General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is one of several personal radio services; specifically, it is a personal two-way ultra-high-frequency (UHF) voice communication service that can be used to facilitate the activities of an individual’s immediate family members.
This FCC-licensed service has a communications range of 5 to 25 miles and cannot be used to make telephone calls. AGMRS system consists of station operators, a mobile station (often composed of several mobile units), and sometimes one or more land stations. The classes of land stations are base station, mobile relay station (also known as a “repeater”), and control stations.
A small base station is one that has an antenna no more than 20 feet above the ground or above the tree on which it is mounted and transmits with no more than 5 watts. Users communicate with a GMRS radio unit over the general area of their residence in an urban or rural area. This area must be within the territorial limits of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and the Caribbean and Pacific insular areas.
In transient use, mobile station units from one GMRS system may communicate through a mobile relay station in another GMRS system with the permission of its licensee. There are 23 GMRS channels. None of the GMRS channels are assigned for the exclusive use of any system. License applicants and licensees must cooperate in the selection and use of the channels in order to make the most effective use of them and to reduce the possibility of interference.
Any mobile station or small base station in a GMRS system operating in the simplex mode may transmit voice-type emissions with no more than 5 watts on the following 462- MHz channels: 462.5625, 462.5875, 462.6125, 462.6375, 462.6625, 462.6875, and 462.7125 MHz. These channels are shared with the Family Radio Service (FRS). Any mobile station in a GMRS system may transmit on the 467.675-MHz channel to communicate through a mobile relay station transmitting on the 462.675-MHz channel.
The communications must be for the purpose of soliciting or rendering assistance to a traveler or for communicating in an emergency pertaining to the immediate safety of life or the immediate protection of property. Each GMRS system license assigns one or two of eight possible channels or channel pairs (one 462-MHz channel and one 467-MHz channel spaced 5 MHz apart) as requested by the applicant.
Applicants for GMRS system licenses are advised to investigate or monitor to determine the best available channel(s) before making their selection. Each applicant must select the channel(s) or channel pair(s) for the stations in the proposed system from the following list:
- For a base station, mobile relay station, fixed station, or mobile station: 462.550, 462.575, 462.600, 462.625, 462.650, 462.675, 462.700, and 462.725 MHz.
- For a mobile station, control station, or fixed station in a duplex system: 467.550, 467.575, 467.600, 467.625, 467.650, 467.675, 467.700, and 467.725 MHz.
GMRS system station operators must cooperate in sharing the assigned channel with station operators in other GMRS systems by monitoring the channel before initiating transmissions, waiting until communications in progress are completed before initiating transmissions, engaging in only permissible communications, and limiting transmissions to the minimum practical transmission time.
Any individual 18 years of age or older who is not a representative of a foreign government is eligible to apply for a GMRS system license. There is a filing fee for new licenses and license renewals. For general information regarding the fee and filing requirements, contact the FCC’s Consumer Center toll free at 1-888-225-5322.