the touch and if you sniffed close to the radio it smelled like hot electronics. Not good. I immediately disconnected the radio from my computer and disconnected the battery from the radio.
The idea of an affordable dual-band DMR radio is a good concept, but judging on this particular radio, they missed the mark big-time.
I do not like giving bad reviews of products, but I cannot recommend this radio until Baofeng and Radioddity fix the serious problems that it currently has.
Especially with the overheating issue, that is a house fire just waiting to happen.
Baofeng RD-5R DMR Radio Review:
UPDATE: I wanted to make sure that those of you reading this review did not get the impression that I am anti-Baofeng or against cheap Chinese-made radios, on the contrary I currently own six of the UV-5R handheld radios and two of the UV-50X2 mobile radios and I like them very much. That is the main reason I was interested in trying the brand new DMR version of their radio line.
Baofeng makes a very decent low-cost amateur radio line, but I feel that they missed the mark on this particular radio. Even though Baofeng and other lower-priced Chinese-made radios have a lower quality standard than more expensive American and Japanese brands, this particular radio did not even live up to Baofeng's normal standards.
Compensation Disclosure: I have not received any form of compensation for this review. I ordered the RD-5R DMR radio through Amazon on April 24, 2018. I paid the full price of $74.99 for it and feel that it definitely not worth the price.