They're like $35 on amazon. You can use all the gmrs and frs channels, and the baofeng with have twice the range of those cheap Walmart radios.
That said, the radio is technically not legal to use on those channels (puts out too much power for frs, and isn't approved for gmrs). 6oud never get caught, ever, unless you were using them at one location every day telling your location (like a business using them for a warehouse).
For simple cheap radios, get a set of "bubble pack' radios. Any brand will work. Get a GMRS radio set, and use them. You'll need a GMRS license to use them legally, but again, you'd never be caught. The GMRS license law isn't really enforced. There's talk to try and approve GMRS for use without a license.
>>680012 If you're talking on a ham frequency without a callsign or with a fake callsign, sure, there's a chance you'll get reported. They're defending their spectrum just the same as a licensed business-band user would report someone on their spectrum.
FRS and GMRS aren't ham frequencies and you don't need a callsign. The only way someone would know you're not using a type-certified radio is from noticing that you're using more power than you should be on FRS frequencies, or, I suppose, actually spotting you using a Baofeng. Nobody's really going to give a shit if you're not shitting all over the spectrum with an out-of-spec radio or broadcasting with 200 watts or whatever. If you're just talking with a radio that otherwise in-spec, no one is going to care, or even know.
I take my dogs on long walks at night because I work during the day, someone back home has the other one and we chat pretty much the whole way, on high power. Nobody's bothered us yet.
We only transmit on the frequency that's the equivalent to "Ch9" on camper walkies, but the dual channel feature lets us listen to the police, EMTs, NOAA, and others while we still transmit over the "Ch9" frequency.
We use code names for us and the dogs and have our route marked and divided into sections - just in case someone's listening - so we've got code names for our locations, too.
This is a 3 part series of videos that shows you everything you need to know about programming your radio with a free program called "CHIRP" You will need the programming cable to do this, but it is cheap, and VERY worth it.
>>681383 >You don't listen to police, for the very reason that you mentioned. (unless you live extremely rural where they haven't switcher over yet). Here in Chicago you can still pick up the police on them.
The baofeng UV5R V2+ has IIRC about 130 slots you can "program".
Using CHIRP and a programming cable, you can quickly and easily put 130 various channels on your radio with labels and such so you can navigate the channels more effectively.
You CAN program the radio without CHIRP or a cable, but it's more confusing, and much more time consuming. The awesome thing about using CHIRP to is how quickly you can swap out pre sets of channels if you want. 130 is a lot so you probably wouldn't need to, CHIRP just allows for very quick and convenient customization as well as organization.
Also I meant to mention this before: In case you didn't pick up on it early, the stock antenna the baofeng comes with is crap. You'll want a Nagoya-771 antenna for only about 15 bucks it's a huge upgrade. I've heard the stock antenna is basically garbage.
Radio illiterate here, would it be possible, using the Baofang UV-5R for example, to reach NPS/USFS repeaters in emergency situations? Coverage is generally quite good in national parks, less so in national forests, but just curious if you could reach dispatch with one.
I think it really just depends on the distance man. I can pick up local repeaters in my area on it, but it's based on line of sight, and the antenna matters a lot. The latest baofeng only transmits like 3 miles I believe (could be wrong) in perfect conditions. My impression is that you can improve that with expensive antennas, but in dense forest the range will drop drastically unless you get up high.
>>685996 Depends on the system they use. Might be analog, but a lot are moving to (or already have moved to) P25 for interop with other public safety agencies, especially as the analog subscriber units go end-of-life.
Analog has an advantage in more mountainous regions... while the signal may be noisy, it'll generally still be readable. Digital starts to "twist" at the fringe, and when that twisting happens, you get a crystal-clear but untelligible talking-with-a-mouth-full-of-marbles sound.
If they're still on analog, then yes, with the right freq split/code/tone you should be able to get on there. P25 ... unlikely. You can receive it with most scanners, but a transceiver has to register to the network in order to use a talkgroup. (That equipment also costs a lot more than a baofeng, and the programming software is significantly more difficult.)
Fire dept. I worked with still maintains some analog equipment on the main fire dispatch TG for an area that's difficult to get coverage into (mountains/canyons). Otherwise everything else is tier-2 digital.
FS goes for the real nice (and $$$$$... your tax dollars at work) Pepro cabinets for their deployable systems. >Pic related.
As far as >>685999, distance is really subjective. Put good ears on a tower on a mountain, and a little 4W portable subscriber can hit it from 100 miles away. For simplex operation with the rubber-ducky antennas on a baofeng, yeah, about 3mi is all i'd expect to see.
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