I have a Baofeng and all the people that I have asked said that I can use 144mhz and below without a license but what I see on the internet is that I can’t use the Baofeng without a license at all can I?


2 Answers 2


In general, in the USA, transmitting without a license is only permissible under Part 15. Generally, this imposes limitations in the form of either radiated power restrictions (for instance, building an experimental transmitter to operate in the AM broadcast band, so you can use a common consumer radio to check operation) or in the type/model of device used.

Since a Bao-Feng hand held transceiver can't be dialed down to Part 15 power levels, in order to transmit with one without a license requirement, the device would have to be "licensed by type." CB radios are one common "license by type" device, along with Family Band (FMRS) transceivers (which have largely replaced CB frequency toy walkie-talkies), FM microphones for PA use, wireless networking devices, etc.

Bao-Feng transceivers as currently sold are disabled from transmitting outside the Amateur bands -- for instance, my BF-F8HP has the weather bands and emergency bands, well within the frequency range of the device, and open to receive, locked out from transmission (though older ones reportedly could illegally transmit on those frequencies). There are no license-by-type provision in the Amateur bands in the United States, so any transmission on those bands requires an Amateur license (with the exception of transmissions of such low power as not to cause interference -- typically this would be power measured in milliwatts, and would be a homebrew transmitter, since no such unit is sold).

So, TL;DR: No, you cannot legally transmit with your Bao-Feng transceiver on any frequency it is capable of emitting, without an Amateur radio license, Technician or better (no lower privilege license is still issued).

  • $\begingroup$ I agree with the above but just want to add that Part 95 "license by rule" includes CB, GMRS, FRS, and the often forgotten MURS. I just bought a pair of radios to play with MURS as this a lower frequency than GMRS and FRS it should penetrate walls and other obstacles better. It's also lesser known and so should be free of chatter from other users. It's in the 150MHz range and so should perform like a 2 meter ham radio. My radio is Part 95 certified, any given Baofeng might not but check anyway as you may be surprised. $\endgroup$
    – MacGuffin
    Dec 7, 2020 at 4:16
  • $\begingroup$ Baofeng hand helds sold for ham use are not certified for any non-ham-band transmission. This is why the importer started blocking transmission outside ham bands. It may be possible to have them importer configured for commercial VHF or UHF operation, but it would still be illegal to use any Baofeng model I know of for MURS, FMRS, GMRS, emergency (which, when not digital, is usually in commercial VHF/UHF bands), etc. Hardware isn't certified for those uses. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Dec 7, 2020 at 12:11

144-148MHz: No, that's a ham radio licensed band.

Below 144MHz: That's A LOT of spectrum. A LOT. Some is ham, some is Airplanes (airband), some is commercial FM, some is military. But in short: No, in no way is this legal to transmit on without a license, and people have been given tens of thousand dollar fines for transmitting where they are not allowed to.

I only add this answer to point out that your question is asking about a huge chunk of spectrum, and it belongs to many different owners.

There are a couple of ISM bands that are license free below 144MHz, but your baofeng is not able to transmit on them, nor is it probably capable of lowering power sufficiently to be ISM-compatible.


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