Inexpensive Chinese radios have flooded the market and we are seeing more and more volunteers using them. But here is the rub, most sellers don’t understand what they are selling and don’t warn the customer. So here are a few tips to help guide your volunteers and to develop your communications plan.
Key issue: Radio FCC type acceptance
GMRS radio type acceptance
Why does type acceptance matter for Business band, FRS and GMRS
Common Inexpensive radio models
- UV5R (and variants)
- BF-F8,GT-3 (and variants)
- GT-1 (and variants)
- ATR-22 (Amcrest)
Re-branded by : Retevis, Pofung, Baofeng …
- Dual receive (…kind of)
- Dual band (a vast majority use 2m and 70cm)
- GT and newer variants have up to 8 watts, otherwise 4 watts or lower.
- Dirt cheap (less than 50$us)
- Dirt cheap accessories
- Buy in bulk (package deals with accessories for ~35$ per unit)
- High out-of-the-box failure rate
- Flimsy connectors on earlier models
- accessories are usually by not always cross-compatible
- Squelch and filter interference issues on earlier models
- No memory storage from key pad (programming cable only)
- Limited VFO operation on some models.
- Not all models are FCC type accepted so they are only usable for ham radio.
- Baofeng FAQ – http://www.miklor.com/uv5r/UV5R-FAQ.php
- Baofeng model comparison chart https://baofengtech.com/pdf/CompareChart.pdf
- Amcrest radio manual – https://support.amcrest.com/hc/en-us/article_attachments/205692928/ATR-22_User_Manual.pdf
- CHIRP Open source programming software hardware support list – http://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/wiki/Supported_Radios
- Radio reference wiki – http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Baofeng_UV-5R