You will not see The Bacon Station support a brand and/or product leaning either way (unless we get major sponsorship or we are doing reviews in the future), but we do want to mention one in particular radio that is a great starter HT for kids. And that is The BaoFeng UV-5R radios.
These are great little "starter" radios for kids due to the price. At the time of writing this article, you can pick these up for around $25.00 from Amazon. So to us, that makes them somewhat disposable; however, in the spirit of keeping a newly licensed HAM Operator enthused and active, we will put together some tutorials, training, and projects using these radios that you can use with your kids as well.
As adult operators, these are great little radios to just have on hand either as a backup, or even as your main HT radio. For the price, you can get one for your car, for work, for your garage, and just have them in different areas for when you "forgot" your radio.
Great Class/Club Radio
With the price of these radios being so inexpensive, we actually purchased a radio for each of the students as an incentive to get their Technician License. For funding, we went to local groups and sought donations and did a little fundraising, but it wasn't much effort to be able to finance the project. Once everyone had the "same" radio, we were able to work together on different projects, putting this radio through it's pace so to speak, but it was a great tool to teach some of the items relating to VHF/UHF and portable communications.
Programming the Radio
There are three ways you can program this radio:
VFO - Just enter the frequency
Manual Channel - Manually program the information into the 128 channels
Software Channel - Use a computer with software to program the information into the 128 channels
Below we will discuss and give examples on how to perform the last 2 options. Option 1 is pretty self explanatory.
We have many references available for you in the reference section here on The Bacon Station, but when it comes to programming a radio, there are a few that are quite handy. There are probably many more, but we will add them as we find them. We are going to use these references now to find some frequencies to program into our radios.
Before you begin, you may want to download and print the Frequency Worksheet we have on here. You may have to write small, but it will give you the information you need to program the radio in the next steps.
Find local weather beacon. You can find your local weather beacon frequency by using the NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards Website. Simply go through the database and find the frequency for your local weather beacon.
Find local repeaters. You can find your local repeaters by using the The Repeater Book Database. Simply go through the database and find the frequency for your local repeaters.
Find local safety frequencies. You can find your local safety frequencies by using the The Radio Reference Website. Simply go through the database and find the frequency for your local safety services. REMEMBER: You do not want to transmit on these frequencies, but you are allowed to listen in on them.