Best Freq / Chan for family walkie talkies Baofeng UV-5R (5 radios!)

Bought a 5-pack of the Baofeng UV-5R radios. Would like to program them for a family camping excursion. There will be times when some will be off hiking, so we’ll need a little distance. (3 to 4 miles)
Would like to know what is the best Frequency / Channel to use for such a purpose.
Yes, I’m kinda new at this. I know just enough to get me into trouble…

They aren’t legal for what you want to do… Without a license, even with a license.
If you want to operate GMRS you need a part type compliant radio.

If you want to operate Family Radio Service, you need a 1/2 watt radio with a non removable antenna.

Amateur Radio - every member of your family needs to have their own license…

We can’t GIVE you frequencies, that is the job of the FCC…

It would help if at least you knew the rules, there is no free for all - where all you have to do is buy something and use it except CB radio.
That was the purpose of CB radio - to allow anyone to talk without having to go thru a license process.

Your best bet is to send them back and buy a couple of bubble pack radios, those radios - as you call them, could get you into trouble.
They transmit out of band, and just because Amazon -or what ever online seller sells them, doesn’t make them legal!

Effective September 30, 2019, it will be illegal to manufacture or import handheld portable radio equipment capable of operating under FRS rules and under other licensed or licensed-by- rule services. The FCC no longer will certify FRS devices that incorporate capabilities of GMRS capabilities or of other services.Aug 14, 2018

You may not realize this, but you could literally get yourself into trouble! While it IS possible to program a wide range of frequencies covering many radio services into the UV-5R, the radio is NOT accepted by the FCC for anything other than amateur ham radio. This means that without taking the exam and becoming at least a certified Technician-level operator, using the radio to transmit will not be legal (you ARE permitted to listen with it to anything you wish to, however).

I don’t know if this is your situation, but there are so many “review” sites on the internet that are either made by bots or people who have no idea what they are talking about. They often group Baofeng UV-5Rs in with FRS and MURS radios. That’s pretty unfortunate, because people see these and hear recommendations from others, buy these and use them in ways that CAN and perhaps WILL get them into trouble. I personally knew of a few that bought them for this reason, and were bewildered with all the options. Fortunately I was able to help them before they transmitted on any arbitrary frequency (a BIG no-no). Their solution was to get a nice pair of well-built, legal and type-accepted FRS units. They performed much better than they expected. They give you up to 2 watts of power, and many have the ability to charge via USB, which I personally appreciate on trips (leave the bulky charge docks at home)

In your case, you may want to give those a try. 3 to 4 miles IS doable, but your terrain is going to determine that. If you are deep in Appalachia in the summer surrounded by hills and dewy foliage, it wont happen (with any portable radio or service). Up on a mesa in Utah to someone you can see on the ground miles away? Probably clear as day.

Another option to consider is here:

MURS is a nice free VHF service. 5 channels and 2 watts as well. Many feel that this is the way to go if mainly outdoors (FRS is UHF and bounces/reflects/just-plain-fits-it’s-smaller-waves into buildings and about town very well). There will be times when FRS will come out on top and other times when MURS will win, but that is going to be regardless of which band you use. The Wouxun does have the advantage of upgradeable antennas though, and you could increase your range significantly with that alone if done correctly for the situation.

Looks like in the time it took me to type this, you have already gotten some replies (there were none when I began, LOL). Hope this giant novel helps you out.

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They are illegal for amateur radio also - Trump is trying to shut these people down, only they come back year after year with the same Amazon garbage.
Just because you can buy it online doesn’t make it legal!

ps - I was the person that complained until the FCC Mandated that Beofung UV5R not be sold, imported or used in the USA.

§ 95.391 Manufacturing, importation, and sales of non-certified equipment prohibited.

No person shall manufacture, import, sell or offer for sale non-certified equipment for the Personal Radio Services. See § 302(b) of the Communications Act (47 U.S.C. 302a(b)). See also part 2, subpart I (§ 2.801 et. seq.) of this chapter for rules governing marketing of radiofrequency devices.

(a) Revoked or withdrawn certification. In the event that the FCC revokes or withdraws a grant of equipment certification for a type of Personal Radio Service transmitter, the FCC will provide specific instructions and dates for cessation of manufacturing, importation and sales of the affected equipment.

