Tech News and Commentary
Dave and the team discuss the Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance, Roborock vacuums, the Percepto drone and Florida Power and Light, ads in Playstation games, Apple’s self-service repair program, hypoallergenic cats, competition in the TV market, Halo not doing too well on TV, and more.
Robert in Miami listens online and is participating by way of the AskDave button on our site asked: “My question today is about the Baofeng GT-5R ham radio that usually sells for about $28. For people who just want to listen in, is it a good idea for people to buy such a radio, or would you recommend a scanner instead? And also – can you tell us what it takes to become a two meter operator these days? What kind of licensing and what kind of tests can we expect? Is there a fee involved for using a tower, repeater, etc?”
Robert, if you just want to listen in youre better off just buying a scanner.Two-way radio use requires a license, just listening does not.
If you still want to get the license, then a basic license called a Technician license will cost you a $35 license fee, a $15 exam fee, and the study materials which may cost you another $30 or so. The most expensive part will be the equipment.
A Technician license or higher will allow you to run a repeater, but you will most likely face other hurdles. You may need to get a permit of some kind with your city – or county – to put the antenna up and someone will likely want to check it to make sure its not likely to fall down or fly off in high winds.
Overall, the whole process is relatively painless. It takes some studying, an exam, and youre good to go. A Technician license will grant you access to 17 or so frequencies, a General license will allow you to use the frequencies below 30 MHz, and an Extra License will allow you to access the rest of amateur radio frequencies.
If youre just listening in, then you wont need any of those unless you want to run a repeater.
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