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The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a North American land-mobile FM UHF radio service designed for short-distance two-way communication. It is commonly used on live steam railroads for dispatcher to engineer, or engineer to engineer communications.

Unlike FRS, GMRS requires a license in United States but can be used license-free in Canada. GMRS radios include the channels of FRS and can be used together.

FRS and GMRS radios are readily available at departments stores or online through Amazon, eBay and others.

GMRS License

Here is a procedure for obtaining a GMRS license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This procedure was written in May 2010. It might not match the latest edition of the FCC registration website.

Any individual in the United States who is at least 18 years of age may apply for a GMRS license by completing the application form and paying the license fee ($85.00 as of May 2010). No exam is required. A GMRS license is issued for a 5-year term. GMRS radio equipment may be used by the licensed individual as well as his or her immediate family members.

  1. Read about the GMRS License at
  2. Go to the FCC's Univeral Licensing System
  3. Click on the "Register" button for New Users. Fill out the form as a new user.
  4. Return to the Universal Licensing System ( page and click on the "LOG IN" button.
  5. Login using the new account you setup in step 3. You'll need your FCC-assigned 10-digit FRN number (FCC Registration Number) and Password.
  6. You should arrive at the web page entitled "My Licenses" or "License Manager". Click on the link "Apply for a New License" on the top left side of the page (in the yellow section).
  7. You should arrive at the web page entitled "Select Service". Click on the pull-down box scroll all the way to the bottom to select the item "ZA - General Mobile Radio (GMRS)"
  8. Click the blue "CONTINUE" button on the right side of the page
  9. You should arrive at the web page entitle "Applicant Questions".
  10. For "Request Type" select "Regular".
  11. For "Fee Status" select "No" and "No".
  12. Click the blue "CONTINUE" button.
  13. Fill in the "Licensee Name and Address" information and click "CONTINUE".
  14. Review the information and click the button "CONTINUE TO CERTIFY"
  15. Fill out the remainder of the form and make payment.