September 16, 2016

Communications Monitoring With Your Baofeng (or any other dual-band ham HT)

This weekend there is a communications monitoring exercise.

All you have is one of those Baofeng HTs, or maybe another model of HT.

No problem.

All models of Baofeng HTs have a frequency coverage of 136-174 and 400-480 MHz.  Some HTs have an even greater frequency range.  Let's break that down to sub-bands:

136-144 MHz. - Military/Federal Land Mobile (FM). Mostly military and FEMA/DHS.  Some military air-to-air comms using AM.
144-148 MHz. - Two Meter Ham Band
148-150.775 MHz. - Military/Federal Land Mobile (FM)
150.775 - 162 MHz. - VHF-High Land Mobile Band. Both government and business/industrial.  Very busy everywhere.
162-174 MHz. - Federal Government and Military.  Mostly .gov.  Very busy everywhere.
400-420 MHz. - Federal Government.  Lots of urban operational and point-to-point links
420-450 MHz. - 70cm Ham Band.  Most busy in FM portion of 440-450 MHz, although some interesting stuff on the low end.  Some unlicensed stuff around 433 MHz.
450-470 MHz. - UHF land mobile band. Both government and business/industrial. Very busy everywhere.
470-480 MHz. - Low end of UHF-T band (total 470-512 MHz.)  TV Channel 14 starts at 470 MHz.  Some urban areas use parts of this for land mobile users.  Many bootleggers like to hide here in locales that don't have a TV channel licensed.

That's the entire frequency range you can hear with that Baofeng radio, which is plenty if you're just starting out.

This is not an endorsement of the radios, but rather a shedding of light on the monitoring capabilities you have at your disposal if that's all you have for the moment.

So even if all you have is a Baofeng HT, you have to come up with a better excuse to not do a little monitoring exercise this weekend.


  1. Most of the Chinese HTs will only pick up FM.

    1. Yea, an increasing issue as more LMR radio users go P25, DMR, and NXDN. For now, YMMV.

    2. I have three models of the Baofeng radio. a UV-5R @ $35, a BF-F8HP the 8 watt model @ $60, and the new UV-5X3 5 watt tri band that adds 222-225 Mhz to it @ $60. Nice cheap decent starter radios that wont break your bank if they get lost/stolen/destroyed and perfect backup comms you can toss in your Go Bag.