The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a land-mobile radio service available for short-distance two-way communications to facilitate the activities of an adult licensed individual and his or her immediate family members, including a spouse, children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and in-laws. This includes communication between two or more licensees. Normally, as a GMRS system licensee, you and your and family members and/or other licensees would communicate among yourselves over the general area of your residence or during recreational group outings, such as camping or hiking.
The FCC grants ten-year renewable licenses for GMRS Systems. The individual licensee is responsible for the proper operations of the licensed GMRS system at all times.
FRS/GMRS Dual Service Radios
Some manufacturers have received approval to market radios that are certified for use in both the Family Radio Service (FRS) and the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS). Other manufacturers have received approval of their radios under the GMRS rules, but market them as FRS/GMRS radios on the basis that:
- Some channels are authorized to both services, or
- A user of the radio may communicate with stations in the other service.
Radios marketed as “FRS/GMRS” or “dual-service radios” are available from many manufacturers and many retail or discount stores. 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 the manufacturer.
You can allso check the radios FCC ID number at the following link:
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 1/2 watt (500 milliwatt) effective radiated power on FRS channels and 2 watts on GMRS channels with 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) for handhelds which typically have detachable antennas and up to 50 watts for mobiles. The current fee for a new GMRS license is $70.
Before any station transmits on any channel authorized in the GMRS from any point within or over the territorial limits of any area where the FCC regulates radio services, the responsible party must obtain a license. The FCC usually grants GMRS system licenses for a ten-year term. To apply for a GMRS system license, you may file online through the Universal Licensing System (ULS), or file FCC Form 605 manually. New filers can learn more about ULS in its getting started tutorials. See Fee Requirements for FCC Form 605 for current licensing fee information.
A GMRS system consists of station operators, a mobile station (often comprised of several mobile units) and sometimes one or more land stations. A base station is one that has an antenna no more than 20 feet above the ground or above the tree on which it is mounted and transmits with no more than 50 watts ERP. Expect a communications range of five to twenty-five miles. You cannot make a telephone call with a GMRS unit.
Normally, you and your family members would communicate between yourselves over the general area of your residence, such as an urban or rural area. This area must be within the territorial limits of the fifty United States, the District of Columbia, and the Caribbean and Pacific Insular areas. In transient use, mobile station units from one GMRS system may communicate through a mobile relay station in another GMRS system with the permission of its licensee. The communications may also be with mobile station units from other GMRS systems also with permission from the licensee to communicate through the mobile relay station.
GMRS applicants must certify that they will comply with the requirement that use of frequencies 462.650, 467.650, 462.700 and 467.700 MHz is not permitted near the Canadian border North of Line A and East of Line C. These frequencies are used throughout Canada and harmful interference is anticipated.
Every GMRS system station operator must cooperate in sharing the assigned channel with station operators in other GMRS systems by monitoring the channel before initiating transmissions, waiting until communications in progress are completed before initiating transmissions, engaging in only permissible communications and limiting transmissions to the minimum practical transmission time.
What’s A Repeater Do?
The General Mobile Radio Service has eight repeater frequency pairs. A radio repeater uses one of these pairs of frequencies to receive a radio signal on one frequency, called the input, and simulcasts a it to another, called the output. Repeaters are usually placed on hilltops, mountains, towers, or tall buildings. When the repeater receives a signal from a hand-held or mobile radio that signal is rebroadcast on the repeater output frequency. The repeater can broadcast over a much wider geographical area than a hand held or mobile radio, due to its greater antenna height over the ground and surrounding trees or objects. Most GMRS users do not own a repeater of their own. They will most likely share a repeater system with others. When you use the repeater you make it possible to communicate with your family over a much wider area, thus the reason for the LAG Systems.
An individual 18 years of age or older, who is not a representative of a foreign government, is eligible to apply for a GMRS system license. Individual family members of all ages are subsequently eligible to operate GMRS stations and units within the licensed system.
A non-individual (any entity that is not an individual-corporations, partnerships, associations, governmental units etc.) is not eligible to license a new system or make a major modifications to an existing GMRS system license. A GMRS system licensed to a non-individual prior to July 31, 1987 is eligible for renewal.
Non-individuals seeking new licenses for land-mobile radio service for short-distance two-way communications should refer to Private Land Mobile Radio Services.
There are many uses for GMRS. Heres a small list which may help you in considering becoming licensed. Once 1 person in the household becomes licensed, the ENTIRE FAMILY is licensed!
- Keep in touch with the kids and family
- Participate or arrange a Neighborhood Watch
- Communicate with other GMRS neighbors
- Skywarn/Weather Spotters
- Save money on cell phones