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License Free Frequencies

There are several sets of frequencies open to license free operation, meaning no license is required.

49 Mhz

The 49 Mhz frequency range is popular due to the abundance of equipment available in this frequency range. These are typically found in the form of kid's "walkie talkies", although other more professional gear is available. Typical gear available includes both handheld radios and radios worn on your belt with a headset. There are not too many base radios available, although sometimes people will convert old ham equipment to operate here. These sets typically require large antennas. Other users of these frequencies include baby monitors and cordless phones. Power output is limited to 300mw.

 

49 Mhz Links

Yahoo Groups - 49MHZ_Hobbyists

49 Mhz Experimental Radio Club

 

Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS)

The MURS frequencies lie in the VHF band. There is a limit of 2 watts output, but external antennas can be used. Some base stations are available. Commercial equipment can easily be adapted to this band and the quality of of the radios is typically better than that of 49 mhz or FRS. The MURS frequencies are:

  • #1 - 151.820
  • #2 - 151.880
  • #3 - 151.940
  • #4 - 154.570
  • #5 - 154.600

Although there is no such thing as "typical range",  these radios have the potential of reaching farther than FRS and 49 mhz due to their 2 watt power limit and the characteristics of VHF signals. There is also no limit on the emission mode of these radios, meaning you can do FM or digital communications. A good source of radios for this band is Ebay. Radio Shack used to sell MURS radios, but I believe they closed them out.

 

MURS Links

Yahoo Groups - MURS-OPEN

Yahoo Groups - MURS

Personal Radio Steering Group MURS page

FCC's MURS Website

 

Family Radio Service (FRS)

FRS frequencies lie in the UHF band. They are low power radios, typically handheld. The price range varies quite a bit from $20 for a low end handheld to well over $150 for the more feature-packed models. The power limit is 500mw, severely limiting the usability of this service. It is mostly used by families, as the name implies. No removable antennas are allowed. There are some base models, which have antennas attached to them. The antennas on the radios are typically small and most FRS radios allow you to select different "Privacy Codes" (aka "PL" or CTCSS) and often come with the ability to "page" another user so they can keep the radio on without hearing everyone talking, until they are needed. Many FRS radio are actually dual-service radios, containing frequencies for both FRS and GMRS. It is important to note that one can only transmit on the FRS frequencies on these radios unless they have a GMRS license (see below).

FRS frequencies are:

Channel No. (MHz)

1................... 462.5625        8................... 467.5625

2................... 462.5875        9................... 467.5875 

3................... 462.6125        10.................. 467.6125

4................... 462.6375        11.................. 467.6375

5................... 462.6625        12.................. 467.6625 

6................... 462.6875        13.................. 467.6875

7................... 462.7125        14.................. 467.7125

 

FRS Links

Yahoo Groups - FRS_GMRS_Users

Yahoo Groups - FRS-Open

FCC's FRS Website

 

General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)

 

The General Mobile Radio Service is not a "No-License" service, but if you are looking for the ability to talk farther distances, use mobile and base radios, talk through repeaters, and use higher power, but don't want to get an Amateur Radio license, then GMRS might be good for you. The license costs $75 for 5 years. This allows you to use radios up to 50 watts output and you can even access repeaters to increase the range of mobile and handheld units. The FCC only issues GMRS licenses for families. Organizations can no longer get a GMRS license. See the FCC webpage, below, for more info.

 

GMRS Frequencies:

- - A - - B - - C -
1 462.550 467.550 462.5625
2 462.575 467.575 462.5875
3 462.600 467.600 462.6125
4 462.625 467.625 462.6375
5 462.650 467.650 462.6625
6 462.675 467.675 462.6875
7 462.700 467.700 462.7125
8 462.725 467.725 -
 

- A -  Base station simplex, Mobile station simplex, Repeater Output frequencies
        50 watts

- B -  Repeater Input Frequencies - Simplex NOT allowed

- C -  Base and portable simplex  (Shared with FRS channels 1-7) 5 watts (FRS users are still restricted to 500mw if they do not have a GMRS license)

Channel 6 A - National "Emergency" Simplex

Channel 6 A/B - National "Emergency" Repeater

GMRS Links

Yahoo Groups - GMRS Users

GMRS Web

Personal Radio Steering Group's GMRS website

G-M-R-S.org

GMRS.org

FCC's GMRS Website

 

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