Is Baofeng a Police Scanner?

Is Baofeng a Police Scanner?

No, Baofeng radios are not police scanners.


So you decided to sink a couple bucks into a Baofeng just to see what all the hype is about. It's about 30 bucks, so it's not gonna take food of the table.


Inexpensive scanning is alluring, sure, but does it work the way a digital scanner does?


Well, no, not exactly.


Let's take a closer look, shall we?


In this article we'll cover:



Chapter 1:

Are Baofeng Radios Legal?

 While it’s true many of the Baofengs are wide open on any frequency in the 136–174Mhz and 400–520Mhz range, and it is illegal to import, market, and sell these devices, it is not illegal to own or operate these devices if you are a licensed Amateur radio operator and you are operating only on amateur radio frequencies.


It is only illegal to operate these “illegal” devices outside of the amateur bands, or on the amateur bands if you do not have an amateur license.


So yes, a roundabout way of saying these are illegal for non-HAMs.


If you ask a HAM if a Baofeng is acceptable to use as a Amateur radio operator you'll probably hear one of two responses:

1. No, they're bargain walkie talkies

2. Sure, I keep one in my bug-out bag


Even if you find a HAM that'll give this radio a positive review, they're likely using the Baofeng as their backup's backup.


Still, they'll admit it's a bargain and a good stepping stone into the Amateur Radio Realm.


It's just not the answer to your scanning needs.


Chapter 2:

Can I Use a Baofeng as a Scanner?


If the Baofeng is...anything, it's a HAM radio, not a police scanner.


Sorry Bargain Buyers, this is not a scanner, unless you wish on a far away star real REAL hard.


Most scanners can be HAM radios, but most of the time, it's not the other way around. The sword ain't edged on the double, as they say, maybe.


If you're looking to monitor local systems with digital talkgroups, you're gonna need a P25 Phase I/II Digital Scanner


We will say, (as scanner resellers) the Baofeng is great if you're studying to become a HAM radio operator, but not ideal for much else.


    Chapter 3:

    Will Baofeng Radios Ever Scan Digital Channels?


    The Big Bad FCC kinda nipped that one in the bud, didn't they?


    So no, we really don't think so. It's a foregone conclusion that, if the Baofeng ever had a shot at lighting the scanner world on fire, the FCC, well, lit it on fire.


    Though the Baofeng isn't quite "illegal," the bands that you would need to scan in order to pick up anything worthwhile *are* illegal.


    These are amateur radios, at best. And many HAMs would resent that claim.


      Chapter 4:



      What is The Best HAM Radio For a Beginner?

      1. Kenwood Original TH-D74A
      2. Baofeng UV5RA Ham Two-Way Radio – Most Affordable


      Can I Use a Baofeng as a Walkie Talkie?

      You can't use it to communicate with any standard walkie talkies, whether they use CB, FRS, GMRS, or MURS. In short, it has to be MURS Part 95 certified or be grandfathered in, of which the Baofeng is neither.


      Is HAM Radio a Dying Hobby?

      We would say HAM radio (the way it was once viewed) *is* dying, but HAM radio, as much as HAM radio resembles the scanning hobby, is very much alive.

      No, HAMs are not driving the technology the way they used to, but let's not get sentimental. HAMs are happy as a...wait for it...ham!


      Baofeng Wrap-Up

      Scanners (and faux-scanners) can be stupid straightforward or dumby difficult.

      Your situation can fall anywhere between those two extremes.

      You've torn apart this article and still can't find an answer to your question(s)?

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