UV-5Rs Can Kill.

First responders near the Jersey Shore say they’re dealing with a growing number of incidents involving children talking on radio frequencies meant only for emergency use.

Baofengs Kill

Authorities in Lakewood say some children in the area are using two-way radios, available for purchase online, as toys. Unbeknown to them however, they often talk on airwaves designated only for emergencies.

“They’re young and they just don’t realize the consequences of what it is that they’re doing,” said Captain Meir Lichtenstein of the Hatzolah EMS.

According to Lichtenstein, children interrupted emergency channels used by Hatzolah and other first responders nearly 10 times so far this year.


10 comments on “UV-5Rs Can Kill.

  1. Myself and a few local Hams have been talking about the implications of these Radios in the wrong hands for sometime now, we even have CBers using them on our Amateur Freqs, when challenged they give you a load of verbal! Its a bit late now the cuckoo has flown the nest, how you can control them I don’t know at this late stage, impossible I would say? I doubt here in the UK Ofcom even has the resources any longer to do anything about them?

  2. When I first got my license you could not buy transceivers without showing your license. If I sold my gear, I had to make notes in a log about who I sold it to and what his/her callsign was. This log was checked by the authorities at times.

    Now anybody can buy or import anything and abuse it in the process.

  3. Children are not supposed to be able to buy things online, i.e. using a credit card or Paypal (in most countries, if not everywhere, it’s illegal to use such payment methods unless you are an adult). So either something is very wrong in the specific case/country or these children have really stupid parents. Devices such as UV-5R, to my knowledge, are not advertised or promoted as toys.

    Anyway, I don’t think anything can be done to restrict selling of such devices, because legislation is hard to apply on online services when the seller is based outside the country where the legislation applies. Even if ebay, for example, finds a way to force such restrictions, there are (and will be) other online sellers that will ignore them…

    Honestly, I would worry much more instead about the consequences that the frequent use of powerful “miniature” transceivers such as UV-5R can have on the health of their operators, since I have never seen ANY ad or product description stating e.g. for how much time you can safely have this thing almost touching your head while sending out 4 or 5 Watts at high frequencies. Especially if you are a child with a growing brain…

    • “…on the health of their operators…” ? Give me a break. These things aren’t going to hurt anybody by RF radiation, if that’s your concern. No reputable study has ever shown a possible threat to health by an HT or cell phone or walkie-talkie. And several studies have debunked the mindless myths perpetuated by homeopathic paranoids who live in granola caves and spout their anti-AMA and anti-fluoridated-water doctrines.

      You haven’t seen an ad stating how much time you can safely have this thing touching your head? Well, ok, but you have also never seen an ad stating the maximum number of socks you should buy on Friday nights either. Sheesh.

  4. First, It sounds to me like these are kids using *their parents* radio — not kids buying a radio themselves. The parents could be (and probably are) licensed hams, or only using the radios for unlicensed frequencies. This could just as easily have happened to children of a police reservist or EMT.

    Second, this just makes the case that people (adults) need to be more informed about programming the radios. The transmit frequency can easily be set out-of-band or to an unlicensed frequency. Rather than fear-mongering, making dark predictions of doom and snobbish dismissals of “Chinese junk”, hams should be advising people to take the simple steps that make these transmissions impossible. I’ve done that on my blog and in reviews of these radios on Amazon. I don’t see the so-called “responsible” old-timers doing that.

    Third, if you want to spur a buying spree of these radios, then start telling people that they’re going to be banned. Another good idea is to let people know that, for $35, they can cause a lot mischief and induce impotent rage in a bunch of geezers on a repeater.

    Fourth, two months ago I was on here saying that ham fear-mongering over these radios was making them more attractive to the “wrong element”. There were howls of denial and angry demands for examples of such fear-mongering. Wow.

    Last, it’s very odd to me that so many hams, who are so conservative and oppose “regulations” on principle, have this knee-jerk reaction in favour of the harshest possible regulations on radios. These are invariably the same people who rail against the weakest possible regulation of guns, which are far more dangerous in the hands of children.

    These radios have made ham radio much more accessible to many, many people who would never have considered it otherwise. I’m one of them. They will probably keep the hobby alive much longer than it would have otherwise. Especially considering that there is a weird, fearful attitude underlying discussion from long-time hams that people need to *kept out* of the hobby.

    • For what it’s worth: my experience is that when someone who isn’t licensed asks about these radios (because they are cheaper and weigh less than portable scanners!) I always see licensed amateurs explain how to program them to disable transmit.

  5. Yes, lets just ban everything.

    A good excuse to stop Chinese imports as well as keep plenty of US dealers
    happy that are doing nothing other than playing the sour grapes card for the last few years since the Chinese competition arrived.

    Some of us were not born yesterday you know !

  6. perhaps there should be a parental “lock control” added to the radio…Solves all the problem if the freq is FIXED and LOCKED with no other function other than TX and RX…

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