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PHILLIP J. BOUCHER

Family Radio Service and General Mobile Radio Service

TABLE OF CONTENTS OF MY NEW BOOK

INTRODUCTION

WHAT IS FRS/GMRS?

WHAT FRS/GMRS IS NOT

WHAT CAN FRS/GMRS BE USED FOR?

WHERE FRS/GMRS SHOULD NOT BE USED

HOW TO SELECT THE PROPER FRS/GMRS RADIO

USING AN FRS/GMRS RADIO

ON-AIR BEHAVIOUR: FRS/GMRS RADIO ETIQUETTE

CODES

SETTING UP AN FRS/GMRS SYSTEM FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION

MAINTENANCE

TROUBLESHOOTING

EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS

FRS/GMRS AS A STEPPING STONE TO RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS EDUCATION

FINAL THOUGHTS

READER FEEDBACK

FRS/GMRS GLOSSARY

GOVERNMENT REFERENCES

INTERNET RESOURCES

FRS/GMRS RADIO REVIEWS

LIST OF MANUFACTURERS

CONSULTANTS IN RADIOCOMMUNICATIONS THAT SPECIALIZE IN FRS/GMRS APPLICATIONS IN CANADA

APPENDIX

HOME AND VEHICLE SIGNS

INDEX

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The book will be out in soft cover in the Summer/Fall of 2007.


On April 1, 2000, the Government of Canada authorized a new two-way radio service called Family Radio Devices. Modeled on the same service in existence in the United States, called Family Radio Service (FRS), this new radiocommunications service used small, inexpensive, UHF handheld radios to provide efficient, licence-free, short-range radio communications for a variety of activities. On September 7, 2004, Industry Canada launched the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), also modeled on our southern neighbours. GMRS is the same type of service as FRS, with radios that have a higher transmit power and more channels, thus being more attractive to business users. Essentially, both services were merged into one.

Initially conceived to provide communications for families and friends during recreational activities, the features of FRS/GMRS radios combined with the few rules and regulations that control the service open up the potential for FRS/GMRS to expand beyond the "family service" parameter.

Potential users for the service include: commercial establishments and businesses/corporations;  manufacturing;  government ministries and agencies; military; insurance companies; private investigators; security firms; organizations; and a host of others. FRS/GMRS can be used on job sites, traffic control, event coordination, intelligence, surveillance, and delivery services. Some of the applications for the service are: equipment coordination; personnel direction; safety and security;  municipal or utility work crews; special events; fairs; carnivals; parades; small-area delivery; personal security, and much more.


FRS FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the distance I can talk? All FRS radios are limited to 0.5 watts of output power from the antenna. You can expect a relative maximum of about 2 miles, or 3.2 kilometres, over open water. The more material there is between radios, the shorter the distance the signals will travel. For car-to-car use, or in the downtown core of a city, you can expect a maximum range of about two to three city blocks. GMRS radios in Canada will be limited to a maximum of 2 watts of output power from the antenna, allowing a relative maximum range of about 8 miles, or 13 kilometres over open water. This allows a signal that is stronger and able to travel further. 

How big are the radios? Most FRS/GMRS radios are no bigger than your hand, and even with the small antenna, can easily fit in your pocket or purse. They weigh very little and are totally portable. You can wear an FRS/GMRS radio on your belt and it will feel like it's not there.

What frequencies do FRS and GMRS operate on? FRS radios use assigned frequencies in the 462/467 MHz UHF bands, and are channelized as follows:

Channel 1 462.5625 MHz Channel 8 467.5625 MHz
Channel 2 462.5875 MHz Channel 9 467.5875 MHz
Channel 3 462.6125 MHz Channel 10 467.6125 MHz
Channel 4 462.6375 MHz Channel 11 467.6375 MHz
Channel 5 462.6625 MHz Channel 12 467.6625 MHz
Channel 6 462.6875 MHz Channel 13 467.6875 MHz
Channel 7 462.7125 MHz Channel 14 467.7125 MHz

    GMRS radios will be assigned the following frequencies. Most GMRS radios incorporate the FRS frequencies as well.

462.550 467.550
462.5625 (1-FRS) Shared  
462.5750 467.5750
462.5875 (2-FRS) Shared   
462.6000 467.6000
462.6125 (3-FRS) Shared   
462.6250 467.6250
462.6375 (4-FRS) Shared  
462.6500 467.6500
462.6625 (5-FRS) Shared  
462.6750 467.6750
462.6875 (6-FRS) Shared  
462.7000 467.7000
462.7125 (7-FRS) Shared  
462.7250 467.7250

 

What services do you actually provide in regard to FRS/GMRS? We provide consulting services in relation to clients who wish to purchase and use FRS and/or GMRS radios for personal or non-personal activities. We gather information, make recommendations, and assist clients as to the most suitable radios for the intended use, putting those radios into use, and actually using the equipment. For family/group use, we recommend and help select radio equipment. For businesses, corporations, organizations, community groups, and government clients, we also provide extended services such as training, and the creation of system user manuals, charts, and forms.

What features do FRS/GMRS radios have? Tone and/or vibration paging, multiple scan options, voice encryption, weather and/or GPS reception, and voice operated transmit are just some of the features that an FRS/GMRS radio can have.

Is FRS/GMRS like CB? Yes and no. They are in the sense that they are short-range communications systems for the general public. However, unlike CB, the signals are on UHF, have a shorter range, and better quality of signal. FRS/GMRS is not the "social" system that CB is. You can't simply just talk to anyone on FRS/GMRS, like you can on CB. 

