In coming weeks I will be exploring the similarities (and differences) between these two handheld radios.
Specific models are: Rugged Radios - RH-5R
and Baofeng - UV-5R
On the surface, they are different color. And, initial look at specs indicates they are twins; except for cost.
First, and most important, both have the ability to transmit and receive on amateur radio assigned frequencies of 2-meter (144.000 MHz – 146.000 MHz) and 70 cm (430.000 MHz – 440.000 MHz). Use of these frequencies REQUIRES an amateur radio operators license.
Both transceivers are capable of full function on the common FRS/GMSR radio frequencies. This frequency range has a new series of FCC rules pending that will allow more flexibility with transmit power output level.
Both transceivers are rated at a nominal 5 watt transmitted power output. (high power - 4 watts; low power 1 watt)
The core difference, the Rugged Radios (RH-5R) comes from the factory pre-loaded with many of the frequencies used in the off-road racing/competition world. With the Baofeng, you have to search out those frequencies and program the handheld yourself.
Additional pre-loaded frequencies include seven Weather Channels and 16 GMSR Channels.
Accessories are interchangeable.
And, if you find that programming the radio manually to be tedious, there are computer assisted programs that will allow you to develop a master list of frequencies and "clone" your transceiver with that list.
I have used the product from RT-Systems
for that task. While there is freeware, a connector cable is required and building your own can be hit or miss. The RT-Systems provides a ready made cable.