Baofeng UV5R for UK Simple Light?

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aitch
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Baofeng UV5R for UK Simple Light?

Post by aitch »

Originally I was considering purchasing a pair of CB handhelds for local communications between 2 points, but after some research concluded that a 5 watt PMR handheld is likely to out-perform a 4 watt CB handheld, apparently because the aerial of a PMR is more efficient at radiating its signal than that of the CB handheld. This determined, I began searching for a suitable PMR handheld. Ideally a dual band unit.

There appears to be a great many different handhelds advertised, the majority of which are UHF only, or VHF only. I have found one dedicated PMR dual-band handheld by manufacturer, Tritan, known as the 'Town and Country', but which has the disadvantage of only having a 2 watt output. I then came across the Baofeng radios, more specifically the UV5R, which is inexpensive and appears to be capable of 4-5 watts on both VHF and UHF. :)

However, the UV5R seems to be classed as a HAM radio, which lead me to wonder whether the Baofeng UV5R is actually legal for use under the terms of the UK Simple Light License.

From reading the specification of the UV5R, it appears to transmit on the VHF and UHF PMR frequencies covered under the terms of the license, but is also capable of transmitting on a lot of other frequencies too, none of which are covered under the terms of the license.

Wanting to be sure on this point, I sent an email to Ofcom, asking if they could please confirm the Baofeng transceiver as acceptable for use under the terms of the Simple Light license. They replied with the following answer
Ofcom cannot approve radio equipment as compliant or give advice. Ofcom is an enforcement authority. We do publish general guidance, like this document, about what responsible persons, like manufacturers and importers, must do to meet their responsibilities under the R&TTE Regulations. But, those persons are responsible for compliance and, if they need advice on that, should seek their own independent advice, preferably from a Notified Body.

Ofcom did suggest a couple of links to documents which I should refer, but even after reading these I still seem to be left with my original question unanswered. {bnghd}

I have read elsewhere on this forum that the UV5R is suitable for use under the PMR license, as it conforms to CE spec, but also read on another forum at http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showth ... p?t=105512
Word of caution on the Baofeng UV-5r in the UK. These hand sets are not legal for transmitting in the UK but legal for reception. This is because the handset is able to transmit out of public bands on bandwidths that are controlled by licencing. You can find reputable UK suppliers that will sell these items so that they can only receive.

So, can anyone tell me what the real deal is with the UV5R and UK Simple Light? Legal or not :?:

While on the subject of the UV5R, I have seen several variations of this handset, ranging from UV5R, UV5RA, B, C, E, I, +, etc, etc, and have read that the A is the most recent. While a seller from ebay has told me that they are all the same and only differ in terms of their physical appearance. I am guessing that in reality the firmware of the units is different? Is anyone able to confirm this?

Also, is it possible to obtain a 5 watt mobile (vehicle) PMR radio which can be used under Simple Light? Those I have seen so far appear to be 25 watt, and so presumably illegal for Simple Light use.

I hope someone reading this post can please assist with some constructive advice. :D
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Re: Baofeng UV5R for UK Simple Light?

Post by chaych »

I am not an expert on this, but I'd think that as long as you have a licence and have an assigned frequency, Ofcom will not bother with what radio that you use, as long as it is within the spec limits (5W) and does not cause interference with others.

"From reading the specification of the UV5R, it appears to transmit on the VHF and UHF PMR frequencies covered under the terms of the license, but is also capable of transmitting on a lot of other frequencies too, none of which are covered under the terms of the license. "
High end radios such as the Motorola GP328 are also capable of transmitting on a lot of other frequencies not covered under the terms of the licence, so I don't think the BF will be any difference.

BTW, the BF UV5R is tested by several members here to be only capable of transmitting at 1 or 2W instead of the listed 4/5W
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thelad
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Re: Baofeng UV5R for UK Simple Light?

Post by thelad »

If you want or really need full 5w dont get a baofeng, most are only putting out 3w.
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Re: Baofeng UV5R for UK Simple Light?

Post by M3HIM »

The blanket statement saying that Baofeng radios are "not legal for transmitting in the UK but legal for reception" as well as the statements that followed are, at best, misleading / misinformed and mostly made up! The term "public bands" is completely meaningless. There are Licence Exempt bands such as CB Radio and PMR446 that anyone can use without a licence but only using type approved, off the shelf equipment that meets Ofcom specifications and has not been modified in any way.

I am a licenced Amateur Radio operator and therefore have access to the Amateur Radio bands. I also make use of Private Mobile Radio (PMR) or Business Radio for my own business and through other organisations with which I am associated but again this requires a licence for the appropriate frequencies.

Despite requiring a licence, these bands are still "public bands" available to members of the public as opposed to being for use by the emergency services, government, military etc.

I too have been wondering about using BF-888S or UV-5Rx handhelds on the Business Radio bands but cannot get a straight answer from a reliable source. The statement that you received from Ofcom and the fact that Baofeng radios are legal for use on Amateur Radio bands would suggest that they are suitable for use with UK Simple Light so long as they are correctly configured and not causing interference to other radio spectrum users. The only caveat is that Amateur Radio operators are allowed to build there own equipment and self-certify it for use on Amateur Radio bands so there is some latitude there.

