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How to apply for a GMRS license and receive your FCC call sign

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K7MFC

WRAA720
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How to apply for a GMRS license and receive your FCC call sign

General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a land-mobile UHF radio service in the United States, near 462 and 467 MHz. GMRS shares the same frequencies with the Family Radio Service (FRS), however output power is limited to 0.5 or 2 watts on FRS, depending on the channel. A license is required to operate on the GMRS band, and the licensee is allowed up to 5 or 50 watts of output power (also depending on the channel). A GMRS license also grants permission to operate on the repeater input frequencies. Both the increased output power and the repeater access granted by a GMRS license can dramatically increase the effective range a GMRS radio has over a FRS radio. Because they share the same frequencies, GMRS radios are allowed to communicate with FRS radios via simplex.

To obtain a GMRS license, one must file an application with the FCC and pay a $70 fee. No exam is required, and the license is valid for 10 years. The FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS) is is an online portal to manage your FCC applications/licenses, and pay any applicable fees via a single account. The ULS eliminates the need for paper applications and submitting via snail mail. You may also view the status of pending licenses in the ULS. Once registered with the ULS, you will receive an FCC Registration Number (FRN). This is a 10-digit number that is assigned to a business or individual registering with the FCC, and is used to identify the registrant’s business dealings with the FCC. Once you have this ID number – save it! This will be your username to log in to the Universal Licensing System.

Before continuing, I want to highlight one very important consideration when dealing with FCC licenses. Your call sign and license is public information and is easily searchable in FCC databases and other records. Should you choose to register with your home address, this will be visible to anybody if they have your call sign. Exposing personal information on the internet is a concern now more than ever, so one approach to limiting the amount of personal information in FCC databases is to use a P.O. Box as your contact address. Here is what my GMRS license information looks like when queried in the FCC database - WRAA720:




I use this P.O. Box address as my primary contact location for all FCC forms and dealings. My actual home address is not associated with my FCC licenses.

Step 1: Create an FCC Universal Licensing System account

If you are a first time user, create a new ULS account here (skip this step if you have an existing ULS account). Select “Register” to be issued a new FCC Registration Number:



Some questions are asked before proceeding, then you can fill out an application with your name, address, password, etc:





Step 2: Log in to the ULS

After creating the account, or if you have an existing ULS account, log in here.



Once you are logged in, you will be taken to this screen which shows your current and applied for licenses:



Step 3: Begin application for a GMRS license

Now we can apply for a GMRS license and pay the fee. On the left hand side menu click “Apply for a New License.”



On the next screen, select “ZA-General Mobile Radio Service” from the very bottom of the drop down menu and click Continue.



The next step is to answer these applicant questions. Most people can leave “no” selected for each:



Click continue after these questions, and on the next screen supply the licensee name and address:



Once this is complete, click Continue. The next step is to answer the following question, then click Continue again:



The next step will show you a summary of the application. Verify all the information supplied is correct, and click “Continue to Certify."



Step 4: Submit the application

The final step before submitting application is reading all the certification statements, which summarize the rules you are agreeing to follow as a GMRS license holder. Electronically sign the application and submit:



When you submit the application, you will be prompted to complete payment. After that, all you can do is wait! Applications will appear in ULS Application Search in about one or two businesses days after the application is filed. If you made an error in the application – don’t worry! You can file an amendment to the application. See the Applying for a New License in the Universal Licensing System FAQ for more information about the application process for FCC licenses. I have read posts online where people have reported getting their license within a day, and I’ve read posts where people said it took three weeks, so I can’t give an accurate answer to the “how long until I receive my call sign?” question. I applied for my GMRS license around the holidays and it took two weeks to receive my call sign.

Step 5: Receive call sign and download authorization documents


Check back to the Universal Licensing System daily, and when you see the call sign under “My Licenses” you are ready to get on the air! To download or print a paper copy of the license authorization, click Download Electronic Authorizations:



Select your GMRS call sign from the “Filter by Radio Service” box and add it to the “Authorizations to Download” box then click Download:



The GMRS Authorization looks like this:

 
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bighanded

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Aug 16, 2018
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yep...thanks for this detailed step-step...I had to poke a bit when I did it...as I had to do the lookup to find "ZA" for GMRS...other than that..completely painless even without seeing your great directions...they've got my $70...and I can hold my head up on these forums when chatter starts to talk about zombie prepper govt defiant folks (grin)... granted...chances of me ever stepping on someone with my polite campground useage of our midland 5 watters...is pretty slim..but I really appreciate a polite airway...gave up many years ago trying to use anything F/G at places like Orlando theme parks...Anyway.. legal here..heck.. I still have my old CB license code from 1976 when the govt felt we needed one of those.
 

K7MFC

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You're welcome! I'm hoping this finds any GMRS applicants or other interested in GMRS who would like to understand the complete licensing process before applying themselves.
 

revclstoner

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Thank you for this very detailed tutorial! I'll be getting mine soon, and, maybe, I'll get into ham radio in the future.

Happy Thanksgiving!
 

revclstoner

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Thank you!

