Did you know that for some of the walkie-talkies you need to have a license to use them? If you’re using a walkie-talkie that has a label of “GMRS” or of “FRS/GMRS”, you need to have an FCC license.
FRS, which stand for FRS is free to use but when it comes to GMRS ( general mobile radio service ), you do need to have a license. For this, you’d need a fee, and fill FCC form 605 and 159, from that point, it gets pretty smooth.
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What’s the difference between FRS and GMRS?
Although, there isn’t a lot of difference in FRS and GMRS. To explain shortly, FRS is for regular people to be used at low powers. FRS frequencies exist in between the regular GMRS frequencies. Majority of the radio have proper indications to tell whether you’re broadcasting on GMRS or not. You need to be attentive when you’re picking a channel.
Here’s what tech guru Phil Karras has to say on the subject:
GMRS, General Mobile Radio Service, is a licensed service through the FCC, nowhere on the listing was this made clear to prospective customers. Not that anyone else does it either. Also, it does not list the power output of the radio nor does it tell the truth about the “18 mile” range of the radios.
FRS radios, Family radio Service, are not licensed and are limited to 500 mW of output power and can ONLY use the antennas attached to the radio. These radios use the interstitial GMRS frequencies they are NOT allowed to use the normal GMRS or the GMRS Repeater frequencies, by law, not that it doesn’t happen but if the FCC catches you your wallet could be $15,000.00 lighter. I haven’t yet heard of any FRS radio user being caught or fined. It’s very difficult if the person is a very intermittent user.
GMRS allows one up to 50W of output power so a little radio like this could put out 5W if so designed, you are also allowed better antennas, attached to the house or up on a tower. GMRS also probably has repeaters in most areas depending on if a group got together to put one up or not which greatly extends the range BUT ONLY if you have a license!
This basically means, that you if use wrong frequency, or frequency you weren’t supposed to be at, you can be fined for up to $15k. Which is a worrisome amount? Now, if you happen to switch to them by mistake, it isn’t a big deal, but if you start doing it on regular basis, for transmissions like “hey where are you” and you don’t have a license yet, that can be a problem.