However, without a definitive specification from Ofcom we have no absolute way of knowing if the Baofeng UV-5Rx or its siblings are approved for use on the Business Radio bands.

As it has been over ten years since you posed your question to Ofcom, perhaps it is time that we asked it again!
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Re: Baofeng UV5R for UK Simple Light?

Post by paulears »

OFCOM follow their system, and always have. In the 70s when I had my first business licence, they sent somebody to test the radios! The type approval system at that time is little different from today’s, and a Baofeng meets it in the areas OFCOM care about, spurious emissions and frequency stability. It means a radio that doesn’t transmit where it shouldn’t by accident. Pressing the button on frequencies you should not, or at powers above the licence can be dealt with by existing legislation, not licensing.

So to put your mind at rest, modern synthesised radios are able to be used on OFCOM licences. However, keeping legal is then on your head. A simple UV-5 can go from legal to illegal if the user fiddles. Sensible users wont, but unlocking one and accidentally going one channel down could wipe out your local doctors out of hours radio system. See the problem? U.K. Light isnt a problem at all. Buy the licence and off you go. Just make sure you then stay on that channel, or your users do! For my sales of cheaper systems, I sell cheaper Chinese radios that I program, and they just use. It might have a channel knob, but only have their licence frequencies in them.
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Re: Baofeng UV5R for UK Simple Light?

Post by NicolaJayne »

the fundamental problem with something like a UV5 is unless you set them iup in such a way as there no way to get into VFO they are not compliant wit the standards for licenced PMR
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Re: Baofeng UV5R for UK Simple Light?

Post by paulears »

I'm not sure that rule still applies - as back in the 80s - when I sold IC-H16 and U16's there was a simple number you typed in to enter frequencies. There was an internal removable link that disabled it, but I'm not aware anybody ever checked it was in there?

Using my own customers as an example - they fall into two camps. Those that you absolutely know won't bother with licences, shared or technically assigned frequencies and being legit, and those who absolutely will be. So The people who buy gear and put them on PMR446 despite the requirement for certain features, certain frequencies and power limits. The folk who do want to be legit would be quite upset if the radio let them become illegal operators. OFCOM are simply not able to do very much apart from protect essential services, and investigation services get focussed onto more critical areas. Things like the simple repeater frequency - specified as a very local low power, small area system. People are using it for much wider area coverage - OFCOM no doubt are aware, but is it a problem?

In the good old days OFCOM came and checked and even handed you the licence - and quite a few people got spot checks. Now, you go online and press a button. Type approvals are cursory - so few radios would fail if they were tested, and as most use commonly available PAs now - the output specs are all very similar.

A Baofeng with keyboard locked to prevent VFO operation would be fine for the people who wouldn't dream of fiddling, and those that fiddle probably have the CPS software anyway?
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Re: Baofeng UV5R for UK Simple Light?

Post by Wriggly Ron »

I realise the OP was quite a while ago, so I'm commenting more as a way to help anyone Googling for clarity.

As I understand it a legal PMR set must be portable with a non removable antenna and limited to 0.5W for unlicensed use. So if the antenna unscrews like the Baofeng then it doesn't matter what power you transmit, it falls at the first hurdle. If being legal is a priority for you then it's not going to be suitable. A quick and dirty PMR test for anyone is to try and undo the antenna.
No matter what PMR radio you buy, and how much they claim 10km, 20km, 'unlimited' range, all legal PMR radios are limited to a 0.5W output.

Delboy went down this 'what's legal on PMR' rabbit hole and even got some clarity from OFCOM:
https://delboyonline.blogspot.com/2020/ ... nswer.html

If your attitude to legality is more along the attitude of 'To fine you, first they gotta find you" then a Baofeng on PMR would probably suit your needs. Be prepared to be disappointed if you are expecting a range associated with 5W though.

Here in the SW, there is a saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait a bit", and this seems to apply to OFCOM. In a positive light they are trying to keep up with technology and modern requirements, a less favourable opinion is that it's just confusing.
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Re: Baofeng UV5R for UK Simple Light?

Post by paulears »

We’re talk about U.K. OFCOM business light channels, which have historically been PMR, private mobile radio. This is NOT PMR446 which is the licence free, short range UHF U.K. version of the US GMRS system, used throughout europe. So Private Mobile radio in 446MHz. Business radio in the U.K. is low band VHF, high band VHF or UHF, and no restrictions on antennas and very low power restrictions, and gain capable antennas are fine. Nobody here is talking about the 446 system which is totally different. The Baofengs have the frequency stability and output purity to meet the old specs that were at that time type approved, as in the manufacturer had submitted and paid for testing. Nowadays, OFCOM are only interested in avoidance of interference to essential services, so a private ambulance service with bog standard business radios would be deemed worthy of investigation and protection, but a gravel pit with a few handhelds to save staff walking too far probably wouldn’t. Their investigation service also do paid investigation work I understand, so Sky can ask them to investigate interference to their service. PMR446, being free, is at the bottom of the pile. Business light/simple at £75 for five years is close behind.
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