Do I need a licence to operate an FRS or GMRS radio? No, you do not need a licence to purchase or operate FRS/GMRS. They are licence exempt services. There also are no other fees to pay to use the services.

Are there any restrictions on FRS/GMRS?  You may not put an external antenna on the radio. You may not use an active repeater system to retransmit the signal. You may not connect the radio up to the phone lines. You can't swear, whistle, play music, or use your FRS/GMRS radio for any illegal purpose or to assist you in any illegal activity. You must operate your radio in accordance with all aspects of the Radiocommunications Act. Other than these restrictions (which on whole are rather little and mostly common sense) you can use FRS/GMRS for whatever you want.

How many radios do I need? To use the Family Radio and General Mobile Radio services you need at least two radios.

Are FRS/GMRS radios toys? Absolutely not! These radios are sophisticated communications devices. Unlike CB and those 49 MHz walkie talkies, FRS radios are actual commercial-grade radiocommunications devices.

What do voice privacy, scrambled, and encrypted mean? Basically, these terms signify the way the radio makes your voice unintelligible to the casual listener. Privacy Tones, or CTCSS, are sub-audible tones that are transmitted along with your signal and will only open up the audio circuit of receiving radios that are set for the same tone.

How many batteries does an FRS/GMRS radio use? Most FRS radios use two to four AA or AAA batteries, and some even come with their own battery packs.

I own a pizza parlour. Can I use FRS/GMRS for delivery dispatching? If you are only dispatching within a two to four block radius, then FRS/GMRS may work for you. However, any further distance than that and you may need to go to a licenced system.

I work in a warehouse and we are constantly on the phone to several areas and offices throughout the building. Would FRS/GMRS work for us? More than likely, depending on the design of the building. We would first do a Radio Frequency Pattern map to see where, if any, dead spots are, and then work on eliminating them. Depending on circumstances, FRS/GMRS could replace several phones, or all of them, saving you time and money.

How much do FRS/GMRS radios cost? In Canada, you can find FRS/GMRS radios retailing from about $20 to $200 depending on features and retailers.

Are there airtime or other monthly fees for FRS/GMRS? No. Once you buy the radio, the only additional costs are the batteries. There are no airtime or licencing fees for the service or the radios.

How long do the batteries last in FRS/GMRS radios? You can expect around twenty-four hours worth of use from regular alkaline batteries, and more from nickel-metal hydride batteries or battery packs. This time varies between radio models and the addition and use of battery-saving circuitry.

Do I have to buy two of the same brand and model of radio, or can I use two or three different makes? Are they compatible? All FRS/GMRS radios are exactly the same in their basic design of operation. However, to be compatible for general use, all radios must be able to operate on the same frequency. Some features of one make or model of radio may only be compatible with other radios of the same make or model.

Do you have a question in regard to the Family Radio Service or General Mobile Radio Service? If so, just click here to send an email and I will endeavour to answer your question on this page.


                  

PHILLIP J. BOUCHER Author, Writer, Ghostwriter, EditorLogo of Phillip J. Boucher
705-919-7879      
Ontario, Canada 
Email: phillipboucher@gmail.com  

Entire contents © 1998-2009 PHILLIP J. BOUCHER. No portion of this website may be reproduced by any mechanical or electronic means whatsoever, current or future, without express written permission from the copyright holder. The information on this website is provided as is and Phillip J. Boucher, nor any of his representatives, legal or otherwise, will be held responsible for any damage through the use of this information or site, be it mental, physical, financial, legal, or otherwise. Users of this website assume all risks. Phillip J. Boucher is a self-identifying Métis. Along with his writing projects Phillip also provides technical and non-technical writing, ghostwriting, and editing services to aHeadshot of Phillip J. Boucher variety of clients which include books, articles, newsletters, websites, manuscripts, reports, user manuals, fiction, non-fiction, and other such material. Call or email today for more information.

Phillip J. Boucher is a self-identifying Métis and is a member of the Algonquin Woodlands Métis Aboriginal Tribe, P.O. Box 496, Minden, ON, K0M 2K0.

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Send mail to phillipboucher@gmail.com with questions or comments about this web site. Last modified: 01/11/2009. The words Dragonstoen™, Tattonville™, Kesthemina™,  Majji™, Dragos™, and Pajjani™; the titles Dragonstoen™, Tattonville™, Sveta™, and The Land of Kesthemina™: Book One of the Lore of the Pajjani™; and places, names, and characters of the Dragonstoen™, Tattonville™, and The Land of Kesthemina: Book One of the Lore of the Pajjani™ series of fantasy novels, and the novel Sveta™, are all trademarks owned by Phillip J. Boucher.

I am also the author of "Slot Machines: Fun Machines or Tax Machines? A Technician Reveals the Truth About One-Armed Bandits", ISBN 1-55270-049-6, published by Productive Publications in Toronto, Canada, under the name Ian B. Williams. I am a former electronic gaming machine technician for two major North American casinos, and an expert in, and provide consultation on, Electronic Gaming Machine addiction/problem gambling. However, due to the fact that I am again employed in the gaming industry, those services are suspended at the present time. You can visit my All Experts page at http://www.allexperts.com/ep/1414-31711/Gambling/Phillip-Boucher.htm

  

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This page was last updated on 01/11/2009