September 04, 2018
GMRS, or the General Mobile Radio Service, is a mobile UHF two-way communication service in the United States for private use by a licensed user and their extended family. This service can also be used by the unlicensed public but only during emergencies and natural disasters.
For the purposes of this article, we will discuss one other radio band, FRS (Family Radio Service), as it relates to GMRS frequencies and radio programming compatibility. These two radio services use the same frequencies and are able to communicate with one another. For more information on what radio fits best for your needs, check out our buying guide blog.
The FCC allows for GMRS radios to have significant power increases from FRS radios (which are limited to .5W on channels 8-14, and 2W on channels 1-7 & 15-22). This power increase can be utilized fully on channels 15 – 22 where GMRS power is allowed up to 50W (for mobile units, handhelds limited to 5W). GMRS radios are able to communicate with FRS radios on these shared frequencies, as long as they adhere to the FCC power restrictions per channel.
Here is a helpful chart to look at power limitations and frequencies:
Since September of 2017, FRS and GMRS radios are free to use all channels or frequencies (these words are commonly used interchangeably) available in the range of 462MHz to 467MHz, with some limitations. As you see in the chart above, the FCC limits the amount of transmitting power allowed on specific frequencies, with the most notable highlights below: