Thanks to all who answered my earlier questions about the Baofang UV5R.
I bought one of these radios for around $60 (US) from Amazon. I also purchased the programming cable and a higher gain antenna for better 2m/440 performance.
This radio is an international radio, so it is able to transmit and receive on VHF frequencies between 136-174mhz and UHF frequencies between 400-480mhz without modification. In the US, 2m operation is between 144-148mhz and 440 operation is between 420-450mhz. Note that this radio is not type certified for MURS or FRS/GMRS operation, so transmitting in any of these ranges, even in MURS frequencies and/or FRS/GMRS frequencies exposes the operator to potential FCC action. The ONLY time that operating outside of frequency ranges is permitted is in a life or death situation. Don't purchase this radio if you plan to be an unlicensed free bander.
The owner's manual that came with the radio is substandard. There are fortunately many sites on the web, including a Yahoo group dedicated to Baofang radios, which have much better and much clearer instructions on how to program this radio.
As previously stated, I purchased the programming cable. The programming software is also kludgy. While it works, it is limited to Windows (which if you are an Apple person is a pain). The software is a spreadsheet type program which allows programming the TX frequency, the RX frequency and any PL that is required. The programming cable and the included software is very much recommended as it is much, much easier to program the radio this way than it is to program the radio manually.
With the aftermarket antenna the radio is capable of multiple km simplex operation and of hitting all of the local repeaters in my area. I get good transmission reports, which leads me to believe that it probably works as well as a more expensive HT. It has good battery life (if need be, one could purchase an extra battery for $17).
For $60 you are not getting a steal on a $300 dollar radio. There are features that would be nice that this radio does not have (smart tuning etc). On the other hand you are getting a radio that works well and that if it gets wet, dies, or is lost the owner is not going to have to spend $300 to replace.
I would give this 4 out of 5 stars (if they ever get around to improving the owners manual it might rate a 4.5). It would be a solid addition to any BOB or INCH bag.