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Default [KB6NU] Which two-way radio service is right for you?

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KB6NU's Ham Radio Blog

Which two-way radio service is right for you?

Posted: 15 Mar 2018 12:07 PM PDT

Heres something that I just wrote for a client. Its not meant to be an
in-depth article on different types of two-way radio systems, but Id like
to get your comments on it, especially the advantages and disadvantages of
each service..Dan

Choosing the right two-way radio can be confusing. You cant just buy a
couple of radios and start talking on them. Most two-way radio services
require licensing of some sort, and radios designed to be used in those
radio services must be certified by the FCC. The most popular two-way radio
services a

Private Land Mobile Radio Service (PLMRS)

General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)

Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS)

Amateur Radio Service (ARS)

Private Land Mobile Radio Service (PLMRS)
The Private Land Mobile Radio Service (PLMRS) is used by public safety
agencies, utilities, railroads, manufacturers, and other businesses to meet
many different communication needs. Frequencies include:

30 '50 MHz (Low Band or Low VHF Band)

150 '172 MHz (High Band or High VHF Band)

450 ' 470 MHz ( UHF). Some urban areas have additional UHF frequencies from
470 ' 490 MHz, and 490 ' 512 MHz.

Low band radios have more range than VHF or UHF radios, but require larger
antennas. VHF radios work well in outdoor environments, while UHF radios
oten perform better in urban environments, inside buildings, and when both
indoor and outdoor users must communicate with one another.
Commercial, public safety, and government users must obtain an FCC license
to use PLMRS radios. When you obtain a license, youre assigned particular
frequencies, and the radios you use must be used only on those frequencies.
The radios require an FCC Part 90 certification, and are not programmable
by end users.
General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)
The General Mobile Radio Service is a service available to personal (not
commercial) users. GMRS uses channels around 462 MHz and 467 MHz. The most
common use of GMRS channels is for short-distance, two-way voice
communications using hand-held radios, mobile radios and repeater systems.
In 2017, the FCC expanded GMRS to also allow short data messaging
applications including text messaging and GPS location information.
To use GMRS radios, you need to apply for a license (no test required) that
costs $70 for 10 years. This license covers the licensee and his or her
immediate family members, and the licensees GMRS system may consist of one
or more transmitting units (stations).
GMRS radios must be certified to FCC Part 95A or 95E specifications. They
are generally preprogrammed to the GMRS channels and may include some
Family Radio Service (FRS) channels.
Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS)
In the United States, the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) is an unlicensed,
two-way radio service similar to Citizens Band (CB). Established by the FCC
in 2000, MURS radios have a power limit of 2 W, may not be connected to the
public telephone network, or used with repeaters. This makes them suitable
for only very short-range applications.
MURS radios require Part 95J certification and are generally locked to MURS
channels only.
Amateur Radio Service
Amateur radio operators can use many different frequencies, including HF,
VHF, and UHF frequencies. In the VHF and UHF range, the amateur radio bands

6 m: 50 – 54 MHz

2 m: 144 – 148 MHz

1.25 m: 222 – 225 MHz

70 cm: 420 – 450 MHz

33 cm: 902 – 928 MHz

To use amateur radio equipment, you need to pass a license test. More
information about how to become a licensed radio amateur, can be found on
the American Radio Relay League website. Radios used in the Amateur Radio
service must at minimum be Part 15B certified.


Private Land Mobile Radio Service (PLMRS)

Multiple frequency ranges
Radios not programmable by end-user

General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)

Yes. $70/10years.
Can be used with repeater for extended range
Short range

Radios not programmable by end-user

Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS)


Very short range

Radios not programmable by end-user

Amateur Radio Service (ARS)

Yes. Applicants must take a test.
Most versatile in terms of frequency availability and selection
Cannot be used for business purposes

The post Which two-way radio service is right for you? appeared first on
KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

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