CB to be Replaced by FRS/GMRS Two-Way Radios in 2021

Better Range and Voice Clarity top reasons for the change.

midland radios

Midland Radio Corporation is the official 2020 communications sponsor of Jeep® Jamboree USA. With the sponsorship comes a transition with CB being replaced by FRS/GMRS two-way radios. This year Jeep® Jamboree participants are still welcome to use their CB radio, but in 2021 all trail communication will be through FRS/GMRS two-way radios.

Why the Change?

Over the past few years, the number of complaints Jeep Jamboree USA has received about CB radios, specifically about its range and voice clarity has steadily increased. The comments below came from the most recent Jeep Jamboree Facebook post highlighting CB radios.

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Midland Radio Corporation had been receiving the same type of feedback over the past few years. Because of this, Midland began looking at alternative public frequencies to create products around and identified GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service). In 2015, it began developing the first MicroMobile® Two-Way Radio (the MXT100) and released it to the public the following year. Due to its popularity, four additional radios have been added to the MicroMobile® line.

What’s the Difference?

The main difference between CB radio and the MicroMobile® is the power capability which translates to better range and sound quality. CB radios are only allowed to transmit at a maximum of 4 watts by law. With GMRS frequency, the FCC allows up to 50 watts of power. Midland currently offers MicroMobile® two-way radios in 5 watts, 15 watts, and 40 watts with the two most popular models within the off-road community being the MXT275 (15 watt) and MXT400 (40 watt) radios.

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What are FRS & GMRS Frequencies?

FRS and GMRS are public frequencies just like CB (citizen’s band). FRS and GMRS share the same frequency band (462-467 MHz). The frequencies are pre-programmed into 22 channels. Channels 1-7 have a power restriction of 5 watts. Channels 8-14 have a power restriction of .5 watts. Channels 15-22 are allowed up to 50 watts of power. FRS (Family Radio Service) radios transmit at 2 watts or less of power. FRS radios come with a fixed antenna and cannot be modified to amplify their signal to reach further distances. GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) radios transmit at over 2 watts of power but no more than 50 watts. GMRS radios can also be modified to have a stronger and farther-ranging signal with the help of an external antenna.

jeep and a guy on a radio

Do I Need a License?

It depends on the amount of power you want. A GMRS license is required to operate the MicroMobile® radios because they transmit over 2 watts of power. The license is $70 and covers you and your extended family for 10 years. Simply apply on the FCC website and you will usually have your license in 48 hours. Not ready to commit to a license just yet? You can purchase a set of FRS license free walkie talkies and communicate with others who already have a MicroMobile® radio. Just be aware that you will not enjoy the same amount of range as MicroMobile® users. Get GMRS licensing information.

How Much Do Midland Micromobiles® Cost?

The MicroMobile® radios cost between $100 – $250 depending on how many watts of power you are looking for. Additional MicroMobile® accessories including upgraded antennas, mounts, and cables will cost extra but will enhance the performance of your radios.

Other Advantages of Midland Micromobile®

  • COMPACT SIZE
    Did you know the average CB radio size is 8x10x 3? Midland MicroMobile® radios are significantly smaller than a conventional CB radio. This makes it easy to mount in areas where space is limited. Midland offers the MXT275 MicroMobile® which has all the controls on the mic that allows you to hide the head unit anywhere!
  • SIMPLE TO USE
    The MicroMobile® radios are “plug & play” and ready to use out of the box! There is no programming or tuning required. Additionally, there is no tuning of the antenna required or the need for a ground plane.
  • COMPATIBILITY
    The MicroMobile® radios are compatible with all brands of GMRS/FRS walkie talkies. Virtually all walkie talkies that you find in a sporting goods store or a big box retailer are FRS/GMRS walkie talkies. Although any brand will work with the MicroMobile® we recommend pairing it with Midland walkie talkies like the X-Talker T71VP3. The walkie talkies are great for spotting and recovery!
  • REPEATER CHANNELS
    GMRS repeaters receive and re-transmit your signal further than what your two-way radio can do on its own. With access to these powerful 8 GMRS repeater channels, your MicroMobile’s operating range is extended even further in rugged obstructed terrain with the 15 watt and 40 watt MicroMobiles®.

midland truck

What Midland Recommends

As mentioned above, there are two MicroMobile® radios that are more popular than the others within the off-road community and the two that we recommend you consider. The first is the MXT275 15 Watt MicroMobile® due to all the controls being on the mic which enables you to hide the head unit anywhere. This makes it perfect for those with limited dashboard space. The other is the MXT400 40 Watt MicroMobile® due to its power and range capabilities. Both radios are a capable solution at Jeep Jamboree events however we do recommend adding the MXTA25 3db Ghost Antenna or MXTA26 Spring Loaded Whip Antenna to optimize performance.

See You On The Trail

Midland Radio is extremely excited to provide its proven, industry-leading MicroMobile® and X-Talker walkie talkies to enhance Jeep Jamboree’s on-trail navigation and communication. Midland products will be for sale at Jeep Jamboree events and online at jeepjamboreeusa.com including several MicroMobile® bundles, walkie talkies, and accessories.

We hope to see you on an upcoming trip! In the meantime, come join the conversation with us on Instagram at @midlandusa.

Over and Out!