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Frs Two Way Radios - Making the most of FRS two way radios

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Owning FRS radios has advantages in many situations. Fittingly, FRS stands for the Family Radio Service created in 1996 by the FCC to operate on a special set of frequencies. The FRS classification of two way radios is designed for functional and fun use by anyone. Features of the FRS two way radio will sometimes be contrasted with another classification of two way radios, GMRS (General Mobil Radio Service), which is found with FRS on ‘hybrid’ models of two way radios.

Ways to use FRS two way radios
With two way radios, communication on trips or vacations can be much easier. For instance, on family trips to the park or beach, where there are trails or large areas to roam, FRS two way radios can be used to maintain contact. Communication needs would be even greater on vacations to unfamiliar locations. Two way radios can also aid travel when several vehicles from an organization, such as a church or a school, travel to an event together.

Even for general family activity, the FRS radios can be extremely valuable. Two way radios can give peace of mind to parents who are able to stay in touch with their children while they play in the neighborhood or wander to the toy department at the store.

Basics of FRS two way radios
No usage restrictions: Very young children can learn how to operate a FRS two way radio, making it useful for the entire family. In addition, no license is needed in order to use a FRS two way radio. However, prior to using a GMRS radio, someone 18 years and older must apply for a license and pay a fee which is currently $85 for five years.

Range of Communication: FRS two way radios can communicate at a range of up to two miles. These radios require “line of sight” between two radios in order for them to communicate with each other; the radio waves may not be able to travel around large buildings or over hills. GMRS radios could have a stated range of 20 miles or more, but may be much less in practice.

Power: FRS two way radios are limited to operating on ½ watt of power. With a GRMS license, radios are allowed to operate above ½ watt to a maximum of 5 watts power, giving them the larger range

Number of channels: There are 22 two way radio channels or frequencies. GRMS radios can use channels 1-7 as can unlicensed FRS radios which run on ½ watt power or less. Channels 8-14 are for FRS radios only and 15-22 are for GRMS radios only. Radios having channels 1-7 make it possible for FRS radios to communicate with GMRS radios. Not every two way radios has all 22 channels.

Features of FRS two way radios
Rechargeable batteries: This feature is not on many models but may be important to some users. Low power FRS radios may get 30 hours of usage from regular alkaline batteries.

Hands-free usage: Some models of two way radios have voice activation or allow the use of a headset.

Subcodes: Using subcodes, also called privacy codes, with a channel can help two way radio users find a private ‘sub’channel to talk on. These are very helpful, since the popularity of two way radios can overwhelm the standard channels which are public and limited in number.

Channel scanning: FRS radios with this feature make it easier to find an open channel or possibly find someone who is already talking on a channel. Scanning could be either automatic or manually started.

Other features that may be helpful to consider when shopping for an FRS radio are:
Access to current weather reports,
GPS positioning,
Low battery warning sound,
Clear signal sound when a person starts and stops talking,
Position of talk button, and
Size and shape of the radio.

Finally, FRS two way radios range in price from about $50 to several hundred dollars. Many of the shopping sites have lists of all features and customer comments, which helps eliminate surprises.

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