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FRS - Family Radio Service is an improved walkie talkie radio system authorized in the United States since 1996. This personal radio service uses channelized frequencies in the ultra high frequency (UHF) band. It does not suffer the interference effects found on citizens' band (CB) at 27 MHz, or the 49 MHz band also used by cordless phones, toys, and baby monitors. FRS uses frequency modulation (FM) instead of amplitude modulation (AM). Since the UHF band has different radio propagation characteristics, short-range use of FRS may be more predictable than license-free radios operating in the HF CB band. No License is required to operate on FRS channels.
GMRS - General Mobile Radio Service is a licensed land-mobile FM UHF radio service in the United States available for short-distance two-way communication. It is intended for use by an adult individual who possesses a valid GMRS license, as well as his or her immediate family members. Immediate relatives of the GMRS system licensee are entitled to communicate among themselves for personal or business purposes, but employees of the licensee, who are not family members, are not covered by the same license. These radios are typically handheld portable devices much like Family Radio Service (FRS) radios, and share some frequencies with FRS. Mobile and base station-style radios are available as well, but these are normally commercial UHF radios as often used in the public service and commercial land mobile bands. These are legal for use in this service as long as they are GMRS type-approved.
BRS - Business Radio Service describes a series of frequencies on the VHF and UHF two-way radio bands. They are reserved for use by businesses, and in some cases, by individuals. In the United States, private use of these frequencies requires a federal license issued by the U.S. FCC. The exceptions to this are five specific frequencies that are also part of the Multi-Use Radio Service, which permits unlicensed operation on these frequencies, provided the output power does not exceed 2 watts. The electromagnetic spectrum between approximately 450 and 470 MHz is used largely for UHF business communications, although this spectrum is not exclusively for business use. There are also a number of specific frequencies, in both the VHF and UHF spectrum, that are for business use; some of these have color-coded names, such as Blue Dot or Red Star.
NOTE: FCC required all CFR 47 Part 90 VHF (150-174 MHz) and UHF (421-512 MHz) PLMR (Private Land Mobile Radio) licensees operating legacy wideband (25 kHz bandwidth) voice or data/SCADA systems to migrate to narrowband (12.5 kHz bandwidth or equivalent) systems] before 1/1/13.
MURS - Multi-Use Radio Service frequency band consist of five VHF shared frequencies designated for private, two-way, short-distance voice or data communications for personal or business activities within the United States for which no individual station licenses are required. There is no frequency coordination or license requirement for the use of radio transceivers on MURS frequencies. These channels are available for use on a "shared" basis by the general public. MURS radios offer: Simplicity and cost savings from not requiring frequency coordination and licensing and the ability for businesses to deploy a "common" radio configuration across multiple locations which may have otherwise been assigned different private frequencies due to regional frequency constraints/availability. This can greatly simplify procurement and deployment of radio assets. No License is required to operate on MURS channels.
BRS License Information
FCC license for Business Radio Service can be completed by filling out form 601. The instructions are located on their website. Before filling out form 601 you must select which frequency your company will operate on. Available frequencies can be found in the owners manual of each product or at the bottom of each product page on the HQ98 website. The most common are the default channels that some of the radios come pre-programmed with.
If you need assistance completing a form or filing information, contact the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 1-888-CALL-FCC .
GMRS License Information
If you are purchasing a two way radio that operates using GMRS frequencies and plan to use it within the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires that you register for a GMRS license. Any individual in the United States who is at least 18 years of age and not a representative of a foreign government may apply for a GMRS license by completing the application form (either on paper or through the FCC's Universal Licensing System) and paying the license fee (currently $85.00). No exam is required. A license for a GMRS system is usually issued for a 5-year term.
If you operate a radio that has been approved exclusively under the rules that apply to FRS, you are not required to have a license. FRS radios have a maximum power of ½ watt (500 milliwatt) effective radiated power and integral (non-detachable) antennas. If you operate a radio under the rules that apply to GMRS, you must have a GMRS license. GMRS radios generally transmit at higher power levels (1 to 5 watts is typical) and may have detachable antennas.
NOTE: Radios marketed as "FRS/GMRS" or "dual-service radios" are available from many manufacturers. The manual that comes with the radio, or the label placed on it by the manufacturer, should indicate the service the unit is certified for. If you cannot determine what service the unit may be used in, contact HQ98 for more information.
Why do I need an FCC GMRS license?
In the United States, the FCC regulates the frequencies that are used by devices like two way radios. The FCC requires that anyone operating a device on the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) obtain a license prior to use.
How do I apply for a GMRS FCC license?
A GMRS license requires that you complete FCC form 159 and form 605. These forms can be found on the FCC forms page. You can also apply for a GMRS license online at the FCC Universal License System (ULS) web site.
Is there a charge for a GMRS license?
Yes. The FCC currently charges a $85.00 fee for GMRS licenses. Some applications, such as government entities, are exempt from this fee. A license is valid for five years.
Do I have to get a GMRS license before I can buy a two way radio?
No. We do not require a license before we will ship a two way radio. We are in no way affiliated with the FCC, or the GMRS licensing process.
Do you report to the FCC that I purchased a GMRS radio?
Do I have to get a GMRS license if I live outside of the United States?
You only need a FCC GMRS license if you are using the GMRS frequencies within the United States.
I need a radio, but I don't want to pay for a GMRS license. What can I do?
Almost all GMRS radios also support FRS frequencies, which can be used without a license. Channels 8-14 on a typical 22 channel consumer radio reserved exclusively for FRS. These channels can be used license-free, but are limited to a half watt of transmit power and will have limited range.
NOTE: In Canada, hand-held GMRS radios up to 2 watts have been approved for use without a license since September 2004. Typically these are dual FRS and GMRS units, with fixed antennas, and operating at 2 watts on some GMRS channels and 0.5 watts on the FRS-only channels. Mobile units (permanently mounted in vehicles), base stations and repeaters are not currently permitted on the GMRS channels in Canada.