I never said it would be illegal for HAMS to use them. But the OP is not a ham, we're not in that context.
A ham can legally broadcast using a toaster oven
and a crystal whisker, if they want to. However, most hams today are incapable of testing their equipment
to ensure it meets the technical specifications for Part 97, making it a foolish risk for them to use uncertified equipment
This equipment, these radios (like almost all the Chinese SDRs that are sold "for" ham use) are not Part97 certified. That also means it is ILLEGAL for the VENDOR to advertise the use of these radios for ham radio
, or to intentionally sell them for that purpose.
Oh, and if the ham, or anyone else, is using them on FRS frequencies, and the antenna
can be unscrewed and replaced, as is usual on the Baofengs and others? That's $10,000 right there, the antenna
on an FRS radio
may not be replaceable, it could exceed the ERP limits. I have no idea what the power limits on these radios are, either.
Whether these SDRs actually can meet Part 97 specs or not, is a whole other question. If a radio is uncertified despite a huge potential market--you can rashly assume it wouldn't pass the test. The FCC lets hams get away with a lot of things "wink wink nudge nudge" as Monty Python said.
Yes, a lot of hams do use them. The OPs were looking for unlicensed radios, not ham radios. These radios also happen to make lousy ham radios, because it is so cumbersome to program them for repeater splits and options, and so little simplex is done on those channels.