I know both are cheaper Chinese radios but does anyone know if there is any noticeable improvement of transmission/receive range and voice quality between a Baofeng UV5R or a Wouxun KG-UV9P?
The reason these radios are cheap is because of the technology they use. These are SDR radios (software defined radio) which is also the reason of all the quirks of these radios. Where better radios will use electronic components, these use software to run the radio.
Because both of theses radios are VHF/UHF, they will have the similar range for TX/RX because it’s not related to the radio but the physics of radio frequencies. As they are, think a couple of miles max.
As for the voice quality, there will not be much difference since again it’s SDR radios.
Now, I don’t understand your desire to buy a “GMRS” or a “HAM” radio since there’s no such thing as a ‘ham’ radio. Also, both of these radios need licensing to be used in the USA. In fact, these radios are illegal to use outside the amateur radio bands and illegal for GMRS.
The Ham radio does not use ‘channels’ but uses frequencies. So no 2 radios have the same frequencies unless programmed that way.
If your interest is to get into amateur radio, then these are very low level entry radios, they will get you on air and will teach you a lot about troubleshooting as to why it worked yesterday and not today, etc…
If on the other hand, you just want a radio to communicate with others, a license free FRS radio (has the same quality, range as the Baofeng/Wouxun) will be on the same channels as all the other FRS radios. Same with the GMRS radios, all of them will have the same channels…but need a license to operate in the US.
Blanket statement and generalization is at work here. SDR (software defined radio) is being cast as inferior. Sone of the finest transceivers, such as Flex, Icom, and Yaesu are offering SDR radios with direct conversion.
But, the old adages of “You get what you pay for”, “If the price is too good to be true, it is” and "caveat emptor (buyer beware) still ring true.
Sdr technology is here to stay. At least for a while. I too am mystified by the assumption it’s bad. It’s in military grade (and priced) products too. Carrier wave based radios need to do quite basic things. Every type has pros and cons. Often good designs just fight with selectivity vs sensitivity. Not just superhets vs sdr. If I had a need for a clever ham radio I’d buy an sdr without hesitation. Equally the sdr dongle I have that cost twenty quid is full of spurious signals and wierd stuff. Compare bad with good by all means but be realistic. A decent sdr does do much the previous designs could not!