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Which FRS and GMRS radios are license free?

In May 2017 the FCC ruled on Part 95 reform. Starting today, September 28, 2017 the new rules are now in effect. There were many changes, but here's the big one. Consumer FRS/GMRS two way radios 2 watts or less are now considered FRS radios and are license free!

Technically speaking, the radios are now licensed by rule, which means that you are no longer required to apply for a GMRS license from the FCC to use these lower powered models with 22 channels, even on those previously considered the 8 GMRS frequencies. The simple act of purchasing the radios gives you a license to use them on all 22 channels.

Since most of the models, particularly those sold in retail 2-packs or "bubble packs" do not include actual power ratings or wattage on the packaging or the product marketing spec sheets, only one question remains. Which FRS/GMRS radios are within the 2 watt power limit and are now considered FRS?

The truth is, most of the FRS/GMRS combo radios currently on the market are under 2 watts and follow the new rules as FRS only radios. In addition to the wattage requirement, any models that are capable of operating on GMRS repeater frequencies are considered GMRS radios and require a GMRS license to operate. Only two handheld models currently available are repeater capable and fall squarely in the category of GMRS.

Rather than creating a long list of radios that do fall under the Family Radio Service (FRS), perhaps the easiest thing to do is list the models that don't, and are now considered GMRS only. It's a short list.

GMRS Handheld Two Way Radios

Make Model Power
(Watts)
Repeater
Capable
Cobra CXR925 2.8W No
Cobra MR-HH450 DUAL 2.24W (GMRS)
6.2W (Marine)
No
Midland GXT1000VP4 3.07W (high power) No
Midland GXT1050VP4 3.07W (high power) No
Motorola MR355R 1.32W Yes
Olympia R500 .973W Yes
We will continue to update this list as models are introduced. Bookmark this page or subscribe to our blog for the latest information.

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