Talking with friends using walkie talkies is an awesome thing, right? The adventure can become less exceptional when you run into some legal issues for using walkie talkies without permission from the FCC. Today, I want to talk about how to get an FCC license for walkie talkies. There is a quick answer and then there’s a long explanation. The short answer is that you do not need to have a license from the FCC to use walkie talkies in the United States and the reason you do not need it is what makes up the long explanation.
You do not need to get an FCC license for your walkie talkie. There are two categories of radios as stipulated by the FCC, which include GMRS and FRS. Walkie talkies fall in the category of FRS radios and they do not require an FCC license to work in the United States. If you are going to use walkie talkies in the United States, you do not need an FCC license.
It is quintessential to know what an FCC license is and why it is important to get one. However, you may be exempted from the need to get an FCC license if you just want to operate a walkie talkie. Nonetheless, let’s discuss what an FCC license is and why you would not need one for your walkie talkie.
What is an FCC License?
The Federal Communications Commission is a federal agency that is in charge of regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in the United States, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. The FCC is an independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress that implements and enforces America’s communications laws and regulations.
An FCC license is issued for all radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable communications in the United States. The agency divides radio communication into two categories, namely General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and Family Radio Service (FRS). FCC regulates all forms of radio communications and assigns licenses and frequencies.
The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a licensed radio service that uses channels around 462 MHz and 467 MHz. These frequencies are most often used for short-distance, two-way voice communications using hand-held radios, mobile radios, and repeater systems. In 2017, GMRS was expanded to include short data messaging applications, such as text messaging and GPS location information.
In the United States, GMRS requires a license, but some GMRS compatible devices can be used without licenses in Canada.
The other type of radio communication is the Family Radio Service (FRS). This form of communication is also referred to as walkie talkies and it is most commonly used among friends, families, and consumers. It does not require a license to operate.
Do You Need an FCC License for Walkie Talkie?
The answer is an empathic NO. You do not need an FCC license to make use of walkie talkies in the United States. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the government agency that regulates radio communications in the United States. The FCC has rules about how you can use radio communication devices and what frequencies they can operate on. Anytime there is an issue with a radio device, it’s often because it doesn’t comply with these rules. For walkie talkies, the agency has no licensing rules for use.
Can I Use a Walkie Talkie without a License?
Yes, you can use a walkie talkie without a license. In the United States, there are no specific laws that prevent you from using a walkie talkie. You can purchase a walkie talkie and begin using the off-the-shelves without any legal sanctions.
Final Thoughts on How to Get an FCC License for Walkie Talkies
Many people do not know that in the United States you do not need a license to use walkie talkies. Walkie talkies may operate freely with small power levels, this means they can be used with little notice. The radio spectrum is public property and there are no user fees involved, something that adds to the poor licensing of frequencies. Many countries require a license to operate radio devices, so before you bring your walkie talkie home, make sure you’re in a country where it’s legal to do so.