Nothing is more important than communication. That’s why a working GMRS radio is mandatory for all Jeep Jamboree events. Below, we’ve assembled some of the most common answers to questions people have about GMRS.
Don’t have your GMRS Radio yet? Get the gear you need for your adventure including GMRS Radios, Tow Straps, Soft Shackles, Shirts, Hats, and more in our store.
If You Don’t Have GMRS Radio Yet
Your easiest and best option is to purchase a unit from the preferred Jeep Jamboree Communication Sponsor, Midland. They make a quality product that is easy to understand and use. The recommended radios are available in our store. Jeep Jamboree recommends an in-Jeep radio (Midland 115, 275 or 400) radio rather than a handheld for your best communication experience.
Radio Differences and Frequencies
In late 2017, the FCC standardized the channel numbers/frequencies for FRS/GMRS. Any FCC-approved radio manufactured after October of 2017 is required to use the standardized channel numbering and corresponding frequencies. This means that Midland, Cobra, Uniden, etc. all work together.
Frequencies and Power (See the reference chart below)
- FRS and GMRS use the exact same channels/frequencies but at different power levels.
- FRS is “Family Radio Service” which runs at a lower power.
- GMRS is “General Mobile Radio Service” and runs at higher power.
- Both FRS and GMRS are only supposed to transmit at .5 watts on Channels 8-14.
- FRS is “licensed by rule” by the FCC, meaning that you do not need a license to operate at FRS power.
- The FCC requires a GMRS license as a way to regulate frequencies that are used by two-way radio devices. Before operating a GMRS radio, you must have a valid license. Any radio using the shared FRS/GMRS frequencies that is able to transmit above 2 Watts of power was reclassified as GMRS only after the recent FCC Changes in September 2017. GMRS radios can be handhelds or in-unit mobile radios.
- Licensees must be 18+ and be an individual (not a business).
- There isn’t a test. Just pay $70 and you’re good for 10 years. (This fee may be reduced to $35 in the future, but no date has been set by the FCC).
- The license covers you and your immediate family (husband, wife, kids, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.).
- You must follow the rules set forth by the FCC.
- Sign-up and get your “FRN Number” at https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsEntry/licManager/login.jsp
- Once you have your FRN Number, login in using that information and apply for a new license. Select the “ZA – General Mobile Radio (GMRS)” at the bottom of the dropdown list.
Why GMRS over FRS?
- GMRS has more power, meaning you can transmit farther.
- While FRS handhelds work fine in many cases, the lower transmit power and shorter antennas mean that there are situations where you may be able to hear the trail leader or others on the trail, but they may not hear you.
- If someone is using a GMRS and transmitting, an FRS will usually receive just fine. An FRS has less power so it can’t transmit as far.
- If both parties are using FRS in an obstructed area or are far apart, they may not be able to transmit or receive to each other.
What About Rugged Radios Sold Previously by Jeep Jamboree?
Rugged Radios are professional-level radios that are capable of transmitting and receiving on both the VHF and UHF spectrum. This includes the frequencies used by FRS/GMRS. Jeep Jamboree sold the Rugged Radios RH5R-V2 5-watt radio. Unless this radio is programmed “down” in power, a license is still technically required for its use.
As a 5-watt radio, these work well on the trail, especially when combined with the upgraded Rugged antenna available at https://amzn.to/3ovw0f1
All Rugged Radios can be programmed manually (have patience and a manual handy) or using a programming cable and an open-source program called CHIRP.
- Programming cable: https://amzn.to/37MM8ly
- CHIRP program: https://chirp.danplanet.com
NOTE! As of 4/1/2021, some of the latest Rugged Radios, such as the V3, cannot be programmed by CHIRP and require software and a specific cable from RT Systems. As an example, to program
the V3’s you would need the appropriate programming software and cable – https://www.rtsystemsinc.com/V3_c_2062.html. You can manually program them, using the chart below, paying close attention to frequency, bandwidth, and power.
Eric with Jeep Jamboree USA has templates built and can reprogram the Rugged Radios. If he is working an event you are attending, he will do this for any guides or guests that ask for help. If you purchased a Rugged Radio from Jeep Jamboree in the past, you may email him with questions at email@example.com.