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)
Service
 
Band & Frequency
Range **
License Required Length
of
License
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.

LMR

VHF 150-174 MHz
UHF 421-512 MHz
Yes 10 yrs Varies ² 512 100 + any type Yes business or
government
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 Yes ¹     760 8     aircraft & stations ¹ Only use airband radios. ³  All airband  radios have the same pre-set channels & frequencies.
CB

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 - License code is RR (Restricted Operator). No test is required, since certification is through your pilot certificate. See the FCC for more details.
² Costs can vary depending on the type of license. We offer several licensing packages. Click here to learn more.
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.
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