Buy it now - BaoFeng

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Interested in ham radio? There is a brand being imported from China that is a really decent rig for a very low price. I am speaking of BaoFeng - specifically their older UV-5R ($25) or the new version, the BF-F8HP ($63). The newer unit has more power (eight watts instead of five) and more features. You will also need to spring for the bigger antenna ($17) and maybe a larger battery ($17). You will also need to pick up a programming cable ($21) but if you are in any kind of ham radio group, probably someone out there already has one you can borrow. Hams are good like that. Free programming software here: CHIRP

The upshot is that for about $100, you can get a much superior system to one that would have cost $500 ten years ago. The rapid march of technology is not just about computers and televisions...

The reason for urging you to buy now? From the Federal Communications Comission:

TWO-WAY VHF/UHF RADIOS MAY NOT BE IMPORTED, ADVERTISED, OR SOLD IN THE UNITED STATES UNLESS THEY COMPLY WITH THE COMMISSION’S RULES
The Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has observed that a growing number of conventional retailers and websites advertise and sell low-cost, two-way VHF/UHF radios that do not comply with the FCC’s rules. Such devices are used primarily for short-distance, two-way voice communications and are frequently imported into the United States. These radios must be authorized by the FCC prior to being imported, advertised, sold, or operated in the United States.

Many of these radios violate one or more FCC technical requirements. For example, some can be modified to transmit on public safety and other land mobile channels for which they are not authorized, while others are capable of prohibited wideband operations. Such radios are illegal, and many have the potential to negatively affect public safety, aviation, and other operations by Federal, state, and local agencies, as well as private users. Because these devices must be, but have not been, authorized by the FCC, the devices may not be imported into the United States, retailers may not advertise or sell them, and no one may use them. Rather, these devices may only be imported, advertised, sold, or used only if the FCC first has approved them under its equipment authorization process (or unless the devices operate exclusively on frequencies reserved for amateur licensees or they are intended for use exclusively by the federal government). Moreover, with only very limited exceptions, after being authorized, the devices may not be modified. Anyone importing, advertising or selling such noncompliant devices should stop.

Yeah - they can operate outside the legal ham radio frequencies. The nice thing for emergency communications is that we can monitor the police and fire and rescue bands. In the event of a full-on emergency situation, that is a very good thing to do and we, as licensed radio operators, have taken the training for FEMA's ICS protocols. The problem that the FCC is seeing are clueless yahoos buying these rigs and using them for family communication without bothering to learn what is right and what is not. They are disrupting public service communications - not a good thing.

Anyway, if you are interested, a great resource for getting licensed can be found at QRZ

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on September 25, 2018 8:34 PM.

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