Is there any standard use channel assignments for GMRS like a Calling & Distress channel to monitor for anyone calling in the blind for emergencies or local info from other users? If not, should we try to create one channel designated for this purpose?
I think there was some movement a while back to designate an emergency frequency, but I’m not sure what happened with it.
Edit: A quick search turns up that 462.675 with PL tone 141.3 was the frequency being pushed. Seems there aren’t many people aware of it, so I doubt it’s being monitored for emergencies.
Thanks for the reply Danny. To make GMRS more viable for communications, having one channel designated for Calling and Distress is important. It would give all GMRS users a channel to monitor for someone trying to report an emergency, calling for local info, or just trying to reach someone and then switch to a working channel, kind of like VHF Marine band. Being in the industry yourself, do you have any contacts or influence on the FCC to designate channel assignments? At least designate one channel as a Calling and Distress frequency. What do you think?
Is the premise of these systems that they are short range and allow individuals to communicate rather than have longer range and users become part of a big network? As such, there’s no real point attempting to force through a standard. CB radio in the 70s with their calling channel always caused grief when new people came along and just bought a couple to communicate and they’d get wasps when told they couldn’t use a certain channel. the radio hams fall out when people use internationally agreed frequencies for the wrong purpose. Most users just aren’t interested in people they don’t know. Marine, with the licences, vessel IDs and 24/7 monitoring for safety live with a channelised system the works in the main. short range radio isn’t bought in the main to be a coordinated system. you just turn a radio on, and use it. you don’t need to know about frequencies or channels - you just use the same one on all your radios and that’s it!
As Danny mentioned, most users are not aware of the existence of an emergency GMRS channel, and many probably wouldn’t care and use it for general communications anyway, defeating the purpose of a dedicated emergency frequency. There are hams who monitor all the FRS and GMRS channels for activity and emergency calls, so a designated emergency channel isn’t necessarily an issue on those radio services.
Cool, thanks for the reply Rick. If I scan, say channel 22 on my Midland 400 without any cs or pl sub numbers, will it pick up all of 22 no matter the sub cs or pl tones.?
The PL tones/privacy codes/interference eliminator codes filter out unwanted interference from other parties using the same channel, so if two operators are communicating with one another, and they are on a channel with the same privacy code, they can hear each other, but not anyone else outside their group. Any other group not using that or any other privacy code can hear them, just not communicate with them.
The short answer is that if you aren’t using PL tones, you’ll probably hear everyone on the channel, whether they are using PL tones or not. They just may not be able to hear you.
Years ago, 462.675 was originally designated for emergency and traveler assistance under the “old” GMRS rules prior to the creation of FRS in 1996.
Back then you picked any TWO of the 8 GMRS primary channels and put them plus the corresponding 467MHz repeater inputs on the license application. The old paper Form 574 was used back then and had to be typed, not handwritten, with absolutely no exceptions except for your signature at the bottom. Base stations and repeaters had to be coordinated like with Part 90 applications and put on the license application, including antenna and tower information w/coordinates. Mobiles including portables did not require coordination. The area of operation also had to be listed. The fee was $35. The process took about 2 months to get the license. If there was a problem with the application, it would be dismissed as defective and returned immediately. If an application seems like it went into a black hole, that means everything is OK and the license will be issued but expect it to take a while. I went through this process when I applied for my GMRS license back in 1992. I purposely applied as mobiles (MO) only, no base or repeater station to get around coordination issues.
The license issued shows the 4 GMRS frequencies (2 462MHz + 2 467MHz rptr inputs) plus a note at bottom saying additional frequencies were authorized per 95.29 and to refer to 95.29 for the specific frequencies. Section 95.29 under the old rules authorized the 7 462MHz interstitial “splinter” channels and 462.675 for emergency and traveler assistance, if 462.675 wasn’t already one of your two primary channels. Many local REACT groups used 675 w/PL141.3. The 7 462MHz interstitial channels are the 7 GMRS splinter channels that later became shared with FRS 1-7.
The designation of 462.675MHz for emergency and traveler assistance in the GMRS rules went away with the change to all-channel licensing in 1999.
The bottom line is there no longer is a specific GMRS or FRS channel designated for emergency and traveler assistance in the FCC rules.
The use of 462.675 as an emergency and traveler assistance frequency in the GMRS is still prevalent. The Department of Homeland Security has a publication in which it lists this frequency as such. This publication, National Interoperability Field Operations Guide, has been in place prior to 2011, and more recently in 2019, lists this as an important frequency nationally. It is a publication that Departments of Emergency Management use in designating channels that would be programmed into their radios.
Right Rick. I scan the frequencies on my radios and listen for any callers. As for GMRS, about all I hear in Portland area is a dog-sitting business, traffic flaggers, a contractor or two. There are maybe a dozen repeaters but only one is dependable and reachable with an uptime of probably 95%.