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FCC Adopts Long Awaited Changes to PRS Bands – GMRS, FRS, CB & MURS

FCC Adopts Long Awaited Changes to PRS Bands – GMRS, FRS, CB & MURS
May 18, 2017 BSR Mark

FCC Part 95 Rule Changes for 2017On May 18th 2017, the FCC adopted parts of a long-standing Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that affects several of the PRS (Personal Radio Service) bands, which include GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service), FRS (Family Radio Service), and CB (Citizens Band), now called the CBRS (CB Radio Service). MURS (Multi-Use Radio Service) remains largely unchanged. Read the full FCC Report & Order.

Implementation of the rules took effect 30 days after the new order was published on 08/29/17 (effective on 09/28/17), but some of the equipment changes required by the new rules won’t take place for 90 days to 24 months.

We’ll dive deeper into the changes and also what exciting new gear and programming configurations we’ll be offering to take advantage of the new GMRS capabilities in future posts, but in the meantime, here are some bullet points of the rule changes that might affect BetterSafeRadio customers and FRS/GMRS users in general:

  • Hybrid FRS/GMRS “Bubble Pack” or “Blister Pack” radios, sometimes referred to as FRS/GMRS combination radios, will no longer be certified in the future by the FCC. Radios will now only be certified as either FRS, or GMRS (or MURS), etc.
  • FRS radios can now operate on the previously GMRS-only 462 MHz (GMRS ch. 15-22) Channels. Yes, these are the GMRS repeater output frequencies, which could cause even more repeater interference by FRS users (especially considering the next item below), but they will not be allowed to transmit on the repeater input channels, so no repeater use for FRS.
  • FRS radios will now be authorized to use up to 2 Watts ERP (Effective Radiated Power) on FRS 462 MHz frequencies (FRS ch. 1-7), and on the new shared FRS/GMRS 462 MHz frequencies (GMRS ch. 15-22). This means a kid with an FRS radio running 2W next door to you, might be able to mask your repeater reception if they are close to your antenna (although they’ve been doing this with the hybrid FRS/GMRS radios for years).
  • Existing FRS/GMRS hybrid radios that use 2W or less, will now be retro-reclassified as FRS radios, using the new expanded FRS capabilities.
  • Existing FRS/GMRS hybrid radios that put out MORE than 2W, will now be retro-reclassified as GMRS radios, will still require a GMRS license, and will allow the new expanded FRS/GMRS interstitial channels (previously FRS-only ch. 8-14 – see below).
  • GMRS will now become Part 95E (instead of Part 95A), FRS (Part 95B) and MURS (Part 95J) remaining the same.
  • GMRS licenses (and new renewals) will now be good for 10 years (est. $75 license fee).
  • GMRS radios will remain largely the same, except that they will gain use of the previously FRS-only 467 MHz (ch. 8-14) frequencies, with the same technical limits that previously applied to FRS radios (.5W with a built-in antenna). This adds 7 new shared “interstitial” GMRS channels, giving existing hybrid FRS/GMRS radio users more legal options to find a clear simplex channel (but still shared with all the .5W FRS radios out in the world now).
  • Part 90 certified radios are still not officially legal to transmit with on GMRS, even though the FCC acknowledged that many people use them for such.
  • GMRS will now also allow digital GPS and Short Text Messaging between specific radios, limited to a maximum of 1 second per every 30 seconds, and only on radios that have integrated antennas, and not on repeaters, which will hopefully limit interference to serious GMRS users, but allow these digital services for short-range simplex communications. This does NOT mean you can use DMR or P25 (or any other digital voice encoding) on FRS or GMRS.
  • CB radios (Part 95D) will no longer be required to have their serial number etched onto the outside of their cases.
  • CB operation will no longer be restricted from long-distance “SKIP” communications, although the power limits will remain at 4W on AM and 12W PEP on SSB.

