Do we need an FCC license?

I work for a company in the midst of our Disaster Recovery planning as we sit right in the middle of Hurricane Alley.

As part of our plan, we wanted to get Walkie-Talkies to be able to communicate with our other location a few miles away should all power and phones be down in our area. However, when doing some research, I saw that an FCC license is required for 5+ miles for GMRS channels.

When looking online for some options, our COO found the Motorola TALKABOUT SX700R Two Way Radios with a 12-mile range. But the specs said nothing about an FCC license due to the range.

Will we need to get an FCC license to use these models? If we do, is it a lengthy process?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.



An FCC license is required to use the radios in high power mode. It is simple to get an FCC license for GMRS use, and it can be done online through the FCC’s ULS system.

Keep in mind, however, that GMRS is designed for individual/family use. A single license covers one person and their family members. This usually doesn’t work out well for businesses, where technically a license would be required for all individual radio users (assuming they are not related). You may want to consider business radios. The radios would be more expensive (but would have better range / more durability) but licensing would likely be less because a license covers the entire business instead of just individuals.

Also, please be aware that even though the SX700R radios advertise a 12 mile range, typical range with this model will be between 1 and 1.5 miles depending on terrain and other obstructions. How much range do you need?



We need a range of up to 4 miles with city terrain in the way (buildings, trees, powerlines, residential neighborhoods, etc.). What would the best model be?

Also, you mentioned getting Business radios with one license. Do you know the typical price range for a business?

Thanks for your help, Danny.


Four miles in an urban setting is going to be unlikely for even a 4 watt business radio. In order to get the range you’re looking for you will likely need to use a repeater. A repeater is a device that is usually mounted in a high location and basically re-broadcasts radio transmissions at a much higher wattage.

A repeater is expensive and installation can be tricky. There may be communications companies in your area that already have repeaters setup and will allow you to use their system for a monthly fee. That option would be the easiest way for you to get the range you need, and may be worth looking into. Another advantage is that you would then likely be using their frequencies and you would not need a license. If you need radios, our Motorola AXU4100, AXV5100, and BlackBox radios can be programmed to work on a repeater.


Good points Danny but please keep in mind that in an event of ANY emergency, ALL communications relating to such an event takes priority over ALL regular communications on any frequency.

Also anyone, licensed or not, has communications priority over all others until such event where any human lives and or property that is potentially in danger has been resolved. --mike shearer–

Thanks, Mike. We will only be using these radios for emergency purposes, therefore would you assume we can get away with not getting a license?


Yes you can Michele, Contrary to the popular belive in most cases no license is required as long as the FCC rules are understood, the standards are followed and no interferences are made with any other communications.

In your case, any emergency communications does have priority over all normal traffic on any frequency regardless of any licensing issues.

This would be true only in a declared emergency area for that duration and would not include any simulated events.

In any disaster or time of “declared war” most frequencies are suspended from normal assigned usages and are held open for any priority emergency traffic.

Without getting into any controversial issues with the two different schools of thought on the need to hold a valid FCC issued license, you may wany to read what I posted on this subject matter learned in a federal court room found in the postings on “Expired License”

Ge tthe license. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Criminals and those who support criminal activity are one in the same.

It is my understanding that the primary function of this board is intended to provide facts about 2 way radios equipment and other needed information directed at helping folks in deciding what would be in the best interest with each application.

Providing FACTS helps others with what direction would be best with each individuals needs. I am providing FACTS and not popular misconception with my comments about the licensing issues. This information is readily available to anyone that would take the time to educate themselves on this issue.

If I am understanding jwilkers correctly, you are implying that I am a “criminal” for not applying for or holding any FCC issued license while I have been transmitting on numerous frequencies for over 40 years now. Please allow me to ask him a few questions in the attempt to clarify any misunderstanding.

According to Webster " criminal ¹ one that has committed a crime ² a person who has been convicted of a crime."

I have never been arrested nor have I ever been convicted of ANY crime in my over 60 years of life. In order to be arrested for committing any crime some reasonable proof that a law was broken is needed, and no one, not even at the FCC could show that I ever broke any LAW by not having a valid FCC issued license while operating any of my transmitting equipment.

The FCC neither has the power to pass any laws in the United States nor do they have any power to arrest anyone.

The FCC has my address as I have been transmitting at this same location since 1972. If I have been breaking any LAW, don’t you think by now I would have been arrested? How many unlicensed radio operators do you know for a FACT have ever been convicted of a crime by breaking any law pertaining to the operation of un-licensed radio-TV transmitting equipment ?

If you have any proof that I am not correct with my statements will you please provide any documents or URL’s indicating clearly that violating any FCC rules is breaking the law.

Please provide us with that information. As far as I know the only LAW associated with the FCC is the communications act, and that LAW has nothing to do with our licensing topic.

