What is FMS (Family Radio Service)

Family Radio Service

The Family Radio Service or FRS is a private, very short-distance, two-way, data and voice communication that is meant to promote group and family activities. It can be defined as an improved two-way radio system approved for use in the USA since 1996 by the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission. This radio service uses channels within the frequency ranges of 462 and 467 MHZ on the UHF band. As such, it does not suffer interference suffered by users of baby monitors and cordless phones. The service is now widely used by businesses as an alternative to the business band. It applies across the board for all types of niches.

Use of FRS and GMRS hybrid radios in the USA

A hybrid FRS/GMRS consumer radio has been introduced for use in the USA. This hybrid radio has 22 channels and has been certified for unlicensed use by the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission. They are largely used on the FRS frequencies from channel 8 to 14.

According to the commission hybrid radio channels 1 to 7 require a GMRS license. Due to the technical capabilities provided on these radios, users can make adjustments so they can be used license free. Channels 8 to 14 have been exclusively set aside for FRS.

Operational information of the family radio service

The most common application of FRS channel service is a short distance, two-way communication using handheld devices very similar to walkie-talkies. There are other services that permit this kind of two-way communication. They include the GMRS or General Mobile Radio Service and the MURS or Multi Use Radio Service. It is the mandate of the FCC to set the rules to be applied when using all these various communication channels and gadgets and to set aside frequencies for use.

Any person who wishes to use the FRS will have to abide by the rules set by the commission because FRS is licensed by rules. Users do not need to apply for an operating license. This service can be used by people of any age or gender and for personal or business purposes. The only exemption is a representative of a foreign government.

This radio service has 14 channels. Each of these channels has a 12.5 kHz bandwidth. Of these 14 channels, numbers 1 to 7 are shared with the GMRS or General Mobile Radio Service. Numbers 7 to 14 are set aside specifically for FRS use only.

All interested users are allowed to hoist a transmitter. The transmitter can be hoisted in areas regulated by the commission but is subject to some conditions and limitations. No channels are assigned to a specific user therefore anyone using the FRS channels should co-operate with the commission in order to make the most out of the service and to avoid interference. It is advisable to seek a device that has been approved for use by the FCC. Frequency allocations vary around the world so some devices may not work in some countries. Interested users should find out more information on the use of the Family Radio Service and the rules governing the particular service.