Icasa bans Baofeng UV-5R two-way radio but you can still buy it

  • The Baofeng UV-5R two-way radio allegedly causes radio frequency interference due to its continuous tuning capabilities.
  • This, Icasa says, is in contravention of regulation 35 of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations.
  • The same two-way radio was banned in Germany and Poland in 2021.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has announced a prohibition on the sale and use of a specific two-way radio that has caused trouble in other parts of the world.

That two-way radio is the Baofeng UV-5R and the ban comes after the authority received a complaint about the device.

“It is alleged that the device has continous tuning capabilities, and is causing radio frequency interference, because of these continuous tuning capabilities. A preliminary investigation by Authority confirms that this is indeed the case,” Icasa wrote.

“Continuous tuning enables a radio device to scan and tune into all the channels of a given frequency band – including those that the device is not licensed to occupy,” the authority added.

Curiously, South Africa is not the first country to ban the use of these two-way radios. In December 2021, German and Polish regulators banned the same radio claiming that the specifications of the radio don’t match the documents that accompany them. In addition these radios did not meet the requirements of the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU.

Locally, Icasa says that the continuous tuning capabilities are in contravention of regulation 35 of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations (PDF). This regulation stipulates that no radio receiving apparatus capable of continuous tuning can be tuned to bands above 30MHz. There are exceptions to this, but seemingly the Baofeng doesn’t fall into any of those exceptions.

The authority has now instructed all parties involved in the sale and distribution of these radios to remove them within 14 working days of this notice being filed.

A cursory search online reveals that the Baofeng UV-5R is still available for purchase on retailers such as Takealot and Security and More. As this notice was published at the end of the day on Friday, we suspect that these retailers and others are still yet to learn of Icasa’s advice.

A final determination as to the fate of the Baofeng UV-5R will be published by Icasa in due course.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]


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