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FCC Radio License

FCC Licensing


The answer to your question "Do I need a License?" will depend on:

Licenses are granted to either individuals or businesses. Through the licensing process you are assigned specific frequencies to use on approved equipment.

Let Us Do the Work for You ....

Need an FCC license? Don't want to deal with confusing technical paperwork?  If you are a business or non-profit organization we can help. We do all the paperwork, submission, and track your application to completion. Order your FCC license here...


Options for Businesses

In the USA, two-way radios used in businesses can only operate on frequencies in the following service bands:

• LMR (licensed) Radios must be programmed with your license frequencies.
• MURS (non-licensed) Radios come pre-programmed with MURS frequencies.
• CB  (non-licensed) Radios come pre-programmed with CB frequencies.
• ISM  (non-licensed) Operates in the 903-928MHz ISM band. We offer the Motorola DTR650 radio for businesses wishing to go license-free.

Serious penalties and prosecution can result from unlicensed tranmission on frequencies which require a license, and/or interference with public satey transmissions.


Overview of Frequency Bands

In the US, the FCC has divided the radio frequency spectrum into different sections called ‘Bands’ (such as HF, VHF, UHF).  Bands consist of a range of frequencies. The FCC then assigns each frequency within the band to a 'Service' (such as CB, Amatuer, FRS, GMRS, Land Mobile, etc.).  Some Services require a user to be licensed, and some do not. The following table outlines the common service bands used in  two-way radios, along with a description of each. More detail on each band follows this chart.


Overview of Service "Bands"   (USA)
Band & Frequency
Range **
License Required Length
Approx.  Cost of License Max Channels Max Watts Antenna Type Repeater Allowed Usage Type Comments
FRS UHF 462 & 467 MHz No   0 14 2 fixed stubby No personal only Limited range due to low power and small antenna.
GMRS UHF 462 & 467 MHz Yes 10 yrs $85 22 50 any type Yes personal only Licensee must be 18 yrs or older. Anyone, regardless of age, can operate your radios.


VHF 150-174 MHz
UHF 421-512 MHz
Yes 10 yrs $290 ² 512 100 + any type Yes business or
Licensee must be 18 years or older.     Also called PLMR.
MURS VHF 151 & 154 MHz No   0 5 2 fixed* No mixed use Limited range. * External antenna up to 60ft to extend range.
Marine VHF 156 - 162 MHz No * (see note below)   0 48 100 + any type N/A mixed use  Only use marine radios. ³  All marine  radios have the same pre-set channels & frequencies.
ISM UHF 902 - 928 MHz No   0 1000+   any type yes mixed use Also know as 33 centimeter. Used for on-site short-range communications.
Airband VHF 108 - 137 MHz No ¹     760 8     aircraft & stations ¹ Only use airband radios. ³  All airband  radios have the same pre-set channels & frequencies.

HF  26.965 -
27.405 MHz

No     40       mixed use All CB radios have the same pre-set channels & frequencies.
Ham HF, VHF, & UHF Yes 10 yrs         Yes   Also called Amateur radio. 
Requires passing an exam. 
3 types of license: Technician, General, & Extra.
Equipment must be certified for use within the band being used.  For example, only use marine radios on the waterways, airband radios in the airways, etc.
¹ For Airband - No license is required for individuals. However, aircraft stations do require a license. See the FCC for more details.
² For a basic simplex license. Cost can vary depending on coordination services.
³ Marine and Airband radio channels are configured for specific frequencies and uses.
* For Marine - No license required for harbor and waterway. A license is required to operate in international waters.
** Most commonly used frequency ranges are listed for each service.  For a complete list of frequencies please see the FCC.gov website.
Frequencies 462.650, 467.6500, 462.7000 and 467.7000 MHz are not permitted near the Canadian border.


Radio Frequency Bands

Below is a diagram showing the division of radio waves into bands, and which services are assigned each band.

