Protocol for finding open channel

I just got my GMRS license and I’d like to know what, if any, is the proper protocol for finding an open channel to use?
For example, do I select a channel, give my call sign and ask if anyone can hear me, then wait for a response?
And if I don’t get a response, can I then use that channel?

Well - as most GMRS users are small groups, families, and just people who need to speak to people they know, the operating practices are whatever they need, and range from official and formal to chat - like on facebook. Very few people want to speak to strangers, that’s not what it’s for, and most tend to use tone squelch to reduce traffic from the people sharing the channel with them. so it’s common for people to just be given a radio and shout 'can you get back here NOW you (insert profanity), or for them to call John? and have John respond by saying - what?

Others will use their made up callsigns - office to dispatch, over. shop to security etc etc. you will also hear very wrong practice too - often with over and out still used thinking it’s correct. if you find an empty channel - you can call, but expect little response unless you have lots of people in your areas. GMRS isn’t a replacement for CB or Ham radio - it’s for people who know each other.

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Asking if the frequency/channel is in use is a pretty ‘standard’ way of doing it, ought’a work fine. Umm… no telling what the response will be though…

There is a protocol of sorts, but it isn’t quite as regimented as amateur radio. Essentially, you want to listen to the channel you want to use for a bit to find out if it is already in use, and if not, go ahead and use it.

As a licensed GMRS user in the US, you do want to give your assigned FCC callsign at the end of every transmission, and at least once every 15 minutes during a long conversation.

If there are multiple stations using the same license, it isn’t necessary to ID every station, but it is useful to include a unit number or name for each station for easier communications. It’s not required, but it’s a good practice.

Here are the FCC rules for GMRS station identification.

§95.1751 GMRS station identification.

Each GMRS station must be identified by transmission of its FCC-assigned call sign at the end of transmissions and at periodic intervals during transmissions except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section. A unit number may be included after the call sign in the identification.

(a) The GMRS station call sign must be transmitted:

(1) Following a single transmission or a series of transmissions; and,

(2) After 15 minutes and at least once every 15 minutes thereafter during a series of transmissions lasting more than 15 minutes.

(b) The call sign must be transmitted using voice in the English language or international Morse code telegraphy using an audible tone.

(c) Any GMRS repeater station is not required to transmit station identification if:

(1) It retransmits only communications from GMRS stations operating under authority of the individual license under which it operates; and,

(2) The GMRS stations whose communications are retransmitted are properly identified in accordance with this section.

Morse code isn’t dead then? I wonder how many users can read it?

I still listen to code, it helps me keep a log of local GMRS repeaters Steve, any advice on my seaplane guestions ???

When I started CW was the only mode a Novice was allowed. Once you get used to it, it’s a nice mode. Learning it takes time. Being proficient means even more time. It’s not an “instant” thing at all. If you think it’s going to be fast and simple, pick another mode. (And the thing is that your in an exclusive ‘club’.)

As Rick said…listen, listen, listen. And then listen some more before using a channel.

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