Baofeng UV-5r and illegal transmitting

Are Baofeng UV-5r usable for public service

I have seen a lot of search hits on my web page the last few days of people searching for information on whether or not the Baofeng UV-5R series of radios are usable on Public service frequencies. The short answer is of course, yes. This doesn't mean to say that it is LEGAL to do so, but yes the Baofeng UV-5R series of radios will transmit from 136 MHZ to 170 MHZ and 400 MHZ to 480 MHZ, all of which falls into the public service bands. If you are licensed to transmit in the Public service domain, such as a Police or Fire department, then the answer is yes.

 The United States has a regulating government office called the F.C.C or Federal Communications Commission. This office overlooks the radio frequency spectrum and regulates what radios are used for what service and what set of frequencies.
 For instance the Citizens band or CB, which is a band of frequencies from 26.965 to 27.405 MHZ and is channelized from ch #1 to CH #40. They have strict regulations on this band, including amount of power output and modes of operation. On the CB you can only do 5 Watts PEP (Peak Envelope Power) to an antenna. You are also only able to do AM (Amplitude Modulation) and SSB (Single Side Band) on any of the 40 channels. Some operators in this band like to take high power 10 meter ham radio gear and use it on the CB. This is considered illegal in the U.S. and if caught and convicted you could face a large fine and jail time.
 The Baofeng radio's are NO exception, and although yes, they WILL transmit in the FRS and Public service bands, there use their is still considered illegal.

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