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Boafeng UV-5R Radios for airsoft & courses for license


JamesAirsofterAgent
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Friends and I are looking at getting some radios, the UV-5R seems like a decent shout and isn't too expensive and we can also use them while hiking it seems. I understand theres a need to get a loicense for it so I was wondering where abouts people would recommend courses for getting said license, as it seems theres some kind of test to get it according to this website: https://www.essexham.co.uk/baofeng-radio-without-licence 

 

I know you can probably get away with using one without having a license but its something that I would like to learn more about and figured these courses & getting a "amateur radio “Foundation” licence" would help with that.

Any info as to how to go about getting the license and learning the necessary information would be great and if anyone has other radio recommendations that would be grand.

 

Thanks

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The most common licence used in airsoft for these types of radio is the Small business licence, with no exam required - £75 for 5 years 

 

https://secure.ofcom.org.uk/busrad/

 

 

Or there is the foundation HAM licence, which is free once you have a pass certificate from  the Radio Society exam costs £27.50 

Free training resources - courses or self study:

https://www.essexham.co.uk/train/

 

Radio society exam:

https://rsgb.org/main/rsgb-examination-booking/

 

OfCom Ham licence applications:

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/manage-your-licence/radiocommunication-licences/online-licensing-service



 

The business licence is the next easiest route after PMR, the Ham foundation is the second cheapest (legal) route after true PMR

Edited by Tommikka
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***
 

Note that the Ham foundation licence allows you to operate in the specified frequencies ‘unsupervised’, it might not cover you handing radios to your friends if they don’t have a licence unless you can be treated as ‘supervising’ them under the foundation 


The small business licence can be used as a group and you can hand out radios or allow others to operate a radio on the frequencies under your licence umbrella 

 

PMR can be used by anyone

 

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4 hours ago, Tommikka said:

The most common licence used in airsoft for these types of radio is the Small business licence, with no exam required - £75 for 5 years 

 

https://secure.ofcom.org.uk/busrad/

 

 

Or there is the foundation HAM licence, which is free once you have a pass certificate from  the Radio Society exam costs £27.50 

Free training resources - courses or self study:

https://www.essexham.co.uk/train/

 

Radio society exam:

https://rsgb.org/main/rsgb-examination-booking/

 

OfCom Ham licence applications:

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/manage-your-licence/radiocommunication-licences/online-licensing-service



 

The business licence is the next easiest route after PMR, the Ham foundation is the second cheapest (legal) route after true PMR

Thank you this is insanely helpful. 

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We have them, ran them for years. No issues with the popo

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From what I understand most sites have a commercial license for the marshals so you can use radios under their cover.

Can always ask your local what their radio protocol is as they'll have one or two reserved channels.

 

I just got a pair of 888s for £15 and very happy with their use at our last game.

 

Edited by EDcase
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Thanks both, one of my locals is Spartan Airsoft woodland, just wanted to make sure there was no risk of us somehow messing up and getting on the local airport frequencies or something 

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UV-5R needs the licence as said but BF-888s use PMR frequencies which do not need a licence. (They are technically over powered to be fully legal but not heard of anyone having a problem with em)

I saw a video about Baofeng radios which said that they often come with random frequencies used for testing so should be reprogrammed to the correct ones.

But a friend I talked to at last game said he didn't change his and seemed to work fine.

 

For my 888s radios I got a programming cable (£4) and changed to analogue PMR frequencies just to be sure.

 

Edited by EDcase
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2 hours ago, EDcase said:

UV-5R needs the licence as said but BF-888s use PMR frequencies which do not need a licence. (They are technically over powered to be fully legal but not heard of anyone having a problem with em)

 

Hmm, I hadn't looked into the 888, but they're really quite interesting.

 

There's an original BF-888S which runs at 2W and 400-470MHz, but they also do a BF-888S "PMR" version, aka BF-88E, with a fixed antenna but still running at 2W.  From what I can see, they've basically pre-programmed it to the 16 analogue PMR channels in the 446.0 / 446.2MHz PMR range, and called it PMR.  It's still re-programmable though, if you want.

 

https://www.baofengradio.co.uk/2x-bf-888s-pmr446-walkie-talkies-long-range-two-way-radio-license-free-with-earpieces/

 

So they're not strictly speaking PMR, and should only be used for licensed frequencies.  But I do agree that they're a smart practical choice as you won't accidentally stray off of PMR frequencies and bother anyone (unless you go out of your way to reprogram them), you'll get the extra range, and the fixed antenna makes them look indistinguishable from a PMR.  USB charging, nice. Cheap too, and even cheaper in bulk.

 

I see why you went for them, they make a lot of sense.  All the functionality of a UV-5R that anyone would want for airsoft, without any of the messing around.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Groot said:

We have them, ran them for years. No issues with the popo

Have you ever had any issues with water damage? Whenever we play it seems to piss it down with vengeance. 

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I got these 888s but they've raised the price 🤔  (I checked and paid £14.16 for em)

Great if you want simple to operate radios with no fiddly buttons to operate with gloves on.

I don't know if they're all the same but mine came with 'Beat Shift' scrambler which is really cool.  (You can select which channels to use it on in the software)

 

I can't check the power output but I did set it to 'LOW' and 'Narrow' on all channels

I also bought a pair of these which are cute and flexible so it fits in a pocket nice and protected.  They should reduce the output a bit but still worked great in the game zone with no interference.

 

Alternatively you could get these which I checked are compatible.

 

This is the cable I got. Downloaded software rather than use the disc.

 

Edited by EDcase
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7 minutes ago, JamesAirsofterAgent said:

Have you ever had any issues with water damage? Whenever we play it seems to piss it down with vengeance. 

 

You can always take a look at the UV-9R. Much the same but allegedly better water resistance. I don't think there's much in it in terms of price, although the connections for accessories are different - which may be relevant if you/your team already have a bunch.

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I run the 888's. Got ten of them. Never had a prob with them from a legal or durability aspect.

I have the higher capacity batteries in them(2300mah) which gives them more weight and a nicer feel.

Never had prob with water ingress but never really used them in very heavy rain.

 

Edited by Shamal
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Edit: @Shamal

Have you go the USB cable?

Have you checked what frequencies they use?

Have you check if they have Beat Shift?

 

Edited by EDcase
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35 minutes ago, EDcase said:

Have you go the USB cable?

Have you checked what frequencies they use?

Have you check if they have Beat Shift?

USB Cable if we go for the UV5R will most likely be thishttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Baofeng-Programming-Compatible-BF-888S-Contains/dp/B09248RC78/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=baofeng+programming+cable&qid=1625576366&sprefix=baofeng+progra&sr=8-4

 

With regards to frequencies I, I have not, I dont even really know how setting them up would work, the only radios I've ever used you just selected a channel and spoke. Beat shift, I don't believe the UV5Rs have it but then again I'm not too familiar with what it is.

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2 hours ago, EDcase said:

I got these 888s but they've raised the price

 

Those look like the non-"PMR" BF-888S models, so you were right to set them up for PMR channels.  I reckon the only actual difference between those and the BF-888S "PMR" / BF-88E is the fixed antenna, and that the PMR/88E come with the PMR channels pre-programmed in. Now that I read closer, it looks like they're set to "low" power, as you've done on yours.  At 0.5W that's still more than the notional PMR 0.25W limit, but not so much that it will ever be an issue. 

 

I've just set up my UV-5R for a bunch of frequencies using the programming cable, but to be honest, the only thing I'll ever use are those PMR channels. I programmed in a bunch of other stuff just for giggles, but really I don't want to risk transmitting on them, so I'll just remove them now.  If I buy or recommend any more sets, I reckon they'll be those BF-888S PMR / BF-88Es, which look to be ideal for what most airsofters need.

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That's interesting. I didn't see any with fixed antennas when I was searching but I guess that's because I was looking at the cheapest ebay options.

I do like the option of changing antenna even if its not strictly legal.

 

Edited by EDcase
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3 hours ago, EDcase said:

Edit: @Shamal

Have you go the USB cable?

Have you checked what frequencies they use?

Have you check if they have Beat Shift?

When I run the software it brings up a table of frequencies which you can edit along with vox(voice activated transmit) squelch and loads of other bits like ccss or something like that. I won't pretend to understand it all.

 

Yes I have the USB cable and the software minidisc.

I'm not sure if.they have beat shift though. I can look tomorrow night though.

 

Hi @EDcase

Some of my last post got tacked on the end of your post lol 

regards

Edited by Shamal
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I too have some Baofeng bf-888 radios, which I have not used much, but after reading up and checking these posts, I think I am learning something!…

 

..What I learned? Will let you guys know when I work it out!

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24 minutes ago, JamesAirsofterAgent said:

Hmm ok is there really a reason to go with the more expensive of these two? Or should I just go for the cheaper one.

 

I wouldn't get either, unless you're planning to play at some huge milsim site.  2W (BF-888S PMR / 88E, or basic UV-5R) is fine for most sites.

 

For hiking, well, maybe, but are you planning on talking to your buddy who's just down the trail (in which case, see above), or to make an emergency call for help?  In which case I wouldn't give advice, but would point you towards a hiking forum.

 

8W and arbitrary frequencies might mess up someone's day inadvertently, and you're getting into the actual HAM arena there.  Sorry, beyond my ken.

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James:  If you're planning to use it for hiking and so longer range than airsoft use then the UV-5R would be a better choice but its more complex to use than the 888s.

Could also be worth buying the longer range NA-771 antenna.

Duno the difference between UV-5R models so you'll have to check on that.

 

As Roger stated, you'll be into HAM territory so licence will likely be required to be legal.

More research I'm afraid...

 

 

Just found this 

So you can put a face to the voice 😏

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