Does a Two-Way Radio Require a License?

A two-way radio is a device that can both transmit and receive content. It permits you to communicate with other like radios in the same radio frequencies. Some radios operate on GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) frequencies while others operate on FRS (Family Radio Service) frequencies only. There are also radios that are called dual-service radios because they can both use GMRS and FRS frequencies. So, does a two-way radio need a license?

Yes, it does.

Yes, the FCC would require you to register for a license if you are operating a two-way radio under GMRS frequencies in the United States. The FCC is the agency that regulates radio, television, cable and satellite communications in the United States and the District of Columbia.

How to apply for a license?

You can apply online at their website FCC Universal License System (ULS), or you can complete the FCC form159 and form 605. You must be 18 years old and above and does not represent any foreign government. The license is valid for up to 5 years and is renewable on or 90 days before the date of expiration. A GMRS license issued to a non-individual may also be renewable provided alterations were not made in the system.

No need for a license

Even if you happen to be in possession of a dual service radio that is both GMRS and FRS approved, you would not need a license as long as you are planning to use FRS frequencies channel 8 through 14 only. These frequencies have only limited watt power and with limited range as well.

Before purchasing your very own hand-held or walkie-talkie, make sure you know what service it is certified for. Also, cooperate in using the channels properly so you can communicate effectively and without interference.

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