Russian Army Uses Chinese Ham Radios?

I read a report today that the Russian Army is using Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band (2m/70cm) ham radios for communications.

What the heck?

These radios sell for $25 on Amazon!

I have one as a cheap back-up to my Japanese-made Yaesu FT-60R dual band hand-held. They are not bad little radios but they certainly are not what I’d consider secure or for rugged military use.

Someone named George Turner who reported their use had this to say:

The Russian forces are using Baofeng (China) UV-5R dual-band 2m/70cm (440 Mhz) ham radios that sell on Amazon for $25 to $60. It’s a great radio for the money, and lots of hams I know have them, along with the separate clip-on mic/speaker so the radio can stay on the hip.

Except for jamming and lack of encryption, and the fact that amateur radio operators in all countries already frequent those bands, it’s an extremely good choice for an army under budget.

And of course these hand-helds also scan the bands, and this of course makes intercepting Russian radio communications a snap. That is apparently providing a trove of information, and showing just how bad the state of the invasion force is. Screaming, crying, bitching, confusion, rebellion, shock at what the mission is, and anger at the abysmal supply and food situation.

I have no way of verifying the accuracy of this report but, if true, the Russian Army is in far worse shape than I thought it was. It seems a little far-fetched but so are a lot of things.

UPDATE: It actually might be true.

I came across this story with pictures of the Baofeng in an Indian business publication.

And this thread on Twitter.

3 thoughts on “Russian Army Uses Chinese Ham Radios?”

  1. LOL. For $25 it’s a great radio.

    As a radio, it sucks rocks… And if the Russians are actually using them? OMG.

    But a lot of reports of Russian POWs say they were told they were simply going to the field for training: These may be privately owned, for screwing around with. I took ham gear to the field with the Guard, but turned it off/put it away once the tactical portion of the activities commenced.

  2. Says a lot about the vaunted Red Army, doesn’t it?

    I’ve never bothered to pick one up, I just have enough radios that I don’t remember how to use unless I use them ALL the time. My regular, everyday, HT is one of them.

    1. It’s common for military units to use COTS equipment. This doesn’t surprise me. My brother’s unit used PMR446 radios in Kosovo for comms.

      Sure, it is generally bad practice to use rigs like that, but if you aren’t getting proper equipment from your chain of command, you do what you can do.

      Never faced that problem personally, as I was a Morse interceptor and thus didn’t transmit, but I will say this: I won’t own a Cowdung. My EDC radio is a Yaesu VX-6R. But you are more likely to hear me on 30 meter CW driving to and from work.

      /Former 05H Electronic Warfare Signals Intelligence Morse Interceptor.
      //Current Amateur Extra class ham radio operator

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