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New $35 FCC License Application Fee for Ham & GMRS Radio Services

FCC_GMRS_Fee_Schedule_Changes_2021 Promo Image

It’s official, the new $35 FCC license application fee for Ham & GMRS radio services were formally adopted by the agency for the Part 95E General Mobile Radio Service & Part 97 Amateur Radio Service (and other commercial radios services), having now been officially published in the Federal Register on 03/19/21.

Header Image for FCC Federal Register License Fee Schedule Changes for March 19th 2021 Article

FCC_GMRS_Fee_Schedule_Changes_2021 Promo ImageAs widely anticipated for GMRS users, the new $35 license fee changes will go into effect 30 days from the date of publishing in the Federal Register, which means they will now be in effect on 04/19/21.

UPDATE: The FCC has finally published a note that the new fees will finally be active on the FCC ULS (Universal Licensing System) website on 04/19/22, an entire year after the new fees were actually approved. 

While some on the Amateur Radio / Ham Radio community are not happy about the addition of this $35 fee for what used to be essentially free for ARS license applications, the new fees bring a 50% reduction in fees for the GMRS community.

For a GMRS license, the changes include the same 10-year license terms, the same inclusion of your entire immediate family under the same license, and a new reduced license application fee of $35. That’s only 29 cents per month, and even less if you share the license with any family members!

The new lower fees comes at the perfect time for a major influx of new GMRS applicants and an overall increase in awareness about emergency radio communications on all radio services and bands, for disaster preparedness and SHTF prepping.

BSR Wouxun KG-UV9G PRO GMRS Two-Way Radio & SHTF ScannerIt also comes at a time when there are finally several more options for quality handheld radios such as the Wouxun KG-UV9GX GMRS Two-Way Radio & SHTF Scanner, co-designed by Mark Lindsey (K6LED/WQXR567) and sold exclusively by BetterSafeRadio.

The new fee schedule was originally proposed to be $50 per application, but due to public comment, the FCC agreed to lower the fee to $35 for the personal radio services. Other commercial and broadcast radio services are also affected by the new changes. See the published FCC rule changes for all the details.

What do you think about the new changes? Chime in below.

Cheers and Be Safe!

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Part 95 FCC PRS Public Radio Service (GMRS, FRS, MURS, CBRS) Changes Published

FCC Part 95 Rule Changes Published

It’s official, the new changes adopted by the FCC for the Part 95 PRS (Personal Radio Service) rules, which affects GMRS, FRS, MURS & CBRS (CB or Citizens Band Radio Service), were officially published in the Federal Register on 08/29/17.

FCC Part 95 Rule Changes Published

FCC Part 95 Rule Changes for 2017As described in our previous post about how the FCC Part 95 rule changes will affect the popular two-way radio PRS bands, most of the changes will go into effect 30 days, on 09/28/17, with some of the equipment authorization changes going into effect in 90 days and 24 months.

Nothing will change for our existing Part 95-compliant GMRS & MURS custom radio programming configurations and all existing radios will continue to operate as intended, but we are currently evaluating if any new configurations would be beneficial to radio users. Stay tuned for more information on that front.

What do you think about the new changes? Comment below or on the post linked above.

Cheers and Stay Safe!

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

FCC Part 95 Rule Changes for 2017
FCC Part 95 Rule Changes for 2017

On 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 ($70 license fee), and still cover your entire immediate family.
  • 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 fixed 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, and with SHTF Prepper channel use recommendations:

