How To Get A GMRS Radio License

A GMRS Radio license, or the General Mobile Radio Service, is similar to other radio licenses such as amateur (ham) radio. However, the GMRS license offers some differences not found within the FRS and amateur radio licenses. In this post, we’ll discuss how to get a GMRS radio license. We’ll also talk about what makes GMRS different from FRS and amateur radio, and explain what GMRS radio is.

What Is GMRS Radio?

GMRS is a radio operator license type regulated by the FCC. It operates around the 462 and 467 Mhz bands. Since it allows for more power than FRS, it has historically been used for commercial and emergency response purposes. Even though new commercial registrations aren’t being accepted, you can still hear businesses using GMRS. GMRS is still a communication tool for some volunteer disaster response organizations. You can use higher-powered radios and repeaters for GMRS, similar to ham radio. These repeaters can also be connected, allowing operators to build quite large networks. For all requirements for GMRS radio, read the FCC’s 47 CFR Part 95 Subpart E.

How To Get A GMRS Radio License

Applying for a GMRS radio license is not difficult. First, it’s a good idea to register for an FRN. According to the FCC, “An FRN is a 10-digit number assigned to a business or individual registering with the FCC. This unique FRN is used to identify the registrant’s business dealings with the FCC. The FCC will use the FRN to determine if all of a registrant’s fees have been paid. You are encouraged to register with the Commission as soon as you expect to do business with the FCC. This way, you will be ready to access any of the electronic licensing systems without going through the registration process when you apply.”

To apply, you need to create an account on the FCC’s Universal Licensing System. Make sure you include an e-mail as registration and account maintenance is much easier. Once you’ve registered with the ULS and have an FRN, applying for a GMRS license is straightforward.

How To Apply For A GMRS License

  • Step One: Log in to the ULS and select ‘Apply For A New License’.
  • Step Two: Select the Radio Service you wish to apply for (in this case, ZA-GMRS).
  • Step Three: Click continue and follow the instructions throughout the application.
  • Step Four: Click submit.
  • Step Five: Pay the filing fee. The filing fee for GMRS is $35-but that covers everyone in your immediate family.

Your license application is now complete. It can take as few as 24 hours to receive your GMRS license. Please note that the FCC no longer mails paper copies of licenses.

What Makes GMRS Different?

One of the advantages of GMRS over FRS is that you can use repeaters to extend the potential range of your GMRS communications, similar to amateur radio licensees. Another distinct advantage is that a GMRS license allows all immediate family members of the licensee the same radio privileges. This makes it a great survival or wilderness communications option if you have a family. GMRS radios are allowed more power than FRS as well. Another great reason to get a GMRS license is that you don’t have to pass a basic knowledge test like you do for amateur (ham) radio privileges.

One of the biggest reasons to invest in GMRS over FRS is the potential range that GMRS offers. You can communicate with GRMS line of sight, and via connected repeater networks. This allows you to reach radio operators miles away, which you can’t do using FRS.

Searching for GMRS repeaters to listen to and transmit on? Repeaterbook now supports GMRS also!

Conclusion

Getting a GMRS radio license allows you yet another dependable communication tool that can work to communicate with your family around an entire city. This makes GMRS a much more reliable communication tool than FRS. It also has a lower barrier to entry for radio operators. This is why GMRS is still a critical tool for disaster and survival preparation. Our recommended introductory GMRS radio option is the BAOFENG GMRS Radio GM-15 Pro 8W.

Reading More

Planning on starting hiking or backpacking this year? Be sure to check out this article from gopackandpaddle.com about the best gear for beginning hiking. Fishing gear makes a great survival tool. Check out fly fishing gear from our sister site, bivvycreek.com.

About The Author

Zach Graft is the owner of Pack & Paddle Expedition Co and DIYSurvivalTips.com. He is an avid outdoorsman and survivalist, with more than a decade of experience exploring Michigan’s woods and waterways. He is currently a member of the Kent County Search & Rescue team, has two rescue dogs, and is a part-time emergency management student.

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