Narrowband GMRS?

I have some ICOM radios that I use for GMRS. I can set them to narrowband or wideband. As I understand it, GMRS radios use wideband. What would be the effect of setting my ICOM radios to narrowband?

Is the transmission affected?
Is the reception affected?


Do you have a GMRS license. Do those radios have type-acceptance for GMRS (many commercial radios do)

For GMRS use, stay on wide band. You could hear others more or less okay; but they wouldn’t hear you very well.

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I don’t know anything about the legalities of the radios. They were sold by ICOM as being GMRS capable. They ARE GMRS radios, so I don’t know why they wouldn’t be legal.

They are capable of some other frequencies as well. Maybe some FRS.

Its just that they have options for power level and bandwidth. Trying to understand the best configuration. I have basically be using them in narrow mode. I don’t think I had any trouble talking to any of my friends that had bubble wrap radios. But one of my radios seemed consistently more sensitive than the other. Which I thought was weird.

FRS uses narrow band (not legal with the radios you have [except for the shared FRS/GMRS frequencies] because FRS rules require a specific approved radio with no capacity of external antennas and max 500 mW output.)

A ton of the Icom commercial rigs are also part 95A (GMRS) accepted… Very popular brand for hard-core GMRS folks. The sensitivity could be related to frs being narrow, and you set to wide, or vice versa.

You mean GMRS? I’m not using FRS.

Actually both is what I was talking about. Sorry to confuse… your radios are likely legal on GMRS… if they have the FCC part 95A type acceptance.

At any rate, GMRs is NOT narrow band.

Thank you!

If Gmrs is not narrow band< could somebody please explain the reviews about the Midland Micro mobiles only being narrow band radios. I’m confused.

GMRS is a wideband service but users can voluntarily narrowband. Most of your bubble pack radios are narrowband only as it’s a way for manufacturers to cut cost by not making the radio support wideband like it should.

The result…you can see up to a 50% range reduction by flipping that narrow setting…especially if you don’t have any radios made after 2012. This is due to older radios being able to modulate 2.5 kHz deviation but not having the front end filtering for a 12.5 kHz channel (i.e. half of the channel is noise and only half of it is the narrow band signal). Newer radios you’ll see roughly a 10% reduction in range going to narrow band.

So is there a true gmrs mobile radio that is not a narrow band like the micro mobile?

The Wouxun KG-805G GMRS radio supports both wide and narrow banding, but it’s a handheld radio. a GMRS mobile that does the same would be nice.

I believe Kenwood still has 90/95 radio in production that is capable of wideband operation. Other than that, you’d likely be stuck looking for used Icom F221, Kenwood TK-880 and Motorola M1225 era mobiles.

In the owners manual of the Bubble Pack GMRS / FRS Motorola radios I bought it said that it was legal for a user to use them on the FRS frequencies without a license, but to obtain a license if you wanted to use them on GMRS frequencies.
These radios are only used two weeks out of the year for deer hunting.
I doubt if a person, unless they had two of them in their hands at the same time, and put the appropriate frequencies into them could talk on a repeater. Im sure the repeater would hear them on the input, but since they are only simplex, they aren’t really appropriate for much of anything except deer hunting etc where 2 or more people wants to stay in touch.
I don’t know if they are narrow or wide band, but as long as the filtering in both radios matches, you can’t really tell the difference between it and a commercial radio at close range.
I’m sure if I was on top of my mountain and I heard the REACT guys on their repeater and I put the proper PL in my radio I could talk and they would hear me a couple of miles away on the output of their repeater.
But those folks only uses their radios when they are called out or doing a job. I wouldn’t want to interfere with a licensed radio service.
I really don’t know how licensed people puts up with the nonsense I hear on my GMRS radios during deer rifle season. Must be something that they just do, and hope that the PL keeps most of the noise out of their receivers. I guess they don’t put their radios on scan and they only monitor the one repeater frequency.
I’m 100% on using a Part Type Compliant radio, no Beofungs or Whoshuns here. I stay away from anything Chinese, but those suckers seems to be determined to counterfeit everything, and what they can’t counterfeit they flat outright buy. Even Kenwood now is owned by the Chinese… UGH!

There were significant rule changes in FRS/GMRS in 2017, for users in the USA. Now all 22 channels of the “combo” FRS/GMRS are “shared” and your radio becomes EITHER an FRS or a GMRS, depending primarily upon its output power limits and a detachable antenna. If it’s 2W or less, and has a non-detachable antenna, then it’s now an FRS-only radio, usable without an individual license at 2W on the fixed FRS/GMRS channels (but still limited to 500 mW on the old “interstitial” FRS channels). Otherwise, it’s now a GMRS radio and requires a family GMRS license. This assumes it already had the necessary FCC certifications for legal FRS and GMRS operations. Some vendors may be resubmitting their radios and paperwork for updating their certifications under the new rules, or perhaps adding more GMRS frequencies (for repeaters) and whatnot.

Just address the ‘are narrow band‘ elephant. All RT sets, regardless of mode and status, are ‘narrow band‘ modulation with a variety of narrow frequency spacings.

So the very narrow NB modes (sometimes analog but mostly digital data or DV use) and spacings, such as Digital mode on PMR446 and in aviation implemented on some equipment and spacings appropriately, is used on operational modes that use that facility and it’s often auto set to that mode when needed on modern kit with that facility.

So there’s two distinctively different uses of NB when it comes to modes and frequency use/spacing. And don’t forget, mostly applicable to GenCon receivers and ham gear, additional NB filters which are used to improve selectivity and aid cleaner discrimination of weak signals in congestion of frequencies and poor propagation and interference conditions.

But as pointed out in a previous post, some instances the spacing and modes exist for other licensed operation usage or subdivided other licensed use within a broader licensed allocation use or simply because it was an inherent requirement on that radio for conformity of similar or interoperability.

It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s presence makes it necessary or even within license use on your licensed use. But that’s very license and region specific.