FCC licensing question

I honestly don’t know where to put this question in, and rather than necro-ing a topic, I opted to make a new one, if this isn’t permitted, I’ll gladly take down this topic (or re-categorize it if necessary, or if possible) so I posted in general, sorry in advance.

So I’ve seen this a couple times, but I thought I’d ask for myself, given that I’m not really gonna operate all that much apart from say communicating between my own equipment, should I get an FCC license? If so, can it be done online? Is it easy? How much will it run me, if anything at all? Can it be done online? I know it lasts for 10 years, so that’s a question I don’t need to ask, but do I need to have one physically? I plan to eventually get a HAM license to transmit on the Amateur Radio Service frequencies when I get an opportunity to do so. Or is it situational? Like does it depend on one’s situation?

Sorry again

I guess the easiest answer is, it depends.

If you are in the US - and I am guessing you are, based on the fact that the FCC only regulates the frequency spectrum in the US - then what do you want your radios to do? If you want your own frequency assignment and be able to talk to other users of your own radios without interference, then you would apply for a business licence. It can cost several hundred or more, and you pay yearly for the privilege of your own assigned frequencies. You will also need Part 90 radios.

Your radio dealer can handle this for you.

If you simply want to talk to your other radios, family, friends and others who may be on the same frequency, then GMRS is the choice. You share the same 22 frequencies as everyone else but if you are lucky enough not to have a bunch of kids, local drive-throughs or businesses within range using up many of those frequencies, the FCC GMRS licence is much cheaper. It also covers other family members.

If you want completely licence-free, there are some good FRS radios on the market, and you can transmit up to 2 watts. (Many handheld radios only transmit about 4 to 5 watts on the UHF spectrum anyway, so 2 watts is not much of a deterrent.)

As far as getting your ham licence, that opens the world. You don’t need an FCC licence for ham (amateur) bands because these are the spectrums that are open to amateur “hobbyists” instead of businesses.

If by talking only to your own radios means you are chatting or using them emergency communications, the amateur bands might be the way to go. If you are going to conduct any business over the radios, then ham is NOT the way to go.

Hopefully this helps.

So we can’t really answer the question for you unless we know what you want the radios for. As far as radios, you need to decided what type of licence if any that you want, THEN decide on the radio. There are literally thousands of brands of radios out there and most are garbage, with high failure rates out of the box. (Read these forums and you will see what we mean.) For a bit more money, you can get a quality radio, from a quality dealer, and with quality accessories. Trust me; you will thank us later.

I agree that I really should’ve specified more on this, but I, for some reason, failed to, and I apologize. The radios I have exceed the maximum allowable power rating per the FCC, and while I do intend on using the FRS channels, I might also be using the GMRS channels (given some of the FRS channels are shared on GMRS, I believe 8 of them are), but I also do intend on using some VHF frequencies as well, such as what my now-defunct school uses, though if I should change the programming (I have a few Baofeng and Motorola and one Kenwood radio) to something a bit more on the open-end, then let me know.

As for my definition of communicating with my other radios, it’s really more for like a sandbox type deal, where it’s just kinda whatever, be it if I wanna use it while me and my brother are doing our role plays while watching say YuGiOh, or if I wanna just chat with my friend Alex whenever he might be in-range, (the HAM license will come in handy in case I wanna try to reach him via a repeater), but besides that, just really to kinda just key up and give a radio check whenever I wanna use my radios

Hope this helps clear up any confusion

I also bought most of the radios from eBay, and two of them I received from said school

You’ve already shown you do understand the rules. They’re very simple. You need a licence for all bar the short range FRS radios INCLUDING the ham bands. The licence for that is dependent on your exam level, and ranges from really easy to reasonably hard,

However, what you are asking is not a, licence question. I’m in the UK and we have broadly similar systems.

