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I don't yet have any radio equipment but I find this hobby interesting and would like to learn more. I'm looking for something that isn't too basic and will keep my interest without spending too much. I saw the Baofeng uv-5r which looked cool. What sort of license would I need to get in order to use that radio? I'm just looking at occasional use for now. Would it be possible for me to use that radio to talk to my friend's walkie talkie or is that not possible with these radios? I'd definitely look at other equipment if it has that feature but I could live without it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Most walkie talkies are Family Radio Service (FRS) UHF radios. FRS radios have to have their exact model accepted by the FCC for use and are have a number of requirements intended to make them easy to use and to help make spectrum sharing easier, such as not having removable antennas, transmit power traditionally limited to 0.5W (now 2W with recent legislation!). But some radios that you identify as a walkie talkie could be business band, MURS, public safety, or a European/Asian standard. It's hard to answer your question without knowing more about your friend's walkie talkie. $\endgroup$ – William - Rem Sep 7 '17 at 4:35
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The Technician license is the usual starting license for this hobby (Amateur "Ham" Radio) in the US. You would use the radio on the VHF/UHF US licensed amateur bands to talk with other licensed ham radio operators. You cannot talk to an unlicensed friend if it is on a license sanctioned band (unless that friend is using equipment owned and station operated by another licensed ham operator).

I recommend looking into taking the Technician license and talking your friends into taking the license so that you would all be legal on the amateur radio bands.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the answer. I'll have to study for the test. So does there exist a radio that can use VHF/UHF and switch to a "walkie-talkie"(not familiar with terminology) mode? $\endgroup$ – Ghilliedrone Sep 7 '17 at 3:52
  • $\begingroup$ After you start communicating with other hams on VHF/UHF bands and getting into the hobby, I am thinking that a non-licensed "walkie-talkie" type radio would be a bore. Talking to other hams via a satellite as a repeater is a fun thing to experiment with and you can't do that with a walkie-talkie. Talk your friends into getting their licenses too. However, I am not familiar with any radios that do both. Just an area that has no interest for me so I have never investigated it. $\endgroup$ – K7PEH Sep 7 '17 at 4:48
  • $\begingroup$ Also, for studying for the tests, consider the qrz.com web site. Go there, click on the Resources menu tab at the top and find practice license tests and other information to help you learn the required technology and FCC rules for passing any of the license tests. $\endgroup$ – K7PEH Sep 7 '17 at 4:52
  • $\begingroup$ I have one of those Baofeng radios and I'm very happy with it. If you buy one, spend an extra 15 bucks for a better antenna (e.g. Nagoya NA-771). You'll get much better range. These radios can receive on the FRS bands, but I don't think they can transmit on them. Others have mentioned that these are more fun than the generic walkie-talkies. They are, imho, because you can access repeaters through them and get hundreds of miles range through your little 35 dollar handheld. A generic walkie-talkie can't hold a candle to this. Have at it! - AD0YX $\endgroup$ – Rodney Price Sep 8 '17 at 3:06

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