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After having acquired a Baofeng, 5 days later, I found out that it is illegal. For the people who say my question is a duplicate and downvoted my question: I know about this question being the same as mine, but the answers were mixed. There was one saying it is legal and another one saying 99% are illegal. Also, the question was asked 4 years ago, so its outdated. I read that people were using them to spy on us. So, should I get a refund before its too late? My radio is the UV5R.

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    $\begingroup$ Because the answers at the other question you referenced all say the same thing, "They are legal to use, but only on the amateur bands" (paraphrase), I'm voting to close this as a duplicate. $\endgroup$
    – webmarc
    Commented Apr 23 at 19:03
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    $\begingroup$ FCC rules have not changed with this respect. However, the quality of the baofeng radios has gone up and they have less sideband emissions now. $\endgroup$
    – user10489
    Commented Apr 24 at 11:30
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    $\begingroup$ The only answer on that question that says "99% are illegal" (92.5% is what it actually says) was also updated in 2023 to indicate that's no longer true for recently manufactured Baofengs. If there is new or different information you have a question about, you should add it above... otherwise this really is a duplicate question IMO. $\endgroup$
    – webmarc
    Commented Apr 25 at 11:53
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    $\begingroup$ Sounds like an urban legend. Please explain exactly why people are using them to spy on us. Who are these people and how do they spy? I think you heard utter nonsense. $\endgroup$ Commented May 3 at 18:39
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    $\begingroup$ Why would anyone use an obscure and poorly designed device destined to spend much of its life with a dead battery in a drawer as spying mechanism when a much larger segment of the global population already carry a device where they willingly opt-in to data collection? US hams just aren't some keepers of arcane special information of interest to foreign actors. $\endgroup$
    – clvrmnky
    Commented May 3 at 19:52

3 Answers 3

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While some amateur radio equipment is certified by the FCC, much of it is not, as it is the licensed amateur radio operator's responsibility to insure that it follows the rules when transmitting.

Many of these devices, if certified at all, are only certified under part 15, meaning they do not emit illegal signals (when in receive mode), and can accept signals without malfunctioning.

So it is legal to use these radios in the US presuming they don't emit out of band signals when transmitting, don't exceed power exposure limits, and the operator is licensed. And it is the licensed operator's responsibility to insure all of these conditions.

Additionally, some baofeng radios are type accepted as business band radios and can be used under those conditions, once programmed by someone licensed to program commercial radios for a frequency purchased (licensed) from FCC by a business.

However, it is illegal to sell baofeng radios for use outside of these purposes. FCC has threatened enforcement actions against businesses who misrepresent these radios as legally usable without a license.

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    $\begingroup$ FCC doesn't authorize the amateur radio portion of the radio. Equipment authorization is required for Part 15 aspects: digital circuits, Bluetooth/Wi-Fi, scanning receiver. $\endgroup$
    – user71659
    Commented Apr 23 at 17:10
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Gets a bit sticky, Amateur Radio stations can build their own equipment without having to have the FCC approve their equipment. But commercial (store bought) rf equipment are supposed to be authorized https://www.fcc.gov/engineering-technology/laboratory-division/general/equipment-authorization. I do not believe many of the transceivers made like the Baofeng are authorized by the FCC. This means Baofeng are not legal, but as long as you use a Baofeng within the technical standard of the Amateur Radio service, it's not a big deal.

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  • $\begingroup$ I recently bought some FRS radios and checked carefully. They were FCC approved. It seems at least some versions off the UV5R ate also approved, see here: fccid.io/2AJGM-UV5R $\endgroup$
    – tomnexus
    Commented Apr 23 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ For what it's worth, I have a BaoFeng dual-band 8W hand-held, and as far as I can determine, it is FCC certified for Amateur use only. I cannot program frequencies outside the amateur 2m and 440 MHz bands, including FMRS and commercial bands, using CHIRP -- those frequencies are blocked from software selection. From my understanding, older models that didn't have that software block were not certified (because of that) and no BaoFeng amateur hand held is certified for business or emergency bands or FMRS. $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Apr 23 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ Commercially-produced amateur equipment is authorized due to Part 15 aspects of the device: unintentional radiator due to digital circuits, Bluetooth/Wi-Fi, scanning receiver. The process doesn't look at the amateur aspects. $\endgroup$
    – user71659
    Commented Apr 23 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ @tomnexus note that in the "rule parts" column, part 97 is NOT listed. This radio is not type accepted for amateur radio -- and doesn't need to be. $\endgroup$
    – user10489
    Commented Apr 24 at 11:27
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I wouldn’t worry too much about it if I were you. You are a member of the majority of hams. Amateur radio operators own more Baofeng radios than all other manufacturers combined. Very few, if any, have concerns about spectral purity or the laws. All that matters is that the price is right—dirt cheap.

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  • $\begingroup$ I see many hams do not like the truth. $\endgroup$
    – Dereck
    Commented 10 hours ago

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