The Baofeng UV-9S Tri-Band is a tri-band (2m/1.25m/70cm) radio that comes in standard black or this bright red version. Let’s see how it stacks up with other Baofeng offerings.
I was really looking forward to playing with the Baofeng UV-9S since my favorite cheap Chinese radio is its cousin, the UV-9R Plus. From looking at the description and specs, it looks a lot like this radio is very similar to that one with the addition of a third band.
The fact that the Baofeng UV-9S comes with two antennas was a little worrisome. My other tri-band radio, the Kenwood TH-D74, uses one antenna that works pretty well on all three bands so I wondered what was going on with this one.
What I discovered is that it seems they tried to make an antenna that does all three bands but for whatever reason, they failed miserably. Why do I say that? Look at the VNA chart below, you can clearly see it is a good antenna for both 2m and 70cm, but look closely at the VSWR portion at the 1.25m mark and you can see the drop. This just screams that they tried to make the antenna work on that third band, but it the result is only slightly better than a coathanger (showing my age there).
Sure, they give you an antenna that is better tuned at the 1.25m band in the box with the Baofeng UV-9S but that is a pain to remember to carry it with me, and then a pain to have to change it out.
I honestly do not really need or use 1.25m so let’s just ignore that and move on to other aspects of the Baofeng UV-9S such as the build quality.
One nice thing about many of the Baofeng radios such as the UV-9R and UV-5R is that they feel pretty solid, this is simply not the case with the Baofeng UV-9S. The plastics feel cheap, the buttons and knob on top, and particularly the belt clip all feel substantially inferior to other Baofeng radios. Even the cover over the headphone and mic jacks feels just cheap.
Speaking of feeling, some genius decided to put a charging jack on the batter of the Baofeng UV-9S right where your hand wraps around the radio and it has a sharp edge! Someone needs to fire this person. In-hand comfort is an important aspect of the radio for me and this one little “feature” just kills it for me. So far this is the only Baofeng radio I have seen do this.
My next problem with the Baofeng UV-9S is the battery. While it seems to work well, and it is a 2200mAh so it has plenty of power, the problem is that I have been unable to find replacements. This could be more of a problem with me as maybe I just haven’t found it yet, but while I certainly have found batteries for my other radios including the Baofeng UV-5R, 5RS, 9R, 6R, UV-82, and others, I have not seen one for the UV-9S anywhere. I guess you could just but another radio and use its battery but that seems a bit much when I can easily find batteries for my UV-9R for $14.
Baofeng UV-9S Test Results:
|Screen readability||Very Good|
|Included antenna||Very Good|
|Transmit audio||CLICK TO LISTEN|
|Maximum power output (2m/70cm)||4.1 watts / 2 watts|
|Size||250 * 59 * 41 mm|
|Actual weight||9.6 oz|
|Baofeng UV-9S manual||CLICK TO DOWNLOAD|
|Programming software||CLICK TO DOWNLOAD|
|Baofeng UV-9S Overall score|
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