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GMRS Licensing: Will people comply?

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I'm curious about GMRS licensing. These radios are so cheap now that I'm sure there'll be a huge surge of purchasing due to the higher transmit power.


I can't imagine that most people will bother to obtain a license, due to 1) the expense 2) the hassle of obtaining, filling out, and mailing multiple FCC forms and 3) the fact that they are not likely to be caught.


Sure, some people will obtain licenses, because "it's the right thing to do", morally, ethically, responsibly, or simply because a 3,000-year-old demon in the form of the neighbors dog told them to. (That last one happens to be my personal reason for doing just about everything.)


I know that there are plenty of people who like to catch and report unlicensed operators, but how is someone going to catch a "pirate" using a 4-inch high handheld radio? It's only 2 Watts, and the subject is most likely going to be mobile, and not transmitting any ID. Also, if they're transmitting on FRS frequencies, how is anyone going to know that they're transmitting with 2 W rather than 500 mW? Even if they can tell, if the pirate takes off the eyepatch and stows the radio below decks, how are you going to know who they are?


It seems to me that even if a concerned HAM with a DF rig was able to track down an unlicensed GMRS transmitter, and it turns out to be 4 guys playing paintball, what is he going to do? Call the FCC and describe their general appearance? Approach them and attempt to make a citizen's arrest? Is there an FCC SWAT team?


Anyway, my point is not to argue against licensing, but just to speculate that license compliance rates will probably be very, very low. It seems that enforcement will be completely impossible.


What does anyone think about that?



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This question has been brought up on other venues, and is certainly a valid concern. I am suspecting that with widespread bubble packaging and sales by such places as Wal Mart, that in all probability, GMRS will denigrate into an unlicensed quagmire. I first noticed GMRS radios at Wal Mart about a month ago. There was a very small disclaimer descreetly tucked away on the package where it would be easy to overlook.


While I don't think the situation will become as bad as CB radio, I am guessing it will get pretty bad.



Wesley Horto

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I hate to say it, but policing every service is just too much of a problem. Locally, we have been quite successful in catching the pirates when they appear, and getting them turned in. For myself, I believe getting a ham license is so easy now, any illegal operator deserves to get caught. And with the instant callsign databases available, it is pretty easy to tell who doesn't belong. Let the FCC take care of the GMRS, I will do what I can for the ham stuff.


Mike. KD9KC

El Paso, TX.

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I've got to get in here more often.


Midland conservatively projected new GMRS sales to be 1.2 to 1.3 million in 2002. If we assume 4 radios per license (family) we could expect to see around 300,000 new GMRS licenses this year. I believe new license activity is far below this.


I expect the FCC to solve the problem the same way they did in other personal services; make the service license by rule because of the difficulty of enforcement.



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Originally posted by Ethan Upper:

"I expect the FCC to solve the problem the same way they did in other personal services; make the service license by rule because of the difficulty of enforcement."


I'm not sure what that means. Can you tell me more about that?




As with 11 meter CB, recreational VHF marine (sort of), and 5 of the low power business frequencies (now MURS) enforcement became impossible so the FCC's solution was to make each service "license by rule" which basically means that the license requirement is removed, everyone gets a blanket license by default. Problem solved, no need to enforce licensing.


FRS is one of the few (there are a few others) popular personal services that started off without requiring a license.

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