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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 Mark Lindsey

FCC Part 95 Rule Changes for 2017Today, 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.

Implementation of the rules will take effect 30 days after the new order is published, which is expected to be tomorrow (05/19/17), but many of the equipment changes required by the new rules won’t take place for 90 days to 18 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” 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 all FRS frequencies, in eluding the GMRS repeater output frequencies. This means a kid with an FRS radio running 2W next door to you, might be able to mask your repeater reception (although they’ve been doing this with the hybrid radios all along).
  • Existing FRS/GMRS radios that use 2W or less, will now be retro-reclassified as FRS radios, using the new expanded FRS capabilities.
  • Existing FRS/GMRS radios that put our MORE than 2W, will now be retro-reclassified as GMRS radios, which operation will still require a GMRS license, and using the new expanded GMRS capabilities.
  • GMRS will now become Part 95E (instead of Part 95A), FRS (Part 95B) and MURS (Part 95J) remaining the same.
  • 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 5W limit as on the current “interstitial” channels (ch. 1-7) that are shared with FRS. This adds 7 new shared “interstitial” GMRS channels, giving GMRS users more options to find a clear simplex channel (but still shared with all the .5W FRS radios out in the world now).
  • GMRS will now 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.
  • 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.

Here’s a handy little chart of the new GMRS/FRS band frequencies, which will now be officially channelized by the FCC:

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
08FRSFRS/GMRS467.5625467.5625NFM2W, 5W
09FRSFRS/GMRS467.5875467.5875NFM2W, 5W
10FRSFRS/GMRS467.6125467.6125NFM2W, 5W
11FRSFRS/GMRS467.6375467.6375NFM2W, 5W
12FRSFRS/GMRS467.6625467.6625NFM2W, 5W
13FRSFRS/GMRS467.6875467.6875NFM2W, 5W
14FRSFRS/GMRS467.7125467.7125NFM2W, 5W
NFM, FM2W, 5/50W
NFM, FM2W, 5/50W
17 EMGMRSFRS/GMRS462.6000462.6000
NFM, FM2W, 5/50W
NFM, FM2W, 5/50W
NFM, FM2W, 5/50W
20 EM/TRGMRSFRS/GMRS462.6750462.6750
NFM, FM2W, 5/50W
NFM, FM2W, 5/50W
NFM, FM2W, 5/50W
(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 – GMRS Power shown is Handheld/Mobile-Base – 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 23 channels available, 31 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 or Wouxun KG-UV9D Plus (which we will be offering soon!), will be able to program and access all of the FRS, GMRS & MURS frequencies.

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

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