Do I need a licence to operatet two way radios?

Hi each and all, I am hoping for a little advice as this is all virgin territory for me
I have just bought two x two way radios ( Baofeng BF-UV5R )
I intend to use them in the nightclub where I work for security staff
Will I need a license to run them? I thought I would just link them up and away I go :frowning: and help would be very very appreciated.

Kind regards, Darren.


The Baofeng UV-5R is a dual band radio and can operate on both Amateur and business frequencies. Regardless of which set of frequencies you operate on, the FCC requires you to be licensed.

You mentioned the radios are for your job. If this is the case you are not allowed to use the amateur frequencies and will need a business license. A FCC business radio license is good for 10 years, and will allow you to have a dedicated frequency which will significantly reduce the chances of receiving interference from other radios.

A slightly less expensive option is to get a license for business itinerant frequencies. These are the frequencies to which many commercial radios are pre-programmed. Frequency coordination is not required so if you know what you’re doing you can file for the license yourself for just the FCC fee of $210. There is a lot of paperwork involved however because you still have to complete much of Form 601 like if you were using a frequency coordinator. If you want someone (like Buy Two Way Radios) to do the paperwork for you you’re looking at around $400.

Hi Danny and thank you for the reply, I forgot to mention that I live in the UK
And I noticed a lot of $ signs in your reply and no £ signs so I am assuming we are on opposite sides of the pond :confused: I am not sure where I stand now as I am sure our laws won’t be the same.

Regards, Darren.

Yes, disregard everything I said previously :slight_smile:

I had assumed you were in the US. Unfortunately I’m not going to be much help with UK licensing requirements. Sorry about that.

Thank you for the reply anyway Danny, it was very much appreciated.

Kind regards, Darren.

That is the problem with posting something on the internet and not giving all of the information…
Even the amateur radio bands are different in the UK and you will probably find that the radios you bought are not part type acceptable for what you want to use them for.
I wish that the manufacturer of those pieces of **** would be sued and ran out of buisness - because they are giving everyone a black eye right now from the stand point of radio.
People thinks that just because they can buy them without a license that they have a right to use them on any frequency / as they please ; and that they will not get in trouble for using them because they only produce a couple of watts of power and can’t be heard for more then a couple of miles simplex.
When in fact, just because you tune the radio to x frequency and do not hear anything, does not mean that it is a open frequency that no one is using and that you can just plop down there and start using it for what ever you please.

I’m preaching to the choir here because the technicial people already knows this and the people who are not knowledgeable will not listen.
It isn’t until someone gets in trouble, and then said - well I didn’t know - that we have problems.

In the USA - all of the frequencies are spoken for except the FRS and the Citizens Band, and with the number of radios out there, you can’t use FRS or CB for anything because people will cause harmful interference if they find out what frequency you are operating on.

The license and the coordination is there as a stop gap measure, to ensure that someone does not infringe upon another licensed person that already paid for the coordination of a certain frequency and is operating legally.

In Buisness radio - the frequencies used are not normally published, nor are the PL’s. The PL’s are area specific to keep harmful interference out or to allow more then one user to use the same coordinated frequency…

Wanting personal communications and thinking that all you have to do is buy a couple of radios is not the right route to go.
You should have went to a two way shop and gotten some advice first.
I’m sure that they could have sold you something that was maybe 2 channel and could have helped you to become licensed so you could operate it legally.

With them Baofeng BF-UV5R - all it takes is for some smartie to start messing around with the buttons to make it operate somewhere - where it shouldn’t, and then you will be the person in trouble because you gave them the radios to use and you own them. That is why we don’t use amateur radio equipment in the LMRS - because those frequencies are not blocked out - there is too much temptation for someone to mess around and go some place where they shouldn’t be.

Tower Tech,

Welcome to the forum. I agree with most of your points, but I have to disagree with your dislike of the Baofeng UV-5R. I’ve been playing around with one of these for the last couple of months and I think it’s a pretty nice radio when you consider everything it offers for $50. If you are talking on amateur bands every day I might recommend a better radio, but for a (licensed) ham that needs a radio for occasional use I would definitely take the Baofeng over a comparable $300 Icom or Yaesu.

It seems like your problem with the radio might be more related to the price point than the radio itself. Am I correct that you’re concerned that a radio that does so much for so little might cause people to buy the radio on impulse without looking into the responsibility that comes with it?

I don’t think it’s fair to blame that problem on the radio. I think it would be a very good thing to have more people active in amateur radio, and better products at lower prices is going to help make that happen. I’ve heard from manufacturers that the hobby is losing active users and that the people that are actively using it are getting older. If we aren’t able to get more people into ham then it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the FCC take spectrum away from us.

So we’re left with the problem of people who are new to radio using frequencies without a license and/or without a good understanding of how they should be used. I think the biggest problem here is that people just simply aren’t aware of the requirements. I’ve been in the radio business for a long time now and I haven’t spoken to very many “adamantly unlicensed” people - those that know the requirements and just don’t care. They’re out there, but in my experience they are the exception. Most people just don’t know that a license is needed. When you take the time to explain it to them they are almost always understanding and willing to do what it takes. Most people don’t want to break the rules. Dealers need to do a better job of explaining this to people.

One problem that I have with a lot of long time hams is that they seem to be quick to jump down someone’s throat about rules and licensing. I see it over and over again on forums and in newsgroups. That type of approach puts people on the defensive and will make them resistant. We, as a community, need to do a better job of welcoming new people to this hobby. This hobby needs to grow and I’m afraid it will suffer if it doesn’t.

One other note. This thread is in the business forum and I said a lot of good things about the Baofeng UV-5R. I want to be sure to say that while I think the UV-5R is a great HAM radio, I think it is a TERRIBLE radio for business. While it is type accepted for business use, it is simply too configurable. If you give this radio to an employee that doesn’t know radio it is just too easy for them to change frequencies or settings - even inadvertently. This radio could quickly turn into a support nightmare for a business owner.