Quick Facts About Family Radio Service


FRS:

Family Radio Service, Approved since 1996

Frequencies:

462.56-467.71 MHz, Channels 1-7 are shared with GMRS
Uses the UHF band

Range:

FRS manufacturers generally claim an effective range of 3 km (2 miles), but actual performance varies widely on environment.
Family Radio Service (FRS) is used by family, friends and associates to communicate within a neighborhood and while on group outings and has a communications range of less than one mile.

Licensing:

License documents are neither needed nor issued. You are provided authority to operate a FRS unit in places where the FCC regulates radio communications as long as you use only an unmodified FCC certified FRS unit. An FCC certified FRS unit has an identifying label placed on it by the manufacturer. There is no age or citizenship requirement.

Operations:

You may operate your FRS unit within the territorial limits of the fifty United States, the District of Columbia, and the Caribbean and Pacific Insular areas ("U.S."). You may also operate your FRS unit on or over any other area of the world, except within the territorial limits of areas where radio- communications are regulated by another agency of the U.S. or within the territorial limits of any foreign government.

FRS/GMRS Dual Service Radios:

FRS radios must use only permanently-attached antennas. This limitation intentionally restricts the range of communications, and promotes sharing of the available channels.

Some manufacturers have received approval to market radios that are certified for use in both the Family Radio Service (FRS) and the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS). Other manufacturers have received approval of their radios under the GMRS rules, but market them as FRS/GMRS radios on the basis that:

  • Some channels are authorized to both services, or
  • A user of the radio may communicate with stations in the other service.

Radios marketed as "FRS/GMRS" or "dual-service radios" are available from many manufacturers and many retail or discount stores. The manual that comes with the radio, or the label placed on it by the manufacturer, should indicate the service the unit is certified for.

If you operate a radio that has been approved exclusively under the rules that apply to FRS, you are not required to have a license. FRS radios have a maximum power of watt (500 milliwatt) effective radiated power and integral (non-detachable) antennas. If you operate a radio under the rules that apply to GMRS, you must have a GMRS license. GMRS radios generally transmit at higher power levels (1 to 5 watts is typical) and may have detachable antennas.