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I bought a Baofeng UV-5RE of Alibaba for a little over $30. It seems to work as expected, all the menu items are consistent with the YouTube videos I watched but... the little power icon at the top of the display is reversed.

When I change the TXP setting to LOW a little H appears at the top of the display. When I change the TXP setting the HIGH the H icon disappears again. I would expect the H to be visible when the transmission power is set to HIGH, not the other way round.

The WN setting makes more sense. A little N is shown when I set it to narrow band and disappears when it's set to wide band.

Anyone knows if this a simple bug or did I buy a fake radio?

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  • $\begingroup$ You can get that on Amazon for $30 and know its genuine -- why buy from Alibaba? If it's counterfeit, it's probably illegal to transmit... $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Jul 8 at 17:20
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeissIkon "If it's counterfeit, it's probably illegal to transmit..." — do you know that's true in Belgium? It's certainly not true in the USA. $\endgroup$ – natevw - AF7TB Jul 8 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeissIkon Baofeng was not available from Amazon in my country. $\endgroup$ – Cimm Jul 8 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ @natevw-AF7TB Sorry, no, I saw nothing to indicate he was in Belgium. And given the type acceptance requirements in the USA, a known counterfeit most likely is illegal to key up in the USA (unless the counterfeiter has gone to the trouble to certify their own design, which is presumably cheaper to produce than a real BaoFeng). They're also illegal to import, here, most likely. $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Jul 8 at 19:01
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Seems like a bug to me, or at least a mismatch between the firmware/board and the display used. On both my [somewhat] newer BTech UV-5X3 and older Baofeng BF-F8+ radios the displays show nothing with TXP set to HIGH and show an L with TXP set to LOW. On my son's Baofeng BF-F9V2+ it has three settings corresponding to three separate L/M/H cells on its LCD activating as one would expect.

What this means as to whether you got a "fake" I have no idea. There can be lots of confusion, miscommunication, and simple prejudices against even genuine Baofeng radios, and many resellers add to this with their own marketing claims as well. It does seem there are many enclosure variations, model numberings, firmware builds, and probably circuitry that get combined in mysterious ways.

If you have access to RF test equipment or even just a basic RTL-SDR [and attenuator for close-up testing!] you might check its transmissions in case the mismatch extends beyond the display and to the radio circuitry — does it transmit the correct frequency and modulation index? Does it seem to be filtering as well as to be expected? "The proof of the pudding is in the eating" and whether the display glitch itself is worth a dispute is between you and the seller and the marketplace I suppose!

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  • $\begingroup$ Great suggestion, I'll use my SDR dongle to verify. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Cimm Jul 8 at 18:36

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