BaoFeng BF-F8HP Review: A Must Buy & Powerful Upgrade of UV-5R

I have been reviewing the various versions of BaoFeng UV-5R. BaoFeng BF-F8HP is the most upgraded version of the UV-5R models.

It is one of the most selling products in the market. This may be why a lot of people have asked me to review it. I bought it, tested and I believe this BaoFeng BF-F8HP review is going to solve a lot of doubts you have about this product.

BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) is an 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio. It works in the frequency range of 136-174Mhz VHF & 400-520Mhz UHF.

The BF-F8HP is a terrific upgrade of it’s first generation. You might be wondering why. It’s because:

  • It comes with twice the output power-8 Watts
  • Hardened radio shell to improve its longevity
  • Higher battery capacity (30% large battery)
  • High gain antenna – You will get twice the range

Here is a quick overview of what I think about the product from my testing:

Performance
⭐⭐⭐⭐

As far as performance is concerned, the transceiver receives well, with users getting excellent audio reports and long-lasting activity.
 Features
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
BF-F8HP mounts a larger battery, higher power output, ultra-clear user manual, and a high-gain V-85 antenna.
User interface
⭐⭐⭐
The transceiver comes with a 76-page manual and an easy to follow programming software; might pose a slight learning curve for beginners.
Value for Money
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
This powerful, 8-watt dual-band radio offers incredibly clear audio and tons of handy features at a highly reasonable price!

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Who Should Use This Product?

BF-F8HP

I think BaoFeng has made F8HP a dream product for Ham radio enthusiasts!

It is compact yet packed with all the essential features at a price point reasonable for beginners. You will be surprised to find out what this small-sized portable HAM radio transceiver has to offer!

As an upgraded version of UV-5R, here’s what we found different:

  • The Rx side switch on the device felt a lot more sensitive than that on the earlier models.
  • BaoFeng has also resolved the DTMF Keypad problem.
  • Users also seem to be satisfied with how easily they can now scroll through the menu.
  • We found another essential difference in the squelch settings, which seemed pretty ineffective on the original UV-5R.
  • The V-85 stock antenna with BF-F8HP delivers a spectacular performance.

If you are looking for an in-depth comparison of the two, read this article: BaoFeng UV-5R vs BF-F8HP

BF-F8HP is a prime example of a modern-tech walkie-talkie. It comes with a tri-color display, which means day and night time visibility is not a problem!

Weighing 8.3 ounces, you can carry it wherever you go! If you’re a fan of mountain climbing, skiing, and hiking, this is just the gadget you need! You can also use it as a walkie-talkie to stay connected with your dear ones during a crisis.

What You Should Know- The Specs

BaoFeng BF-F8HP is the third and final generation of the original UV-5R. The upgrades and enhancements include better power output, durable construction, larger battery, and twice the antenna performance.

  • High/Med/Low power settings
  • 65-108 MHz FM, 136-174 MHz VHF, 400-520 MHz UHF.
  • 30% larger battery
  • Tri-color display
  • Latest N5R-340A firmware
  • One year warranty support
  • High Gain 7” Antenna
  • Full cross accessory compatibility with UV-5R accessories.

This list of top-notch specs is obviously quite impressive. It provides solutions to all the problems previously experienced with the other UV-5R variants.

BaoFeng BF-F8HP Range; How Long can You Communicate?

BF-F8HP stands out with its fantastic range ability to perform on all sorts of frequencies. With the stock antenna, you can expect to cover about 10 kilometers on open land.

In suburban land, you can hit about 5 kilometers, whereas, in urban areas, about a kilometer or two should be good. In outdoor settings like a boat, you may be able to hit a bit further than 10 kilometers.

We suggest beginners do their homework and opt for an external whip. Some options you may choose from are Nagoya, Diamond, or Comet. With the Nagoya extended whip, you can expect to cover an additional 20 kilometers.

By using an external antenna on the roof, you can double that range!

While power does increase the range, an external antenna increases range far more than what the higher power offers.

Accessories Required

If you own UV-5R, you won’t need to splurge on accessories, thanks to the cross-compatibility between UV-5R and BF-F8HP. However, if you need to get a better performance, here are some essential add-ons to look into.

  • Baofeng BL-5L 3800mAh Extended Battery

If you need a never-ending battery supply, these can last you days!

  • BTECH PC03 FTDI Programming Cable

BaoFeng recommends this USB cable for BF-F8HP.