You already know that the rules set power, frequencies and money to be paid. If you work outside your licence conditions then you choose to break the law. That’s an ethical/morals judgement. On a forum, most folk advise compliance, and certainly radio dealers have to do this publically. If you asked what the risk of being caught is, then that’s geographical and safety related. Interfering with essential services is not good if you get caught. Interfering with the waitress talking to a chef is annoying for them, but as it could be in a public band, you’re just behaving badly, within the terms of the shared band. No Government agency will send the men in black in for messing with a restaurant, especially as a business decided to cheap out and use kids walkie talkies. Your country are now being tougher with radios that have the potential to interfere, but I doubt the men in black will be doing spot checks on Baofeng users who behave themselves with a few extra Watts, that gtets them another block down the street.

As a radio dealer in the UK, I have customers who want to be 100% legal, and I sell them more expensive radios and often arrange the licences for them - on-line of course. Others want me to supply cheaper radios and say they will sort the licences. They don’t! Others ask to buy say, 10W portable radios and put them on our low power, low range free system, I say no. Often they buy them and I know they will download the software and buy a cable.

So it sounds like I probably should get an FCC license, I’ll probably want a personal one, how much would it run me, price wise? Does it require an exam like the HAM license? Ahhhh, I think y’all get the idea

GMRS is 35.00 dollars and lasts 10 years no exam. A technician ham license is not a lot more, But While the license itself is only 35 bucks, the testing may cost up to 25 bucks. It can be done online for both licenses the ham exam is relatively easy for technician, find practice tests on the internet and take them until you get 100% no matter which questions they throw at you. Took me about 2 weeks of memorizing questions then took the test, got 34 of the 35, you only need to get 26 correct to pass.
KO6EAS, WSBC455 73

I don’t think the D word means what you think it does. There was nothing I would call inappropriate in his answer, you owe Paulears an apology! As a dealer he has to hedge his bets or did you miss that.

Will do, and I’m guessing the HAM license also covers the VHF band on certain frequencies? Or is that a whole 'nother can of worms to open up?


The 2m and 70cm bands are covered by the technician class, even some 10 meter freqs are covered. Most of your questions will be answered by looking at the practice tests. There are free ones and there are pay ones I used the free ones. I’m 65 and like I say it only took a couple of weeks for me. ARRL is a great resource. Google it :slight_smile:

I deleted a couple abusive comments. Keep it civil, people.

To OP: The license type depends on the specific frequencies you will be operating on.
The amateur bands on UHF and VHF have a specific range of frequencies.

You may not even be able to get licensed if you are using frequencies covered by commercial or even public safety frequencies. You’d be subject to prosecution.

Why don’t you tell us the specific frequencies you want to operate on, and then we can give you better advice.

Agreed, after all. We’re all friends here, right?

More than willing to, though the frequencies may be used for different things depending on which part of the world everyone lives in, I reside in Arizona, so not sure what the frequencies are used for by everyone

Me and a friend of mine, Alex (KG7NFC, he has his HAM license) used 154.600 MHZ a few times for VHF communication, however my two MagOne BPR40s still retain their original programming, which transmit on 154.570, which is my high school’s old frequency, before they switched to UHF XPR7550Es, as for my UHF traffic, I really intend on keeping to the FRS channels, specifically Channel 1 (462.5625), and yes, I know my radios have more than two watts of power, so there’s that

Ok. Both those vhf frequencies are MURS frequencies . No license is required. The uhf frequency requires a GMRS license if you use more than 2 watts.

Alright, simple enough, though I think I read on the FCC website that a license isn’t required for the MURS frequency range so long as I’m not using more than two watts as well, or did that change recently?

Correct. MURS does not require a license.

Huh, cool, anyway, I filed my application for a GMRS license a few hours ago, here’s hoping

My application got approved yesterday, made a MyGMRS.com account today, and got to talk a bit on a repeater (It’s a pretty weak station for me, probably because I’m only on a handheld and I have a lot of interference too), my HAM license is probably my next step once I get a week off of work