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|Purchasing a FRS Radio
When buying an FRS radio for family communication, you will probably not need the bells and whistles availible in many expensive radios. Here are some factors you may want to consider:
* Range: If you are only going to use it for communications inside your house, or you want to use them as "walky-talkys", you will probably want to buy one of the radios with a shorter range. But if you are going to need to use them for more than a mile, you should probably buy one of the longer-distance radios.
* Privacy Codes: Many manufacturers and advertisers advertise CTCSS as a "privacy code" or "scrambling code". This is not true. CTCSS is a set of codes that you program into each of your radios so that you can only communicate only with others in your group. When CTCSS is enabled, anyone can still listen in to your conversation, but if he tries to transmit to the channel, you will not be able to hear him unless he has the same code set as you.
* Channels: Many cheaper radios or kids' "walky-talkys" broadcast only to channel 1 (462.5625mhz), making it the most popular FRS channel. If you only plan to use your radios every once in awhile, or in a place that other radios are unlikely, you should go with a one-channel radio. Otherwise, a fourteen-channel radio is best.
Take all these into consideration when you buy your radios, and you will probably be able to find a good radio. FRS radios are available at Radio Shack, Ames, and other electronics stores.
Rules and Regulations for FRS
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulates FRS. Here are the rules for FRS:
* You cannot modify your radio in any way.
* You cannot swear on FRS.
* You cannot play music or do any other type of one-way communications, except for SOS messages, brief test messages, and traveler assistance.
* You cannot use FRS for any illegal purpose, or to assist you in any illegal purpose.
* You cannot monitor others using FRS. You may only use it for two-way (or three, or four, or five....) communications.
Here's the frequencies for the FRS channels, for those that need the technical data.
Channel 1: 462.5625mhz
Channel 2: 462.5875mhz
Channel 3: 462.6125mhz
Channel 4: 462.6375mhz
Channel 5: 462.6635mhz
Channel 6: 462.6875mhz
Channel 7: 462.7152mhz
Channel 8: 467.5625mhz
Channel 9: 467.5875mhz
Channel 10: 467.6125mhz
Channel 11: 467.6375mhz
Channel 12: 467.6625mhz
Channel 13: 467.6875mhz
Channel 14: 467.7125mhz
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