I prepared the following table in order to highlight differences and similarities. Bold characters signify an improvement for what I conceive to be typical radio amateur use.
|Squelch||VHF: On/off |
UHF: Tiny steps
21. Dec 2013
|As the UV-5R |
21. Dec 2013
|Size and shape||Square and small||Fits better |
in hand, larger
|Fits better |
|Frequency/channel change||Up/down||Up/down||Rotary |
|VFO/MR button||Yes||Turn radio off, |
then press menu
as you turn it on
3. Jan 2014
|Band button||Yes||No (in menu)||Switches |
|Dual PTT button||No||Yes||No|
|Programming||Need a computer |
to enter alpha tags
|Alpha tags |
can be entered
|Alpha tags can |
|Memory channels||128||128||99 + 16 for FM radio|
|Display||7 characters |
|7 characters |
|Harder to read, |
only 5 characters
|Modifications||Enlarge mic hole, |
|-||Unused button as |
The UV-B6 is not covered here since the only difference from the UV-B5 is a flashlight instead of the rotary encoder and alarm button of the B5.
My main sources are the blogs of PD0AC (UV-82, UV-B5/B6) and the Miklor FAQs
In general I think the design of much radio equipment is lagging behind other electronics when it comes to user interfaces. Imagine a smart phone user interface on a handheld! That is why I emphasize user interface issues in my final evaluation.
I like the improved front-end, signal meter, and squelch of the UV-B5 making it a strong contender for the winner position. But I don't think they are worth the price of a poorer display. On the other hand, the UV-82 is inferior in my view to the UV-5R due to the need to enter the menu for VFO/MR and band switch functions. So for now I'll stick with the UV-5R.