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General Mobile Radio Service Radio Frequencies
Only individuals can obtain a GMRS radio station license, and only members of the person's immediate family can operate the radio stations under that individual licensees control. This doesn't mean you are limited to talking with only members of your immediate household! Nothing in the rules forbids you from carrying on your personal business commercial or non-commercial personal communication while talking with other GMRS licensees.
There are quite a large number of business licensees using GMRS frequencies that were licensed under the old Class A CB rules. The FCC no longer licenses businesses in GMRS. These "grandfathered" business users are restricted from modifying their licenses or improving their radio systems, nevertheless you will be sharing the channels.
(1)GMRS applicant certifies that he or she will comply with the requirement that use of frequencies 462.650, 467.650, 462.700, and 467.700 is not permitted near the Canadian border North of Line A and east of Line C. These frequencies are used throughout Canada and harmful interference is anticipated. (Definition of Line A.)
Unless you know you have access to a repeater on this frequency pair, do not expect this channel to be of any practical use in emergencies. Low power simplex portables on 462.675 will not attract anyone's attention. Persons using repeaters on this frequency do not always listen for simplex communication and the likelihood of you finding a CTCSS code in a hurry to access a repeater you have never used before is very remote. Monitored 675 systems generally only exist in large metropolitan areas anyway and these system do not always welcome unknown users. Plan ahead and research repeater availability before you travel.
Consider another radio service or better yet a cellular phone if you need personal emergency communication. Note also that GMRS repeaters may not, by FCC Rule, have a phone patch facility as is common in the Amateur Radio Service. This means that when you use GMRS for an emergency you must relay the information through another operator that has access to a telephone, providing someone actually answers your call. You must also RELY upon this third party to get your message across. This relay/rely method of emergency reporting is out dated and not everyone has experience doing it.
All stations should listen with squelch disabled before transmitting or activating a repeater. Some licensees use simplex communication on repeater output channels. Be courteous to other stations.
Program a group of repeaters and repeater outputs using CTCSS 141.3 Hz if you have a multi-channel radio. This magazine and PRSG adopted 141.3 Hz as the national travel tone for use on all GMRS channels. We have no idea how many GMRS licensees have adopted the standard but you are more likely to attract attention on more frequencies. You can make the travel tone system work by setting one or more of your base-station frequencies to the 141.3 Hz tone. Remember when people use a Travel Tone, they don't necessarily go alone.
Some groups have been pushing FRS channel one as an emergency channel. FRS radios operate with very little power and FRS in urban areas is nothing but congested anarchy. When you have forgotten your cellular telephone and all you have is an FRS radio you can try using FRS with no tone coded squelch to see if anyone is listening. Just don't bet on it.
(3)Simplex operation on repeater inputs is not permitted.
How do you gain access to a radio repeater? You either have to know someone willing to add you to their system or you have to install your own. The latter can be quite expensive. Two ways to make contact with potential repeater owners are 1) contact radio shops near you to see if they are aware of any local repeaters 2) buy the PRSG Repeater Guide and write owners of repeaters in your area. 3) Visit myGMRS.com to see if a repeater exists in your area. No repeater owner is obligated to make their repeater available to you. Written permission to use GMRS repeaters is still required. Licensees must keep records of persons authorized to control their station. GMRS repeaters are private property and owners are responsible for the proper operation of their repeaters. Owners may have their repeaters turned off to prevent unauthorized access.
(4)467.550 and 467.575 MHz are used in Europe and Asia as ship-board maritime channels. The United States National Telecommunications and Information Association specifies that ships NOT use these frequencies in U.S. waters. Most foreign vessels have ignored our laws and continue to operate. The Personal Radio Association has pursued this issue with the FCC Enforcement Bureau. The Enforcement Bureau initially told the PRA that we had to accept this interference, that this was just a disadvantage to GMRS. The PRA held it's ground and the Commission agreed to ask the Coast Guard with an inter-agency memorandum to ask ship's to use the frequencies specified in the NTIA regulations. These are 457.525 and 457.575. Ships have actually been heard on every GMRS input and several GMRS output channels. Any GMRS licensee suffering interference from ships should report it to the Personal Radio Association using the PopularWireless Personal Wireless BBS forum set up for that purpose.
Last updated May 4, 2007PopularWireless Magazine/ [email protected]