So your heading Disney World with the herd you call family! What if uncle Rick and aunt Linda want to go off on their own and meet up later? I bet your thinking "well, I'll just pickup my handy cell phone and give them call" but there is another option.|
Answer: Cheap FRS radios!
Q. What is FRS?
License documents are neither needed nor issued. You are provided authority to operate a FRS unit in places where the FCC regulates radio communications as long as you use only an unmodified FCC certified FRS unit. An FCC certified FRS unit has an identifying label placed on it by the manufacturer. There is no age or citizenship requirement.
You may operate your FRS unit within the territorial limits of the fifty United States, the District of Columbia, and the Caribbean and Pacific Insular areas ("U.S."). You may also operate your FRS unit on or over any other area of the world, except within the territorial limits of areas where radio- communications are regulated by another agency of the U.S. or within the territorial limits of any foreign government.
Q. So what is the new system I'm hearing about GMRS?
Radios marketed as "FRS/GMRS" or "dual-service radios" are available from many manufacturers and many retail or discount stores. The manual that comes with the radio, or the label placed on it by the manufacturer, should indicate the service the unit is certified for. If you cannot determine what service the unit may be used in, contact the manufacturer.
If you operate a radio that has been approved exclusively under the rules that apply to FRS, you are not required to have a license. FRS radios have a maximum power of Ѕ watt (500 milliwatt) effective radiated power and integral (non-detachable) antennas. If you operate a radio under the rules that apply to GMRS, you must have a GMRS license. GMRS radios generally transmit at higher power levels (1 to 5 watts is typical) and may have detachable antennas.
Ut O, I was operating without a license... who know! Anyone want to donate the $80 license fee?!
You can obtain your GMRS license or additional information from the FCC:
Q. FRS vs. GMRS * What's the Difference?
GMRS or General Mobile Radio Service radios have a 2 watt power output with an operating range of up to 5 miles or even greater with a repeater station. They are also designed for personal and family direct communications, however, because of the greater power output, GMRS radios require a FCC license to operate.
Both FRS and GMRS share channels 1-7, however their frequencies differ from there. Both have an excellent signal and sound quality that should make family communication easy and enjoyable.
Q. BRS vs. FRS and GMRS 2-Way Radios
Q. What are "privacy codes"
My testing results:
I purchased a nice package of Audiovox GMRS6000's from my local Wal-Mart for around $50. I choose these radios based on the fact that they support both FRS and GMRS and they came with a great accessory pack including rechargeable batteries, charging base, car charge, headsets and protective pouches. Something I figured out rather quickly was how nice the belt clip was, some of the cheaper radios have a very awkward belt clip that can simply wiggle loose on your belt! My radios have a nearly impossible to remove belt clip and I know what you're thinking: "well, then, how do you remove it from your belt to talk?". Very easy, these radios have spring loaded button for which you can release the radio from it's belt clip, very nice indeed!
The radios have a range of approx 6 miles in GMRS mode which tested nicely between Disney's Hollywood Studios and Epcot with no interference but be reminded that GMRS mode requires more battery power so use it sparingly as not to kill your batteries before the end of the day and always carry backup batteries. Something else I learned was to always place your thumb along side of the antenna which will turn your body into a human antenna... not sure if it's scientifically correct but it seems to help.
Setting the radio channel and privacy code was a snap and it was not hard at all to find a combination that was not being used by another group.