We have a lot of recent posts where I get the feeling people are very confused by the different worldwide categories of radio. Beginners saying they want to buy a radio for ‘ham’ or FRS or whatever. They may have realised that some radios are restricted and others not, but they seem to be unaware what is involved in each system. Governments all over the world deregulate very short range low power radios to let small user groups communicate. Like shoe shops, families at a theme park, or skiing, clubs and societies etc. These system don’t need licences, or others need simple online licensing, and then enthusiasts grab them and try to generate much larger groups and increase distances. All legal. Then they want more so drift into illegal territory but governments don’t worry too much, nobody is inconvenienced. We have things like CB, but for technical reasons, its popularity is limited to certain uses. We have ham radio. A long term hobby system. Short and long range potential. Home built and commercial products are fine, and there is a world wide community and fairly common licensing and exams.
I get the feeling many people just Google GMRS, FRS, PMR446, Ham radio and just order via Amazon. Lots don’t even realise Ham is just short for amateur. It’s not a type of radio? “I want to buy a Ham”, make me cringe because it’s suggests the purchaser is buying a radio type, thinking the radios are special or magic, because their googling was amateur! Licenses, rules, training, growth, community don’t even crop up. I’m a ham, have been for over 40 years but I am not active at all. My interests have changed. I do occasionally listen and while faces are different, their community is the same. It seems to me that people just don’t understand how the systems work. Lots of people like radio but don’t want to do the licence and exams. That’s fine, so they find a home with extending range on short term simple systems.
Others use SHTF as an excuse to buy gear to play with now, not when Arnold S or max comes along. We have a little local PMR446 group I occasionally listen to and they get quite cross when two cars travelling through the area are chatting with a different tone, and wipe out the local chit chat on their Baofengs running higher power. They get very angry, but forget the system is meant for those folk travelling through, not people talking to friends over greater distances with the wrong radios. The only thing PMR 446 is the frequency!