Obtaining a GMRS License

Why GMRS?

GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) is a licensed radio service that operates in channels within the UHF band (around 462 MHz and 467 MHz).  Although it is generally used for short-distance voice communications, some areas have GMRS repeaters that can significantly extend the range of the radios.  In addition, the FCC recently allowed short data messaging applications including text messaging and GPS location information for GMRS radios.  GMRS radios can be hand-held, mobile or fixed stations.

Why Not FRS, MURS or CB?

All of these communications services have their advantages and disadvantages.  Advantages of FRS (Family Radio Service), MURS (Multiple Use Radio Service) and CBRS (Citizens Band Radio Service) include generally lower cost for radios and the ability to operate these types of radios without a license from the FCC.

Although a license is required for GMRS operation, power levels allowed by the FCC are generally higher for GMRS, resulting in greater range.  Plus, if you have GMRS repeaters in your area your range of operation can be significantly increased.

Why Not Amateur Radio (Ham)?

Absolutely get your ham radio license!  BUT, licensing for GMRS is much easier since there is currently no exam required.  Just an application and payment of a fee is all that is needed for GMRS.  PLUS, your entire family is covered under one license.  Amateur (Ham) radio licenses require passing an exam and the license only applies to the individual, not to the entire family.  So GMRS makes a lot of sense as a FIRST STEP in getting your family set up with an alternate or contingency communication option.  Once you have your family members trained and outfitted with GMRS capabilities, it’s time to get everyone working on their Amateur Radio licenses!

How Do You Get a GMRS License?

Applying for a GMRS license is very easy and can be completed online.

First, obtain an FCC Registration Number (FRN) if you don’t already have one.

  1. Go to the FCC Universal Licensing System.
  2. Select “New User Registration” on the ULS Home page.
  3. Select “Register” and complete the online questionnaire.
  4. You will receive your FRN immediately upon completing the online form. Then you can move to the next steps below.

Once you have your FRN, complete the license application.

  1. Go to the FCC Universal Licensing System.
  2. Select File Online.
  3. Complete the online application.
  4. Pay the license fee.
    • The current fee for a GMRS license is $35 for a 10-year term.  Remember, this license will permit your entire family to operate GMRS radios under your license.  Read the details in the Code of Federal Regulations here.

That’s it! Now just wait for your license and call sign to arrive (by email) and start shopping for GMRS radios.  You can find equipment recommendations in our wiki as well as seasoned amateur radio operators who can answer your questions on our members platform.

You need to be a vetted member of American Contingency to take advantage of these resources. You can join and subscribe for the cost of a cup of coffee. See you on the inside!

What are you waiting for? Get to it, and have fun!

Interested in ham radio?

Here are some resources to get you started.

Study resources
Testing