The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a licensed radio service that uses channels around 462 MHz and 467 MHz. The most common use of GMRS channels is for short-distance, two-way voice communications using hand-held radios, mobile radios and repeater systems. In 2017, the FCC expanded GMRS to also allow short data messaging applications including text messaging and GPS location information.
Services that provide functionality similar to GMRS include the Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS), the Family Radio Service (FRS) and the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS).
The GMRS is available to an individual (one man or one woman) for short-distance two-way communications to facilitate the activities of licensees and their immediate family members. Each licensee manages a system consisting of one or more transmitting units (stations.) The rules for GMRS limit eligibility for new GMRS system licenses to individuals in order to make the service available to personal users. (Some previously licensed non-individual systems are allowed to continue using GMRS.)
In 2017, the FCC updated the GMRS by allotting additional interstitial channels in the 467 MHz band, increased the license term from 5 to 10 years, allowed transmission of limited data applications such as text messaging and GPS location information and made other updates to the GMRS rules to reflect modern application of the service.
An FCC license is required to operate GMRS system. Licenses are issued for a ten-year term and can be renewed between 90 days prior to the expiration date and up to the actual expiration date of the license. After a license expires, an individual must request a new GMRS license.
A GMRS system licensed to a non-individual prior to July 31, 1987 is also eligible for renewal, but the licensee may not make any major modification to the system.
You may apply for a GMRS license if you are 18 years or older and not a representative of a foreign government. If you receive a license, any family member, regardless of age, can operate GMRS stations and units within the licensed system.
The FCC service rules for the GMRS are located in 47 C.F.R. Part 95 Subpart E. You can find information about GMRS licensing in the rules.
There are 30 GMRS channels with a bandwidth of 25 kHz (20 KHz authorized bandwidth) or 12.5 kHz as outlined below:
A GMRS licensee may use a combination of portable, mobile, fixed and repeater stations consistent with the operational and technical rules in Subpart E of Part 95. The use of some channels is restricted to certain types of stations and certain channels are reserved for voice-only operations, while other channels allow voice and data operations.
None of the GMRS channels are assigned for the exclusive use of any system. You 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.
You can expect a communications range of one to twenty-five miles depending on station class, terrain and repeater use. You cannot directly interconnect a GMRS station with the telephone network or any other network for the purpose of carrying GMRS communications, but these networks can be used for remote control of repeater stations.
Normally, you and your family members would communicate between yourselves directly or through a repeater station. The stations must be within the territorial limits of the fifty United States, the District of Columbia, and the Caribbean and Pacific Insular areas.
In transient use, a mobile station from one GMRS system may communicate through a mobile relay station (repeater) in another GMRS system with the permission of its licensee. The communications may also be with mobile stations from other GMRS systems also with permission from the licensee to communicate through the mobile relay station.