For some individuals, volunteers, and family groups wishing to be prepared, the licensed radio services (e.g., Amateur Radio, General Mobile Radio Service, et al.) are not an option. Unlicensed services (e.g., Citizen Band, Family Radio Service, et al.) may be crowded, lack sufficient range, or be suffering from serious interference. There is another option though: Multi-Use Radio Service or MURS.
The Multi-Use Radio Service is a private, two-way, unlicensed radio service in the 151—154 MHz VHF spectrum range. The service has five (5) channels available.* In some respects, it is similar to Citizen Band and the Family Radio Service (FRS). The service was originally established by the Federal Communications Commission in the year 2000. Transmissions may be in the form of voice or data communications. Unlike amateur radio, business-related radio traffic is allowed on the service. Unfortunately, “store and forward” type operations are not permitted. The use of radio repeaters is also not allowed on the service. The maximum output power is two (2) watts. As of 2014, Canada is reviewing the possibility of allowing MURS operations in the country.
Benefits for Preparation:
- The Multi-Use Radio service is unlicensed. Any member of a group or family may use the technology.
- The output power of 2 watts is four times that of the 0.5 watt limitation on the Family Radio Service.
- Unlike the Family Radio Service, external antennas are permitted. MURS antennas can be up to 60 feet above the ground.
- A transmission range of up to ten (10) miles or more can be achieved with this technology. Some sources report up to twenty (20) miles under ideal conditions.
- Unlike Citizen Band, digital (data, telemetry, telecommand, RTTYS, fast Morse, etc.) modes may be utilized on this service.
- Technologies exist (e.g., GoTenna) to turn an existing SmartPhone into a MURS unit.
- The cost of transceivers are, generally, low when compared to other services.
Limitations of the Multi-use Radio Service
- The maximum output power is lower than Citizen Band and the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS).
- Unlike Amateur Radio, MURS units may not be connected to the public telephone system.
- Repeater operations are not an option on this service.
- The service is limited to five channels.
- Storage and forward operations are not permitted on this service.
Multi-Use Radio Service transceivers can be found in handheld units, base stations, wireless public address units, remote switches, and other devices. A wireless system can be tailored for the family or group wishing to stay in communication during a disaster.
Hopefully this guide has provided the reader with a solid overview of the Multi-Use Radio Service or MURS. If one wishes to discuss emergency preparedness, Disaster.com offers a forum to ask questions and obtain up-to-date information on all that is disaster-related. Sign up is quick, easy, and totally free.
- Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS). (n.d.). Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/multi-use-radio-service-murs-0
- Silver, H. (2005). Two-way Radios & Scanners for Dummies (p. 110). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley.
- Spectrum Allocation and Utilization Policy Regarding the Use of Certain Frequency Bands Below 1.7 GHz for a Range of Radio Applications. (n.d.). Retrieved January 7, 2015, from https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/vwapj/sp17-ps17-eng.pdf/$FILE/sp17-ps17-eng.pdf
- Jones, J. (2007). Emergency Communications. In Preparing for the Worst: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Family from Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and Other Catastrophes (p. 180). Westport, Conn. [u.a.: Praeger Security International.
- Horak, R. (2008). Webster’s New World Telecom Dictionary (1., Auflage ed., p. 327). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
- PART 95—PERSONAL RADIO SERVICES. (n.d.). Retrieved January 7, 2015, from http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2009-title47-vol5/pdf/CFR-2009-title47-vol5-part95.pdf
- Buttars, R. (2013). Personal Radio Communications.
* MURS Channels
|4||154.570 MHz||Blue Dot (Business)|
|5||154.600 MHz||Green Dot (Business)|
multi use radio service