Home‎ > ‎Communication‎ > ‎


Different types to use and How to Start

FRS Radios, also called ‘Walkie Talkies’

You may already have these and use them between members of your family on outings. They have up to 14 Channels and put out up to a half watt of effective radiated power (e.r.p.), line of sight. They do not have a removable antenna. They are perfect to use from street to street within a neighborhood so you don’t hear the chatter from the other side of town. They may reach as far as a half mile. Test them for distance and see.

These are sold by the pair in most stores that have electronics like Fry’s, Radio Shack and Target.


These are sold by the same stores and are in the same price range. They do not have a removable antenna. They are advertised as a longer range radio that may need a license. If you work within the FRS frequency range of Channel 1-14 you do not need a license. You should have a GMRS license if you use Channel 15 or higher. (See Licenses below) In the NSPP Radio Operator Directory, those listed as having FRS radios might have one of these. They are grouped together because they not have removable antennas. Be sure radios have replacement batteries, not just rechargeable.


These radios are larger, have a removable antenna, and require the operator to have a license. (See Licenses below) They have a much greater communication range, line of sight, which can be extended by the use of an external antenna, either “mag mount” on a vehicle roof or secured on a roof top, to a cumulative output of 5 watts of e.r.p., which is the maximum allowed for GMRS transmitting on an FRS frequency as we are doing. GMRS transmission on FRS frequencies is permissible as long as you announce your GMRS license.

Amateur Radio (ham)

Hand held ham radios can be about the same size as GMRS units. Ham radios come in other shapes and sizes as well. They can communicate at much higher power output levels with much taller antennas and therefore can communicate at great distances. Some Ham radios can listen to the FRS Channel 4 frequency, but not transmit on it. We use ham radios to relay information across the city. Ham radio operators are required to have a license. (See Licenses below) These radios can be purchased at different stores or on line. One of the favorite area stores is Ham Radio Outlet in Anaheim, which is open 10 AM to 5:30 PM Mon. thru Sat., (714) 533-7373.


GMRS licenses do not require a test. They are good for 5 years and one license covers all immediate family members. The GMRS license costs $85 and can be obtained on line with a credit card at www.fcc.gov under Registration Systems. If you find it confusing, contact us and we will get you some help.

Amateur Radio licenses are obtained by taking a test and paying a small fee, usually around $14. They are good for 10 years and, if renewed before they expire, there is no extra charge. You can study for the test on your own. One of the best books to help you study is “Technician Class Amateur Radio” by Gordon West. It is available at Amazon.com or through the Ham Radio Outlet. If you have trouble getting up to Anaheim, ask them about delivery arrangements.

You can practice taking the test at QRZ.com, Look on the left column for “Practice Tests” and choose “Technician.”