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MURS: Unlicensed VHF

Motorola RDV2020 MURS RadioDo you need a high powered two way radio, but don't want to deal with the hassle of licensing? MURS may be the answer, particularly if you plan to use the radio outdoors where VHF frequencies are most effective.

The Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) is a two-way radio service consisting of five frequencies in the VHF spectrum. Established by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the fall of 2000, MURS is a radio service allowing for "licensed by use" operation, meaning that a FFC issued license is not necessary to operate a MURS transmitter. The FCC formally defines MURS as "a private, two-way, short distance voice or data communications service for personal or business activities of the general public".

There are some limitations to MURS: radio power is limited to 2 watts, MURS stations may not be connected to the public telephone network, radio repeaters are not permitted, and the highest point of any MURS antenna must not be more than 60 feet above the ground or 20 feet above the highest point of the structure on which it is mounted.

Since MURS exists within the VHF spectrum, it has the potential to become very popular among the traveling community and outdoor enthusiasts. VHF characteristics are ideal for short-distance ground communication, with a range generally somewhat farther than line-of-sight. Although there are limitations on transmitter power output and antenna height, there are no restrictions on the use of external antennas. The range for vehicle-to-vehicle communications with MURS can be much greater than that for the Family Radio Service (FRS). Outdoor activities are benefited by the increased range over the FRS, allowing for base camps to utilize antennas to stay in contact with campers and emergency personnel.

MURS operation is authorized anywhere a CB station is authorized.

  • Within or over any area of the world where radio service are regulated by the FCC
  • Any other area of the world, except within the territorial limits of areas where radio services are regulated by either an agency of the United States other than the FCC or any foreign government (Subject to either parties rules)
  • Aboard any vessel of the United States, with the permission of the captain, while the vessel is traveling either domestically or in international waters

MURS operation is not authorized aboard aircraft in flight.

MURS stations may transmit voice or data signal as permitted in FCC regulation Section 95.631.

Determined quickly whether a radio is legal to use on MURS:

  • If the radio is Part 95 certified and operates on MURS frequencies
  • If the radio was Part 95 certified prior to November 12, 2002 and transmits no more than 2 watts, and has no external control to increase power above 2 watts and only operates wideband on the 154 MHz frequencies (all parts must be true)
  • If the Radio was Part 90 certified prior to November 12, 2002 and transmits no more than 2 watts and has no external control to increate power above 2 watts and does not narrowband on the 151 MHz and 154 MHz frequencies or narrowband on 151 MHz and wideband on 154 MHz frequencies (all parts must be true)

The following are the frequencies authorized for use by the MURS:

Frequency Authorized Bandwidth
151.820 MHz 11.25 kHz
151.880 MHz 11.25 kHz
151.940 MHz 11.25 kHz
154.570 MHz (also part of business band) 20.00 kHz
154.600 MHz (also part of business band) 20.00 kHz

Click here for a list of radios that we currently offer supporting the MURS frequencies.

Related Resources
Best MURS Two Way Radios of 2020
Looking for a MURS Compatible Radio?
MURS Capable Two Way Radios
Motorola Releases Two New MURS Radios
Introducing the Wouxun KG-805 Professional GMRS and MURS Radios
The Two Way Radio Show TWRS-11 - All About MURS
The Two Way Radio Show TWRS-145 - New GMRS and MURS Radios

23 thoughts on “MURS: Unlicensed VHF”

  • Dale A.

    Mike M.:
    Even with CTCSS (A.K.A. "PL" tone) installed/enabled, it is also against the FCC rules to transmit over anybody else who is occupying the channel you are using.
    So, it is in your best interest to A) Install the radio(s) with a means to disable the CTCSS upon lifting the microphone, or B) Press the MON(itor) button for a few seconds before transmitting, to (hopefully), ascertain whether the frequency is in use.

  • Jose Sevilla

    GMRS Lic. went down to I believe $70 for 10yrs for your whole family to use. I live in Damascus MD and I was able to hit a repeater in Alexandria VA about 40 miles. Using a repeater compatible radio like Kenwood Tk-860 mobilke 30W or a Baofeng hand unit.

  • tekrat

    *We are considering using a MURS frequency during a fire emergency in a Rural area when power is out...*

    It has to be a literal life and death situation. Even then you're pushing it. I would recommend you either setup a CB relay group (no license, cheap equipment, and good range). Next best is GMRS because it gives you 2 possibilities: low power with a power mobile radio for $15 that can be used to listen with. Or pay for a $50 license go with 50 watts legally to cover a 2-3 miles. Your best option is setup a HAM group for the best quality and distance.

  • WQOY990 / Robert

    @Neal Sternberg: The only law I know close to what you are talking about is 47 CFR Part 97 Section 97.403 which states the following: No provision of these rules prevents the use by an amateur station of any means of radio communication at its disposal to provide essential communication needs in connection with the immediate safety of human life and immediate protection of property when normal communication systems are not available.

    There is also this law here which is a law regulating fixed microwave radio services:

    § 101.203 Communications concerning safety of life and property.
    (a) Handling and transmission of messages concerning the safety of life or property which is in imminent danger must be afforded priority over other messages.

