General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)
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GMRS General Mobile Radio Service

The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a land-mobile UHF radio service in the United States available for short-distance two-way communications to facilitate the activities of an adult individual who possesses a valid GMRS license, as well his or her immediate family members, including a spouse, children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and in-laws (47 CFR 95.179). 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, may not use this service.

GMRS 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 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. They are more expensive than the walkie talkies typically found in discount electronics stores, but are higher quality.

GMRS Licensing

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. No exam is required. Prior to July 31, 1987, the FCC issued GMRS licenses to non-individuals (corporations, partnerships, government entities, etc). These licensees are grandfathered in and may renew their existing licenses, but no new GMRS licenses are being issued to non-individuals, nor may existing non-individual licensees make major modifications to their licenses.

Although the introductory paragraph (as taken from the FCC website) would seem to exclude communications with others that are not part of one's immediate family, the license actually extends privileges of the primary licensee to include communications with the licensee's immediate family members, and authorizes immediate family members to use the licensee's station (s) to conduct the activities of the licensee.

Additionally, the FCC rules for GMRS state: "A GMRS license authorizes a GMRS station to transmit messages to other GMRS stations at any geographical location within or over the territorial limits of any area where radio services are regulated by the FCC". This means that GMRS licensees are also allowed to communicate with other licensees in the wider GMRS community. Further, the FCC has clarified that GMRS licensees are allowed to communicate with FRS users on those frequencies that are shared between the two services. The issue here is that the rules require each GMRS user family to have a license, rather than (as in the case of commercial and public safety land mobile license) authorizing a licensee's employees to use the same license.

GMRS Interstitial Frequencies

There are 7 "interstitial" channels shared with Family Radio Service, and 8 channels exclusively for GMRS. The GMRS-only channels are defined in pairs, with one frequency in the 462 MHz range for simplex and repeater outputs, and another frequency 5 MHz higher for repeater inputs. GMRS use requires an FCC license in the US, and licensees are permitted to transmit at up to 50 watts on GMRS frequencies (although 1 to 4 watts is more common), as well as have detachable or external antennas. GMRS licensees are also able to use the first 7 FRS frequencies (the "interstitial" GMRS frequencies), but at the lower 5 watt maximum power output, for a total of 15 channels. FRS channels 8 through 14 are not available for GMRS use; use of these frequencies requires an FRS transceiver.[2]

Recently, hybrid FRS/GMRS consumer radios have been introduced that have 22 channels, instead of the 14 channels associated with FRS. On this type of radio, channels 8-14 are strictly license-free FRS channels: Transmitting on all channels above channel 14 requires a license, and transmitting on the shared FRS/GMRS channels 1-7 also requires a license, IF the effective radiated power is greater than 500 milliwatts (1/2 watt). It is the responsibility of the radio user to read and understand all applicable rules and regulations regarding GMRS. The FCC rules and statements regarding the use of hybrid radios on channels 1-7 addresses the need for GMRS licensing only when operating under the rules that apply to the GMRS. Many hybrid radios have an ERP that is lower than 1/2 watt on channels 1-7, or can be set by the user to operate at low power on these channels. This allows hybrid radios to be used under the license free FRS rules if the ERP is less than 1/2 watt AND the unit is certified for FRS operation on those frequencies. Only one maker of hybrid FRS/GMRS radios (Garmin) presently sells radios that will operate on the GMRS repeater channels; the common "22 channel" radios cannot be used with GMRS repeaters.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Home Page

General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)

The Official FCC Rules and Regulations for General Mobile Radio Service

General Mobile Radio Service (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.

GMRS 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. New filers can learn more about ULS in its getting started tutorials. See Fee Requirements for FCC Form 605 for current licensing fee information.

FCC: Wireless Services: General Mobile Radio Service: GMRS Home

General Mobile Radio Services License Forms

FCC Form 605
Quick-Form Application for Authorization in the Ship, Aircraft, Amateur, Restricted and Commercial Operator, and General Mobile Radio Services

Edition Date: July 2021

To file electronically, click Online Filing

Forms & Schedules Listed by Purposes for All Radio Services:

NE - New:
This purpose should be used for the following types of filings; 1) initial applications and 2) change in vessel or aircraft.

NOTES:

  • New Amateur applications must be filed by a Volunteer Examiner Coordinator.
  • For the General Mobile Radio Services (GMRS), effective January 1, 1989, the purpose of 'NEW' may not be filed by anyone other than an Individual applicant type.

MD - Modification:
To request a change in the conditions of any data (technical only or administrative and technical) for a license during the term of that license. Use Item 5 on the Main Form to provide the Call Sign/Serial # of the affected station. The appropriate schedule must be completed and attached, and must accurately reflect the data that has been modified. See applicable Commission rules. Choose purpose MD if you are requesting consolidation of DO and DM operator classes (Commercial Operator); enter DO Serial # in Item 5.

