SailNet Community banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Captain Faris
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I got a good deal on two Baofeng UV-5R VHS radios, but haven't wrestled with saving channels using the USB cable yet. The software available to download seems sketchy and I hesitate.

However, I have the channel frequencies for marine 16 156.800 and 69 156.575 (plus all the others, of course) which I have set for the A and B frequencies giving me a virtual two channel VHF radio.

Is that a reasonable way to get minimal marine VHF? I know I'd need to manually change one of those to Channel 13 in major harbors, for example, but it seems tolerable. I can also tell friends to buy their own and do the same easily. The programming complexity seems great for "later", but as a quick start to adding VHF to small boats this seems okay. Right?

And, I probably should make sure I switch to FRS or MURS frequencies when not on the water.

Anything critical that I'm missing? I know to stay within the power limitations of the FRS and MURS regulations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
I think it's a cool unit with lots of capability, surely worth the price. But I am not so sure I'd want it onboard as my VHF.

I may be missing the point, but is there a benefit to using it instead of, say, this: https://www.amazon.com/Cobra-Electronics-Corporation-MRHH125-Handheld/dp/B00126K8BM/ref=sr_1_10?crid=2XQ60VJH01XTY&keywords=vhf+radio+marine&qid=1572374059&sprefix=vhf,aps,322&sr=8-10

which is inexpensive, waterproof, FCC compliant and "already configured" for marine frequencies and weather frequencies.
 

·
Captain Faris
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Other than less than half the cost, the Boafeng has higher power and can operate on non-marine frequencies. My main purpose was to keep them in a Go-Bag for emergencies. After programming there would be improved marine use, of course. The fiddle-factor of keeping the radio on appropriate channels is a significant negative. But I'm speculating that telling people NOT to do anything except use it on specific frequencies makes it "simple enough". I believe I'm going to use the keypad locking feature A LOT!
 

·
Captain Faris
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Update: I overcame my fear of foreign programming software and now I'm happy. I programmed all the marine channels into the Boafeng. It wasn't very difficult and no viruses came along with it. I have all the marine channels which we would be permitted to use, plus several MURS channels and a FRS channel or two for use on land.

So I answered my own question; I now have marine radios for all the channels that I could wish. It doesn't float, but for $30 each it's a great tool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
200 Posts
This is not such a great idea IMHO
Do a little research on FCC fines, per occurrence by the way when explained at an ARRL event I went to means every time you tap the transmit button, this from a person in the FCC at the ARRL event.

The UV-5R is certified as a HAM not a Marine VHF and should be used as such, if you choose to use it for other than it's intended use on frequencies you are not licensed for well you are risking fines.

FRS radios are limited to 500 milliwatts and cannot have a detachable antenna per FCC certification rules, the UV-5R exceeds this power on it's minimum setting and has a removable antenna so it is not an FRS radio. FCC has been enforcing FRS radio violations and changed the rules also regarding these as many where interfering in the band.

In addition to fines there are penalties, i.e. jail time could be also applied as well as confiscation of all equipment associated with the improper transmission. By all they mean all, the radio the power pack any antennas coax, USB cables and computers.

No sorry not a good idea IMHO as the FCC has increased compliance enforcement since 2017 and the new rules.

Pay 30 dollars for an uncertified radio I use outside it's intended and certified use or spend 60 for a legal one.

As a HAM I own 2 UV-5R's they are great radios, but they are not to be used for FRS GMRS or even Marine band, and I value my other radios and and my money to much to use this radio outside of it's intended use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
200 Posts
He said he intended to put it in a ditch bag for emergencies. Used as such, there is no FCC issue, and it is legal.

Mark
He also stated he would use it for FRS when not onboard, the UV-5R has two power setting 1 watt and 5 watts, FRS is limited to 500 milliwatts, and a non removeable antenna, which looking at my UV-5R yep antenna is removable, so it is not usable as a FRS by the FCC.

In an Emergency one can use any radio regardless.
 

·
Captain Faris
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for that caution: I was reading the FCC regulations summaries, but thought I'd contact them to confirm other limitations. The transmission wattage limitation was clear, but not whether or not the radio was "capable" of higher watts or other frequencies. I now see that I should go ahead and get a GMRS license. But even then I'll probably need to lock the frequencies in and block all others. And stick to 2 Watt or higher channels, as someone noted.

