Total Newbie

Hey guys! Im new to the two way radio scene. me and my dad got a set of Baofeng UV-5Rfor use while on town watch and it wors great but i was told i may be violating laws because of licensing or something. what channels/freq are vailble to the evryday, non-ham user? thanks

You need to look up GMRS and FRS but sadly, the Baofengs don’t comply with US regulations for these bands, so if you are in the US (I’m in England) my feeling is that you can study a bit and take a ham licence test and use them on ham bands, or you can purchase a business licence from the FCC. Anything else leaves you on the wrong side of the law. Of course there are plenty of people who quite innocently are using them on the frequencies in them when you buy them - in some areas these will be unoccupied while some might be the channel of your local Police or Fire Department, and your ‘innocent’ use could put you in very deep water. Don’t know the punishment your side of the water, but here it’s a fine, confiscation and probably a criminal record - prison is unlikely unless you knew you were deliberately interfering with something and caused loss of life.

Officially - you cannot use them, but ethic and morals come into play now you know the restrictions.

You are out of luck. You need a business license, or an amateur license. For your use, you’d need a business license. Use of those radios without the appropriate license can bring fines of up to $10,000 per offense/incident.

These radios are not certified for use on the license free MURS or FRS frequencies, or certified for the license-required GMRS.

It is always best to study up on radio regulations, prior to a purchase.

If he’s using the radios for a volunteer “town watch” he could probably get by with an amateur license (assuming he’s in the US.) It would fall under the public service portion of the regs. Many Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) use amateur VHF and UHF to communicate with each other in emergencies and it’s perfectly legal as long as they’re licensed.

True, BUT… everyone he is communicating with would need their own individual license… I don’t think the OP wants to go that route.

OP (me) doesnt know what he wants. i bought those radios because they were cheap and had good reviews. i didnt learn that there were regulations untill after i got them. I heard of ham before but i thought that was only for base station rigs. in my ignorance, i thought i was getting a simple pair of “walkie talkies”

so far it looks like i have few options… get an amateur license or a ham license. in the future i plan to get more into it and learn more, but for now, what is the fastest way that we can use these radios (i dont care about everybody else, just me and my dad)

By the way, this is th web page that led me to buy the Baofeng… i didnt see anything about needin licensing i thought it was just plug and play so to speak…

Well, there is no fast way. Legally. You’ll either explore the legal options already presented, or shelf those radios and buy a set of FRS radios.

It is wide spread that many of these companies simply want to sell products. You fell victim to these unethical marketing practices. Sorry. Many sellers will even emphasize the no license is required, when they either know, or are ignorant of the licensing requirements.

The article does provide lots of links to information, and then if you understand it, you can then realise the conclusion that some of these radios won’t meet the rules laid down. It’s a disguised adverts style article, explaining the positives as attractive and just playing with you on the restrictions.

The sad fact of life worldwide is that low power radios do not travel very far, so the reason our Governments don’t waste money banning them is because they don’t really cause any grief when people use them illegally. So no responsible website can tell you to disregard the law, but thousands of people use this radios in ignorance. You asked, and now know the story. Lots more just buy them and use them. We can’t condone their use, but you now know the only routes properly available to you.

Amateur license and ham license are the same thing. “Ham” is just a slang nickname for an amateur radio operator.

Acquiring the entry-level Technician amateur radio license requires taking and passing a 35 question examination. Depending on who you take the exam with it could cost anywhere from nothing to $15 (the highest allowed by FCC regulation.) This is something you and your father could do together. There are study materials all over the internet, but I suggest starting with “Ham Radio For Dummies” a good basic explanation of amateur radio.

Don’t rely on any of the cheap/free booklets explaining ham radio that are available on Amazon. All are poorly written and filled with either wrong or outdated information.

The book Ham Radio For Dummiesis available from our site. We also carry other books about two way radios, such as the the popular Gordon West technician class manual as well as the official ARRL ham radio license manual.

My son and I used the ARRL book to study for our technician license together a number of years ago. We took the test together. It was a good father and son moment when we both passed. :slight_smile:

Those last 5 words are the key. And, IMHO, the false advertising on most of the FRS radio packages, “…up to 32 miles…” is just that, FALSE ADVERTISING. The manufacturers know full well that a 500mw radio will NOT transmit much past 1000 feet (if that).