A Communications Q&A

Posted on 2023-10-22
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[Q] Does anyone know if it is prudent to have the shortwave radio rec. in the article or is it redundant if you already own Baofengs handhelds, BF-F8HP?

[A] You can receive and listen on Baofengs, but the antenna is small so you would need to be listening to a very local or very powerful broadcast to hear anything. Additionally, you want to make sure the radio you are getting to listen with can hear the frequencies you are interested in. There are scanners too that are made just for hearing a broad range of frequencies. Even if you don’t get your license, technically in an emergency anyone can put a call out for help on the ham bands. If you have one family member who is licensed, they whole family can still talk on the radio using their call sign as long as the family member with the license is the “control operator” (doesn’t always even have to be in the room, but confident that you are not breaking rules while using their call .

A Baofeng VHF/UHF radio can be used just for listing. However, you’ll only be able to hear people that are within line-of-sight of you (so, a few miles at best) or those that you can hear via a repeater (where I live, I can hear people maybe 50 miles away via repeater). A Baofeng will not allow you to do shortwave listening, which happens on the HF band, not on the 2m (VHF) or 70cm (UHF) band.

Having a shortwave radio (for instance, the Tecsun that the CORAC Comms team suggests) would not be redundant in your case, Susan; it would allow you to listen to the HF band, whereas you Baofengs are limited to the 2m and 70cm bands.


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