New GMRS/FRS Rules and a question about power

I have been using FRS frequencies for years while riding motorcycles, and recently purchased a licence to use the higher wattage of the GMRS.

I’m using a Midland GXT1000 connected through a Sena SR10 Bluetooth Radio Adapter and a SMH10R headset. I was really pleased with the extra range we got being able to use the 5 watts.

Of course, with any group activity, you always have “that guy” that doesn’t want to spend money on things like radio licences. So, we would switch channels back and forth to talk to him on the 1/2 watt channels. (Ironically, he was always getting out of range and separated from the group).

So, to my question. The GXT1000 has 3 power level settings, Low/Med/High. I found the FCC Test Report, 365AZUT15 Test Report Rev.1 Initial Issue 4/23/2015, and at Low power the ERP is rated at 0.45 Watts, and at High power the ERP is rated at 3.07 Watts. But I cannot find the transmitting wattage of the medium setting.

Does anyone know? Does it fall under the 2 watt “new” FRS standard? One would assume, with the “High” output being just a touch over 3 watts it will fall into compliance. But you know what they say about assuming.

At this time, the GXT1000 and GXT1050 fall under the new GMRS category as they max out at three watts. Whether Midland decides to raise or lower the maximum power of these models going forward is the question.

I don’t have any information about the wattage on the medium power level setting, but if I come across the answer I’ll try to post it.

I posed this question to Midland via their website:

"With the upcoming rule changes affecting the GMRS/FRS bands, I’m trying to find out if the “Medium” power setting falls below the 2 watt maximum for the “new” FRS standard. I found the FCC report that indicates the Low (0.45W) and High (3.07W) tested output, but I cannot find any information on the output at the Medium setting. Have you, or do you plan to test this setting for power output? "

I received this response:

"Thank you for contacting Midland Radio.

The output power on medium power for the GXT1050VP4 is 2 watts."

Veronica Contreras
Customer Service
Midland Radio Corporation
5900 Parretta Dr.
Kansas City, MO 64120
816-241-8500 office
e: vcontreras@midlandradiocom

So it seems the current GXT1000P/GXT1050P will be compliant for use without a licence in the FRS bands if used on the “Medium” or “Low” power settings (the units automatically go to “Low” power on channels 8-14). Hopefully they will document this with testing at some point.

I doubt the medium setting actually hits a ERP 2 Watts, based on the “High” power setting being advertised at 5 Watts, but tested at 3.07 Watts. If anyone finds some documented testing of the true output at the “Medium” power setting of these radios, please share.

The FCC determines FRS and GMRS based on the maximum wattage of the radio, so even if it is capable of transmission at 2 watts or less, it will be out of compliance on high power, so the GXT1000 is considered a GMRS radio under the new rules.

On a side note, even if the radio is under 2 watts but supports GMRS repeater frequencies, it is considered a GMRS radio.

We just posted an article that may help clarify the difference.
Which FRS and GMRS radios are license free?

So, are you saying that since it is capable of being used at higher than 2W, you need a GMRS licence, even if you are not using it above 2W?

That is correct, as the radio falls under classification as a “GMRS” radio, not an “FRS” radio.

Specifically, if you have a radio that was sold as a dual-service FRS/GMRS radio and it is limited to the channels and power limits provided under the ?Data? tab on this page, then that device can be operated as an FRS device without a licensing requirement. However, if the device exceeds the limits under the Data tab or includes any of the following channels (467.5500, 467.5750, 467.6000, 467.6250, 467.6500, 467.6750, 467.7000, and 467.7250 MHz), then it is a GMRS device and an individual FCC license is needed to operate the device other than on the channels and with the bandwidth and power limits shown under the Data tab.

If you read last sentence “other then” it makes me question the fact that you need a license if you use GXT1000VP4 on medium 2 watt power.
To me it sounds as if it means that even if device is GMRS devise, you can still use it on FRS channels as long as it is under 2 watts?

Yes, I’ll retract my earlier statement. As long as you are operating under 2 watts, you are operating under FRS rules.

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