- Basic FRS/Family Radios Service information.
What can FRS radios do?
It's important to note that FRS radios are intended and designed for family recreational use only. These radios are basically one step beyond toys. They won't hold up to the rigors of regular business use and are very likely to break after weeks or months if they are used daily. If you're using radios in any business setting, it's more cost effective in the long run to purchase durable Motorola business radios.
According to the FCC, the Family Radio Service may be "used by family, friends and associates to communicate within a neighborhood and while on group outings with a communications range of less than one mile." No license is required. You can use your FRS unit within the US, Mexico and Canada.
However, using these radios in other countries may present a legal issue. The radios will always work together anywhere on the planet. However, you'll want to check first with the equivalent of the FCC for any country in which you plan to travel with your radios. Frequency allocations for other destinations may, for instance, have our FRS frequencies designated for a local fire department or business band. FRS operates on 14 dedicated frequencies between 462.5625-467.7125 MHz. FRS radios and radios broadcasting on FRS frequencies are not allowed to broadcast above .5 watts (500 milliwatts). FRS radios may not use a detachable antenna or a repeater station. If you'd like to see more details on this subject, click here for more FRS radio information.
FRS radios frequently have GMRS channels as well, and they can communicate with GMRS radios on the frequencies they share. GMRS stands for General Mobile Radio Service, and the FCC states that General Mobile Radio Service is also intended for family use. GMRS radios are "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" to "communicate among yourselves over the general area of your residence or during recreational group outings, such as camping or hiking."
GMRS operates on 23 frequencies between 462.5625 - 467.7250 MHz. Seven of these frequencies are shared with the FRS frequencies. They may not and will not broadcast using more than the 0.5 watts of power allotted for FRS use. Handheld units generally transmit 1-5 watts of power. GMRS radios may use detachable antennas and repeater stations. You can use any approved GMRS unit in the US and handheld GMRS units only in Canada. If you'd like more details on GMRS band use, click here for more GMRS Information. To use GMRS frequencies you must buy a license from the FCC. The FCC grants the GMRS license to an adult (18 years old) for five years. Their family members (described above) are eligible to use the radio under their license. Luckily, there is no test required. It's simply a matter of submitting the paperwork and paying the $85 fee. Click GMRS license for more details. GMRS license GMRS radios can communicate with FRS radios on the frequencies they share.