About GMRS

What is GMRS?

The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a two-way radio service designated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for personal use in the United States and other territories under FCC jurisdiction.

A valid GMRS license issued by the FCC is required to operate on the channels that comprise GMRS. While low-end consumer-grade radios are often labeled as "FRS/GMRS" radios, these are actually different radio services and have separate rules despite their similarities. These differences are covered below.

GMRS is currently restricted to individuals and their immediate family members for personal use, however businesses may utilize GMRS if: a. they currently hold a valid grandfathered license which originally granted permission to operate as a business; or b. each user of the radio system holds their own individual GMRS license.

License Required

Any individual in the United States who is at least 18 years old and not a representative of a foreign government may apply for a GMRS license by completing an application with the FCC and paying the license fee, which is currently $90.00 for a 5-year term. An exam is not required to obtain a GMRS license.

A valid GMRS license issued by the FCC is required to transmit on any GMRS channel. In cases where channels are shared between GMRS and the license-free FRS, a license is not required if you are operating under the limitations of the FRS rules.

For example, if you were to use Channel 1 (462.5625 MHz) with a radio that does not have a detachable antenna and you transmit with 0.5 Watts or less of ERP (Effective Radiated Power), you do not need a license. However, if you transmit with a power level above 0.5W ERP, you would then require a GMRS license since you are no longer operating within the FRS rules.

Differences with FRS, MURS, or CB Radio

Below is a simplified table highlighting the key differences between these radio services:

GMRS, FRS, MURS, and CB Radio Comparison
GMRS FRS MURS CB
FCC Part 95 Rule A B J D
Modulation FM FM FM AM
SSB
Frequency Range 462 - 467 462 - 467 151 - 154 26 - 27
Channels 23 14 5 40
Power Limit 50W TPO 0.5W ERP 2W TPO 4W (AM)
12W PEP (SSB)
External Antennas
Repeaters

Frequency Chart

FRS/GMRS Frequency Chart
Channel Frequency Service
1 462.5625 FRS/GMRS
2 462.5875 FRS/GMRS
3 462.6125 FRS/GMRS
4 462.6375 FRS/GMRS
5 462.6625 FRS/GMRS
6 462.6875 FRS/GMRS
7 462.7125 FRS/GMRS
8 467.5625 FRS
9 467.5875 FRS
10 467.6125 FRS
11 467.6375 FRS
12 467.6625 FRS
13 467.6875 FRS
14 467.7125 FRS
15 462.550 GMRS
16 462.575 GMRS
17 462.600 GMRS
18 462.625 GMRS
19 462.650 GMRS
20 462.675 GMRS
21 462.700 GMRS
22 462.725 GMRS

FCC Lines

Line A. An imaginary line within the U.S., approximately paralleling the U.S.-Canadian border, north of which Commission coordination with the Canadian authorities in the assignment of frequencies is generally required. It begins at Aberdeen, Washington, running by great circle arc to the intersection of 48° N., 120° W., then along parallel 48° N., to the intersection of 95° W., thence by great circle arc through the southernmost point of Duluth, Minnesota, thence by great circle arc to 45° N., 85° W., thence southward along meridian 85° W. to its intersection with parallel 41° N., to its intersection with meridian 82° W., thence by great circle arc through the southernmost point of Bangor, Maine, thence by great circle arc through the southernmost of Searsport, Maine, at which point it terminates.

Line C. An imaginary line in Alaska approximately paralleling the border with Canada, East of which Commission coordination with Canadian authorities in the assignment of frequencies is generally required. It begins at the intersection of 70° N., 144° W., thence by great circle arc to the intersection of 60° N., 143° W., thence by great circle arc so as to include all the Alaskan Panhandle.