According to the FCC, 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.”
GMRS licenses are available to individuals for short-distance, two-way communications that facilitate the activities of licensees and their immediate family members. No exam is required, and a license is issued for a 10-year term. The fee is $70 for most applicants. Before you can apply for a GMRS license, you will have to obtain an FCC Registration Number (FRN). Obtaining an FRN is free, and you can do this online by going to https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/support/universal-licensing-system-uls-resources/getting-fcc-registration-number-frn and following the instructions there.
A single license covers allows an entire family to operate GMRS radios. This includes the licensee's spouse, children, grandchildren, stepchildren, parents, grandparents, stepparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and in-laws. GMRS radios may be used for business purposes, but a licensee's employees may not operate licensed to an employer. New GMRS licenses are currently being issued only to individuals, but prior to July 31, 1987, the FCC issued GMRS licenses to non-individuals (corporations, partnerships, government entities, etc.). Some of these licensees may still be on the air, but they are becoming increasingly rare.
Licensees can set up a system that may include a combination of portable, mobile, fixed and repeater stations. 30 channels are available to GMRS licensees on frequencies that range from 462.550 MHz to 467.725 MHz. Many of these frequencies are shared with the Family Radio Service, but GMRS users can operate radios that have a higher output power (up to 50 W on some frequencies) and can set up repeaters that extend the range of a GMRS system even further.
Because GMRS radios use UHF frequencies, their range is limited to line-of-sight. For hand-held radios, with a maximum output power of around 5 W, the range will be about one to two miles. Fixed stations that have higher output power and higher antennas will have greater range, perhaps up to five miles. A GMRS repeater with an antenna that is high above the surrounding terrain can extend the usable range up to 20 miles or more.
BTECH sells both handheld and mobile GMRS radios. The The GMRS-V1 is a handheld radio compatible with all brands of FRS and GMRS radios and GMRS repeaters. Channels are wideband and narrowband compatible. The GMRS-V1 is also a VHF and UHF scanning receiver. Although it will only transmit on UHF frequencies, it is capable of receiving VHF stations, such as NOAA weather FM broadcast stations, and while talking on GMRS channels, you can monitor both VHF or UHF frequencies. Other features include privacy tones (both CTCSS and DCS) and dual monitor with a synchronized display. This feature allows you to watch two channels simultaneously.
For mobile operation, BTECH offers the GMRS-50X1. It offers all of the features of the GMRS-V1, including FRS and GMRS compatibility, scanning receiver, and privacy tones, but has a maximum output power of 50 W. This makes it ideal for users that need the maximum range from a base/home/or mobile environment. Another difference is the quad-watch receiver that lets you monitor up to four channels simultaneously. You can program both radios using the popular CHIRP programming software. With CHIRP, you can quickly import and rename channels using your personal computer.