(Help) Baofeng BF-888S for a school

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(Help) Baofeng BF-888S for a school

Postby HUD209 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:51 am

Hi, I work in a school and have been tasked with finding a new set of around 20 radios for our dinner staff to use for about an hour a day during lunch. I searched around a bit and discovered these radios, they are extremely cheap and seem like good value for money and ideal for what we need them for.

I have zero (I repeat, zero) knowledge of radios and was somewhat concerned when I read that these radios operate on a reserved frequency in the UK by default. We have a simple site license paid for with Ofcom, but I'm still unsure of what frequencies I need to programme these radios to when/if we buy them. Can anyone here explain to me (as if you were explaining to a child) what exactly I would need to do to make these fine to use please?

I don't think the head teacher would be happy if the Ofcom Swat team descended onto the school because of me.

Thanks!
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Re: (Help) Baofeng BF-888S for a school

Postby thelad » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:16 pm

First thing the Bf888s are UHF, You need to find out if the site licence is UHF or VHF, It should say on the paperwork or you can name it here and we will be able to tell you via the ofcom database. If it is UHF then the 888s should be fine to use. They will need reprogramming to the site freq via Pc software and a cable , i would say if you have no idea then maybe get a local user to do them for you. They are good hard wearing radios and easy to use plus very cheap, also you can buy them in bulk. Also you may want to look at a multi-charger for them to charge 6 at a time.
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Re: (Help) Baofeng BF-888S for a school

Postby G4RMT » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:13 pm

They're dirt cheap, disposable, light and surprisingly useful radios. They'll work fine ion your frequency. The only thing that worries me is that with all the safeguarding issues regarding children, I'm amazed that schools simply use these radios when people can wig in so easily. I tried to explain this to a head teacher locally, and he told me nothing of consequence was ever transmitted. A week later I gave him a list of his staff names, a list of children's full names, with details of allergies some had to various food, details that mum wasn't at home today as she had gone on a field trip and the sister could not go home because she was throwing up as the house was empty. Full names of the little sods who were punching other children and full names of children who had to be collected and taken to the naughty childrens room, along with the occasional phone number of members of staff and parents. Private details of internal school issues that he'd rather keep quiet. He looked at the sheet in amazement, then I pressed play and replayed him some of the highlights. They now run a digital system that people cannot listen into. Safeguarding and of course the GDPR rules are powerful things to make FM listen in simply radio a bad move.
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Re: (Help) Baofeng BF-888S for a school

Postby m0lsx » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:41 pm

G4RMT wrote: The only thing that worries me is that with all the safeguarding issues regarding children, I'm amazed that schools simply use these radios when people can wig in so easily. I tried to explain this to a head teacher locally, and he told me nothing of consequence was ever transmitted. A week later I gave him a list of his staff names, a list of children's full names, with details of allergies some had to various food, details that mum wasn't at home today as she had gone on a field trip and the sister could not go home because she was throwing up as the house was empty. Full names of the little sods who were punching other children and full names of children who had to be collected and taken to the naughty childrens room, along with the occasional phone number of members of staff and parents. Private details of internal school issues that he'd rather keep quiet. He looked at the sheet in amazement, then I pressed play and replayed him some of the highlights. They now run a digital system that people cannot listen into. Safeguarding and of course the GDPR rules are powerful things to make FM listen in simply radio a bad move.


My wife sat at our daughters school several years ago & heard a staff member give a childs full name over the radio & raised her concerns. But was told, it was not an issue as it was a private radio frequency. But the staff member did admit that they knew they could hear others on that "private frequency" too. :huh: :huh: :shocker: :shocker:
I phoned the County Council & asked to speak with their data compliance officer & had a long & productive chat with them. The result was, one of the County Councils IT specialists, who was also a radio amateur, was asked to look at the issue & draw up a set of rules for all schools within the County using radios.
To be fair to who ever I spoke to. They were very receptive to what I had to say & saw that what I was saying could be a real issue fr them.
It always amazes me that people who know nothing about radios are often put in charge of them. For obvious reasons companies & local authorities, health trusts etc etc all employ people who understand Computers & IT security to deal with their IT security. Then they put someone who knows nothing about radio in charge of their radios & thus leave themselves wide open to very heavy fines under the data protection act. As passing any information held on an IT system over to others is covered by the data protection act, regardless of it is done over the phone, via a computer or via the mail system etc.
Plus, there are serious security issues to consider. For example, imagine that above mentioned mother returning home to discover that she had been burgled as some scrote had heard she was not at home via the school radio system.
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Re: (Help) Baofeng BF-888S for a school

Postby Minus1 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:04 am

http://static.ofcom.org.uk/static/busin ... leSite.pdf
(The document is out of date - like many OFCOM documents it has "2999" as the year - it does not include the new freqs at 451 and 458 MHz)
451.5125 NFM
451.525 NFM
451.5375 NFM
451.55 NFM
451.5625 NFM
451.775 NFM
458.5125 NFM
458.525 NFM
458.5375 NFM
458.55 NFM
458.5625 NFM
458.775 NFM


UHF (2W) is what you need, VHF powers (0.02W) are pathetic for a school - only powerful enough to use in large room.

Worry ye not about the paranoid, just use some common sense. Think of using it like a loudspeaker in the playground.
I reserve the right to ignore people who have made no attempt to the read the manual, and expect others to do it for them.
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Re: (Help) Baofeng BF-888S for a school

Postby Alfie » Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:28 pm

Minus1 wrote:http://static.ofcom.org.uk/static/businessradio/BusinessRadioSimpleSite.pdf
(The document is out of date - like many OFCOM documents it has "2999" as the year - it does not include the new freqs at 451 and 458 MHz)
451.5125 NFM
451.525 NFM
451.5375 NFM
451.55 NFM
451.5625 NFM
451.775 NFM
458.5125 NFM
458.525 NFM
458.5375 NFM
458.55 NFM
458.5625 NFM
458.775 NFM


UHF (2W) is what you need, VHF powers (0.02W) are pathetic for a school - only powerful enough to use in large room.

Worry ye not about the paranoid, just use some common sense. Think of using it like a loudspeaker in the playground.


That is strange as we have a simple site licence and the radios are correctly programmed in accordance with the licence and we dont use any of the above frequencies. in fact none of the frequencies we use on our simple licence are listed above or on the link you posted either ?
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Re: (Help) Baofeng BF-888S for a school

Postby HUD209 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:21 am

Thank you so much for the replies.

First of all, our license is just called "Business Radio (Simple Site) Licence Schedule 2"

You have also made some good points about privacy, it's something I haven't even considered before and due to your comments I have recommended we use the internal phone system for anything even slightly sensitive and the radios are used for very minor things.

How do I know what frequencies are UHF? there are lists of frequencies on the license, but they are all labeled MHz with no mention of UHF or NFM.

Thanks again.
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Re: (Help) Baofeng BF-888S for a school

Postby m0lsx » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:50 am

Minus1 wrote:Worry ye not about the paranoid, just use some common sense. Think of using it like a loudspeaker in the playground.


I have run an amateur radio club for a school, I regularly do radio bits for the Scouts & have done radio training work for St John Ambulance & it is not paranoia. We live in a world that is VERY quick to not just complain, but go way over the top when something negative & not necessarily bad happens.
And covering you rown back, is not just about you, it is about protecting those around you too. As good operating practice & having that practice in writing is just another part of anyone's legal duty under H & S, as well as Data Protection laws.
If something goes wrong, I & any group I help, can show that I have taken reasonable steps to think about the risks & the potentials associated with what I am doing. I may not have got everything right, but I have taken reasonable steps to avoid unreasonable risks.
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Re: (Help) Baofeng BF-888S for a school

Postby Chris P » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:22 am

HUD209 wrote:Thank you so much for the replies.

First of all, our license is just called "Business Radio (Simple Site) Licence Schedule 2"

You have also made some good points about privacy, it's something I haven't even considered before and due to your comments I have recommended we use the internal phone system for anything even slightly sensitive and the radios are used for very minor things.

How do I know what frequencies are UHF? there are lists of frequencies on the license, but they are all labeled MHz with no mention of UHF or NFM.

Thanks again.



simple site lic Frequencies below 170 Mhz would be classed as VHF and those above 400 Mhz classed as UHF and nearly all allocations are NFM
Regards Chris aka G8FFF nipper or tazmin88
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