General Mobile Radio Service

TL;DR GMRS is an easy to use radio with an easy to get license. Great for beginners that want more distance than FRS radios.

Equipment needed: Any Make/ Model of a GMRS radio that is certified by the FCC under Part 95. Typically GMRS radios are either handheld or used in a vehicle (mobile).

License Needed: Yes $35 for 10 year license. No test required. License covers yourself and immediate family ( spouse, children, grandchildren, stepchildren, parents, grandparents, stepparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and in-laws). No new group or business licenses are granted.

Use: GMRS is popular with off-roading clubs. You may only use GMRS for personal use (license covers yourself and immediate family). No business, music, advertisements, or encoded messages are allowed. Very limited data bursts allowed.

Availability: Not quite as common as FRS radios and are slightly more expensive, but you get much better performance than FRS and are still compatible. Available at local/online radio shops and at Amazon.

Range: Will vary by obstructions like buildings, trees, or hills. For a handheld, range is typically two to four miles. You can increase the range (typically to 20-30 miles and up to 45 miles) by increasing elevation (line-of-sight), using a better antenna, and by increasing power. Using a GMRS repeater (with the owners permission) also will increase range (typically 30-50 miles, but there are reports of conversations through a repeater up to 90 miles in the right conditions.

Antenna: Detachable, so even with a handheld radio, you can purchase a mobile antenna for a vehicle or a base antenna for home.

Output: Channels 8-14 (shared with FRS) are limited to .5 watts. Channels 1-7 (shared with FRS) are limited to 5 watts. Channels 15-22 and 15RP-22RP are limited to 50 watts.

Channels/Frequencies: 22 channels (shared with FRS channels) and eight repeater channels.

Emergency Channel: No official channel, but consider using channels 1, 3, and 19.

Modulation: Frequency Modulation (FM), Narrowband Frequency Modulation (FMN), and occasional Data (under one second burst)

History: FCC in 2017 made a distinction between GMRS radios and commonly available FRS/GMRS radios that allowed unlicensed people to transmit. The FCC also made a few changes to standardize the license with other radio licenses.

GMRS ChannelFrequencyPowerBandwidthNotes
1462.5625520 kHzinterstitial channel, max 5 Watts ERP
2462.5875520 kHzinterstitial channel, max 5 Watts ERP
3462.6125520 kHzinterstitial channel, max 5 Watts ERP
4462.6375520 kHzinterstitial channel, max 5 Watts ERP
5462.6625520 kHzinterstitial channel, max 5 Watts ERP
6462.6875520 kHzinterstitial channel, max 5 Watts ERP
7462.7125520 kHzinterstitial channel, max 5 Watts ERP
8467.56750.512.5 kHzinterstitial channel, only handheld radios, max .5 Watt ERP
9467.61250.512.5 kHzinterstitial channel, only handheld radios, max .5 Watt ERP
10467.66250.512.5 kHzinterstitial channel, only handheld radios, max .5 Watt ERP
11467.71250.512.5 kHzinterstitial channel, only handheld radios, max .5 Watt ERP
12467.58750.512.5 kHzinterstitial channel, only handheld radios, max .5 Watt ERP
13467.63750.512.5 kHzinterstitial channel, only handheld radios, max .5 Watt ERP
14467.68750.512.5 kHzinterstitial channel, only handheld radios, max .5 Watt ERP
15462.55005020 kHzmain channel, GMRS repeater output allowed
23 (15RP)467.55005020 kHzmain channel, data not allowed, GMRS repeater input
16462.57505020 kHzmain channel, GMRS repeater output allowed
24 (16RP)467.57505020 kHzmain channel, data not allowed, GMRS repeater input
17462.60005020 kHzmain channel, GMRS repeater output allowed
25 (17RP)467.60005020 kHzmain channel, data not allowed, GMRS repeater input
18462.62505020 kHzmain channel, GMRS repeater output allowed
26 (18RP)467.62505020 kHzmain channel, data not allowed, GMRS repeater input
19462.65005020 kHzmain channel, GMRS repeater output allowed
27 (19RP)467.65005020 kHzmain channel, data not allowed, GMRS repeater input
20462.67505020 kHzmain channel, GMRS repeater output allowed
28 (20RP)467.67505020 kHzmain channel, data not allowed, GMRS repeater input
21462.70005020 kHzmain channel, GMRS repeater output allowed
29 (21RP)467.70005020 kHzmain channel, data not allowed, GMRS repeater input
22462.72505020 kHzmain channel, GMRS repeater output allowed
30 (22RP)467.72505020 kHzmain channel, data not allowed, GMRS repeater input

Sources