Two-way radio communication has been available to the public for what appears like forever. Who hasn’t heard of CB radios, but who knew there are numerous other two-way radio options? Just how many people have found out about Family Radio Service (FRS), General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), or the Extreme Radio Service (eXRS )? Have you ever considered utilizing the marine VHF bands for land to water communications? Most of these are readily available and only 1 radio requires an easy to obtain FCC license.
Does your family need a two-way radio? You can find few families that could not benefit from, or find an important use for a two-way radio. Have you ever been hiking or camping with your family and you and your kids become separated from one another? This is not the time to discover that your cellular phone does not have a signal. How will you call and check on your kids to make sure they’re safe? How do they call you if they need you? Having several light weight, compact two-way radios isn’t this type of bad idea. In fact, at times like this, Eye dressing purpose it is a necessity to insure the safety of your family.
Before we explore the different radio and service options available, let’s first consider some basics that apply to two-way radios and radio services. First, more power means greater distances. Therefore, a 1/2 watt radio won’t transmit as far or as well as a 5 watt radio. Second, the flatter the terrain or even more direct the type of sight communication you have, the higher the range and performance of the radio. Some radios can transmit 30 to 35 miles or even more if the terrain is flat.
With these basics in mind, let’s consider the capabilities of the next services and radios to see what fits your needs:
The CB (citizens band) radio is an option with both mobile and handheld styles offering 40-channels and also have an output of 4 watts. They’re generally sold as an individual radio and you would have to buy one for each person. The CB radio tends to be a little larger and bulkier compared to the other radio options.
It is common to find that a two-way radio within the Family Radio Service (FRS) channels covers the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) channels aswell. FRS radios have a maximum power of 1/2 watt, and that means you don’t want to roam too much from each other and hope to communicate. If you buy a radio with both FRS and GMRS capability, you can operate on the FRS channels with out a license, however, to operate on the GMRS channels you will have to obtain an FCC license, but not everyone in the family needs one.
The FCC license is issued to facilitate the actions of a grown-up individual AND his / her immediate family members. Family add a spouse, children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and in-laws. One license can cover everyone, but the licensee is responsible for everyone operating under their license and will have to insure all users follow the rules. GMRS radios operate in the UHF band therefore the radios are compact and light weight. The power of these radios is normally from 1 to 5 watts, and they are most often sold in pairs for approximately the cost of one handheld CB radio.
Among the latest and little known new services is the extreme radio service (eXRS) that uses new technology referred to as “Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum” technology and operates in the 900 MHz band. The eXRS two-way radio boasts of having the capacity to provide superior communications over a greater range when compared, under the same conditions, to the FRS and GMRS radios, and they also require no license like the GMRS does. When sold in pairs they’re about the same price range as the FRS/GMRS two-way radios.