Here’s a handy little chart of the new GMRS/FRS band frequencies, channelized here based on the official FRS channels:

FRS/GMRS Combined Band Plan

01 CALLFRS/GMRSFRS/GMRS462.5625462.5625NFM2W, 5W
02FRS/GMRSFRS/GMRS462.5875462.5875NFM2W, 5W
03 EMFRS/GMRSFRS/GMRS462.6125462.6125NFM2W, 5W
04FRS/GMRSFRS/GMRS462.6375462.6375NFM2W, 5W
05FRS/GMRSFRS/GMRS462.6625462.6625NFM2W, 5W
06FRS/GMRSFRS/GMRS462.6875462.6875NFM2W, 5W
07FRS/GMRSFRS/GMRS462.7125462.7125NFM2W, 5W
NFM, FM2W, 50W
NFM, FM2W, 50W
17 EMGMRSFRS/GMRS462.6000462.6000
NFM, FM2W, 50W
NFM, FM2W, 50W
NFM, FM2W, 50W
20 EM/TRGMRSFRS/GMRS462.6750462.6750
NFM, FM2W, 50W
NFM, FM2W, 50W
NFM, FM2W, 50W
(FRS use is not allowed on the 467MHz GMRS Repeater inputs on chs. 15-22 – GMRS allows “wide” FM for simplex or repeater us on chs. 15-22 – NFM = 12.5kHz, FM = 25kHz – CALL = Calling Channel – EM = Emergency/Prepper freq. – TR = Travel Safety & Assistance)


While these changes will simplify the rules and expand shared “interstitial” channels in both the FRS and MURS bands, it may also open up GMRS to more interference from newer, 2W FRS radios. We think this change makes MURS even more attractive for personal, business or emergency/prepper SHTF uses, because it’s VHF and still underutilized as compared to FRS/GMRS.

Now that GMRS will have 22 channels available, 30 if you consider the repeater configurations, TERA TR-505 and other 16-channel radio users will need to make some decisions as to which channels they want programmed. Those using larger radios (for emergency use only) such as the TERA TR-590, Wouxun KG-UV3D or Wouxun KG-UV9D (Plus), will be able to program and access all of the FRS, GMRS & MURS frequencies (although Part 90 or 97 radios are not type-accepted for transmitting on the FRS/GMRS/MURS bands).

What do you think of these changes and how they might affect the bands? Let us know with a comment below… and Be Safe!

Note: Article revised on 08/18/17 to reflect correct power (.5W) for 467 MHz FRS/GMRS interstitial channels.
Note: Article revised on 08/30/17 to confirm Federal Register publishing date of 8/29/17.
Note: Article revised on 09/28/17 to confirm active date of new rules of 8/28/17 and add notes about license term, fee, and Part 90 GMRS radios use.
Note: Article revised on 09/28/17 to fix typo about new FRS 2W use on 462 (instead of 467) MHz FRS channels. Other typo fixes on Band Plan chart. Clarification on digital modes and CB power limits.

Comments (8)

  1. Noji Ratzlaff 10 months ago

    I’ve already left a comment (and answer to your question) on a separate thread, but according to Scot Stone (scot.stone@fcc.gov) of the FCC, Baofengs will NOT be banned from sale or use on amateur frequencies by licensed amateur operators after 2019, because they never were Part 95 certified.

    • Author
      Mark Lindsey 10 months ago

      @Noji, we didn’t really address that part of the new PRS changes in this post because most people here are more interested in the GMRS & MURS changes, and we’re also not a Baofeng dealer. Our TERA TR-505 is FCC certified and much higher quality than the vast majority of (if not all) Baofeng radios, so we’re not really concerned about them. As I understand it, there isn’t much that can’t be used on the amateur bands by a licensed operator, provided they pass the basic Part 97 and Part 15B rules. I have not heard anything about Part 95 radios being banned from use as such, only the other way around. 🙂 Cheers!

