So you're interested in GMRS?

GMRS is a fun and easily accessible way to get into radio. Here in Colorado, thanks to the Front Range GMRS repeater network it's also an incredibly poweful mode of communication.

People often ask, "What's the difference between HAM radio, and GMRS?"

  1. Purpose:
    • HAM Radio: HAM radio is more of a hobbyist service, exploring personal enjoyment, global connections, and emergency readiness.
    • GMRS: GMRS focuses on practical, everyday communication needs within local areas, suitable for families and groups. Unlike CB radio, GMRS repeaters can be used to extend range and built community.
  2. Licensing:
    • HAM Radio: Requires obtaining an amateur radio license, involving passing exams covering radio theory, regulations, and operating procedures.
    • GMRS: Obtaining a GMRS license is simpler, covering a family or group under a single authorization.
  3. Frequency Allocation:
    • HAM Radio: Offers access to various frequency bands worldwide, providing flexibility in communication.
    • GMRS: Operates within the UHF band, primarily between 462 and 467 MHz, with fixed channels.
  4. Power Limits:
    • HAM Radio: Subject to power limits based on license class, frequency band, and mode of operation.
    • GMRS: Allows higher transmit power compared to simpler radio services like FRS, with FCC-imposed restrictions.
  5. Usage and Community:
    • HAM Radio: The HAM community is diverse and global, with enthusiasts engaging in various activities such as contesting, DXing, and emergency communication.
    • GMRS: GMRS is more localized, serving specific communication needs within families and groups.

How to Get a GMRS License

Yes! For GMRS you need a license. It's a bit different than a ham radio license. If you want a ham radio license you have to prove that you know your way around the hobby.. you have to do a test. GMRS is different in that you don't need to take a test, you just pay a license fee. Because there's no test to ensure you know what you're doing, GMRS radios are locked down, limiting their flexibility to ensure you can't interfere with business radio or other reserved frequencies, even if you try to.

The process can be a little confusing and is detailed below. If you want a great step by step, line by line walk through instead, check out this great article at

  1. Visit the FCC Website: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the governing body responsible for issuing GMRS licenses. Visit the FCC website for information on GMRS licensing and the application process.
  2. Create an FCC Username: Before you can apply for a GMRS license, you'll need to create an FCC Username. This username will allow you to access the FCC's Universal Licensing System (ULS), where you'll submit your application.
  3. Complete the Application Form: Log in to the FCC's ULS system and fill out the GMRS application form. You'll need to provide personal information such as your name, address, and contact details.
  4. Pay the Fee: There is a fee associated with obtaining a GMRS license. As of my last update, the fee was $70 for a 10-year license term. However, fees are subject to change, so verify the current fee on the FCC website.
  5. Wait for Processing: After submitting your application and paying the fee, the FCC will process your application. This typically takes a few business days.
  6. Receive Your License: Once your application is processed and approved, you'll receive your GMRS license electronically via email. Your license will include your call sign, which you'll use to identify yourself when operating on GMRS frequencies.
  7. Comply with Regulations: Make sure to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations governing GMRS operation. This includes adhering to frequency usage guidelines, power limits, and other requirements outlined by the FCC.
  8. Renew Your License: GMRS licenses are valid for 10 years. Make a note of the expiration date of your license and ensure that you renew it before it expires to maintain your authorization to operate on GMRS frequencies.

It's important to note that each individual who will be operating GMRS radios needs to be covered by the license, including family members. However, only one license is needed per family or group. Make sure to include the names of all individuals who will be using the radios on the application form.

For the most up-to-date information and specific guidance on applying for a GMRS license, refer to the FCC's website or contact the FCC directly for assistance.

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