GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service)
Getting your ham radio license to allow communication without the grid is ideal. But not everyone has the time or inclination to study for the license exams needed for ham radio. Even if you have a ham license, your loved ones may not. The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) can potentially fill that gap.
GMRS bridges the gap between the low-power Family Radio Service (FRS) and the steeper barriers to the entry of ham radio. GMRS offers some of the benefits of ham radio, like higher transmit power and the use of repeaters, but the equipment is simpler and cheaper. You need a license to use GMRS, but it only requires a small fee, no exam, and the license covers your entire immediate family. The license costs $35 for ten years. So, for $3.50 a year, you and your family could have self-reliant communication.
SPARC is also working to bridge the gap by promoting a network of radio operators who can relay messages between radio services such as GMRS and ham radio. This allows GMRS users to communicate outside of their local communities and possibly all over the world!
- GMRS is for individuals and their family members.
- The FCC licenses GMRS “to facilitate the activities of licensees and their immediate family members.” So, only small family run businesses qualify to use GMRS.
- One license covers the licensee and their immediate family members.
- Is a more powerful service for individuals than FRS.
- Handheld radios can be up to 5 watts but must transmit in analog.
- Repeaters are allowed with some limitations.
- GMRS requires a license. One license covers the entire family.
- You must be 18 years old or older to apply for the license, but anyone within your family (regardless of age) can use the radios.
- Equipment must be certified for GMRS use.
- You can only transmit on frequencies designated for GMRS (see list below).
- You must stay within the power limitations assigned for each frequency (see list below).
GMRS Simplex Only Frequences
|CH||Type||Frequency||FRS Limits||GMRS Limits|
|1||FRS/GMRS||462.5625||2W / 12.5kHz||5W / 20kHz|
|2||FRS/GMRS||462.5875||2W / 12.5kHz||5W / 20kHz|
|3||FRS/GMRS||462.6125||2W / 12.5kHz||5W / 20kHz|
|4||FRS/GMRS||462.6375||2W / 12.5kHz||5W / 20kHz|
|5||FRS/GMRS||462.6625||2W / 12.5kHz||5W / 20kHz|
|6||FRS/GMRS||462.6875||2W / 12.5kHz||5W / 20kHz|
|7||FRS/GMRS||462.7125||2W / 12.5kHz||5W / 20kHz|
|8*||FRS/GMRS||467.5625||.5W / 12.5kHz||.5W / 12.5kHz|
|9*||FRS/GMRS||467.5875||.5W / 12.5kHz||.5W / 12.5kHz|
|10*||FRS/GMRS||467.6125||.5W / 12.5kHz||.5W / 12.5kHz|
|11*||FRS/GMRS||467.6375||.5W / 12.5kHz||.5W / 12.5kHz|
|12*||FRS/GMRS||467.6625||.5W / 12.5kHz||.5W / 12.5kHz|
|13*||FRS/GMRS||467.6875||.5W / 12.5kHz||.5W / 12.5kHz|
|14*||FRS/GMRS||467.7125||.5W / 12.5kHz||.5W / 12.5kHz|
* – Channels 8-14 require a built-in antenna on the radio.
GMRS Repeater Frequencies
|Ch||Type||Frequency||FRS Limits||GMRS Limits|
|15||FRS/GMRS||462.5500||2W / 12.5kHz||50W / 20kHz|
|16||FRS/GMRS||462.5750||2W / 12.5kHz||50W / 20kHz|
|17||FRS/GMRS||462.6000||2W / 12.5kHz||50W / 20kHz|
|18||FRS/GMRS||462.6250||2W / 12.5kHz||50W / 20kHz|
|19||FRS/GMRS||462.6500||2W / 12.5kHz||50W / 20kHz|
|20||FRS/GMRS||462.6750||2W / 12.5kHz||50W / 20kHz|
|21||FRS/GMRS||462.7000||2W / 12.5kHz||50W / 20kHz|
|22||FRS/GMRS||462.7250||2W / 12.5kHz||50W / 20kHz|
|RPT15||GMRS||467.5500||–||50W / 20kHz|
|RPT16||GMRS||467.5750||–||50W / 20kHz|
|RPT17||GMRS||467.6000||–||50W / 20kHz|
|RPT18||GMRS||467.6250||–||50W / 20kHz|
|RPT19||GMRS||467.6500||–||50W / 20kHz|
|RPT20||GMRS||467.6750||–||50W / 20kHz|
|RPT21||GMRS||467.7000||–||50W / 20kHz|
|RPT22||GMRS||467.7250||–||50W / 20kHz|
Channels 15-22 are GMRS Repeater Output and shared FRS/GMRS simplex
Channels RPT15-RPT22 are GMRS Repeater Input only