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# 22 - CB, FRS, GMRS, MURS, or Ham, Which Is Right For Me?

November 12, 2017

For radio communications, there are a lot of options out there, and many people that I speak to are confused as to which one is right for them. There isn't really a one-size-fits-all answer that I can give you. There are a lot of variables to consider when choosing a radio communications system which I will attempt to go over a few of in this article.

 

First off, lets decide who you want to be able to communicate with via radio. Do you only want or need to communicate with your family around your property? Do you need to communicate with people within a one-mile range? Do you need to communicate with people farther away?

 

Let's take a look at each radio type, their benefits, and their limits:

 

Family Radio Service (FRS) is a radio service open to the general public without having to apply for a license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It utilizes a set of 14 channels in the Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) radio spectrum and is limited to a maximum of 2-watts of power. They are restricted to having fixed antennas, so you do not have the option of connecting an external antenna to help get better range.

 

FRS radios can be purchased in blister packs from big-box stores, home improvement stores, electronics stores, sporting goods stores, and online fairly cheap. A major drawback to FRS radios is their range. Even though the packaging will make claims that you can talk up to 14, or even 30 miles away with these radios, that is complete bullshit. FRS radios will be able to talk about one mile, depending on terrain and obstacles like trees, buildings, hills, etc.

 

Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) is another radio service that is open to the general public without needing an FCC license. MURS radios operate on 5 channels in the Very-High Frequency (VHF) radio spectrum and are limited to 2-watts of power. They are also restricted to having fixed antennas, so you do not have the option of connecting an external antenna to help get better range.

 

Because these radios operate at a slightly lower frequency range, you are able to communicate a little farther with these radios at between 2 to 3 miles. MURS radios are a little harder to find, but they are available online.

 

They are a little more expensive because they are generally commercial quality devices so they are built to last longer than the cheaper consumer grade FRS radios.

 

Citizens and Radio Service (CBRS), also known as CB's are the last option for radio communications that do not require an FCC license. They operate in the High Frequency (HF) radio spectrum which adds to their operating range. They are limited to 4-watts of power on AM channels and 12-watts of power on SSB.

 

CB radios are able to utilize external antennas, so if it is mounted in a vehicle by having an antenna mounted outside of the vehicle you get better range and the metal of the vehicle does not blo