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FCC Issues New FRS/GMRS Regulations

  • 29 Aug 2017 10:40 AM
    Message # 5054402
    Jim Biram (Administrator)

    The FCC has published the new regulations for FRS/GMRS which take effect September 28, 2017.  Link to FCC Regulations  The new regulations make many changes in the use of FRS/GMRS radios, which includes the following:  All FRS/GMRS radios  currently on the market (the bubblepacks) will now be classified as FRS.  The regulations allow present stock of radios to continue to be sold, however eventually all new bubblepack radios will be limited to 2 watts going forward.  The new FRS/GMRS bubblepack radios will continue to share frequencies, and even the former FRS channels that were limited to .5 watts (8-14) will be increased to 2 watts limit  in the radios.  The sale of bubblepacks with more than 2 watts power will cease by September 30, 2019.

    The new regulations also clarify the use of Part 90 Radios (e.g. Baofeng, Wouxun, etc.) for communication on FRS/GMRS frequencies.  Page 41098 specifically states that they specifically did not allow for the use of Part 90 radios (which the Baofengs and Wouxun's are certified for) in the Part 95 frequencies...that means you CANNOT legally use those types of radios to chat with FRS/GMRS users.  You will still need to obtain a Part 95 certified radio to do so.  Of course, you may listen on any device, but not transmit.

    FRS/GMRS radios under 2 watts power will not require a license.  However if one purchases a GMRS certified radio for use, you will require a GMRS license, and the new license going forward will be for 10 years instead of 5 years.  I believe the present fee is about $65.  If you are going to get a GMRS license, wait until after September 28th so you get the 10 year license.  Existing licenses will still expire at the end of the 5 year term.

    The most important provision in these regulations is that the FCC clarified the use of Part 90 radios (which were originally designed for the commercial bands) is prohibited for use in FRS/GMRS unless they are specifically certified for Part 95 by the FCC.

  • 30 Aug 2017 12:00 PM
    Reply # 5056464 on 5054402
    Jim Biram (Administrator)

    For those who are curious, here is a good chart with the frequencies, channels and power limits.  Link to Radioreference FRS/GMRS Chart 

  • 29 Sep 2017 7:42 AM
    Reply # 5287463 on 5054402
    Jim Biram (Administrator)

    A nice concise description of the new Frs/GMRS rules and implications...


  • 29 Sep 2017 4:08 PM
    Reply # 5288079 on 5054402
    Jim Biram (Administrator)

    I know of many individuals who have programmed Chinese H/T radios with FRS/GMRS frequencies and who talk on those.  The recent FCC regulations that were put into law today reiterate that the only radios which can be used on those frequencies must be Part 95 Certificated devices.

    §95.335   Operation of non-certified transmitters prohibited.

    Except as provided in paragraph (a) of this section, no person shall operate a transmitter in any Personal Radio Service unless it is a certified transmitter; that is, a transmitter of a type which has obtained a grant of equipment certification for that service, pursuant to part 2, subpart J of this chapter. Use of a transmitter that is not FCC-certified voids the user's authority to operate that station. See sections 302(a), (b), and (e) of the Communications Act (47 U.S.C. 302(a), (b), and (e)).

    (a) Exceptions. Under certain exceptions, non-certified Personal Radio Service transmitters, or transmitters certified for use in the land mobile radio services may be operated. Any such exceptions applicable to stations in a Personal Radio Service are set forth in the subpart governing that specific service. See e.g., §§95.735 and 95.1735.

    (b) Revoked or withdrawn certification. In the event that the FCC revokes or withdraws a grant of equipment certification for a type of Personal Radio Service transmitter, existing transmitters already in service may continue to be operated unless and until the FCC determines otherwise and gives Public Notice of that decision.

    (c) Grantee permissible modifications. Only the grantee of the equipment certification may modify the design of a certified Personal Radio Service transmitter type, and then only pursuant to and in full compliance with the requirements and procedures for permissible changes and modifications in part 2 of this chapter. See §§2.932 and 2.1043 of this chapter.

    My recommendation is that you should purchase either a dedicated GMRS HT radio and obtain a separate license for that, or purchase some newer FRS radios (2 watts) that will be on the market shortly.  Radios will no longer be considered FRS/GMRS like they have been but either FRS (2 watts) or GMRS (5 Watts).

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