(b) External radio frequency power amplifiers. No person shall manufacture, import, sell or offer for sale any external radio frequency power amplifier that is capable of operation on any frequency below 144 MHz and is intended for use in the Personal Radio Services. See also § 2.815 of this chapter.

© Voice obscuring radios. Effective September 30, 2019, no person shall manufacture, or import, sell or offer for sale any radio that incorporates one or more voice scrambling or other obscuring features where such radio is intended for use in any of the Personal Radio Services that provide for voice (telephony) communications on shared channels (see § 95.359) regardless of whether the Commission has previously certified that radio.
Transmitter Certification. (a) Unless otherwise provided in the subpart governing that service or in other parts of this chapter, each transmitter that operates or is intended to operate in a service of the Personal Radio Service must be certified in accordance with the governing subpart and part 2 of this Chapter. (b) A copy of the instruction manual specified in § 95.393 must be forwarded to the FCC with each request for certification of the relevant transmitter. If a final copy of that manual is not available when the certification application is submitted, the applicant may include with its application a draft or preliminary copy provided it forwards a final copy to the FCC when such a copy becomes available. © Equipment certification will not be issued for transmitter types where any control, switch or other type of adjustment—which, when manipulated, can result in a violation of the rules—is accessible to the user. § 95.363 Channels available for use. Operators of Personal Radio Stations may transmit only on the channels or frequency bands designated for the specific Personal Radio Service being used, as listed in the individual subpart governing that service. Transmissions on any channel or frequency not designated for the service being used constitutes a violation of section 301 of the Communications Act (47 U.S.C. 301).

What this means is that if the walkie talkie can transmit outside the range of the GMRS or FRS Frequencies, which includes Land Mobile Radio Service and Amateur radio, it cannot by definition be used in either radio service. GMRS / FRS radios - Land Mobile Radio Service Radios, cannot be front face programmable…
Look at a radio carried by a policeman or a fireman, it has channel 1, 2, 3 , 4, 5 etc… But it doesn’t have a key pad where the user can manually program in any frequency they desire and operate.

OK, I am convinced. I sent the 5 pack back to Amazon and bought a little Midland pair.
I honestly did not know that this was so complicated.
Amazon should put up more warnings or caution flags about these.

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I don’t think Amazon cares to, unfortunately. They have their hands in about everything sold under the sun.

It is a real shame that there is so much unqualified information put out there in a way that seems trustworthy. I recently stumbled on to this gem:

They are recommending UV-5Rs as GMRS radios, and simultaneously praising the fact(not) that these “GMRS” radios use both UHF AND VHF… It’s incredibly obvious to someone that knows a thing or two about radio and local (by local I mean those of us in the US in this instance) law that the writer of this article has no idea what they are talking about, and probably read just enough on the internet themselves to feel as if they did. It’s not obvious at all to the casual reader… They read, they trust, they buy. That rabbit hole goes deep and into so many aspects of modern life that I’m not about to go further on the matter, but I do have empathy for people who buy these thinking that they are perfect, only to find out that they aren’t even close to what they need. I will say that you are much better off with a dealer that specializes in the field, such as (who hosts this forum), than an enormous entity like Amazon that is typically quite numb to it’s own offerings (the billions of them that there are). You can also learn a lot from these guys via their blog and podcast features:

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Im willing to help anyone that is willing to listen and do what I think is the right thing. Even if the only thing I have done since 1970 is listen to radio, at least I learned by reading and doing and not breaking the law.
I came across several Prepper Boards where their members boasted of hyjacking Land Mobile Radio Service - County Towers, climbing the towers with no authorization, placing their own antenna on the tower - with no authorization, and building repeaters out of two Beofung radios placed in an ammo box, powered by a solar panel and placed near the base of the tower with no grounding.
The Harmonics off those two illegal radios were causing harmful interference to lawful communications on those towers.
Fortunately all local towers here now has security camera’s motion detection, a gate alarm, fencing around the perimeter of the tower, complete with barbed wire and regular patrols by the police.

This forum prohibits discussion of illegal activity. I’m closing the thread.