FRS/GMRS Combined Band Plan

ChannelBandsRX FreqSimplex TX Freq
Repeater TX Freq
Bandwidth & Mode
FRS / GMRS
Max Power
FRS / GMRS
01 CFRS / GMRS462.5625462.5625NFM / FM2W ERP / 5W ERP
02 SFRS / GMRS462.5875462.5875NFM / FM2W ERP / 5W ERP
03 EFRS / GMRS462.6125462.6125NFM / FM2W ERP / 5W ERP
04FRS / GMRS462.6375462.6375NFM / FM2W ERP / 5W ERP
05FRS / GMRS462.6625462.6625NFM / FM2W ERP / 5W ERP
06FRS / GMRS462.6875462.6875NFM / FM2W ERP / 5W ERP
07FRS / GMRS462.7125462.7125NFM / FM2W ERP / 5W ERP
08FRS / GMRS467.5625467.5625NFM0.5W ERP
09 SFRS / GMRS467.5875467.5875NFM0.5W ERP
10FRS / GMRS467.6125467.6125NFM0.5W ERP
11FRS / GMRS467.6375467.6375NFM0.5W ERP
12FRS / GMRS467.6625467.6625NFM0.5W ERP
13FRS / GMRS467.6875467.6875NFM0.5W ERP
14FRS / GMRS467.7125467.7125NFM0.5W ERP
15 CFRS / GMRS462.5500462.5500
467.5500
NFM / FM2W ERP / 50W PEP
16 SFRS / GMRS462.5750462.5750
467.5750
NFM / FM2W ERP / 50W PEP
17 EFRS / GMRS462.6000462.6000
467.6000
NFM / FM2W ERP / 50W PEP
18FRS / GMRS462.6250462.6250
467.6250
NFM / FM2W ERP / 50W PEP
19FRS / GMRS462.6500462.6500
467.6500
NFM / FM2W ERP / 50W PEP
20 TFRS / GMRS462.6750462.6750
467.6750
NFM / FM2W ERP / 50W PEP
21FRS / GMRS462.7000462.7000
467.7000
NFM / FM2W ERP / 50W PEP
22FRS / GMRS462.7250462.7250
467.7250
NFM / FM2W ERP / 50W PEP
C = Calling Channel, S = Safety Channel, E = Emergency/Prepper Channel, T = Travel Channel for Road Safety & Assistance
FRS is not allowed on the 467MHz GMRS Repeater inputs on chs. 15-22, but is now allowed on the 462MHz GMRS Repeater outputs (for simplex/direct/Talk-Around use).
FRS is limited to Narrow FM only. GMRS allows Wide FM for simplex or repeater use on chs. 1-7 & 15-22.
NFM = 12.5kHz, FM = 20kHz deviation in a 25kHz channel
ERP = Effective Radiated Power, PEP = Peak Envelope Power (Total Power Out)

(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. The affordable entry-level Retevis RT27V-MURS and RT27-FRS radios are perfect examples.

Now that GMRS will have 22 channels available, 30 if you consider the repeater configurations, older radios like the TERA TR-505 and other limited 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 Wouxun KG-UV7D or Wouxun KG-UV9P, will be able to program and access all of the FRS, GMRS & MURS frequencies (although Part 90 or 15B/97 radios are not type-accepted for transmitting on the FRS/GMRS/MURS bands). BSR offers a few legal GMRS radios that cover all available channels under the new PRS rules.

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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Making Long Beach, California Neighborhoods Safer with the LBCA5 Safety Radio

BetterSafeRadio TR-505 Long Beach Neighborhood Safety Two-Way Radio

We’re thrilled to present our unique Long Beach, California Neighborhood Safety Two-Way Radio!

BetterSafeRadio TR-505 Long Beach Neighborhood Safety Two-Way RadioBased on the tried and true TERA TR-505 dual-band 16 channel emergency two-way radio and custom programmed with everything you need in a local Long Beach safety radio, the LBCA5 provides a solid, commercial-grade 2-5 Watt radio with IP54 dust & water (splash) resistance.

