Wednesday, August 10, 2016

THE LEGALITY OF CHINESE RADIOS

Hello and welcome back.... With the flood of Chinese radios on the market, i'm talking about radio makers such as Baofeng, Puxting, TYT and a string of others.

These radios offer value for money with features galore (LED lights, FM Radio, Duel Receive / Transmit) who seriously put other larger radio company's to shame.

These amazing little radios are available from around $29 - $399 on Ebay and Alibaba.

There's just one problem...

In Australia, they're ILLEGAL.

Well, it is to transmit on one and if the ACMA don't like the look of you, you could be fined for just having one in your possession.

The fine is a whopping $12,000 and if your caught selling these radios its a staggering $150,000

THE ACMA SAY =

The use of non-standard radiocommunications equipment including, but not limited to, cordless phones, land mobile transceivers, CB radios and a range of low power appliances, may cause costly interference. Some of the services which may be affected by interference are cellular (mobile) phone services, broadcast radio and television, and two-way radio services, including emergency services.

The use and (sometimes) possession of radiocommunications equipment not specifically designed to comply with Australian standards may be illegal. There are severe penalties for operation, possession for the purpose of operation and supply of radiocommunications equipment that does not comply with applicable Australian standards.

It is illegal to operate any radio transmitter in Australia unless the operation of that transmitter is authorised by a licence issued by the ACMA.

Low power transmitters are generally covered by an ACMA radiocommunications class licence. Spectrum usage and equipment standards vary around the world, and it can be difficult to ensure that equipment purchased overseas complies with an ACMA class licence. The operation of most base stations, mobile and handheld transmitters can only be authorised by an apparatus licence, which incurs additional costs.

Two-way base, mobile and handheld equipment other than those used in the amateur service usually requires the assignment of individual operating frequencies. It is most unlikely that this type of equipment, which may be authorised for use in other countries, could be authorised for use in Australia without at least requiring a frequency change, and in many instances cannot be operated at all. As a result, it is generally impractical to bring such equipment into Australia.

Radiocommunications equipment approved for use in Australia has the C-Tick compliance mark, showing that it meets mandatory technical standards set by the ACMA.

If radiocommunications equipment is designed to connect to a telecommunications network it must also comply with regulations applicable to telecommunications equipment and be labelled with the A-Tick compliance mark. It is not necessary for such equipment to also bear the C-Tick mark. For such equipment, the A-Tick mark is sufficient indication that the equipment complies with both radiocommunications and telecommunications regulations.


MY SAY =

Look, i get it... These radios, if in the wrong hands can cause lots of problems, programed correctly you can start transmitting on various emergency services, business owners, State Rail, etc etc...

Also if transmitting on say, Ch19 on UHF CB there has been instances where the splatter can be heard on Ch 18,17 and sometimes 16. This apparently does not happen with a certified radio.

I own a Baofeng GT-3 and using software (Chirp) have disabled all transmitting on my radio so it is now effectively just a scanner now.
I have also gone one step further and cut a small piece of rubber from the transmit button so there is no way i can accidentally transmit on my radio (see pics below)

But is it still legal?.. I only receive now so it should be O.K (i hope)

Even if you have an Amateur radio license you may still be in trouble

BUT.. What i don't get...

Most radios that have the 'Tick' of approval are guess what??... Bloody expensive.

Why can't radio manufacturers like Alinco, Icom, Kenwood, etc, etc, make radios that don't cost the earth... Seriously, if small Chinese company's can do it then why can't larger company's.. after all, most of them are made in bloody China anyway

I hear you say, the components are better quality??

I own a Alinco scanner (DJ-X3) and while its a decent radio, my Baofeng has way better sound, its so clear and crisp and the Baofeng has a keypad, the Alinco does not...
Both receive the same...
One radio cost $59, the other cost $249
While the Alinco receives Airband Radio and a crappy Shortwave, the $200 difference is hard to swallow, may have been OK 10 years ago but not in today's market.

Still, these Chinese made radios have more features including (as mentioned before) LED lighting, FM Radio (alinco has this), Duel Receive, ....and while components may be more expensive, it still does not cover the fact that they the larger company's are $200 - $400 more expensive...

Me thinks a huge shake up in the radio communications is in order with larger company's not able to compete with Chinese company's who are able to make radios for as little as $29

Legal or Not...


HOW TO MAKE YOUR CHINESE RADIO NOT TRANSMIT

Using CHIRP SOFTWARE untick the options to turn off the transmit functions (see below)... Note, the VHF and UHF TX Transmit has been disabled


AND

If your still paranoid that you may still hit the transmit button accidentally... try this hack (note - this will void your warranty)

This hack cuts away a small piece of rubber of the transmit button and wont allow you to transmit.


 Four screws hold this radio in place, they are hex type nuts (i used a small flat screwdriver), be carefull not to shred the screw heads.

The 2 gold nuts have to come off, its pretty easy, just take your time...

Should look like this...

Gently pry the bottom up while pushing on the antenna node, it should then look like this... A small bit of tape that holds the speaker the the case will now come off (this is the warranty seal)... Be careful of the small speaker wires...

Pry the rubber button out..

Pry the rubber button inside out...

Using a sharp knife cut half the rubber from the transmit button (middle)


Put back into radio pushing the rubber gently into place with a small screwdriver... NOTE = make sure the button writing is the right way up (see below)


Now, Just put the radio back together, gently watching for the speaker wires...

Casualty, even being careful, i managed to catch the little rubber holding the plug (above).. but the radio went into place better (also pry the sides apart gently while trying to place the keypad into place)

NOW there is no way you can transmit on this radio...

Pleeese, Don't forget to shout me a coffee (see link top right corner).. Any amount big or small is much appreciated and it keeps this site happening :)

MORE PICS..
http://www.stevencombs.com/ham/2015/03/22/baofeng-gt-3-mark-ii-tear-down.html


2 comments:

  1. Hi Michael. I have this radio and programmed it for the 80ch CB plan. I really wanted to disable transmit on all other frequencies but couldn't get it to happen with the stock software. Going to give this a go, as I would hate to accidentally cause an incident.

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  2. I have to admit, I could kick myself that I did not check for the ' C tick' but I don't understand why sites like Ebay Australia have some sort of watch dog so these things don't appear on the site. They do it for guns and other illegal items, but I will keep my units, I suppose they will come in handy for something.
    But a big thanks for the heads up Michael, it is much appreciated.

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