Where is the best place to find frequencies to program into this radio? I don’t have a license yet. I’m thinking about getting one but I would like to just listen for now. I’ve got the programming cable. I would like to be able to listen to a wide variety of things. Any suggestions? Thank you!
First off, get CHIRP. It’s software that lets you program these readios as long as you have the programming cable.
As far as freq’s go, this is one of the best stops to find them for your area
As far as licenses go. Get one. At least you can use the GMRS radio freq’s w/o worrying about some tinted windows SUV pulling up because some tattle tell ham operator ratted you out for illegal use. But they normally don’t bother you as long as you stay off the repeater sites. And these radios don’t always comply with FCC rules. They are known to bleed onto adjacent channels, causes harmonic distortion on nearby radios and the hardware itself might not be “sanctioned” by the boys in DC (and those vans w/all the antennas. The LIC now last for 10 years. Still around 70 bucks or so (renewed mine a few months ago. These radios are nice for scanning, or just listening. Most have FM radio (listening) ability. Now, you do not need a license to use them on VHF FM, or MURS. VHF-FM is nice to know if you have a PWC (jetski) and you want to take one of these with you just in case. I’ve replaced most of my antennas so I’m getting around 2-4 mile solid, and can go farther if the terrain is right. I’m heard some people even use these to set up a local FM personal radio station to disseminate emergency information in their area. One thing to remember, don’t go all noob on a weekend and start calling out for radio checks on bands you are not suppose to be on. Make sure you xmit power is correct for that band and watch a few video’s on youtube on how they work and how to use it (any radio really). Remember, if you drink and drive and get busted, there’s a price to pay. Using one of these, get reported, FCC shows up, you are going to pay. And note that to use it’s 220mhz band, you have to swap out the included antenna. But you still want a decent antenna (I use an 18inch blade antennas because they fold and have really great range)
As far as being FCC approved, appears it is: UV-5RX3 FCC Certification - FCC Rules and Regulations Part 15B
Disclamer: I’m not a HAM op or belong to any ARRL club. I do have 20+ years in military communications (MF to SHF
Since you clearly know your stuff, and I know absolutely nothing… Can this be programmed to function as a police/fire scanner. I’ve been looking into getting one, and it sounds like this would do it, at half to a third the price of purpose built ones.
This radio is designed to operate in several ranges in the VHF band. The police/fire typically use the HF band which is lower. I’m not familiar with the actual programming of this particular radio (if it allows you to program any given frequency as a software-defined radio) but even if you could, it’s physical aspect won’t be efficient at picking up that range.
The only Police/Fire/rescue bands would be the VHF-FM bands. Police and even fire use trunking systems which these radios do not do. So, you are stuck in the lowerbands that are open, not digital. If you live near a federal lake/waterway, etc, you will be able to listen to the Marine side of the Sheriff, Fire boats, Coast Guard, and marine traffic in general. Even in my area, I listen (using a scanner but have the freq’s programmed in my radio) to the Coast Guard Airstation and great lakes vessel traffic passing by. Though they (CG Aircraft) normally operate on UHF when deployed on a ship, they are too far off shore to pick them up. But if you look at the link below, you can find various freq they operate on, including some UHF layers, but remember, UHF is line of sight, like VHF so don’t expect to pick them up (land unit) if you more t hen 3 or 4 miles away. Aircraft are a little different since they are way up higher then your typical antenna. I do listen to the CG communications station in VA when they are talking long haul comms with a C130 on HF (again, these radios don’t do that).
P.S… It learned my “stuff” about these radios because I use them in my “go bags”. And did lots of youtube/reading on how they operate. I’m sure that 20 years I mentioned helped out. Having been a CG Radioman does have it’s perks sometimes If you REALLY want to listen to HF comms all over the world, look into SDR (software defined radio). I have a Satilite 750 (now known as a Eton Elite) and it really kicks butt. I paid below $300 for mine when I got it. But IMO, it was and is well worth it.
If you want to go the cheap way, you can also go here, http://www.websdr.org , and play around with listening to some SDR servers. I find using Region North America and KFS (west coast California) and K3FEF, it’s pretty neat. Just a little learning curve but stay with the defaults.
Now, on topic. Is this radio worth it? It’s under 40 bucks so yeah. It’s a version that appears to be blessed by the FCC. If I needed one, I’d jump on it in a second but I have 3 different models of this brand and IMO, they are pretty solid. Just don’t use them to xmit unless it’s a matter of life/death (the ones that are not blessed by the FCC that is). And just note, these only store 120 freq’s so they do fill up pretty fast and as far as scanning goes, it’s not that fast. Again, CHIRP is your friend. Never used the software that comes with this model but CHIRP is the standard. I would suggest you get your license regardless. Good luck.
Could this radio be used as a scanner at auto races? Most teams use a frequency from 450.000 to 470.000. This is a great deal if I could use it just to listen.