Whether you’re interested in making Long Beach safer by coordinating and reporting suspicious activity or calling for help on the Long Beach Neighborhood Safety Channels (MURS 2 or FRS/GMRS 2), or if you want an emergency radio with 5 VHF MURS or 5 UHF GMRS/FRS channels, or if you would like to monitor the Long Beach Police and Fire/EMS frequencies to know what’s going on in your area (including the helicopter) to keep you out of harm’s way, this radio has you covered. It also doubles as a scanner on the 6 UHF LBPD dispatch and Car to Car repeater channels, and the 3 VHF LB Fire/EMS dispatch and TAC channels.

BetterSafeRadio TERA TR-505-LBCA5G Programming Chart v04Wonder what the current or future weather forecast is? We’ve included the Los Angeles/Ventura & Orange County/San Bernardino NOAA NWS (National Weather Service) “WX” weather channels, which broadcast the current conditions and forecast 24/7, and also doubles as the “All Hazards” emergency/disaster stations as part of the Emergency Broadcasting System (EBS).

The GMRS/FRS channels allow you to communicate with your kids and neighbors on their blister-pack hybrid FRS/GMRS radios, or other existing GMRS and LB Safety Radio operators. Note: Transmitting on GMRS does require a no-test license from the FCC (currently est. $70 for 10 years), but it covers the entire family and only takes a couple days to obtain online.

See the custom programming chart here and check out the TERA TR-505 product page for all the details on this rugged, high-performance radio. And don’t forget the accessories! We carry a growing list of high-quality TERA accessories such as speaker mics, covert earpieces and antennas to either go long-distance or totally stealth, so you can get the most out of your investment.

BetterSafeRadio TERA TR-505-LBCA5G Programming Chart v04Our vision is to have at least one Long Beach Neighborhood Safety Radio user on every block, creating a grid of communication throughout the city. We believe that with some practice (including weekly or monthly training drills, called NETs), community policing can assist our Public Safety professionals and provide eyes everywhere, which can be a powerful crime deterrent. Our ultimate goal is to coordinate relays between this citizens safety radio network, and other volunteer services like CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), coordinated by LB Fire as an extension of FEMA), LB SAR (Search & Rescue), also managed by LB Fire, ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service), RACES (Radio Amateur Communications Emergency Service), REACT, and the Guardian Angels.

We can take back our streets, stay connected, have some fun, and make our city a friendlier, safer and more prepared community to live in… with YOUR help!

Feel free to comment below and let us know what you think, or ask any questions about the radio or our vision of safety and preparedness for Long Beach.

Be Safe Long Beach!

 

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A Prepper’s Dream SHTF Radio

TERA TR-505 GMRS-MURS Two-Way Radio - Assembled Specs

“Should I have a UHF two-way GMRS radio for urban emergency communications?

How about a VHF MURS radio for more rural/outdoor situations?

I’d really like both, in the same SHTF radio, but with FCC Certification.”

This is a conversation that many peppers have in their own head, and unless you’re willing to forego the certification or carry 2 different SHTF radios, there aren’t many options.

The TERA TR-505 is a US-designed commercial-grade dual-band two-way radio ideal for emergency communications, with a warranty supported in the US and personalized support and custom programming provided by BetterSafeRadio and our ReadySafeGo™ service, so it’s ready to use the second you unpack it.

Some customers have programmed their radio as the ideal bug-out EmComm radio that has both GMRS & MURS bands (and more, like NOAA/NWS WX reception) in the same unit. Now, while the TR-505 has type certification for both of these bands, it can legally only be programmed to transmit on one band at a time. The customer-submitted “GMAX” (shown below) and “GTRV” programming charts shown on the TR-505 product page reveals all of the channels.

Custom programming is available in the TERA TR-505 and it is also PC programmable using an optional USB programming cable and the free TERA software. It’s a real commercial-grade emergency two-way “SHTF” radio with performance far superior of the cheap blister-pack GMRS/FRS radios you find at the superstore, and of course, it does GMRS & MURS (and a lot more with some custom programming).

You can learn more about the TR-505 and our custom radio programming options at BetterSafeRadio.com.