BaoFeng UV-5R Two-Way Radio - 5 Pack

BaoFeng UV-5R Two-Way Radio - 5 Pack

Do you need a ham license to use these?

In the description.

Disclaimer: No License is required to purchase this radio, nor to Monitor (listen) to the many Amateur (Ham) Radio frequencies. However, an FCC License is required to Transmit (Talk) on Amateur Radio Frequencies in the USA. Please visit to learn more.

You do need a Amateur Operator’s license to transmit without getting hammered with fines and legal woes. You can listen all day long without an issue, but the second you transmit without a registered handle (part of the training to get that operator’s license), it’s downhill from there.

You might ask, how do they know it was me? At least in the city, it’s all about triangulation. Your local tower maintainers can pinpoint (from what I’ve heard) down to a 5-foot area where a transmission occurs. Then the FCC gets involved, your local PD, and in roll the fines.

Harshmage is correct. The plus side is you can program these radios with FRS (no license) and GMRS (license required) frequencies as well. I use these on job sites and they work great.

Technically, using these radios for FRS or GRMS is illegal. They are not “type accepted” for this use.

But, you won’t get a pack of nasty hams trying to triangulate your position if you’re on FRS/GMRS frequencies.

Anyway, if anyone wants to use these for amateur frequencies, just get your Technician license. It’s not that hard and it is a fun hobby.


Do these only work as a ham system, or are there true amateur options for these? I am looking to buy a pack for a community theatre that needs a new comm system option. If these wouldn’t work does anyone have a wireless suggestion for this purpose.

Thank you.

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Good Point. Thank You


Here’s a few Wooters from the last time Woot sold these.

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I wouldn’t recommend buying these for your theater operation. Even though you might be able to configure them to use them on non-amateur radio unlicensed frequencies, as mentioned earlier, this isn’t legal because the radios do not meet the specifications for those. But let’s throw that argument aside for a second.

These UV-5R radios are made to be front-panel programmable. The programming method isn’t straightforward and the UI is pretty bad - which is why frankly I wouldn’t even recommend these to Hams. If one of your crew accidentally move off channel or change a setting, then it may be difficult for them to get back to the right channel and they’ll lose comms for the rest of the event. Another thing I don’t like about these is the volume knob - it’s easy to bump and it’ll be way too loud, or it’s turned down to where you can’t hear it without realizing it.

For your production, you can look into MURS if you want some higher quality radios, but to start with, you can probably get by with FRS/GMRS radios. The simple channel structure and up-down arrows to select a channel make it pretty easy to get the right one set, and for each person to remember where they need to be if it gets changed accidentally. The antennas are built in on FRS radios, so you have one less part to lose. And the way the radios/channels/FCC rules are tied together make it virtually impossible to do anything against regulations with a proper off-the-shelf unit.

I would recommend a pack like these Retevis R22 on Amazon. Not sure if links will come through, but here’s a link: I’ve never used this particular brand or radio, but one of the things I like about this is it’s a 6-pack so it’s a good starter set with everything you need to get up and running. The gang charger makes it easier to manage - all your radios go back to the same spot at the end of each night, so you’ll quickly see if one goes missing. (Pro-tip - number them and know who you check them out to for accountability.) And since it’s a gang charger instead of 6 individual wall-warts, less of a chance of losing one (or more) and then having to juggle charging them… ultimately leaving you in a situation where you forget to change it and one radio isn’t fully charged and does dead in the middle of a shift.

As you might guess, I work with a comm team for a volunteer event and have to deal with these kinds of issues a bit. :slight_smile: Good luck to you!

Not if you stay on a constant move, blend in with the crowd, change disgiuses frequently. You have 5 If you are in danger and you must, toss one left broadcasting in a marks’ car or backpack/purse so they’ll drag him/her off to the FCC gulag instead of you and you can escape to thumb your nose at the government jackboots another day.
You CAN defeat those government FCC agents and their obsequious flunkies and live to tell about it.


I can’t stop reading this!!! :beers:

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Funny how every time these go on sale the same questions are asked along with the same answers :w_happy2: