Walkie Talkie for children?

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Flying Luminosity
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Walkie Talkie for children?

Since BLF seems to have an answer to everything, I’ll just throw this out there:

I am looking for a set of walkie talkies that is suitable for a 5-year old child, not too expensive, for use in the UK.

Any suggestions? Specific properties or features that I should look out for? Do I need to be careful about country-specific regulations?

EDIT: I’d like to get some real two-way radios with a fairly decent range, not the toy ones with Spiderman / Peppa Pig etc. design. Are these ones any good? I like that they’re rechargeable, which means not having to worry about a separate charger. But for obvious reasons I don’t trust random reviews on the internet.

Edited by: Flying Luminosity on 10/10/2017 - 06:59
rubatone
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+1

zelee
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i got a retevis too but different model and i give it to my nephew so he and his friend can use it during school camping and i already set it to high power and he said it can reach more than 1km on open area

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Flying Luminosity
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zelee wrote:
i got a retevis too but different model and i give it to my nephew so he and his friend can use it during school camping and i already set it to high power and he said it can reach more than 1km on open area

I want to get it for my nephew, too. 1km sounds like a decent range. A lot of them state 3km, but I doubt whether manufacturer’s claims are accurate in real-world situations (taking into account weather, terrain and so on). Shouldn’t be necessary anyway for just taking it outside to play, or on a camping trip.

firedome
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Any PMR446 (Personal Mobile Radio 446) as these are European licence free two-way radio system. About 5km range in the open, legal and cheap.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Motorola-Walkie-Talkie-Consumer-Radio-Blue/dp/B...

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Flying Luminosity
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firedome wrote:
Any PMR446 (Personal Mobile Radio 446) as these are European licence free two-way radio system. About 5km range in the open, legal and cheap.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Motorola-Walkie-Talkie-Consumer-Radio-Blue/dp/B...

How do I know whether a device is licensed for use in the UK? Could there be problems if I order from abroad, e.g. with specific carrier frequencies that are reserved for other uses such as emergency services?

EDIT: Just found the answer myself

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I’m a licensed Amatuer radio operator in the US. The radio you linked to is a little short on power. .5W won’t get you much range. Although it is using UHF frequencies which is best used in buildings with walls or other barriers. The higher frequencies work better with barriers, trees, etc in between radios. The pmr radio the gentleman linked is built by Motarola which is a very trusted name in radio communications. Although it also has just .5W power, the reviews I read were good talking about kids had good results using them outside with decent range reached. If you could find a GMRS or FRS radio with more than .5W power I would give it a try. More power gets more range. And these type radios are open frequencies that do not require a license to operate on. Atleast in the US they don’t require a license. It looks like you found a source explaining the rules for the UK. Good luck. If you have any questions, I’ll be glad to help with any technical questions about radios.

Best regards,

Matthew

 

 

 

 

 

dw911
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As its Budget light forum, maybe look at two platic cups and a long length of string;-)

I got some Cobra ones that are good and easy to use but do eat batteries.

Got some Baofeng BF-888S they work well, seem to have a good range, says 5 watt but i doubt really its more than a couple at most. But they were under £20 for a pair are rechargeable which is handy and they come with charging cradles and ear phones earphone/mike etc

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SubSailorVet wrote:
The radio you linked to is a little short on power. .5W won’t get you much range.

It seems that is the maximum power permitted in the UK without a licence. Firedome is right – only PMR446 is allowed, with 8 bands at 446 MHz. FRS and GMRS radios with 14-22 bands can’t be used here. A radio licence is free, but somehow I doubt that they’d issue one to a 5 year old child.

I’ll be having a look at the Motorola set. Cobra also seems like a very good brand, so I’ll need to read some reviews before I can make up my mind.

SubSailorVet wrote:
I’ll be glad to help with any technical questions about radios.

Thanks! Smile

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dw911 wrote:
As its Budget light forum, maybe look at two platic cups and a long length of string;-)

I got some Cobra ones that are good and easy to use but do eat batteries.

Got some Baofeng BF-888S they work well, seem to have a good range, says 5 watt but i doubt really its more than a couple at most. But they were under £20 for a pair are rechargeable which is handy and they come with charging cradles and ear phones earphone/mike etc

I was wondering about Baofeng – they seem to be everywhere, including eBay. Which kind of made me a bit suspicious, as I had to think of all those UltraFire batteries and ‘super bright Cree T6’ torches that are swamping the place. But maybe I should have a look at some of those as well. It’s for a child so doesn’t need to be high end, but I do want to get something that is safe to recharge, doesn’t break after a few uses, and still works if there are a few trees or a building between two handsets.

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I recently bought a pair of these for my kids (and for me to stay in touch when they’re playing outside ;)): https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2Pcs-set-baofeng-BF-888S-Walkie-Talkie-P...

Works great and covers a lot of distance!

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Flying Luminosity wrote:
dw911 wrote:
As its Budget light forum, maybe look at two platic cups and a long length of string;-)

I got some Cobra ones that are good and easy to use but do eat batteries.

Got some Baofeng BF-888S they work well, seem to have a good range, says 5 watt but i doubt really its more than a couple at most. But they were under £20 for a pair are rechargeable which is handy and they come with charging cradles and ear phones earphone/mike etc

I was wondering about Baofeng – they seem to be everywhere, including eBay. Which kind of made me a bit suspicious, as I had to think of all those UltraFire batteries and ‘super bright Cree T6’ torches that are swamping the place. But maybe I should have a look at some of those as well. It’s for a child so doesn’t need to be high end, but I do want to get something that is safe to recharge, doesn’t break after a few uses, and still works if there are a few trees or a building between two handsets.

Baofeng is a decent budget radio. Many licensed HAMs use them as backups and some use them as their primary radios. They are reliable, easy to use and inexpensive. Many hardcore hams will trash them because they are cheap, but they actually are pretty reliable and easy to use/program. I have a few different Baofeng models and use them in my vehicle hooked up to a mounted antenna and get a decent 30 mile range out of 5W on VHF frequencies.

Best regards,

Matthew

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Tom
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The EU law is quite clear. USA GMRS and FRS is not applicable.

You can have a PMR446 radio, with eight channels and subcodes beneath, 500 mW and fixed antenna to limit erp.

It must be type approved and marked PMR446 to be legal.

That said, plenty of us know how to program e.g. Baofengs etc, on the proper frequencies, at illegal powers, with good antennae, and get good use from them.

There are also a further 8 PMR446 channels assigned to digital use, which never caught on. Some use those too, analogue, to avoid congestion.

Then, in the UK only, there are three frequencies assigned to “UK business light” which are uncongested, allow higher powers and within range of typical re-programmed things. More frequencies also for e.g. re-programmed marine VHF or 2m/70cm band amateur radios. To be legal you have to buy the license (no test), for unlimited handsets throughout the UK, costs about £75 for 5 years.

If you move beyond the assigned 16 PMR bands (8 analogue, 8 digital), or the UK only “business light” ones, expect to be monitored and maybe even investigated.

Stick with legit. PMR446 radios, the non-toy ones are good, and have enough range for many purposes, especially children. They can be a lot of fun.

Otherwise “citizens band” 27 MHz transceivers are legal and license free across Europe, though frequency bands and modulation (AM, FM, SSB) may depend on country. More expensive, but in the right conditions can propagate across continents.

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CrashOne wrote:
I recently bought a pair of these for my kids (and for me to stay in touch when they’re playing outside ;)): https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2Pcs-set-baofeng-BF-888S-Walkie-Talkie-P...

Works great and covers a lot of distance!

I hope you re-programmed them onto suitable frequencies. Out of the box they are usually coded with factory test channels which are AFAIK quite illegal, not even in amateur bands. Very decent otherwise.

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You guys in the UK have too much government over reach on the airwaves. They want to restrict frequencies amd make you buy a permit without a test. Sounds like another way to generate revenue by restricting airwaves and making citizens pay to use them.

Best regards,

Matthew

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Tom
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SubSailorVet wrote:
You guys in the UK have too much government over reach on the airwaves. They want to restrict frequencies amd make you buy a permit without a test. Sounds like another way to generate revenue by restricting airwaves and making citizens pay to use them.

You have it utterly wrong. The UK “business light” license is really for business users (site security, taxis etc.) but nevertheless anyone can buy one, and operate on the assigned frequencies.

http://static.ofcom.org.uk/static/businessradio/BusinessRadioSimpleUK.pdf

And I think the real rules are just as tight in the US.

You have your FRS and CB, as we have PMR446 and CB. EU is much more crowded and congested than USA. Try using a PMR446 at e.g. a crowded EU ski resort for example. We mostly don’t care, because mobile phone coverage is almost 100% in such areas, roaming charges between countries have been abolished, and it is almost free.

Edit, in UK e.g a pay as you go SIM can be had for 3p/minute for calls, 2p for texts, 1p/Mbyte data. I pay £18 for unlimited calls, unlimited texts, 30 GBytes/month data including tethering my laptop etc. Anywhere in Europe. In my case, also including Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Macau, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Sri Lanka, US Virgin Islands, USA.

SubSailorVet
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Tom Tom wrote:
SubSailorVet wrote:
You guys in the UK have too much government over reach on the airwaves. They want to restrict frequencies amd make you buy a permit without a test. Sounds like another way to generate revenue by restricting airwaves and making citizens pay to use them.

You have it utterly wrong. The UK “business light” license is really for business users (site security, taxis etc.) but nevertheless anyone can buy one, and operate on the assigned frequencies.

http://static.ofcom.org.uk/static/businessradio/BusinessRadioSimpleUK.pdf

And I think the real rules are just as tight in the US.

You have your FRS and CB, as we have PMR446 and CB. EU is much more crowded and congested than USA. Try using a PMR446 at e.g. a crowded EU ski resort for example. We mostly don’t care, because mobile phone coverage is almost 100% in such areas, roaming charges between countries have been abolished, and it is almost free.

Edit, in UK e.g a pay as you go SIM can be had for 3p/minute for calls, 2p for texts, 1p/Mbyte data. I pay £18 for unlimited calls, unlimited texts, 30 GBytes/month data including tethering my laptop etc. Anywhere in Europe. In my case, also including Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Macau, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Sri Lanka, US Virgin Islands, USA.

Well, thanks for setting me straight.

Best regards,

Matthew

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Tom
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SubSailorVet wrote:
Well, thanks for setting me straight.

That’s OK, but you did weigh in with disparaging comments about the kit we are allowed to use, then some unnecessary stuff.

It’s all cool, we have good stuff here too, and very liberal amateur radio licensing, just different. And can buy whatever we like, licensed or not.

100 km contacts on unmodified 1/2 watt PMR446s are fun, as is other stuff.

But we do also have almost blanket mobile coverage, cheap as chips, even my dog has one, GPS tracking collar.

Until you get into really “Big Country” which means Scottish Highlands for me. Where e.g. a stashed repeater on a suitable high point, can help a lot.

And others in the party can continue to use their ordinary over-the-counter legal PMR446s without worrying. 0.5, or 5 or 25 watts would make no difference in this terrain, except for draining batteries faster. But a high line-of-sight repeater, does. Especially with high gain Rx antenna, and several watts transmit power.

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Tom Tom wrote:
SubSailorVet wrote:
Well, thanks for setting me straight.

That’s OK, but you did weigh in with disparaging comments about the kit we are allowed to use, then some unnecessary stuff.

It’s all cool, we have good stuff here too, and very liberal amateur radio licensing, just different. And can buy whatever we like, licensed or not.

100 km contacts on unmodified 1/2 watt PMR446s are fun, as is other stuff.

But we do also have almost blanket mobile coverage, cheap as chips, even my dog has one, GPS tracking collar.

Until you get into really “Big Country” which means Scottish Highlands for me. Where e.g. a stashed repeater on a suitable high point, can help a lot.

And others in the party can continue to use their ordinary over-the-counter legal PMR446s without worrying. 0.5, or 5 or 25 watts would make no difference in this terrain, except for draining batteries faster. But a high line-of-sight repeater, does. Especially with high gain Rx antenna, and several watts transmit power.


I didn’t intend to say anything disparaging or unnecessary. I was merely discussing how things were different for radio operators here and in the UK. Please tell me what I said that was unnecessary? I’m glad you have excellent mobile coverage there. I let go of any cellular device when I retired in 2010. I keep one in my vehicle for emergencies. Most people these days can’t survive without a cellular glued to their head all the time. I’m only speaking of people in the US though, not sure how people are with cell phones in the UK, plus I wouldn’t want to talk about how people over the pond act with their devices as that would be arrogant assuming and insulting and I don’t do that.

Best regards,

Matthew

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Tom
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SubSailorVet wrote:
I didn’t intend to say anything disparaging or unnecessary. I was merely discussing how things were different for radio operators here and in the UK. Please tell me what I said that was unnecessary? I’m glad you have excellent mobile coverage there. I let go of any cellular device when I retired in 2010. I keep one in my vehicle for emergencies. Most people these days can’t survive without a cellular glued to their head all the time. I’m only speaking of people in the US though, not sure how people are with cell phones in the UK, plus I wouldn’t want to talk about how people over the pond act with their devices as that would be arrogant assuming and insulting and I don’t do that.

I don’t think things over your way are much different from here.

If you look into amateur radio licensing I think you will find it much the same.

We have “free” bands for unlicensed operation, same as you. Low power UHF stuff for short range, and the CB VHF band which has so much (mostly wasted) potential.

Then there are the amateur bands, massive bandwidth, recognised worldwide.

I think you will find that your government guards the rest of the bandwidth just as jealously as any other.

You guys in the UK have too much government over reach on the airwaves. They want to restrict frequencies amd make you buy a permit without a test. Sounds like another way to generate revenue by restricting airwaves and making citizens pay to use them.”

That’s what I disagreed with. The content, and the tone.

I thought we were talking about walky-talkies for kids here, not tuning higher powered Amateur 70cm transceivers into the same band. PMR446 is a good useful system. Maybe US equivalents are more powerful, but in Europe this is what we have, and it works OK.

The radio you linked to is a little short on power. .5W won’t get you much range. … If you could find a GMRS or FRS radio with more than .5W power I would give it a try. More power gets more range.”

1/2 watt is our limit for unlicensed personal radios. Imported GMRS or FRS radios are not legal here.

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Tom Tom wrote:
SubSailorVet wrote:
I didn’t intend to say anything disparaging or unnecessary. I was merely discussing how things were different for radio operators here and in the UK. Please tell me what I said that was unnecessary? I’m glad you have excellent mobile coverage there. I let go of any cellular device when I retired in 2010. I keep one in my vehicle for emergencies. Most people these days can’t survive without a cellular glued to their head all the time. I’m only speaking of people in the US though, not sure how people are with cell phones in the UK, plus I wouldn’t want to talk about how people over the pond act with their devices as that would be arrogant assuming and insulting and I don’t do that.

I don’t think things over your way are much different from here.

If you look into amateur radio licensing I think you will find it much the same.

We have “free” bands for unlicensed operation, same as you. Low power UHF stuff for short range, and the CB VHF band which has so much (mostly wasted) potential.

Then there are the amateur bands, massive bandwidth, recognised worldwide.

I think you will find that your government guards the rest of the bandwidth just as jealously as any other.

You guys in the UK have too much government over reach on the airwaves. They want to restrict frequencies amd make you buy a permit without a test. Sounds like another way to generate revenue by restricting airwaves and making citizens pay to use them.”

That’s what I disagreed with. The content, and the tone.

Oh shit! You’re upset with that content and tone? Don’t get your feelings hurt. Isn’t the government selling licenses for frequencies open all over the rest of the world a way to generate revenue? If not I don’t know what to call it, other than pissing off the public that knows better. You wouldn’t have any fun hanging out and drinking with us yanks because you would disagree with most of our content and tone. Cheers!

Best regards,

Matthew

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Tom
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SubSailorVet wrote:
Isn’t the government selling licenses for frequencies open all over the rest of the world a way to generate revenue?

It would be a fair comment if the frequencies were “open all over the rest of the world” but they are not.

Even 27 Mhz CB spectrum is different in many EU countries, and the UK range is not available anywhere else, so our multistandard sets should be re-configured, depending on which EU country we are in.

Even the eight PMR446 channels were difficult to begin, e.g. in France one of them was not to be used in early days because it was allocated to some important service (railway police ISTR).

Maybe you could provide a spectrum map showing unlicensed bands “open all over the rest of the world” for me to study, and start using.

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Tom Tom wrote:
SubSailorVet wrote:
Isn’t the government selling licenses for frequencies open all over the rest of the world a way to generate revenue?

It would be a fair comment if the frequencies were “open all over the rest of the world” but they are not.

Even 27 Mhz CB spectrum is different in many EU countries, and the UK range is not available anywhere else, so our multistandard sets should be re-configured, depending on which EU country we are in.

Even the eight PMR446 channels were difficult to begin, e.g. in France one of them was not to be used in early days because it was allocated to some important service (railway police ISTR).

Maybe you could provide a spectrum map showing unlicensed bands “open all over the rest of the world” for me to study, and start using.


Please excuse my previous statement, I meant every open frequencies in the US and many other countries that use them as FRS and GMRS with walkie talkies bought over the counter and used unlicensed. You see my reasoning about the UK government charging for a permit? I think it sucks for the UK government to charge people to use these frequencies when other countries use them freely. Not trying to pick a fight man.

Best regards,

Matthew

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Tom
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SubSailorVet wrote:
Please excuse my previous statement, I meant every open frequencies in the US and many other countries that use them as FRS and GMRS with walkie talkies bought over the counter and used unlicensed. You see my reasoning about the UK government charging for a permit? I think it sucks for the UK government to charge people to use these frequencies when other countries use them freely. Not trying to pick a fight man.

FRS and GMRS is pretty much a US and Canada only system. And until very recently (May 2017) FRS was limited to 0.5 watts. Same as the EU equivalent, which is PMR446. FRS has now been bumped up to 2 watts on some channels, but only this year.

All equipment used on FRS must be type accepted according to FCC regulations. Radios are not type-accepted for use in this service if they exceed limits on power output, have a detachable antenna or for other reasons. FRS radios must use only permanently attached antennas … This limitation intentionally restricts the range of communications, allowing greatest use of the available channels.

If you want to use GMRS, you are required to buy a license, $70 for 10 years.

https://www.buytwowayradios.com/blog/2016/07/fcc_to_increase_gmrs_licens...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Mobile_Radio_Service#Licensing

https://www.fcc.gov/general-mobile-radio-service-gmrs

https://forums.radioreference.com/gmrs-frs/348705-gmrs-licence-cost.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Radio_Service

Since Europe has about twice the population of the US+Canada, I suppose you could argue that PMR446 is the dominant license-free system, worldwide.

So, to summarise, across Europe, license-free, we now have 16 PMR446 analogue channels (though most sets only have the original 8), 24 more assigned for digital use, 69 channels for low power (LPD433), up to 80 channels of 27Mhz CB.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PMR446

And then individual countries may have their own licensed channels, primarily for business use, in the UK we have fifteen, see http://static.ofcom.org.uk/static/businessradio/BusinessRadioSimpleUK.pdf

Handsets readily available over the counter, with the license application form included in the box. £75 for 5 years.

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0022/36823/nonexcelguide...

The small license fee has the benefit for users that these bands are relatively uncongested. If e.g. UK Business Light 5watt radios, with their very useful range, on our crowded little island, were as popular as PMR446s, they would rapidly become unusable. Perhaps this is also the thinking behind your license fee for GMRS.

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Damn… you guys are splitting sh*t to atoms…
OP, buy decent PMR with long antenna and enjoy.
For example: https://www.thunderpole.co.uk/2-way-radios-walkie-talkies/intek-mt3030.html
Mike

When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you’re born in America, you get a front-row seat.

 

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sp5it wrote:
Damn… you guys are splitting sh*t to atoms… OP, buy decent PMR with long antenna and enjoy. Mike

I’m sayin’. Dude went to a lot of trouble cutting and pasting all that data.

Best regards,

Matthew

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Tom
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sp5it wrote:
Damn… you guys are splitting sh*t to atoms… OP, buy decent PMR with long antenna and enjoy. For example: https://www.thunderpole.co.uk/2-way-radios-walkie-talkies/intek-mt3030.html Mike

Yes, that is the sum of it Wink

PMR446 in Europe, FRS in USA/Canada. Otherwise pay for a license.

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I think I’ll opt for the Retevis RT602. They look professional, the brand has been recommended, they seem to be designed to appeal to children without looking like a cheap toy, they display the channel that is being broadcast on, and they come with Li-Ion cells and a charging dock. Don’t really think I can go wrong with that. If I get the 888s, I’ll have paid the same once once I’ve bought the programming cable – I’d rather have something that can be used legally out of the box.

Thanks for all the advice. Wasn’t imagining that I’d be stirring up a cultural hornets nest! Wink

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Thanks for the heads up, just ordered the cable needed for programming. Will program it to the 16 PMR channels.

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CrashOne wrote:
Thanks for the heads up, just ordered the cable needed for programming. Will program it to the 16 PMR channels.

I had a close look at those sets, and they would have been my second choice. Probably will get some for myself, as a cheap way to get into radio technology – it just isn’t possible for my to get interested in a topic without completely obsessing about it, not just when it comes to flashlights! Smile

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Location: Virginia Beach, VA

I have 4 of the Baofeng 888’s here in the USA. One pair has the stock stubby antennas that are for the kids. The other set has longer Nagoya 7” whips.

They are programmed with FRS/GMRS frequencies. Don’t forget to buy the programming cable because the radios don’t come with one. It connects via USB to any computer and plugs into the ear/mic jacks on the radios. There are plenty of youtube videos on programming, which is very simple. The radios themselves are very versatile and have been as durable as I’ve needed them to be over the years.

Keep your eyes peeled for Amazon Warehouse deals… I bought my second pair for $12 Prime and couldn’t find a single thing wrong with them although they were sold as blems.

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