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Baofeng DM-5R – Should You Go Digital? (Digital DM-5R Instead of Analog UV-5R)

Those of us that are lucky enough to be surrounded by HDTV stations enjoy the benefits of a beautiful and mostly uninterrupted HD picture on our televisions.  The same technology was introduced in radio form many years before we ever saw an HDTV picture.  Sending digital instead of analog has a great benefit as you either have a fantastic copy of the audio or no audio.  So, if a signal is properly received, it should not just be copyable, it should be crystal clear.

Without a doubt, the Baofeng UV-5R has been the most popular radio for preppers.  It is cheap and it is rugged.  Four UV-5R’s can be purchased at the same price as a single Yaesu or Icom.  But, all this means you use easily readable analog.  Anyone can just tap into your signal.

However, those serious about communications may want to consider a step up into digital mode.  But digital is typically more expensive.  Should you invest in more than double the cost to obtain DM-5R’s from Amazon at $79.99?  That’s for you to decide, but here is some information and comparisons.

The DM-5R is nearly identical in appearance to the UV-5R, however the DM-5R delivers crisp clean audio at 1.5 miles whereas the same audio on the UV-5R would barely be readable.  This first video is a demonstration from HamRadioConcepts on YouTube.

Going digital isn’t the only thing you need to consider.  You also have to strongly weigh in compatibility.  The second video focuses in on the digital aspects of the DM-5R and shows how it may not be compatible with “all things digital.”

Quite honestly, you shouldn’t expect the DM-5R, at its cheap price point, to satisfy compatibility requirements.  However, at just 80 bucks a radio, the DM-5R is super cheap, appears to be built with the same ruggedness of the UV-5R and can help you move into the digital realm on a budget.

ADDED NOTE:  I found this web post giving some more information about the compatibility of the DM-5R:

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