You're welcome! I'm hoping this finds any GMRS applicants or other interested in GMRS who would like to understand the complete licensing process before applying themselves.
K7MFC,

Good morning, and let me thank you once again for this tutorial. I applied for mine before 4 pm yesterday, and I received my call sign (WRCN926) at 12:27 this morning. This process was straightforward.

Have a good one!
 

n1das

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Nashua, NH
When I applied for my GMRS licence in 1992, I had to fill out and mail in the old paper Form 574 with a check for $35. The application had to be typed, not handwritten except for my signature at the bottom. It's a good thing I still had a typewriter back then.

GMRS licenses were site-based back then, like Part 90 licenses. Bases, mobiles (including portables), and repeaters and their coordinates and antenna and tower information had to be on the application. Bases and repeaters required coordination. Mobiles did not require coordination. I licensed myself as mobiles only at 50W to get around the need for coordination.

Back then you picked any two primary channels and the corresponding repeater inputs and put the 4 freqs on the license application. The license comes showing the 4 freqs plus a note at the bottom saying additional frequencies are authorized per 95.29. Rule section 95.29 authorized the 7 GMRS interstitials plus 462.675 for emergency and traveler assistance. The 2-channel restriction and reserving 675 for emergency and traveler assistance went away with the change to all channel licensing in 1999.

The turnaround time for the license was about 2 months. If there was a problem with the application, it would have been bounced back in about 2 weeks. It seemed like it went into a black hole for a while and then the license arrives. The Universal Licensing System (ULS) and the online process reduced the turnaround time to a little over a day.

My GMRS callsign (KAE9013) resembles an old 27MHz Class D CB callsign because it predates GMRS callsigns issued through the ULS.

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KB7MIB

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Peoria, AZ.
I have had my GMRS License since 2015. Why are you posting all of this ?
To help those new to the GMRS successfully navigate through the process, and acquire their own license with as little trouble as possible.

John
WPXJ598 (ex-KAE7927)
Peoria, AZ
 

ipfd320

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Now that you Posted the Beginnings---You need to do a follow-up on how to Re-certify you almost expiring License Procedures

BTW Good Post Up There
 

Hans13

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Good information here. Thanks to all for contributing.

BTW: FRS and GMRS use is growing in our area. It's a fun and useful mix of amateur radio operators and non-amateur.
 

MarkVee

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Question on the address information section in the ULS, if you fat-finger something like your street number and the address doesn't exist will it prompt for a valid one in a "Did you mean?" sort of way like many commercial sites do?
 

n1das

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Now that you Posted the Beginnings---You need to do a follow-up on how to Re-certify you almost expiring License Procedures

BTW Good Post Up There
The license term is 10 years under the new rules. The new rules took effect in September 2017 and my license under the old rules was set to expire in December 2017. I purposely waited for the new rules to take effect before renewing so I won't have to worry about it for 10 years. Had I renewed my license before the new rules took effect, it would have been for a 5 year term. A renewal after that would be for a 10 year term.


I like the 10 year license term.


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n1das

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Now that you Posted the Beginnings---You need to do a follow-up on how to Re-certify you almost expiring License Procedures

BTW Good Post Up There
I was lazy during my first couple of renewals before I could do it myself online through the ULS. I paid some money to Business Radio Licensing to have them take care of the PAPER work. All I had to do was sign the form and pay some money. I did all subsequent renewals online after the ULS was established.


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K7MFC

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I have had my GMRS License since 2015. Why are you posting all of this ?
lol this is a post to a public foum, not a direct message to you. It's for anyone and everyone wondering about the exact steps for obtaining a GMRS license.

K7MFC, Good morning, and let me thank you once again for this tutorial. I applied for mine before 4 pm yesterday, and I received my call sign (WRCN926) at 12:27 this morning. This process was straightforward.
You're welcome, I'm glad it was helpful!
 

ipfd320

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I Hear ya i was just pointing out since the op was doing this i suggested he do a sticky follow-up

as for the renewal yep i understand the 5 to 10 year on the license--mine is up 2/2019--I tried to do it last month but the uls is not letting me access my info on my frn--2 years ago i had my frns combined into 1 to make things easier for me to manage on the uls--but still having problems getting in now it dont recognise my passcode and log in information---looks like i need to make a phone call again
 

n1das

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Back when GMRS licenses were site-based like Part 90 licenses, you also had to list your area of operation on the license application. I listed my area of operation as Nationwide South of Line A.


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Otis413

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Cass WVa
Does a GMRS license require coordination or authorization for the "National Radio Quiet Zone" for people living near the Greenbank Observatory or the Sugar Grove Navy Research Facility?
I live a few miles from the observatory at Greenbank WVa, they (the FCC and/or the NRAO) didn't ask for anything concerning the NRQZ when my wife and I got our Ham Licenses, so I'm guessing no..
Thanks for the tutorial, good stuff, I'm thinking about proposing that our local ARC (Eight Rivers Amateur Radio Club, N8RV) expand into GMRS for people who don't want/need to take the Amateur Radio test.
Thanks!

Reference: National Radio Quiet Zone, Greenbank, WVa

73!
Otis, KD8VBV/AE/VE
 
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