Baofeng UV-82 versus Uniden BR330T: Receiver Quality

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Baofeng UV-82 versus Uniden BR330T: Receiver Quality

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The Baofeng UV-82 is well known for its heavy use of DSP in receiving signals, through the use of the RDA1846 transceiver-on-a-chip, keeping it under the $30 price mark. I put it against the Uniden BR330T, a typical all-analog wideband scanner.

The first thing I had noticed is that the audio in the Baofeng is much bassier, while the Uniden has a flatter frequency response. It makes noise seem less apparent, but speech is less intelligible. While this frequency response is not optimal for use with headphones, it does balance out the internal speaker and sounds better with the FM radio.

The pops in the static on the Baofeng have a rather hollow sound, whereas the Uniden preserves their clicky attributes. I think this is one of the main contributors to the lower speech intelligibility on lower signal levels. The background hiss is notoriously loud on the Uniden, an issue the Baofeng does not suffer from. Additionally, the Uniden lacks an option to disable audio filtering, severely limiting the potential for audio quality on the FM broadcast band. The Baofeng does not filter FM audio, resulting in clear (but still mono) audio.

On the subject of the FM radio, the selectivity and sensitivity of the Baofeng is impressive, but the image rejection is not. The Uniden is able to resist overloading far better than the Baofeng (as expected; the Uniden is a more specialized receiver), but both succumb to the sheer strength of a local FM radio station. The Uniden has an inbuilt attenuator, which effectively eliminates all images on the FM band at the expense of a few decibels of signal-to-noise ratio. Overloading is such an issue on the Baofeng that on my test antenna, I was unable to receive weaker stations without using an external attenuator. Even on the standard rubber-ducky antenna provided, imaging is an issue. After installing the external attenuator, the Uniden's lack of selectivity led to its demise in tests against the Baofeng, despite its superior sensitivity.

Overall, the Uniden performs better as a receiver, but the lower noise floor of the Baofeng means the Uniden is easily outperformed on stronger signals. Both are quite similar in receiver performance, but as detailed in this article, the Uniden has an advantage. But given the transmission capabilities of the Baofeng and the significantly lower price mark ($25 versus $150), the Baofeng is a better value.

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