General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) Frequently Asked Questions

GMRS – 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 individual and his or her immediate family members, including a spouse, children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and in-laws (47 CFR 95.179). Normally, as a GMRS system licensee, you and your family members would communicate among yourselves over the general area of your residence or during recreational group outings, such as camping or hiking.

The FCC grants five-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.

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.

Licensing – 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 five-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. See Fee Requirements for FCC Form 605 for current licensing fee information.

 

Operations – You may operate your FRS unit within the territorial limits of the fifty United States, the District of Columbia, and the Caribbean and Pacific Insular areas (“U.S.”). You may also operate your FRS unit on or over any other area of the world, except within the territorial limits of areas where radio- communications are regulated by another agency of the U.S. or within the territorial limits of any foreign government.

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.

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.