I’m a GMRS licensee and amateur radio operator. I’ve been involved with FRS and GMRS for several years. A lot of folks get confused… hopefully I can help.
The best way to determine output power is to get the FCC ID number on the back of the radio. From there, you can go to the FCC website and get the actual power output off the type-acceptance grant.
Many manufacturers, Midland is the biggest perpetrator… like to give incorrect power output claims. Midland’s “5-watt” radio is actually a 1.6 watt radio. They advertise “full legal power” This is wrong. GMRS regulations indicate full legal power at 50 watts ERP.
The Cobra LI6000 (FCC ID: BBOLI6000) is listed here with a 3 watt power output… in reality the power output is a dismal 0.372 watts… on High… on low it is a mere .006 watts! FAR below even the .5 watts allowed on FRS.
They advertise those as 18 mile radios… their best 2006 model!
At least their 2007 lineup actually has a greater power output… over a watt, so thwy may have decided to improve things a bit.
Most manufacturers rate their radios at Input power to the transmitter stages… NOT the power actually emitted by the radio. Since FRS/GMRS combo radios are not authorized an exernal antenns, power should be measured at Effective Radiated Power (ERP), which is the power actually transmitted over the air.
Here is where you can look up the FCC Data:
You just need to input information in the first boxes… Grantee code and product code. You’ll be brought to a page with tons of information.
A common trend is to actually lower the output power while increasing the range claims of radios.
All they want to do is sell radios. They want to slap them together cheaply and sell them quickly.
You want quality… get a GMRS license then buy commercial-grade equipment.
NO radio will get you over 2 miles under average conditions. 25 miles only over the ocean or in space.
I have a website that may provide useful.
BTW: Oners of this site… I appreciate your honesty in addressing questions… especially the licensing questions. Many businesses omit the licensing requirements or lie and say there are none. You answered the license questions honestly… I appreciate that. The GMRS community appreciates that…