Let not your Baefong lead you to temptation!

 Or,  Know the FCC rules!

 On a groups.io that I follow, there was a recent posting about a CSX train crew in New York state.  They were M409, a manifest or “mixed” freight.  They called their dispatcher to ask who was calling them.  All they could hear was a weak transmission ending in “M409”. The dispatcher said he would check and said no one else was around.

A little bit later, the dispatcher was heard telling someone to get off frequency and “go home” and that he would be notifying the police and the FCC.

The speculation is someone had a Baefong U5VR series radio that is old enough, or was illegally modified, so that it could operate on the 155-174 MHz Land Mobile band.

Baefongs seem to be popular “entry level” radios based on their low price.  In 2018 the FCC cited the importer for selling units that did not conform to the FCC Part 90 certification they were granted in 2012.  One of the many issues was they could transmit at 4 watts and regulation limits them to less than 2 watts.

Baefongs are the only DMR radios that seem to have compliance issues, but if you have another brand, do not be tempted to see of if you can transmit outside the amateur frequencies. 

Two Meter radios from Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood are all “locked down” so you cannot transmit on the Land Mobile frequencies even if you have entered and are scanning them.


For more information about radios, setting up your station and another topics, please follow the trail to:



See ‘ya down the log.
Frank KB3PQT


Introducing ZeroFalls.org

Recently it was my privilege to participate in a presentation given by Jim Idelson, K1IR, on the topic of Tower Safety.  Jim has performed research and analysis into how and why amateur radio enthusiasts suffer injuries and fatalities while erecting, maintaining, and removing antenna towers.

My brief summary of the presentation barely does justice to the effort Jim Idelson put into his research and the presentation.  Hopefully, my words will capture your interest and you will seek the original material to develop and build your own understanding of the topic.

The presentations can be viewed on YouTube.   You may wish to search for K1IR Tower Safety.
Or, this link will take you to a recording of a recent presentation given by Jim Idelson:   

Short version — Amateur Radio enthusiasts are exposed to injury or death at a rate of about four times greater than experienced by commercial tower workers.  Factors that .

  • Safety Equipment that does not meet current standards.  The leather climbing belts of days-gone-by no longer are suitable for tower workers.  A full fall-arrest climbing harness is today’s standard.  A hard-hat safety helmet and gloves are vital additions.
  • Safety Equipment that is used incorrectly or inconsistently compared to good safety practices.  The tower climber needs to be secured to the tower at all times.  This involves the use of dual lanyards and hooks — one of which must be properly secured to the tower while the other is being repositioned.
  • Planning, preparation, and skills of the climber as well as the ground crew need to be top notch.  Allow ample time in order to do the job right.  Don’t take shortcuts.  Don’t rush the job.
  • Never underestimate the need for proper guy wires at all times when working with guyed towers  When raising or removing a tower, even the first (or last) ten foot section of tower needs to be guyed using materials and methods as good as the permanent guys.


Jim Idelson is the founder of the Zero Falls Alliance.   

For more information about the Zero Falls Alliance and Tower Safety visit www.ZeroFalls.org    Take the pledge.