GMRS: The Other UHF Band

I’ve always had a liking for the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS). It’s a licensed radio service but does not require a technical exam so it works great for basic personal communications. When our kids were young we made good use of GMRS communications. This was back in the Pre-Cellphone Era, shortly after the dinosaurs left the earth. I still have my GMRS license: KAF1068

mxt100-with-mic
Midland MicroMobile GMRS Transceiver

GMRS uses frequencies in the general vicinity of 462 and 467 MHz. When the FCC created the Family Radio Service, they intermingled the FRS and GMRS channels, creating a real mess. See this page for a good explanation of how FRS and GMRS frequencies are arranged. Many of the low cost walkie-talkie radios sold in stores are combination FRS/GMRS radios.

I recently came across this really sweet little GMRS rig, the Midland MXT-100 Micro Mobile GMRS Radio. This thing is nice and small with an external mag-mount antenna for the roof of the car. It only has 5W of output power, which is not much more than a typical FRS/GMRS handheld radio but the external antenna should help a lot. (I’ve heard there are newer models on the way so stay tuned for that.)

I’ve encountered 4WD / Jeep clubs that use FRS radios for on the trail communications. This Midland radio would be a good upgrade for that kind of use, providing additional radio range. Some of these 4WD enthusiasts have gotten their ham ticket via our Technician license class. Ham radio provides a lot more capability but not everyone in their club is likely to get their ham license. GMRS is a great alternative…the other UHF band. It will work for other outdoor, community and club activities that involve “non radio” people.

FCC recently reduced the cost of the GMRS license to $65 for 5 years. I suspect that most people don’t bother with getting a license…but they should. For more detail on GMRS, see the FCC GMRS Page or for some good bedtime reading see the FCC Part 95 Rules.

73, Bob KØNR

The post GMRS: The Other UHF Band appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

3 Responses to “GMRS: The Other UHF Band”

  • Dave Condon KI7YP:

    I carry the Midland GMRS in my truck.I view the GMRS radio as an excellent emergency link. With so many people dependent on cell phones as their only source of communication, the GMRS is a natural backdoor communication device. In an emergency I would activate the GMRS in my truck, allowing me to talk to FMRS and GMRS radios and then relay through my 70 cm, 1.25 meter and 2 meter radios installed in the truck to appropriate emergency control centers. For the price, the Midland GMRS, radio described is a really good value.

  • David Rowell NZ9G:

    I also like GMRS. Because it allows external antennas, relatively high power, and repeaters, it is about as good as it gets for non-hams.

    But there is one point that needs to be better appreciated. Its use is reserved only for family members. It couldn’t be used in all the obvious and beneficial outdoors/club type uses suggested.

    Sure, this restriction, like the licensing requirement, is little observed, but it needs to be appreciated and should be mentioned.

  • Todd KD0TLS:

    Nice article. I’d just point out that GMRS also allows repeater operation, and that repeaters can be linked.

    This means that non-hams can have the full benefit of UHF repeater-based FM, and even operate 50W mobiles on the repeater frequencies.

    While the simplex frequencies have been narrow-banded, the repeater frequencies have not. Repeaters are limited to 50W.

    The definition of “family” has been broadened (or “clarified”) to include parents, grandparents, in-laws, aunts/uncles, adult siblings and their children, as well as the licensee’s spouse and children (and step-children). Basically anyone related to you closer than your cousin is included in your licence, and can operate independently outside of your supervision.

    I submitted a previous comment, but the server timed out and it doesn’t seem to have shown up. If there is a duplicate, I offer this as an explanation for it.

    -KAF6430

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