NOTES:

  • After a license is modified, the FCC will issue a new license and previous versions of the license will no longer be valid, regardless of the expiration date shown. License terms will not be extended as a result of an application for Modification.
  • If the changes desired are to administrative data only, use the Administrative Update purpose instead of Modification (see Administration Update purpose, 'AU', above for further description of permissible administrative updates).
  • Modification to Amateur application for upgrade (i.e., Technician to General, General to Extra) to operator's class must be filed by Volunteer Examiner Coordinator.

RO/RM - Renewal Only or Renewal/Modification:
(NOTE: Applicable to Ship and Aircraft Radio Service applicants only)
To file an initial request for an STA, applicants should select an application purpose of NE. STAs are granted for a maximum of 180 days. If another STA is needed, applicants may file by selecting application purpose RO - Renewal Only and supply the appropriate Call Sign in Item 5 or by selecting application purpose NE - New. The renewal purpose is provided for the convenience of the applicant (the applicant will retain the same call sign if the STA request is granted).

AM - Amendment:
To amend a previously-filed, currently pending application(s). Use Item 4 to provide the File Number(s) of the affected pending application(s). The appropriate schedule must be completed and attached, and must accurately reflect the amended data. See applicable Commission Rules.

AU  Administrative Update
Changes limited to the following: Licensee Name (without a change in ownership) Entity Name (without a change in ownership, control or corporate structure), Mailing Address, Telephone Number, Fax Number, E-Mail Address, Vessel Name (applicable to Radio Service Codes SA or SB only) and FAA Registration Number (the N number) for Radio Service AC only

WD  Withdrawal of Application
Used to request a withdrawal of an application, currently in a pending or returned status.

CA  Cancellation of License
To request a cancellation of a license during the term of that license. Use Item 5 on the Main Form to provide the Call Sign/Serial # of the cancelled license. 

Applicable Schedules Required for Purposes of NE, MD or RM for Specified Radio Service

Service

ULS Form/Schedule Title

Ship Radio Service
(47
CFR Part 80)

FCC 605 Main Form - Quick-Form Application for Authorization
Schedule B - Schedule for Additional Data for the Ship Radio Service

Waiver request for Exemption from Ship Station Requirements
(47
CFR Part 80)

FCC 605 Main Form - Quick-Form Application for Authorization
Schedule G - Exemption from Ship Station Requirements

Aircraft Radio Service
(47
CFR Part 87)

FCC 605 Main Form - Quick-Form Application for Authorization
Schedule C - Schedule for Additional Data for the Aircraft Radio Service

Amateur Radio Service
(47
CFR Part 97)

FCC 605 Main Form - Quick-Form Application for Authorization
Schedule D - Schedule for Additional Data in the Amateur Radio Service

Commercial Radio Operator, Restricted Radiotelephone, and Restricted Radiotelephone-Limited Use Radio Services
(47
CFR Part 13)

FCC 605 Main Form - Quick-Form Application for Authorization
Schedule E - Schedule for Additional Data for the Commercial Radio, Restricted Radiotelephone, and Restricted Radiotelephone-Limited Use Radio Services

General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)
(47
CFR Part 95)

FCC 605 Main Form - Quick-Form Application for Authorization

 Individual Schedules/Instructions Available for FCC 605:

Name

Schedule Title

Pages

Main Form

Quick-Form Application for Authorization in the Ship, Aircraft, Amateur, Restricted and Commercial Operator, and General Mobile Radio Services

11

Schedule A

Changes Affecting Multiple Call Signs or File Numbers Form FCC 605

2

Schedule B

Additional Data for the Ship Radio Service (Part 80)

5

Schedule C

Additional Data for the Aircraft Radio Service (Part 87)

2

Schedule D

Additional Data in the Amateur Radio Service (Part 97)

2

Schedule E

Additional Data for the Commercial Radio, Restricted Radiotelephone, and Restricted Radiotelephone-Limited Use Radio Services (Part 13)

2

Schedule F

Temporary Operator Permit for the Ship, Aircraft, Restricted Radiotelephone, Restricted Radiotelephone-Limited Use, and GMRS Radio Services

2

Schedule G

Ship Station Requirements (Part 80)

2

 FCC Form 605 (Includes Instructions & All Schedules)

Forms You May Also Need:
Forms you may also need for purposes of NE New, MD Modification and RM Renewal/Modification:
  • Form 159: Remittance Advice
  • Form 160: CORES Registration Form - FCC Registration Number (FRN) is required
  • Form 606: Associate WTB Call Signs & Antenna Registration Numbers With Licensees FRN

This second set of frequencies shows the interstitial ranges shared with the Family Radio Service services. These frequencies can only be used for simplex operations.

ChFrequencyChFrequency
1   462.56258   467.5625
2   462.58759   467.5875
3   462.612510   467.6125
4   462.637511   467.6375
5   462.662512   467.6625
6   462.687513   467.6875
7   462.712514   467.7125

The FRS was authorized on 06 June 96. It uses FM with a peak deviation of +/- 2.5 kHz. Maximum power is 0.5w ERP. Channels 1 - 7 are shared with GMRS. [95.627]

FCC: Wireless Services: Family Radio Service : Family Home

North of Line A & East of Line C

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.

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 1/2 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. The current fee for a new GMRS license is $85.00

Equipment

A GMRS system consists of station operators, a mobile station (often comprised of several mobile units) and sometimes one or more land stations. A small 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 5 watts ERP. Expect a communications range of five to twenty-five miles. You cannot make a telephone call with a GMRS unit.

Territorial Limits

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.

Click the Pictures to make to bigger

Channel Sharing

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.

Licensing Eligibility

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 are 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 (47 CFR 95.5)

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
Definition of  "Line A"
United States Government Memorandum
Date:June 23, 1989
Reply To Attention Of:Acting Chief, Treaty Branch
Subject:Definition of "Line A"
To:John A. Chudovan, Data Automation Liaison Officer, PRB
Reference:Your memorandum dated May 30, 1989

The definition of Line A in Section 90.7 is taken from Paragraph 2 of Arrangement A contained in the revised Technical Annex to the agreement between the United States and Canada on the "Coordination and Use of Radio Frequencies Above 30 Megacycles per Second", signed at Ottawa on June 16 and 24, 1965. As you indicate, some points on the line are defined as passing through certain points of cities. These points have been interpreted differently by various persons who have attempted to draw, or enter into a computer, points along this line. As you have noted, there are at least three sets of points used for the four cities listed. Because these points are subject to interpretation, it would be difficult to argue which set is correct; however, for the sake of consistency, it would be desirable that the same set of points be used by everyone.

A review of detailed maps indicates that the first of the three sets listed in your memorandum is the most accurate (assuming a typographical error in the minutes of longitude for Duluth) and is close to that used by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). In order that all agencies of the Federal Government are defining Line A in the same way, we would recommend that we adopt the same points as used by NTIA. They are as follows:

Searsport MEBangor MEDuluth MNAberdeen WA
44-27-0044-46-0046-36-0046-58-00 N
68-55-0068-47-0092-10-00123-50-00 W

You may wish to note that NTIA is using the following points for defining each end of the line:

Easternmost
Point
Westernmost
Point
44-00-0046-37-00 N
68-40-00125-00-00 W
We recommend that these end points be used or that the line segments be extended, if necessary, in the same direction from the above end points.
If there are any questions, you are welcome to contact me at 653-8135.
Donald F. Weiland

DFWEILAND: NW: SED: TB
TREATY "LINEA.DFW"


Comparison of GMRS vs. Amateur Radio

 

GMRS

AMATEUR

License Required?

Yes

Yes

License Test?

No

Yes

Temporary License?

Yes

No

License Fee?

$35.00

Free (testing fee may apply)

License Term?

10 years

10 years

Application

On-Line or Via U.S. Mail

At testing facility

Licensing Time.

12 Hours - online

Study, take test

Call Letter Format

Alpha-numeric (i.e.: WABC123)

Alpha-numeric-alpha (i.e.: W9ABC)

Equipment Type?

Professional / Commercial / Homemade

Amateur / Homemade

Equipment Cost?

$300 - $3,000 used

$100- $300 New

Who is covered by your license?

You, your spouse, & all of your & your spouse's immediate blood relatives

You only.

Can you talk to other licensees?

Yes

Yes

Maximum Power?

50 Watts RF at transmitter

100 + Watts

Repeaters Allowed?

Yes

Yes

Telephone Interconnect Allowed?

No

Yes (though not common anymore)

Multiple PL's on Repeater?

Generally Yes

Generally No

Can I use Ham Equipment on...?No

Yes

Can I use GMRS Equipment on...?

Yes

Yes

Is there an antenna height restriction?

No (except near airports or over 200')

No (except near airports or over 200')

Primarily Hobby Talk

No

Yes

Long Talks

No (Repeater usual timeout —90 sec)

Yes

Family Business

Yes (read grocery list, etc)

Not usually

Give the radios to The kids in a Mall?

Yes

No

Son/Daughter/Wife grabs the radio to call you?

Yes

Only if licensed.

Business Use

No

No

Emergency Communications

Yes

Yes

Average Conversation

1-2 minutes or less

10 + minutes

Average use

Home to mobile

Hobbyist to Hobbyist

Technical knowledge required?

No

Yes

Prepare you for a rewarding career in Radio?

No

Maybe........:-)

Is one a threat to the other?

No

No

Can I have both licenses?

Yes

Yes

 

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