Survival Kit Communications: Increasing FRS Range… Legally

Imagine you and your family are separated. With inexpensive FRS radios on hand, they could be life savers. Here’s another scenario.

The tornado is on it’s way. You hand each of your children and your spouse a radio and have them place it inside their clothes somewhere. You instruct them that if something happens and you get separated to use the radio to find you if anything happens.

Once you emerge from the rubble of your house, you realize you don’t see your family. So you pull out your radio and contact your family members with relative ease. In very short time, everyone is accounted for and safe.

In this article, I’ll share with you what FRS is. Then we’ll cover FRS limitations and then two techniques for improving FRS performance. We’ll end up with a good Family Radio example that you can check out.


What is FRS Radio?

FRS Radio stands for Family Radio Service. It’s somewhat of an improvement upon walkie –talkies. FRS operates at frequencies between 462 and 467 MHz which is in the ultra- high frequency range.

Although FRS radios are low powered, they do have a benefit. These two way radios are not as prone to interference as are lower frequency devices. That makes them more dependable.


FCC Limits On FRS Radios

FRS communications ranges have a realistic range of 0.3 mile to 1 mile. It’s not that great. But that’s no problem. You can just ad a bigger antenna, right? Well, here’s a little factoid. The FCC forbids FRS radio antennas to be modified to extend their range. And enhancements like repeaters and connecting to telephone lines are illegal under FRS rules.


Technique #1: Improve Performance, Legally.

The first method for extending your communications range with an FRS radio is to take a position on high ground. The higher up that your antenna is, the farther your signal will go. Any time you have large objects like buildings in the way of signals, that will lower your reception perimeter.


Technique #2: The Way You Hold Your Radio

Another thing to do is hold the radio upright. Just by holding the radio at a 45 degree angle, you can decrease the signal by over 50%. By the way, this is what most people do. If you are a nerd, just get a RF detector and a DC voltmeter and watch the readings drop and jump, just by how you hold the radio.


An Example Of A Well Priced Model

An example of a dependable FRS handset is the Motorola MH230R. It has a 23 mile maximum range and possesses 22 channels. It also is a FRS/GMRS hybrid. This product has a 10-hour alkaline battery life, or 8 hours using rechargeable batteries. The radio includes 11 weather channels. Each of these has features to alert you of warnings. The MH230R has 121 privacy codes. This provides much more protection from the masses that will be hijacking the channels. Hands free communication is also available on this unit. Average price for a set of these is $59.99.


In The End When All Is Said And Done…

Even with all communications down, FRS is a great backup communications tool. As long as you know its limitations, you can work around them. This week, why don’t you check out some FRS prices and pick up a set just for testing. They may help you in an unexpected disaster.