Many people remember the old days of CB, Citizens Band radio, the big craze in the 70’s and early 80’s. With 40 channels of fun trying to talk 5 or 10 miles and hearing all those guys from Puerto Rico. The radios cost anywhere from $80 to hundreds of dollars. It was called Class D radio with the FCC. At that time there was another service for the general public, called Class A radio. What was it? It was the big brother to CB radio and to use that service back in the 80’s meant investing in commercial grade or public safety radios. The cost was out of reach for most of the public, with commercial and public safety radios costing $500 to thousands of dollars. Sure some manufactures sold specific radios for Class A but still costs were out of the reach of most people.
Time shift to 2019 and have things changed. No longer is the premium service called Class A radio around but instead is now called General Mobile Radio Service, GMRS for short. No longer does one have to select a frequency pair and coordinate the repeater or base station with the FCC and list the number of radios you planned to use, No longer did the service have to share space with business users, many of whom could afford the higher power and prime locations that literally made your little station have not have any coverage.
So now we see a sharing of the frequencies with Family Radio Service, FRS for short and sadly this service requires no license to be submitted and every Walmart, Cosco or even grocery store sells them. But the good news is they are only half a watt, (strike that, looks like 2 wats has been allowed) mostly used by kids and businesses that don’t know better and the range is lucky to reach ½ a mile, let alone 2 blocks. The GMRS service now has a great source of radios to obtain their needed equipment. Now the premium public service is within reach of almost every person that is serious about have a reliable, short range (10-20 miles), free to use radio service.
General Mobile Radio Service is located on the UHF band at 462.5500 MHz to 462.7250 MHz and 467.5500 MHz to 467.7250 MHz range and still requires a license. There are 8 frequency pairs or repeater pairs as many will call them, and yes, you can add a repeater to extend the range of a portable from just a couple miles to now 60 miles end to end. The mobile, base and repeaters can run up to 50 watts, no restriction on antenna height or antenna type. Portables normally have 4 watts of power.
Midwest 2 Way Communications (Old Moyer Electronics) was into the Class A market as were many of the staff at Midwest 2 Way and is still offering a way to get into GMRS by offering quality, low cost commercial radios well within any family budget. With the advent of myGMRS.com, many can find a local repeater to access at no cost, you do need a license, but so do Hams, commercial radio and public safety users.
So if you are wanting a way to bypass the expensive rates of cell service, or feel you should have a backup method of communication with family (I know firsthand the need to have alternate communication when a tornado took out a large proportion of homes where I lived, cell service was gone for hours and days in some areas). Check out what we offer for GMRS, or look on eBay for sellers offering excellent deals on 2-way UHF FM radios for GMRS.