Would anyone who has ever broken any Home Owners Association rule be considered to be a criminal? Is it mandatory that every home owner must agree to having one in order to own a home?

Rules are made to be broken, that is how we fail our way to success and improve our system.

Again please provide us with facts and not common misconceptions or personal belive’s.

1 Like

Based on the licensing information that I have seen posted on the FCC’s web site, it is our recommendation that you operate the radios with a license. I am not aware of any exceptions to licensing for emergency communications, although you may want to contact the FCC about this (be sure to ask what constitutes an emergency, according to their rules).

I am aware of language that applies to licensed users, that states that you are not to interrupt or interfere with emergency communications.


I have stated the facts concerning the licensing issue as it pertains to citizens of the united states operating radio communications equipment, as I have learned then to be true in a federal courtroom. Believe whatever you will.

I have apparently been unsuccessful at conveying my words in layman terms I will try for one last time employing legal terminologies verbatim from the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA Copy of the foregoing mailed this 27th day of May, 1976, to:U.S. Attorney, Asst. Edmund Noyes FPD Tom O’Toole Deft. Shearer

The case before the Federal Communications Commission was SS-1021-75 in the matter directed against: MICHAEL D> SHEARER was issued April 4, 1975; and opend with"

3.On the basis of record, it is concluded that Shearer will continue to operate radio transmitting apparatus in violation of Section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended.

And ending with:

No CR 76-94 PHX-CAM
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that this matter, having come before the Court on the indictment filed herein, presented against the above-named defendant, charging a violation of Title 47, U.S.C. §§301 and 501,and the parties having stipulated to the facts herein and to the submission of the mater to the Court without a jury, and upon consideration of the trial memoranda submitted by both plaintiff and defendant, this Court finds that the plaintiff has failed to prove an essential element of crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt, namely, the effect of defendant’s radio transmissions beyond the borders of the State of Arizona, See U.S. V Oxendine___F.2d___No.75-3352 (9th Cir., March 10, 1976).

IT IS THEREFORE ADJUDGED that the defendant is not guilty and is therefore acquitted of the charge aforesaid.

Do to the fact that many people are not educated in this subject matter but falsely concluded that they have an understanding of the issues pertaining to my trial, (none of them were in the courtroom), this newly added information is directed toward them.

  1. My case did not end with any “technically”, as some are falsely assuming, but ran much longer then it should have because
    (A) the judge wanted to give the commission more then ample time to allow them to summons any proof that any crime had been committed by me with any of my non licensed radio transmitting activities. When the F.C.C after a half of a year still could not submit anything favorable to the plaintiff, “The United States of America”, only then was the judgement finalize.
    (B) Not understood by me at that time, (information withheld from me by the plaintiff) I was in a position to start a class action against the F.C.C. on the licensing issue when I still had my own attorney. They had to change the direction the case was moving towards in order to block any possible law suite action by my defence and this required additional unexpected time with the proceedings.

  2. the fact that GMRS did not exist 30 years ago does not imply that the judgement in my case is not applicable with todays technologies. Our judicial system is very careful with the selection of any words going on record and in my case the words on record are “transmitting apparatuses”. I/E “Freedom Of The Press” also includes radio and television as well as any other unforeseeable future technologies.
    All similar federal cases since mine were and are referenced against my case and will continue to be made regardless of the passing of time. My case was referenced against Oxendine___F.2d___No. 75-3352.
    Unlike rules, laws remain on our books without changes made to them indefinitely.

  3. I will not respond to any posted name calling or any flaming comments (as requested by this boards administrator) made by anyone that has not first researched any legal proof provided by any federal attorneys and/or agencies suppling any accurate contradictory statements pertaining to any of my past posted statements on this subject matter, I will however remain open and receptive to anyone with any federal legal knowledge proving otherwise.

Your case is decades old and does not pertain to reality nowadays.

The prosecutors in your case simply (in the opinions of many) didn’t properly present their case.

You got lucky.

Continuing to brag and display your “documents” means nothing.

Promoting unlicensed use is unethical and could lead many down the road to fines and other enforcement action.

The Communications Act has given the FCC the authority to require licensing. Updates and amendments over the years have clarified this fact.

An unlicensed user “does not exist” in the eyes of the FCC. As such, licensed users have full right to simply ignore unlicensed users and communicate… even if it means disrupting the communications of the unlicensed “pirate” station.

Additionally, regulations forbid communications with unlicensed persons and a licensee can potentially face enforcement action for doing so.

In my opinion, You fear participation in discussion on Popular Wireless, because there are persons there much more knowledgeable of the laws and regulations that most people here. (including myself).

In my opinion, You refuse to present your case there, because, you won’t have a supportive audience, since folks there are united in proper, legal, operation on GMRS.

In my opinion, you choose to seek out forums where you will get a group of followers and hopefully cause disruption and turmoil. This is sad. The owner here wants to run a business and support legal operation, yet you wish to cause trouble here.

While Mr. Shearer does sometimes have some good advice, I feel everyone should take what he says about licensing with a grain of salt.

He accuses anyone who holds a different opinion than his to be “uneducated” as to the rules. NOTHING could be further from the truth.
WE KNOW THE RULES. We follow the rules. Mr. Shearer had decided long ago he is not going to follow the rules because of his court proceedings. As jwilkers stated, these proceedings are now decades old and times have changed.
You 100% most certainly DO need an FCC license to use GMRS frequencies.

Mr. Shearer’s opinion and application of HIS rules to today’s rules are equivalent to the automotive laws and rules. In the 70’s seat belts were not required to be worn by law. They are today (in some states). Basically Mr. Shearer was told by a judge back in the 70’s that he did not have to wear his seat belt.

Yes, Mike is knoledgeable and is certainly an intelligent person. While it may seem I’m a bit harsh at times, I do have respect for him and certainly wish him well.

That being said…

I believe he thinks he deserves “special treatment”. In my opinion, he doesn’t believe the rules, regulations, and laws do not apply to him. He is one of those “rights activists” who believes his rights “trump” the rights of others.

We, as GMRS licensees, have had our rights trashed by those who believe their rights are better than ours.

Every person who violates the rules or gets a “free pass” has violated the rights of the untold thousands of licensees who have done the right thing.

I could beat a murder charge if I had the money to get a good defense team. That’s been done before. (Hi O.J.)

Mr. Shearer had a good defense team.

Winning a case by no means proves the laws or regulations are invalid. It just means you beat the system that one time.

As stated numerous times.

A license is required for GMRS and all other services specified in bothe the communications act and FCC regulations.

Period. end of story.

speedypetey… you and I are 100% on the same page.

See you on PopWireless :slight_smile:

I have no problem with this at all. I really don’t care a lick what he does personally.
What I do have a problem with is the fact that he tries to apply this rationale to the general public. That and the fact that he vigorously tries to push others to take on the same beliefs.

Although everyone is entitled to having opinions, they are not facts and posting them only adds confusion to the topic, you should stick with the facts only.

As I mentioned to the administrator of this board, this is the ONLY 2 way Radio related board whereby my comments ARE in compliance with the posting guidelines. This is not to say however that I have not attempted to communicate my point on the licensing issue with other board administrators.

They as well as most “pro license” individuals read 90% more into my statements then the facts that I post. Perhaps this communications failure is on my part.

Below is a cut copy of the highlights form an e-mail (posts are limited in size) sent some time ago to the administrator of another board (name withheld) with his comments inside of the " "'s, and my responses after.

Although his comments were similar to comments posted on this board, this response from me must have somewhat better explained my point as he has not answered me back as of yet, therefore I hope this information may help clarify my point with some of the members on this board as well.
From:*Shearer) Date: Tue, Aug 28, 2007, 10:24am To: XXXX

“Call me a radio cop or whatever you want, but all I am doing is simplypreventing others from violating the FCC rules for the spectrum thatmyself along with thousands of other peoplepaideighty dollars*to use legally.”

We both agree on the need for compliance with spectrum set standards for usages, when did I ever state that we have no need for that? You are not getting my point at all. The license issue is the only topic of the FCC rules that I am in disagreement with.

No one has the right to intentionally generate electromagnet interferences with any other transmissions, regardless if they are licensed or not. Any licensed station doing interferences to any other station in my opinion is more wrongful as they should to have a better understanding.

Your intentions with that statement are respectable, however, in that statement you are indicating respect for only licensed users when in fact everyone has equal rights with using “our” electromagnetic spectrum. The spectrum is not owned only by holders of licenses as you maybe thinking, nor by the FCC, nor by anyone as a mater of fact, nor is the air that we all breath or the sun light that we all need that is nothing more then a higher frequency of the same energy.

People make use of the spectrum everyday that never transmit but receive the energy only as in the cases with one way communications, therefore everyone has equal rights in that respect.

You may have read my words but my meaning may not have been transmitted to you as I intended, and or you only read what you wanted to read with my words. If you go back and read again my posts, I thought that I clearly indicated that the F.C.C set standards must be followed, I have no argument with set standards for origination on the airwaves and I myself must obey them as well, otherwise no one can have equal access to the air.

"On the first link you sent me, everyone else was advising the person to get a GMRS*license, except you. "

Yes, this point is not common knowledge and is the fact that I am trying to educate others with.

