What Is GMRS Radio?

Written by keith allen
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General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is most often a mobile two-way radio system that connects the extended family of an individual during business and recreational activities. It is different from the Family Radio System (FRS) by the maximum power allowed during transmission and the antenna configuration. Some radio hardware is marketed as being compatible with both the GMRS and FRS rules. These are referred to as dual-service radios.


GMRS require the principle operator be issued a license. This license, issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is granted for five years. This entitles the operator to transmit on radio equipment with between 1 and 5 watts of power. The Family Radio System does not require a license but is limited to half a watt of transmitter power. According to the FCC, the cost of the license is £39 per call sign as of 2010.


GMRS radios operate between 462 and 467 megahertz of frequency. The FRS radios also operate in roughly the same band of frequencies.


According to the website fcc.gov, a GMRS radio system can be used by the licensed individual, his or her immediate family including parents and grandparents, children, aunts and uncles and in-laws. The licensee and family can use the radio system in and around the home or residence and when travelling.


Many GMRS radio manufacturers claim a range of up to 7 miles, according to the website thetravelinsider.info. This can be extended by using an external antenna and maximum power. Theoretically the GMRS system can have a range of more than 12 miles although that is rarely reached in normal conditions.


While GMRS radios have more power and range than FRS it still is limited. Longer range two-way radio communications can be achieved with citizen's band (CB) radios that often have a range of up to 25 miles. Many families now use cell phones for long-range and short-range communications requirements. These can have almost unlimited range using the phone company's system of towers and networks and do not require a license to operate.

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