Jun 052017
 

If you are in USA and fan of walkie-talkie (aka FRS) radios, you can look forward to the additional 8 channels and higher allowed output power.

It used to be that FRS (Family Radio Service) had 14 channels shared with GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) and GMRS had additional 8 to boost. With the new rules FRS and GMRS share all the 22 channels and their only difference remains allowed output power and bandwidth (25 vs 12.5 kHz). You can check RadioReference’s handy chart.

Additional notable change is how licencing is handled – gone are double purpose FRS/GMRS radios where the only difference was honesty of user. With the new rules FRS cannot be combined with GPRS in the same radio. Thus you won’t be able to boost power in FRS radios by just a change in settings. That will also make enforcing 12.5 kHz bandwidth more easier and it will make interfacing between FRS and GPRS much more annoying for inexperienced user.

While I am really pleased by expansion of FRS channels to what every radio on market already supported, I am sad that 12.5 kHz restriction remained when equivalent GMRS channels are 25 kHz. Why the hell not allow the same bandwidth?

In any case, these changes are mostly good and improvements are just codifying what people have been doing anyhow. Only if they could drop GMRS licence altogether… :)

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