    (b) No person may knowingly cause to be transmitted any false or fraudulent message concerning the safety of life or property, or refuse upon demand immediately to relinquish the use of a radio circuit to enable the transmission of messages concerning the safety of life or property which is in imminent danger, or knowingly interfere or otherwise obstruct the transmission of such messages.

  • Arnal

    No, the FCC will most probably not grant you an individual waiver to the Service (MURS) limits. The technical specs are set for everyone. If you need more power, you will have to select a different radio Service (such as GMRS, Business, Special Emergency, or other). Decide if you want or need handhelds or mobiles, or just a 5 W handheld on a mobile antenna. Mobile antennas are about 10 times more efficient than a 'rubber duck' antenna on handheld, and even more so if the handheld is being used on a 'rubber duck' antenna from inside of a car, and even worse from inside of one car to the inside of another car, and even worse on VHF (MURS) than UHF (GMRS).

  • Neal Sternberg
    Neal Sternberg June 27, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    We are considering using a MURS frequency during a fire emergency in a Rural area when power is out, phones are not available and to communicate between neighbor leaders. Life and/or property would be at risk, we’re lead to believe the FCC will allow greater than 2 watts of power in those situations, can you verify that.

  • Tim

    I use MURS motorolas when shooting urbex photography with other photographers. Great for those places with no cell service, coordinating and checking in with travel companions. MURS radios are way more durable than FRS units and we get over 24 hours of usage per charge on the lithium batteries.

  • Stephen

    It really depends on what antenna and height. On 2 watts VHF MURS, the antenna on average ia about 10 feet off of the ground. You might get about 2-3 miles based on the surrounding area. In PA, I get about 1-2 miles. In places like Texas where it is flat, maybe 3-5 miles at the most, again depending the gain of the antenna and how high the antenna is off the ground.

  • WQOY990 / Robert

    You have inaccurate information posted in your comment. G.M.R.S is limited to 50 Watt transmitter power output not 5 watts. Also all 5 frequencies are former Part 90 business band frequencies. I'm not saying one way or another that MURS is better or worse than GMRS they both have their perks and their weakness's. VHF is better for rural area's with lots of foliage and UHF is better for urban areas with tall buildings. No matter bad Service you use. Part 80, Part 95, Part 90, or Part 97 among the ones I use daily but there are many more. In both services you are allowed the use of external High gain antennas as well. GMRS is only limited to 5Watts ERP on the 7 shared FRS frequencies.

  • Good piece . I was enlightened by the analysis

  • NJChris

    Great review. Are you into any other forms of Radio? Where approx.?

  • Bill Strouse

    Seeking MURS Data Transceiver with built-in or attachable messaging display screen and keyboard.. U gots?

  • Rick

    The legal use of MURS will depend on the laws and rules of your country. As stated in the article, MURS has five channels and a limit of 2 Watts. Range will depend on several factors, including your location, altitude, the structures around you, environmental conditions, the antenna on your radio and how you hold it. You might get 2 or 3 miles, you might get 200 or 300 feet. There is no set range limit as it will depend on all of these factors combined.
    For a more in-depth discussion, listen to The Two Way Radio Show Podcast TWRS-11 - All About MURS.

  • Rodelio Reyes Yap
    Rodelio Reyes Yap August 2, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    I am working in Transshipment port and we have some issue with the communication voice traffic due to limited channel given to us by the telecommunication company or the government handling the frequency . As per above comments, MURS does not required any subscription either from telecommunication or frequency distributor. Can you please advise what is range of the communication can reach by the radio, and how many units and channel can use at the same time.

  • Rick

    Hi Col. Smith, yes we do carry a MURS radio. The Motorola RMM2050 MURS Two Way Radio is in stock with free shipping. We also carry a complete line of accessories for the RMM2050, including spare battery packs, belt clips and holsters. Give us a call at 800-584-1445 and we can help you order whatever you need at the best price for the package.

  • Col. Randall Smith
    Col. Randall Smith August 9, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Do you sell Motorola (or other quality brands) of MURS portable or handi-talkie radios?
    If you do and could advise me of the cost per radio plus 2 or 3 spare battery packs per radio, I would appreciate it. if holsters or belt clips are available, that we be helpful, also.
    Col. Randall Smith, KF5YMT/AAR6KQ, Commander
    Civil Defense Nationwide Emergency Communications Network

  • Jim Wallman

    What kind of range can I expect with 2 MURS portables in separate cars.
    Thank You

  • Jim Wallman

    What kind of range might I expect car to car with stock antenna on flat
    ground? I realize I probably will put on external antennas. I do not
    know much about MURS.
    Thank You,

  • JJ

    I'm not a diehard radio user but I do use the MURS band on rare occasions. MURS radios perform a heck of a lot better than those crappy FRS radios. Also, kids often interrupt or annoy you on FRS/GMRS band. At least on MURS, on the rare occassion when I hear people using it, it's adults.

  • Use about 20 in my plant which is 500,000 square feet in a rural area. Work great, just a few dead spots.


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