I can see this is fine for emergency use only; but buying pre-certified devices obviously simplifies things.

On the plus side, getting a flexible programmable HAM radio has prompted me to learn more about frequencies and radio license categories and broadcast settings. In fact, I'm suddenly interested in getting licensed as a HAM operator...

There are cheap marine radios as well, of course. But I wanted to "learn" by having a more flexible device that triggered a learning curve. I didn't anticipate that it might curve downward...

Thanks, everyone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
200 Posts
Glad to hear you are rethinking, and thinking of becoming a HAM easy to do and you have a radio now you can use.

Also the FCC put out a enforcement warning that seemed to affect the UV-5R and all cheap Chinese Radio's this new rule was confusing and not well written so much so that the ARRL has gone to the FCC for clarification.

Learning new things is ok, learning that you aught not to do something before you do it is also ok, just sometimes it ruins the planned fun.
 

·
Captain Faris
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Learning is fun--and I'm only learning about VHF and how to teach offshore sailing and disaster preparedness as a way to teach young people life skills. So taking the time IN ADVANCE is my mantra. As you say, figuring out equipment at the last moment is guaranteed to RUIN one's plans for fun.

Today I'm GMRS licensed--which ironically doesn't require any skills--so I can now use channels 15-23 up to 50 Watts. And I found a local mentor with the VHF club who has written a textbook and teaches HAM certification classes. Since I'm also starting to work with COAD 'Community Organizations Active in Disaster' I'll avoid looking like a schmuck.

My 'new' strategy is to have a powerfully flexible set of radios for myself and restricted pre-certified equipment for the others who are sailing or hiking with me. And promising young people will be ushered through appropriate licensing seminars. We include marine radio training, obviously, in coastal cruising courses. But I think everyone ought to know about basic VHF uses.

I'm delightedly surprised that my feeble attempt to push the envelope by getting a programmable radio has led me to see the light. This is better than sitting in my rocking chair and fumbling with the remote!

Thanks again for the wise advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
Not to hi-jack a thread, but it sounds like someone here knows a heck of a lot more than I do. I have a Baofeng BF F8HP that I use for my marine radio. I got this based on recommendations from other sailors. Am I violating any laws with this? I just programmed in my marine channels, and it seems to work just fine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,958 Posts
Not to hi-jack a thread, but it sounds like someone here knows a heck of a lot more than I do. I have a Baofeng BF F8HP that I use for my marine radio. I got this based on recommendations from other sailors. Am I violating any laws with this? I just programmed in my marine channels, and it seems to work just fine.
Yes you are! It all 'seems to work fine' but if you are caught you will be in big trouble. I have several Baofengs and use them for ham purposes (for which I am licensed). I _may_ stray occasionally into FRS terrain but I would not think of transmitting on safety-relevant frequencies like marine VHF.

You can listen as much as you want, but do not transmit!
 

·
Captain Faris
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
That's not hijacking the thread, that WAS the thread.

And the FCC guy I talked to on the phone yesterday regarding registration and licensing said that he was a HAM and had a Baofeng but didn't use it on marine channels because the regulations refer to 'certified' devices. That means special purpose radios sold for marine use. Yet he also said that being "programmed properly" would probably make such use legal, yet his software didn't offer enough controls to accomplish this. But he also said that he hadn't researched this possibility thoroughly.

The 'other' problem Baofeng owners face is the wattage limitation (.5W) for FRS and GMRS channels without an FCC license. This is easily fixed by just going online and registering, as I did yesterday. Now I can legally use 2, 5 or 50 watt devices. I programmed my Baofeng for those channels I know I can now use with my FCC license, so my need for a walkie talkie for use anywhere is now satisfied.

But the question of legality for using a programmed Baofeng on marine and FRS channels is not yet clear. I'm investigating two aspects: 1. Can a program sufficiently lock a device down so that it is considered 'certified'? (The regs changed in 2017 and this might have been addressed in the fine print.) 2. Can a HAM license allow an operator to use FRS and GMRS channels on his HAM radio?

I'll bring this up with my "mentor", who has decades of experience working with a manufacturer of com equipment and VHF radios. Stay tuned...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
Thanks guys! Looks like I'll put the Boafeng on the shelf for now, and ask Santa for a proper marine VHF.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top