Baofeng UV-5: Audio Attenuation and Knob Pointer

Perhaps because we’re using better quality earbuds, the Baofeng UV-5 radios on our bikes produce extremely loud audio, even with the volume knob just above its power-on click. Reducing the volume requires a series resistor downstream of the diodes clipping the pops:

Baofeng Headset Audio Attenuation
Baofeng Headset Audio Attenuation

The color codes come from previous work.

Because we have different earbuds and different hearing, my radio has a 140 Ω resistor and Mary’s has a 430 Ω resistor. Getting the right value requires a few iterations of on-road testing, but it’s not particularly critical; the volume knob should end up roughly in the middle of its range.

For now, all the “circuitry” lives among layers of Kapton tape:

Baofeng headset wire plate - detail
Baofeng headset wire plate – detail

Speaking of volume knobs, Baofeng radios have large flat-top cylindrical knobs (unlike Wouxun’s fluted knobs), so I added a pointed snippet of reflective tape to make the position visible:

Baofeng volume knob - reflective pointer
Baofeng volume knob – reflective pointer

The flash lights it up, but there’s enough backlighting behind your (well, my) head to make it easily visible under normal conditions. Once you figure out the proper volume, it’s easy to set the pointer in that direction before every ride.

To the road!