Powering the Baofeng Ham Radio during an emergency

Power for the Baofeng Radio

The Baofeng UV5R, UV8, UV3 and their various models have taken the ham radio world by storm.  They offer an inexpensive way for new hams to join up on local nets and enjoy the hobby that has captured the wonder and ingenuity of generations past.

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Classic Dual Band Tri Band High Power

While the Baofeng radio’s are versatile and extremely cost effective, they have at least one aspect in common with Yeasu, Icom, Kenwood and Alinco.  All radios require power!
Fortunately for those of us Amateur Radio operators who use the Baofeng radio for ham chats, family communications, APRS, Airsoft, camping, hiking or emergency preparedness, a little ingenuity and technology can even solve that problem.

There are a number of pieces of gear that you can use to power your Baofeng radio during a power outage, or just on a backpacking trip.  I’ll go over the ones that I either currently use or have used in the past.

Extra Baofeng battery

It is ALWAYS a good idea to have an extra battery for all of your battery powered devices.  Over time, rechargeable batteries lose their capacity and need to be replaced.  To make each battery pack last longer you can alternate usage between multiple battery packs.You can get the standard size battery pack, which is great because it maintains the same form factor (size) of the original radio.

There is also a large capacity battery pack which works with the Baofeng radios.  Make sure to read the reviews of the specific battery pack to ensure that it will fit your radio model.

The Alkaline AA Battery Clam-shell

The clam-shell battery pack is a fantastic option for powering your Baofeng radio because it allows you to use standard AA size Alkaline, Li-Ion or Lithium batteries that you can buy at any store. While I don’t have one of these for my Baofeng radio, I do have one for my old Alinco, and it is an excellent accessory!

 

The Self Charging Battery (battery with a charging port)

This is perhaps my favorite battery option.  This extended battery contains a built-in charge port with a USB charging cable.  There is NO CHARGING DOCK REQUIRED.  Awesome!

The Baofeng Charging Dock

The Baofeng radio comes with a charging dock, but sometimes it is a nice to have another one.  You can leave the radio in the dock and it automatically stops charging when the battery is full.  The dock can be powered by the supplied AC adapter or a USB charging cable!

Dock with AC Adapter Dock with USB Adapter

 

The Baofeng USB charger

This is one of the very best things about the Baofeng radio!  They can be charged from any USB port!  You can run the charging base directly from a USB port in your car, from a house adapter, a USB battery bank, a USB Solar Panel Charger or an Emergency Power Generator!

Charging the Baofeng Radio with  Goal Zero Lantern

If you are setup with the Baofeng USB charging cable, you can charge your radio via any USB power source, including the amazing Goal Zero camping lantern.

The Goal Zero LightHouse 400 Lantern Charging my Baofeng Radio with the Goal Zero Lantern

USB Solar Panel for the Baofeng Radio

With the cost of solar energy dropping through the floor, it is finally affordable to buy a portable solar panel with USB outputs.  There are a couple of options including the Anker folding panel array, the REnogy flexible panel and the Yelomin panel with the 20,000mAh battery.  Personally, I like the renogy flexible panel the most as it is the best bang-for-the-buck and is ultra light-weight.

Anker FOlding USB Solar Panel Renogy Flexible USB Solar Panel Yelomin Solar Power Bank with Dual USB