General Mobile Radio Service

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General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a short-range, two-way, UHF radio service allocated for use by licensed individuals and businesses. Its marketed maximum range can be as far as 25 miles, but its actual range is usually closer to 1–5 miles. The advantage of GMRS is in its compact, inexpensive radios that are excellent for communicating inside of a small area.

Technical Specifications

GMRS radios operate at .5 watts when FRS mode but may go to 5 watts while in GMRS mode.


In the US the FCC has a general rule that during an emergency (read to protect life or property) you may utilize any operating mode, any frequency and any power level that you believe will bring assistance. Until then:

  • You must have a license, which is good for 5 years. License fees are adjusted annually and currently are $85.
  • The license holder must be 18 or older (this can enable their immediate family members to operate under their license).
  • No test is required to obtain a license.

Selecting a Radio

See the general rules of selecting a radio. In addition if you have a detachable antenna you may want to look at the homebrew antennas section for ideas on how to improve your device.

See also

  • Amateur radio glossary
  • FRS
  • MURS