If you are taking 2 way radios for personal use, you need to make a very important choice: What radio frequency band is required for your 2 way radios?
When using 2 way radios, your message is transmitted and sent through the air –like television signals, commercial radio signals, and thousands of signals from other private 2 way radios. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) controls these communication signals because of their interfering with one another; to achieve this, frequency bands are reserved for use by certain types of signal sending devices. We have two frequency bands in use for 2 way radios, these are called Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS).
In 1996, the Family Radio Service (FRS) band had been reserved a set of radio frequencies by FCC. They are specifically made for short-range 2 way radios (no more than 2 miles away from each other operating) with a small power output.
50 years before that FCC created the FRS band where a set of frequencies was reserved for higher power 2 way radios. They operated on a longer range and it is called the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) band. The GMRS band is for radios operating on a range over 2 miles. The FCC regulates the 2 way radios operating on the GMRS band. It is required for the users on this type of radio to get a license and pay a fee. The GMRS license costs $80 and it is valid for a period of 5 years; the license can be granted to an adult (if under license, 2 way radios may be used by minors but only with the licensed adult’s permission).
When we are discussing the purchase of 2 way radios, your choice falls on a set of radios that are capable of operating on either one of these frequencies. It depends on how distanced 2 way radio users will be one from other. If they are being used within two miles of each other, FRS comes in as the best choice. If there is a greater distance than 2 miles, 2 way radios operating on the GMRS frequency band are needed. If the requirement for distance isn’t known or if you want the option of transmittion up to five miles a FRS/GMRS hybrid is the best option for you.