The FCC has intentionally made the licensing issue confessing in order to frustrate the applicant into compliance when in fact they can not legally force that issue. Voluntary compliance of the rules is essential but voluntary compliance on the licensing issue is not forcible and so it is because of that fact that the FCC is finding more new cases every day that are not enforceable as well. After all, how can you {effectively} enforce something that is not forcible from the start?

Think about this, If everyone were to voluntarily comply with the FCC spectrum rules and not interfere with any one else as I am advocating, what function does the license serve other then to be an artificial barrier to spectrum access? If we citizens continue to allow that concept to be implemented then some commercial broadcasting licensing fees could be imposed so as to economically restrict anyone but the wealthy from having access to our some sections of “our” airwaves. Is that not the current intent of our “F.C.C”/ government?

“On the second link you sent me, you mentioned in your posting that “rules” are different than “laws” and they should not be respected in the same manner.*”

I am sure that you remember the old saying
“there is an exception for every rule” but I never remember hearing there is an exception for every law.

Rules are a temporary form of legislation subjected to change and or removal.issue.

You may be to young to remember but before my case the FCC required a fee for the licensing of the class D citizens band but now no license or fee is needed. Make no mistake about this fact, GMRS is just another classification for CB radio.

Laws on the other hand, do not go away and normally do not get changed but remain on our books, even when they appear very much outdated.

“The FCC rules clearly state in*part 95.3:CUT]”

You are back to quoting the rules and we are talking outside of those statements, I am currently talking about any law, or in this case the lack of any law pertaining to our topic that so far you and everyone else has failed to show proof of any existence as of yet. You are once again referring to rules as if they are laws and that part of this discussion you are having a problem discriminating with. They ARE NOT the same in fact, otherwise we would only have one word not two completely different words.

"I understand thatenforcement of GMRS rules or the rules of any radio serviceare poorly enforced by the FCC; "[CUT

We are now returning back to the legally not forcible/enforceable part of this discussion with one additional extremely important issue that you added, “any other service” and is of most importance with my reason for defending (remember I was/am the defendant on this issue) licensing topic.

[note at this point:]

I also have additionally to GMRS and other frequencies, historically been transmitting without a license on the commercial FM broadcast band with commercially built equipment manufactured by both Collins and Gates, these exciters were left over and handed down to me by some of our most popular local Phoenix FM stations after they did equipment updates years ago…

I have built a respect for this LPFM stereo station within my community employing it as a service to my community on a non profit bases without any license or any [visible (another issue) within this issue] intervention from the FCC.

If I were to apply for a license for this service then should I not then also hold every FCC license that they issue for all of the other frequencies employed? Do you not understand the impossibility of this request aside from the Ras judicata issue that would bar relitigation between me and the FCC on the licensing issue?

Did you read and understand the above link on this issue with our citizens lack of FCC authorization? Please take the time to do so.

The name that you mentioned “Riley Hollingsworth of the FCC” could be a valuable tool with your research into this issue and ask him to look into them and report back to you with his findings on this issue.

Please keep in mind that he also could be very much wrong with some of his related legal issues.

When the chief field engineer at that time told me that I placed his department in a very embarrassing position, again as in all other issues, he was wrong. HE was the source of his own interdepartmental embarrassment, after all they took me into court believing that they had a test case they could use as an example for all of the other non-licensed radio operators at the time they were beginning to lose on this issue.

“I do not yet see any written evidence that the FCC approves of your statements*”

FACT! The F.C.C. did not agree with me before taking me to court, they never agreed with me in the court room, and do not agree with me now, however they were wrong and lost, I must be right as I won hence they are wrong and I am right on the licensing issue a well as many other issues within my case but not a part of our topic.

"nor have I heard anyone else who sides with your beliefs*on the many radio communications forums that I belong to. "

So what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Again this is not common knowledge and the point of my issue. What those people do not understand is that the FCC does not want them to understand the facts on this issue because it removes some apparent powers from them, the FCC has historically been covering up information from the public on every issue not in the departments best interest and are continuing to do so today.

In my over 40 years of employing “our” airwaves I have never knowingly and intentionally interfered with any other transmissions.

Phoenix is about the seventh largest U.S. city but I have yet to find one repeater within my GMRS range.

All I can say is WOW!

As Allan Weiner (a long time high power not licensed broadcaster) best put it in his book, Quote:

We are not disputing, however, your right to assign channels and set aside bands for the prevention of interference. We certainly, however, are disputing your right to reserve broadcasting for the well-to-do only.

We have chosen our operating frequencies especially so as not to cause interference with any other stations. However, as human beings and citizens of the United States and the world, we have a right to use the airwaves put there by whoever or whatever created the universe, and use them as we will.

This is our freedom, this is our right.
Allan H. Weiner and Joseph Paul Ferraro of the American Radio Broadcasting System.

When I read Mike’s posts all I can think of is Bevis singing that Judas Priest song. LOL!! :smiley: