Talk:Family Radio Service

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Why is it called Family Radio Service? What service is provided, and by whom? (talk) 00:53, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Ask the FCC. The service is communications. --Wtshymanski (talk) 14:06, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Inclusion of other FRS-like services[edit]

Should this article be revised? It seems to be written from a US perspective, with other countries being considered "foreign".

The article is about the US Family Radio Service. There is a section explaining about FRS-like services in other (non-US) countries. What specifically would you recommend? (Please sign your comments with two dashes and four tildes --~~~~so we can keep track of who's aying what). --Wtshymanski 17:31, 23 August 2005 (UTC)

The title of the article is "Family Radio Service", so I do feel it seems odd for it to be about the US service only, with other countries put in a section separately, instead of making the article focus on the technology and its history, and then perhaps talk about ALL country-specific implementations together afterwards. Certainly no other communications article ("television", "radio", "telephone") would be written this way... --guru 04:14, 16 September 2005 (UTC)gurudata

Note the capitals in the title - these are significant. The title is not meant to be generic - I could see the arguement that the name the Americans chose for the service could perhaps be considered generic, however the article isn't meant to be about personal radio services in general, but the specific FRS implementation in the US and North America. I've seen an unfortunate tendancy in Wikipedia technical articles to try to talk about *everything* that relates to the topic under one article...there's no need for that here, put in a link and the interested person can click to read more deeply. I'd like a Xerox article to be about the Haloid Xerox Corporation, not every conceivable type of photocopier, as another example. --Wtshymanski 13:39, 16 September 2005 (UTC)

If someone wants to add sections about nations other than the USA, I see no problem. Anyone can contribute. In the USA and Canada, it seems that FRS has more or less "merged" with GMRS. You rarely see 14 channel FRS only radios anymore. Jwilkers 13:54, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Many radios support both services, as they live in the same bands, (and even share 7 channels). However, the services have not merged! They are distinct services, with distinct limits and requirements.
And personal radio services in other countries—similar as they may be in principal—are not FRS; the only such service named "Family Radio Service" is the one in the USA. That is the one that this article is about. Other such services have their own articles, and should not be addressed at length in the FRS article. That is what links are for. :) —StationaryTraveller 00:03, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
If the descriptions of other licence-free services were bigger and more comprehensive (modes, operating restrictions, etc.) we could have a free-standing article - until someone beefs up this section quite a lot, I don't think it hurts the FRS article to carry short descriptions of other similar services elsewhere in the world. Incidentally, "Family Radio Service" is the name in Canada, too. --Wtshymanski 14:03, 7 August 2006 (UTC)


"These codes are sometimes called "privacy codes", but they offer no real deterrence against eavesdropping as the number of codes is not very high." The limited number of codes isn't the only reason; all that someone needs to do is have their CTCSS feature turned off and they'll hear all traffic on the channel. I believe most radios default with it off, so all radios by default can hear any CTCSS encoded traffic on any channel on their radio. --Altailji 03:44, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

In fact that is not any privacy code, they're just sub-audible code for the radio to recognize whether to open the squalsh or not. -- 19:13, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. But nevertheless, the radio manufacturers do market CTCSS codes as privacy codes on the product packaging. My concern is with the description from the article I quoted above that tries to explain why privacy codes aren't private, but the explanation (about the number of codes, not because they're just sub-audible tones) is wrong and should be edited. If nobody disagrees with my point, I'll go ahead and edit it. --Altailji 14:43, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Actually, it looks like somebody else beat me to the punch. The new wording is much better. --Altailji 17:40, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

FRS in other countries[edit]

Up to now, FRS in US, Europe, Canada, HK, Macau, China has been included. Wtshymanski suggested the addition of japan info into the paragraph, however, i'm wondering whether the 422Mhz, 421Mhz and 420Mhz band should be included in the article or not. Unlike HK and China, they don't call the 422Mhz (etc) band as FRS, and also the power output limit is very low, 0.01W. Should this info be included in this FRS article? How do you think? BurnDuck 16:54, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Does anyone have a citation for U.S. -spec FRS/GMRS radios being used in Brazil? Even if I found a Brazilian web site, I can't read Portugese! --Wtshymanski 23:58, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Beware of disinformation: Because of the frequencies used by FRS, none (!) of these applications are legal to operate anywhere in Europe, including the NON-EU countries! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2003:45:4926:5F45:650D:A018:8C79:89C3 (talk) 14:09, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

Cultural differences[edit]

A paragraph or two on the difference in "culture" between 27 MHZ CB and the FRS might be in order. --Wtshymanski 17:58, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Edit warring about FRS range vs. CB[edit]

Can we stop the edit warring about whether FRS or CB has better range and hash this out on the talk page?

The way I see it, is that a handheld CB can potentially have much greater range than an FRS radio. An AM-mode CB has 4 watts output. An FRS radio has half a watt output. The more important issue is that a CB needs a pretty good-sized antenna to reach its full range, and a full-power CB takes 8 or 10 AA batteries. This makes it far less convenient to carry around than a little FRS radio that takes 4 AAA batteries. Also the FRS radio isn't competing with base stations and doesn't have to deal with skip. FM helps with noise too but the more important issue is the UHF frequency. Squidfryerchef (talk) 03:16, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

I think that's kind of the point. If my FRS radio makes it down to the corner store today, it will do so every day. While a few watts on 27 MHz can carry hundreds or thousands of miles, you may be literally unable to speak to someone down the block as some 10,000 watt station shouts out 'Hola!', when the skip is rolling in. This perhaps needs amplification in the article - since the definition of "useful range" depends on what you're using it for. There's some that defines "range" as reliable solid-copy everyday "we've got a job to do and let's not fool about", and some that defines "range" as "how far can I get this thing to talk, given a huge antenna, mountain-top site, and a sunspot maximum". Both definitions are valid within their own context but the sorts of things FRS is supposed to be used for tend more toward the former than the latter. --Wtshymanski (talk) 16:43, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Even only considering local range on a quiet channel there's some issues with the 27 MHz frequency used for CB that make range comparison vs. FRS very difficult:
  • Low band doesn't propagate very well indoors. Also there will be more interference from computers, etc, in the low band, which will be even more obvious because it's FM.
  • Low band requires a tall antenna to be efficient. Somebody who's camped out fishing by the lake, who can sit down and extend a 5' antenna from their handheld, is a very different case from somebody with a walkie-talkie clipped to their belt who expects to receive calls on it.
Squidfryerchef (talk) 17:42, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Exactly - these are all good reasons why UHF personal radio services took over from the HF band CB, for the types of things that hand-held radios are good for. I've tried to explain this in the lead. Back in the '70s every kid had a pair of Channel 14 walkie-talkies with a 3 foot chromed antenna to pull out - I wonder how many of these got bent every week. It would be interesting to find the original Radio Shack proposal to the FCC for creation of frS in the first place, as they must have summarized all these issues well. --Wtshymanski (talk) 18:07, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
For these reasons the article should probably avoid saying who has greater range, and simply point out that while FRS is limited in power, its frequency is well-suited to handheld and indoor use. My personal opinion is that FRS walkie-talkies work in real life the way the old walkie-talkies worked on TV :) Squidfryerchef (talk) 18:27, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Undoubtedly the best walkie-talkie seen in Hollywood was the unit Gene Hackman used in the movie Bat*21. --Wtshymanski (talk) 20:15, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Can I pop in here a moment and mention a few little items that we radio amateurs know about ? 1) ground wave -v- space wave propogation. 2) antenna polar patterns, colinear designs -v- marconi quarter wave types. Its all about R.F energy and efficency of mode of propogation surely? I'm being devils advocate here. 73s.Francis E Williams (talk) 14:50, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Yeahbut...we don't get to change any of these things in our FRS radios. It's amusing to plug in quite modest values for radiated power, assume isotropic antennas, a couple of microvolts senstivity into the free space propagtion expression, and realize what really stupid long ranges you could get out of FRS if all that dirt didn't get in the way. It's also entertaining to realize that you're better off with the rubber antenna on the FRS than if you were to run coaxial cable for a couple of miles. --Wtshymanski (talk) 19:11, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but I used to get a good eextended range when my friend and I changed over from string to nylon fishing line with our two tin cans. I guess the inefficient base loaded antenna won`t restrict range too much at ground level, because of all the reflective surfaces there are in the path between two users. Polarity changes aside, the UHF band is bigger "bang for buck" as far as radio energy goes. Less potentially absorbing materials at resonant frequency and less "hash" from lower harmonics. How much a ton is copper now in the U.S.? Francis E Williams (talk) 21:51, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Emergency procedures tutorial[edit]

Wikipedia is not a how-to manual. A long discussion of emergency communication procedures is out of place in this article and, in tutorial form at any rate, out of place in the encyclopedia. If one could find a reference discussing how some groups use FRS in emergency sitations, a description of that would be more appropriate. If FRS has saved lives, so has a shaving mirror (though I have no reference for that, either) - does the mirror article give a tutorial on attacting search airplanes [1] ? I'm very dubious on the utility of FRS for emergencies. If you're in an urban area someone will *see* your rollover/fire/attack about as easily as you'd attract their attention on a radio, and if you're in the boonies, what are the odds there's someone around within the mile or so radius? A reference for this would be great - even a newspaper article? --Wtshymanski (talk) 14:20, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

"Dual service" vs. "hybrid"[edit]

"Hybrid radios" refer to lots of things: digital/analog receivers, tube/solid state, etc. "Dual service" is I think a little more precise when describing transceivers certfiied for both FRS adn GMRS uses, but a Google search on both terms doesn't give me enough hits to support my feeling. I'd rather have "dual service", though. --Wtshymanski (talk) 17:48, 31 July 2008 (UTC)


I suggest a much better system of dealing with 'reverts' be devised. When I added the Emergency information, the revised page appeared and all seemed well. When I next visited the page, it had vanished.

Not being a computer guru, I expected I had somehow messed up and 'lost' the material when uploading it. I invested hours of my time carefully re-entering the data, as the 'history' shows, only to now find that it has been a total waste.

Today, I finally received a notice complaining that I was having an 'editing war'. I had no clue that this was going on. It was certainly not intentional. I expected that only offensive material was subject to 'revert'. This was a total shock and thorough disappointment after all my work.

I seem not to be alone. As I look at the 'history' page it appears that every edit has been 'reverted', although the term used there is 'undo' which only confuses folk further.

I would suggest that edits not appear until they have been approved. A note to that effect, or that they are subject to 'revert', should appear below the 'save page' box. Second, an immediate, automated notice would be very helpful when any edit is 'reverted'. That should be easily done. I have wasted hours of valuable time this week, thinking that somehow the missing material had gone into cyberspace through my errors. Now I learn that it has gone into the trash.

Ron McCracken (talk) 03:29, 2 August 2008 (UTC)Ron McCracken

Click on the "watch" tab at the top of every article, or leave the 'watch this page' box checked when you edit, and the article will be in your watch list. --Wtshymanski (talk) 03:54, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Spin out personal radio services[edit]

If we could get references for some of the other radio services, the list of UHF personal radio services around the world could easily stand as an independent article. Sadly I am illiterate in Portugese, chinese, Japanes...etc. --Wtshymanski (talk) 01:14, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Well, it's spun out now...two and a half years on. See Personal radio service. I suppose what's left in here could be further summarized and condensed. --Wtshymanski (talk) 21:41, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Similar Service in Singapore[edit]

Since 3 February 2004, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has allocated the 446.0-446.1 MHz frequency band for low-powered walkie-talkies on a non-interference, non-protected and shared-use basis. As these walkie-talkies are low-powered devices which do not potentially cause interference to other licensed radio services, it need not be licensed for use in Singapore. However, the device must be type approved by IDA for local sale.


Tks (talk) 15:04, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

FRS investigation[edit]

User:Wtshymanski keeps re-adding this claim that's not supported by the given reference:

Interference to licensed services may be investigated by the FCC. 

Frankly, I think the claim is wrong and should be removed, as the FCC doesn't tend to conduct investigations of this sort. But since said user is engaging in an edit war in favor of inclusion, I've re-arranged the paragraph to accurately cite the one claim, and to {{fact}}-tag this one. Please don't remove the tag without a specific reference that supports the suggestion that the FCC conducts investigations into unlicensed operation on the FRS band. (talk) 02:45, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

I do not understand how anyone who has heard so much as six sentences about the FCC is not aware that part of their job is to investigate, and in some cases take enforcement action against, users of equipment that causes interference to licensed spectrum users. Perhaps that's just my bias as a longtime radio geek.... Nor do I understand why you are making such a big deal out of this one uncited claim out of many in this article, and many if not most claims in most WP articles. But whatever... I have provided a link, with a relevant quote, to the FCC page describing their Spectrum Enforcement Division. Jeh (talk) 04:09, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Your appeal to common knowledge is irrelevant. Thank you for sourcing your claims in this article. (talk) 15:51, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Without common knowledge, the encyclopedia is just a collection of bits. --Wtshymanski (talk) 16:15, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Are we making up pithy platitudes now? Okay, I've got one: "Without reliable sources, common knowledge is as likely wrong." (talk) 03:03, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
The statement that the FCC investigates interference to licensed spectrum users no more needed citation than would a claim that local police are among those who enforce traffic tickets. That's because they're both common knowledge. The bounds of common knowledge tell us where it's worthwhile finding citations for things and where it isn't worth the time. Insisting on RS's for common knowledge is not helping the encyclopedia; it is a hindrance. Jeh (talk) 06:45, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
I disagree. (talk) 09:20, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

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FRS devices certified for Mexico[edit]

The article as it stands suggests that a US FRS radio (that doesn't have GMRS) is legal to operate in Mexico. However, as best I have been able to determine, this is not true unless the radio carries a certification for use in Mexico (analogous to the FCC ID on a US radio). So far I have not been able to find a source for this that would meet Wikipedia standards. A good informal source for this information is [1] Dr. Conspiracy (talk) 17:35, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Just checked - mirror mentions signalling but doesn't tell you how to aim the mirror.