Radio communications are an important part of overlanding, it is important that we do it legally. Legal radio communications is simple as treading lightly. Be legal to help preserve this excellent mode of pubic communication.
FRS, GMRS, & Ham radios have continued to grow in popularity for off-road and overland use due to their (arguably) superior performance and lower entry cost over CB and many other forms of communication. However, there is a legal and illegal way of using them.
The radios with removable antennas CANNOT be used as an FRS radio without a license. There are other FRS "walkies talkies" with a fixed antenna that can be purchased and used without a license.
To use these radios with removable antennas you must have either a GMRS or amateur/Ham radio license.
You can purchase a GMRS license which does not require an exam. As of 2021 the cost has been lowered to $35 for a 10 year license; it covers you and your family. It’s simple and takes 20-30 mins. You are limited to the GMRS frequencies. Be sure to only use the GMRS frequencies and have your radios set to the approved frequency wattage.
GMRS Channel Frequencies List: https://wiki.radioreference.com/…/GMRS_combined_channel_cha…
Here is info on GMRS and how to purchase a license: https://midlandusa.com/why-do-i-need-a-gmrs-license-how-do…/
To use frequencies outside of the FRS/GMRS frequencies, you must pass an amateur radio (Ham) exam. This license only takes a little time to study for, there are 35 questions with a 74% passing score, and now costs $35. What makes it easy to study for is that the question pool and answers are all available online through many free sources including phone apps.
One great study resource is: HamExam.org
The National Association for Amateur Radio/ARRL website is a helpful resource including a search to find a local testing location: ARRL.org
It is important to be smart with these radios so we stay out of trouble; these are capable of tuning into police frequencies. The FCC gives out hefty fines for radio misuse. Hope this is informative, helps keep us legal and this public form of communication available
Feel free to drop us an email if you have any questions and we will do our best to answer them.
*Updated on 3/1/2021