Two-Way Radio Services

FRS   (Family Radio Service)


GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service)


LMR  (Land Mobile Radio, also PLMR for Private Land Mobile Radio, or Industrial/Business Pool)


MURS (Multi-Use Radio Service)


Ham Radio ( also called Amateur Radio)


CB (Citizens Band)


Marine Radio


AirBand Radios

        COM channels Used for voice communication, US assigned frequencies between 118.000 MHz to 136.975 MHz. These frequencies are split into 200 narrow-band channels of 50kHZ each.
  NAV channels For navigational assistance, assigned frequencies from 108.000 MHz to 117.95 MHz. The common navigation system used in the US is 'VHF Omnidirectional Range' (VOR). VOR is a system of short-range radio beacons that help pilots determine their position and stay on course. VOR has become a global standard for air navigation, with approximately 3,000 VOR stations worldwide.
  NOAA Channels Today's airband radios typically have NOAA weather channels and provide NOAA weather alerts.
  Distress Channel    Airband radios also have an emergency communication frequency (known as International Air Distress or IAD). It is assigned to 121.5 MHz.


There are three basic types of airband radios:

            Handheld Looks much like a typical handheld land mobile radio.
  Panel Mount Mounted in the cockpit panel of the aircraft.
  Ground Communication    Much like a land-based mobile radio, it operates on the ground, either mounted in a vehicle for ground crews, or sitting on a desk.


Do-It-Yourself Information


We are providing this information as a benefit to our customers. If you have detailed questions concerning licensing, we suggest you contact the FCC directly. This information is only applicable to customers using two way radios within the United States.

Read 'Understanding FCC Bands' under our 'Resources' section of this website to become familiar with the primary FCC service types used for two-way radios. This will help you determine which service is appropriate for your usage before proceeding with your application.


Start Here...

To use either GRMS or Private Land Mobile (also called PLMR) communication services, the FCC requires you to obtain a license. To get a license you don’t have to take an exam, but you will need to fill out the required forms and send your payment.

Obtaining an FRN

  1. The first thing you must do is to apply for an FRN number (FCC Registration Number). You may apply for an FRN by going to the FCC Universal Licensing System . There is no charge to obtain an FRN. However, there is a fee when you apply for your license.
  2. After obtaining your FRN:


GMRS Application Process

The process to obtain a GMRS license is fairly easy.  You can apply for a license on-line by following the steps below.

Once you have your FRN (see "Obtaining an FRN" in the previous paragraph) from the main FCC screen choose "Online Filing, Log In". Follow the screen pages below.

Answer the questions on the following screens to complete your GMRS license application. Navigate through each screen by clicking on the 'Continue' button.  A printed copy of you new license will be mailed to you.




Login using your FRN and password.


Select "Apply For a New License" on the upper right-hand side of the screen.


Select "ZA - General Mobile Radio (GMRS)" from the drop-down menu.


Private Land Mobile Radio Licensing Process (Industrial/Business Pool for commercial/business use)

Obtaining a PLMR license involves several steps.  You will need to complete the FCC 601 Main Form and several Schedule forms depending on the type of communications you will have.  These forms ask for detailed technical information on the radio equipment and usage.  You must also get a Frequency Coordinator involved in assigning the correct frequencies for the geographic area you will be operating within.  There are separate fees for both the FCC license and Frequency Coordinator.

  1. Go to Wireless Services Home Page
  2. Choose 'Industrial/Business Radio Pool' located on the right side menu under 'Wireless Services'.
  3. You are now on the 'Industrial/Business Home Page'.
  4. On the left side menu there are a number of topics we recommend you read. Start by reading 'Eligibility', 'Preparing to License', and 'Frequency Coordinators'. These topics will outline the information you need to gather and the steps you need to take in preparing your license application.

If You Already Have a License

If you are just replacing radios make sure the new radios are Part 90 approved (usually states this in the Owners Manual of the radio). BUT, before adding more radios check your license to see how many radios you are licensed to operate. You can easily check how many radios you are approved to operate by viewing your license at this FCC link . You can search for your license by either FRN, Call Sign, or Business Name. When we submit license applications for our customers (free service we offer) we always submit for a basic number of radios to allow them some room to grow without having to amend their license (amendment requires another FCC fee). Hopefully whoever submitted your license did this so you can add a few additional without this trouble.

As long as you stay within the approvals of your license, then you will be fine. That is:

If you need to amend your license then you can use any frequency coordinator approved in the US. There are only 9 organizations in the US that are approved to coordinator LMR frequencies / licenses below 800MHz, and a few more that are approved for 800MHz and above. Here is the list of frequency coordinators on the FCC website .

Remember, if you are purchasing radios from us we will be happy to assist you with this.

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