  2. Tony Culyat 9 months ago

    Murs,GMRS,FRS, are NOT amateur bands. You can tell hams from cbrs.

    • Author
      Mark Lindsey 9 months ago

      Tony, correct, as the article states, MURS, GMRS, FRS and CBRS are all part of the Part 95 PRS services. The Amateur Radio Service is governed by Part 97. Some might argue against your last comment, as I’ve personally heard some hams acting no better than the worst CB’ers, but in general, yes, amateur radio operators or for the most part, much better behaved. I’m not really sure what your point was though, because I wasn’t suggesting otherwise in this article. 🙂

  3. Slim 8 months ago

    FRS has no official call or emergency channel assignment. People typically use 462.5625 but every kid with a toy radio uses that frequency to spam the call tone..

    There is no official “Prepper” channel.

    The ONLY Emergency Channel is in the licensed GMRS band @ 462.6750 @ 25 KHz with a typical PL of 141.3Hz for R.E.A.C.T . This frequency was also called “Orange Dot”

    ONLY FRS radios are allowed to be used in commercial settings as business comms. GMRS radios and licenses are not allowed to be used as business comms.

    FCC GMRS licensing is $65 now and can be done online through ULS and once payment is received via credit card you get your license almost immediately to print out.

    Name branded Part 90 radios (New or surplus) are 1000x better to use than Chinafeng Ham radios on GMRS/FRS/MURS. I mean if you are worried about spurious emissions that really don’t effect anything…

    • Author
      Mark Lindsey 8 months ago

      Slim, thanks for your comment, but we have to correct a few things:

      We never said that the prepper designations are “official.” However, channel 3 on FRS, GMRS and MURS are all recognized as emergency channels with various prepper/survivalist groups, so we add the “EM” designations here as a suggestion.

      462.6750 is also not an official emergency channel, but many have adopted it, so we also tag is as such.

      We also have not stated on this page that business use is allowed on GMRS, but it indeed it is! A business entity cannot obtain a license, but individuals can use GMRS for business use, provided they are all licensed. Here’s the rule:

      §95.1731 Permissible GMRS uses.
      The operator of a GMRS station may use that station for two-way plain language voice communications with other GMRS stations and with FRS units concerning personal or business activities.

      Licensing was $70, then we hear some people stating it went up to $75. If it is not $65, then that’s great, but we haven’t confirmed such yet.

      Actually, we’ve had many users claim the opposite about our radios, and at 1/3 the price of a “name brand” radio, virtually all of which are made in Asia now, there really aren’t any complaints. In fact, almost all of our customers rave about the TERA and Wouxun radios here. I’ve heard bad things about Baofeng radios though, and we don’t sell them for several reasons.

      And yes, you should be concerned about spurious emissions, especially if they are high and at microwaves, because those can cause damage to your eyes.

  4. C.S. 6 months ago

    Hi Mark! “two watt” FRS has as much power as MURS now, am i right ?
    Im interested what the range of a handheld or (auto) mobile unit might be.

    and i cant wait to see a few of your new products come out (id love all the 2 watt channels)

    all the best
    (thanks again for finding me the ‘DC-adapter for the Tera-505 charging unit.
    Glad to do my business with you today 6/19/18
    from Westland,Mi.

    • Author
      Mark Lindsey 6 months ago

      Hi C.S., Thanks for your comment and it was a pleasure doing business with you! We haven’t seen any type-accepted FRS radios come out yet that do 2 Watts or less, but most existing hybrid radios (still available until they are banned) are now considered FRS radios, so you can use those without a license now. If you want more performance, you’ll want to upgrade to a full 4-5W GMRS radio, or a mobile (we’re working on sourcing one) that puts out more. But remember, the antenna is typically much more important than the power, so don’t skimp in that area. 🙂 MURS is still very useful because it’s VHF and can use external antennas, so don’t overlook that band, especially for rural, outdoor uses. Stay tuned for more goodies soon! Cheers!

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