Most Radio handheld radios transmit/receive within a limited range (1-3 miles) depending on obstructions:
- UHF for Urban/Forested areas. Similar to Family Radio Service (FRS) or 70-Centimeter Ham frequencies around 450Mhz
- VHF for Rural/Hilly areas. Similar to Multi Use Radio Service (MURS) or 2-Meter Ham frequencies around 150Mhz
Channel Mode (MR)
Radios typically have 128 channels but could have anywhere between 2-4000 channels. There is a channel indicator onscreen on the right and changing channels will switch to the next higher or lower channel. These channels will have radio frequencies programmed in.
The Missouri Citizens Militia (MCM) has a standardized channel plan that is useful. Examples are:
• Channel 20 – Ham 2 Meter National Calling Frequency
• Channel 31-50 – MCM VHF and UHF iterant channels (future)
• Channel 70 – Ham 70 Centimeter National Calling Frequency
• Channel 86 – Marine Radio Emergency Channel 16
• Channels 93-99 – NOAA Weather stations
• Channels 101-122 – FRS Channel 1 – 22
• Channels 123-127 – MURS Channel 1 – 5
Programming most of the Chinese radios require a computer and programming cable. Though it is good to learn how to manually program in a channel or change settings. Keep printed documentation on hand.
Use the keypad to input a channel or frequency. Several keys have multiple purposes.
Frequency Mode (VFO)
If the radio is unlocked, then you can press the [VFO/MR] button to switch to VFO mode. Then you will need to input a frequency manually. Input the digits only and not the decimal point. The radio will stay on this frequency until you change it.
Dual Watch Selector [A/B] Button
Many radios are dual watch and can listen to two frequencies or channels at the same time. There is an up/down arrow indicating which one you will transmit on. Press the [A/B] Button to switch.
There is a [Lock] button so that the keypad ignores accidental keypresses. Press and hold again to unlock.
Press this [Scan] Button to start the radio to scan channels in the radio. Press any button to exit.
[Menu], [Up], [Down], and [Exit] Buttons
Use to access the radio’s menu and use the [Menu] button to confirm a menu option. Use the [up/down] arrow buttons to select options. Use the [Exit] Button to cancel menu options.
[Side Button 1]
Momentarily press [Side Button 1] to turn on/off the FM receiver. Press and hold for the alarm.
[Side Button 2]
Momentarily press [Side Button 2] to turn on/off the flashlight. Press and hold for opening the squelch.
The squelch needs to be more closed for receiving stronger signals and more open for receiving weaker signals. These are normally set by an RTO on a new radio. We follow Miklor’s advice for improving the factory settings. These may be adjusted depending on operator preference. http://www.miklor.com/COM/UV_Squelch.php
Voice Activation Setting (VOX)
VOX is not recommended. Use the Push-to-Talk [PTT] on the side, or on a Kenwood (K1) style accessory microphone.
Voice Prompts and Beep Settings
A radio used in the field should be less conspicuous. Turn off these “helpful” features.
There are a wide variety of accessories, antennas, and batteries. Beware that there are many fake items. So check with your RTO or use a reliable source like https://baofengtech.com/accessories.
Use cordage to leash your radio to your person. (Also, your compass, pistol, and other essentials!)
Saving (Programming) a Simplex Channel to Memory
- Press the [MENU] button to enter the menu.
- Enter   on the numeric keypad to get to MEM-CH.
- Press the [MENU] button to select.
- Use the [UP] and [DOWN] buttons to select a memory channel, or enter it in directly on the numeric
- Press the [MENU] button to confirm
Many of these radios allow you to program in frequencies that shouldn’t be transmitted on unless it is an emergency. You don’t want to be interfering with local police, fire, or ambulance operations. Fines can be up to $10,000.
However, it is recommended that you find these frequencies, write them down in your area intelligence book, and scan (listen) to them on a regular basis.
This will add to your situational knowledge about your local area. This freely accessible information is called “Open Source Intelligence” (OSINT).
See https://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/ for US frequencies.