Best Antennas for BaoFeng BF-F8HP

Although the performance of the BF-F8HP stock antenna is adequate, yet it doesn’t match that of most high-quality external antennas.

Let’s look at the three best external HAM antenna options in the market:

  • HYS Foldable Antenna

At 31.5 inches, the HSY whip is the best option for your transceiver. The antenna’s tough exterior makes it durable and long-lasting! Most importantly, its flexibility allows you to fold the whip, offering complete consumer convenience.

  • BTECH NAGOYA NA-771

With a 15.6-inch length, you get excellent readings even in unfavorable conditions. There is no doubt that Nagoya NA-771 is an excellent choice to improve the signal strength and range of BF-F8HP.

  • Diamond (Original) RH77CA

You can use Diamond RH77CA to improve high band VHF transmission and scanning abilities.  This 15-inch whip pulls in the city signals far better than the stock antenna.

The Use Phase

This handheld HAM radio transceiver is unlike what we imagined. The transceiver and its charger are slightly bulkier than the predecessors. However, it did fit into the jacket pocket and didn’t feel much cumbersome.

Is the device easy to use? Certainly not! It offers more complexity than what most users can handle. However, if you have tech knowledge and abilities, the learning curve won’t be as significant.

Those with prior experience found the menu pretty intuitive and easy to surf.

You get a 76-page user-manual in both Chinese and English included in the package. As with many other Chinese products, the instructions are slightly confusing, thanks to the grammatical errors. However, after some struggle and patience, you do eventually understand what it is trying to suggest.

BF-F8HP needs to be re-programmed before use in the US. You may need to change specific channel frequencies and reduce power, or you may find yourself at odds with the FCC. Many of the pre-programmed frequencies land in military-use ranges.

As for programming, CHIRP becomes a savior yet again. We do not recommend manual programming for BaoFeng transceivers, especially for beginners. Another exciting thing you may want to note is that the CHIRP-F8HP compatibility now supports menu changes.

You will need the original BaoFeng programming cable, and not a cheap knock-off, for better results. You can consult the user guide for more information on programming. You can also find many how-to videos on the Internet for a kick start on how to operate it better.

Results

BaoFeng BF-F8HP is a stunning handheld ham radio you can vouch for. I believe it has everything to be in our list of top portable ham radios. (You can find our list here: https://xroadgps.com/best-handheld-ham-radio/ )

The battery life of BF-F8HP was adequate and far better than that of other UV-5R variants. Additionally, the adjustable power settings helped us save up on more battery. If you’re looking into longer, outdoor usage, we suggest purchasing larger battery packs.

You can find some good options here: Recommended Batteries for Ham Radio GO Box

While the device is pretty moderately-sized and portable, it is not entirely lightweight. Moreover, the antenna makes it slightly over-sized, although not altogether obtrusive. Considering its power, performance, and construction, we don’t mind its size and weight.

Is this radio worth all the money? Well, that depends on your needs. It is an excellent value for licensed ham operators, but may not live up to others’ expectations.

If you want to make use of all the capabilities it offers, we don’t see any other transceiver matching up to BF-F8HP in terms of value. However, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of acquiring the tech license, the value of this device quickly drops.

Pros Cons
  • Quick and easy programming using CHIRP
  • Better, durable construction
  • Spectacular battery life
  • Higher power and better antenna performance
  • Offers value for money
  • Slight learning curve
  • Slower memory scanning

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Final Thoughts

BaoFeng BF F8HP ham radio is in a class of its own. Its performance and build quality are unmatchable at this price. It also takes prizes for its incredible battery life and power capability.

Among the few BaoFeng models we own, BF-F8HP seems to be the one taking the lead.

There are several transceivers with better ease of use and superior features, but you need to spend twice as much to buy them.

In comparison with its predecessors, BaoFeng BF-F8HP, it is clear though BF-F8HP is an upgrade on the previous version. It boasts several new and advanced features, including a resized battery, better menu, and CHIRP compatibility.

You can read the predecessors reviews here:

The device works well in hitting miles, even in the middle of a heavy snowstorm! That alone assures us that BF-F8HP is the best when it comes to prepping for emergencies.

Overall, it has quite a few well-thought-out features that you can quickly master, after spending some time with it. Before confirming the purchase, keep in mind, you can only operate it legally if you have a valid Technician ham radio license.

With this, I’m winding this BaoFeng BF-F8HP review. If you have any queries regarding this radio, don’t forget to contact me!

Last update on 2020-07-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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