FRS And GMRS Radios & Frequencies

 

Many SSP enthusiasts install 2-way radios as part of their restorations. Many radios come in different frequency ranges. If you choose a radio wisely, you can often get it programmed with FRS & GMRS radio frequencies. This would allow you to be able to talk to other people on a radio band that isn’t in the CB (citizens band) or ham radio range.

What is FRS and GMRS?

FRS – The Family Radio Service (FRS) is an improved walkie talkie radio system authorized in the United States since 1996. This personal radio service uses channelized frequencies in the ultra high frequency (UHF) band. It does not suffer the interference effects found on citizens’ band (CB) at 27 MHz, or the 49 MHz band also used by cordless phones, toys, and baby monitors. FRS uses frequency modulation (FM) instead of amplitude modulation (AM). Since the UHF band has different radio propagation characteristics, short-range use of FRS may be more predictable than license-free radios operating in the HF CB band.

FRS has also seen significant adoption by business interests, as an unlicensed, low-cost alternative to the business band.

Worldwide a number of similar personal radio services exist; these share the characteristics of low power, operation in the UHF (or upper VHF) band using FM, and simplified or no end-user licenses. Exact frequency allocations differ, so equipment legal to operate in one country may cause unacceptable interference in another.

Channel Frequency (MHz) Notes
1 462.5625 Shared with GMRS.
2 462.5875 Shared with GMRS.
3 462.6125 Shared with GMRS.
4 462.6375 Shared with GMRS.
5 462.6625 Shared with GMRS.
6 462.6875 Shared with GMRS.
7 462.7125 Shared with GMRS.
8 467.5625 FRS use only
9 467.5875 FRS use only
10 467.6125 FRS use only
11 467.6375 FRS use only
12 467.6625 FRS use only
13 467.6875 FRS use only
14 467.7125 FRS use only

FRS Licensing:

You are not required to have a radio license when using FRS radio frequencies.

GMRS – The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a licensed land-mobile FM (UHF) radio service in the United States available for short-distance two-way communication. It is intended for use by an adult individual who possesses a valid GMRS license, as well as his or her immediate family members.  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, are not covered by the same license.

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 as 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, and are generally considered higher quality.

Name Lower frequency (repeater output) (MHz) Upper frequency (repeater input) (MHz) Motorola convention Icom F21-GM convention Notes
“550” 462.550 467.550 Ch. 15 Ch. 1
“575” 462.575 467.575 Ch. 16 Ch. 2
“600” 462.600 467.600 Ch. 17 Ch. 3
“625” 462.625 467.625 Ch. 18 Ch. 4
“650” 462.650 467.650 Ch. 19 Ch. 5 Use not permitted near the Canadian border.
“675” 462.675 467.675 Ch. 20 Ch. 6 Suggested nationwide emergency and road information calling. Nationally recognized coded squelch for 675 emergency repeater operation is 141.3 Hz.[citation needed]
“700” 462.700 467.700 Ch. 21 Ch. 7 Use not permitted near the Canadian border.
“725” 462.725 467.725 Ch. 22 Ch. 8

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.

Name Frequency (MHz) Motorola convention Icom F21-GM convention
“5625” or “FRS 1” 462.5625 Ch. 1 Ch. 9
“5875” or “FRS 2” 462.5875 Ch. 2 Ch. 10
“6125” or “FRS 3” 462.6125 Ch. 3 Ch. 11
“6375” or “FRS 4” 462.6375 Ch. 4 Ch. 12
“6625” or “FRS 5” 462.6625 Ch. 5 Ch. 13
“6875” or “FRS 6” 462.6875 Ch. 6 Ch. 14
“7125” or “FRS 7” 462.7125 Ch. 7 Ch. 15

 

GMRS Licensing:

To find out how to get a GMRS License, go to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website HERE.

Common Uses:

You’ve likely seen radios that use these frequencies before. You can find them in stores such as Radio Shack and Walmart:

(FRS/GMRS Radio)

You can generally find a pair of them from $30.00 and up, and sometimes you can find larger sets of (4) for the whole family. 

www.walmart.com

www.radioshack.com

Police car restorers will find old police portable radios and have them programmed with FRS/GMRS as well.

Purchasing A Radio: 

When purchasing a radio, you obviously want to get one that’s the same model (same look) as the vehicle you are restoring would’ve had while in service. However, you can often find these radios in different frequency ranges, so you should try to look for a radio that covers the 460 mhz range.

(GE Ericsson Rangr radio head unit)

Radios like the GE Ericsson Rangr control head use a separate radio unit that’s mounted in the trunk:

(GE Ericsson UHF 440-470 Mhz 100 watt Trunk Mount Mobile Unit)

As you can see from the unit above, it’s frequency range covers the 462 & 467 Mhz needed for the FRS & GMRS radio frequencies.

Not all radios have a remote unit in the trunk. This Motorola MCS2000 can be had as either a remote control head with the radio mounted in the trunk, or completely self contained as shown below:

(Motorola MCS2000 450-520 Mhz)