Hard to program… Hard to use… And likely soon banned by the FCC. They are kinda in limbo right now. They are currently legal to buy, sell, and use. But probably not for much longer.
So, what you saying is that we should buy? And buy A LOT of them?
Ok, realisticslly how would the FCC stop you from using this (or any other) radio? Sure you could use a spectrum analyzer if this thing has horrible RF output but then you still have to find the user.
I thought BaoFeng was pretty reputable for cheap HAM radios.
They are excellent as a cheap scanner. OK to program still a bit difficult, using “CHIRP” computer program. If you have police, fire, hospital, EMS, racing, gov’t agencies, GMRS, etc stuff in the FM clear that you want to listen to, you can usually do it. I can’t imagine they will ever be illegal for hams. But N.B., you transmit somewhere you are not supposed to, especially anywhere in the public service bands interferring with safety, there is the possibility of giant $10,000 fines and jail. One interesting ham story, I listened to a friend use his to talk directly (no repeater) over 60 miles sort of line of sight from far NW VA to a midway point on Skyline drive!
CHIRP isn’t that complicated. yeah, its not ‘iOS user’ easy, but its not drastically complicated if you review the online help and a few YouTube videos. I had my first radio programmed with NOAA, local Emergency services, GMRS channels (and yes, I have a license - $5 is $5), and a few others.
Lookup RTLSDR scanning - same idea, just the FCC uses better equipment, and between the use of mounting them on cell towers, power lines, drones, and old school grey vans, they do take it seriously. Just don’t do it. Respect the rules of the radio.
These do come in handy for a lot of things, especially when cell phone connect times are slow or you have no signal, an area loses power, or just to have an alternative without the monthly service contracts.
Some ideas to listen to are:
NOAA Weather Radio
Local non-trunked emergency services (police, fire, medic)
Local Nascar Driver Radio (Blue Ridge Weekly Series - some drivers use frequencies these can pick up)
Municipal AIrport Radio
They are only ‘legal’ to use on FRS frequencies. Anything else, you need a license.
Paramedic here. Our department utilizes VHF for our own talk-around, non-repeated. The area departments utilize a variety of towers and frequencies. I like having my own portable radio, and I have used this radio for a couple of years at this point. I never listen from home (as I live very far from work, intentionally of course because who wants to run into a junkie that you just woke up two nights ago when you are at the grocery store and they are there with their children and a youth group… oh wait, sidetracked). But seriously, they are decent radios. They have gotten me out of a pickle in the past. Are they as durable as the Motorola or Kenwoods at work? No. Do they belong to me, so I can be assured that I have it on my person because it’s so tiny that it fits into my pocket of my jacket so when I need it, it’s there? Yup. So yeah, might be a small group that could benefit from it, but I like these radios a lot. And running CHIRP isn’t hard, just have to take some time to learn it a little.
No, they are not FCC Type Accepted for FRS/GMRS frequencies. This model Baofeng has a very poor antenna. Replacing the antenna on the UV-5r will improve it significantly.
I’m an amazon prime member. Why is shipping extra?
Be sure to sign in using your Amazon Prime account. If you sign in through woot, even if you have a Prime account associated with it, the Prime shipping will not apply.
I’m not an employee of woot!. I’m only speaking from my own experience.
Using these with a HAM radio license is legal. Info on licensing is here http://www.arrl.org/ham-radio-licenses.
Are these UV5R V2+ or the earlier model?
So these can operate on Ham radio bands, which requires a license.
Also you can use the FOSS program CHIRP to program these.
And compared to Amazon this is a “Buy 4, get 1 free, plus a programming cable” pack.
Wow, lots of misleading info about these radios. First off, I have 2 different models of BaoFeng radios. All of them will transmit up to 8watts of power. FRS/GMRS/MURS have power restrictions so look them up before go blasting in 5watt mode (or 8 watts if you get a different model).
YES… Get your damn lic. It’s not that much and it’s for you and your family to use your little handheld in a RV camp, backwoods or where ever you choose. I have about 6 of these radios (again, not this model) and keep them in my GO bags and emergency bags. I also have the Midland XT551 base-station, the MXT400 and 115 both in the HardenPower ammo can boxes (operator and scout). Various antennas, etc… When it comes to getting some extra range, these radios do the trick. They are great for scanning but they are not that fast. I used the CHIRP program to set mine up to just use the MURS/GMRS and FRS, some local repeaters, weax and fm radio monitoring and both xmit/rcv for the VHF/Marineband (FYI… you do not need a lic to operate on the VHF-FM Marine bad channels as long as you don’t do it inland. So, you PWC types, wanna a nice waterproof radio to call for help if you get into a pinch, these are nice as long as you know there’s a Coast Guard station near by. I’m working on getting my ham license but still, I’m not certain these radios meet the FCC part requirements (97 or 95) as they have been known for too wide a frequency spread that interfears with adjacent freq’s. New radios, and maybe these, don’t have that problem anymore, but I’m sure my older radios, from 5 years ago, do. That’s why I wouldn’t use them unless it’s an emergency. FCC stands down during time of emergency and won’t be showing up in that white band smelling like coffee and cigs if you are using them. You can even get a license and spend about 60 bucks for a little device that will let you turn these into a FM radio station that would have about a 3-5mile range. Lots of neat uses for these. As for the price, meh. You can get these for 20 bucks on ebay (new) free shipping. Just sayin, if you don’t need so many, just search on the model and pick your poison. My personal favorite is the GT-3TP Mark III 1/4/8watt model. 40 bucks but that extra wattage can come in handy.
I included a couple of links that might come in handy for anyone trying to decide if you want to pull the trigger on a load of radios, or just get a couple. If ALL you want to do is listen, have at it, if you want transmit, get your license.
Did the FCC make this radio illegal?: https://www.kb6nu.com/did-the-fcc-just-make-baofengs-illegal-short-answer-no/
And one more link. If you are thinking of getting into HAM or just want to listen to whats going on on the HF/Ham bands, Try SDR… Software Defined Radio. You can buy cheap dongles but found it a little bit of a learning curve just to “listen” so in a pinch, I go to http://websdr.org Pick a station and listen to the bands off a SDR server. Now, what I mean to say about the learning curve, you have to load various software(s) to get the radio to work right. Virtual cables, antennas, etc. I have been able to pull in weather faxes off weather satellites (not all SDR’s will go that high in frequency by the way). My favorite (that I own is the SDRPlay2, HackRF is next but pretty pricey IMO. Sorry… off topic but if it helps you decide where you want to go in the radio world, good luck.
These BaoFeng radios are regularly available on mom Amazon for about $25 earch in single quantities.
I have come close to buying a couple several times but have held up due to…
- There are so many versions and differing opionions about which version is best.
- BaoFeng claims they’ll only warranty their radios sold directly by them. (Not sure if Woot is a “retailer” for them but don’t recognize that warranty provider.)
- It seems to be universally recommended to get the PC-pack (on Amazon) to make these easier to program.
- Using these to monitor radio traffic seems to be perfectly legal… and as long as you don’t transmit, nobody is going to find you anyway.
- Getting the license apparently is not that difficult.
- Adding a larger antenna seems to be recommended as well.
I’ll likely connect up with a local Ham club to get more advice…
Thanks for this informative comment, @tc1uscg.
The UV-5R does not transmit at 8 watts. 5 watts max.
Woot wins the slowest shipping contest. Still no real tracking info on the tracking number i received.
Hi there. It’s out for delivery today.