Family radio service is similar to the walkie-talkies used many years ago. I think every child has had a pair of walkie-talkies as a toy. They worked room to room but for any true distance, there was nothing. In 1996, the US government authorized the use of FRS. They have been approved for use in Canada since 1990.
- Why Would I Need It?
Considering that FR service was developed as a means of communication, it helps you communicate with the person that is in control of the other device. This is very effective for families with children.
Many families cannot afford the extra expense of adding additional cell phone lines to their plan. Others do not want their children having access to cell phones for safety reasons. This is a safe way for families to be in constant contact which will help kids stay safe.
A lot of businesses supply their employees with FRS while on the job. This frees up telephone lines for potential clients and customers but still allows for business communications.
- How Do They Work?
FRS radios work on ultra-high frequency (UHF) channels. They do not have the interference problems associated with Citizen’s Band radios. CBs used to get interference from cordless phones, in-home baby monitors and even children’s electronic toys. Communication with CBs was often difficult if the users wanted to speak privately. Oftentimes, the person who was speaking’s voice would go over the neighbor’s television set. This did not provide for safe and private conversations. This does not happen with FR service because of the frequencies the radios use.
- Where Can I Buy Them?
Consumers can purchase a FRS system almost anywhere. Although Radio Shack first proposed the idea of using this RS for families, many other companies have jumped on the bandwagon to offer the product. Almost every electronics store, department store and internet entity that deals with electronics carries some kind of FRS.
The quality of items will vary. It is advisable to pay close attention to how far the radios will reach. Some can be as little as half a mile where others can reach distances of a full mile or more. It all depends upon the specifics of that make and model.
- What’s It Going to Cost?
The prices will be different depending upon the range, capabilities, number of radios, expected battery life and manufacturer. Some systems can be as little as fifty dollars for a two way radio. A FRS with multiple handheld devices will be more expensive. The buyer must keep in mind that the initial cost is the only cost as there are no monthly fees involved with this product.
- Do I Need a Citizen’s Band Radio License?
You will not need to get a license from the Federal Communications Commission to use your FRS. Unless you modify the radios, they are permitted for use without licensing.
- Are They Durable?
Many families with kids worry about the durability of these radios. Honestly, they are very durable and certainly more so than any cell phone on the market. Most of the units that are directly marketed to families with children tend to be more drop resistant than others. Some are even waterproof but those models tend to be very expensive. It is important to check out the manufacturer’s warranty regarding breakage especially if the radios are going to be used by children.
Using a family radio service can be beneficial to many families and cost effective to boot. The potential buyer should research the variety of products offered and decide which one would be best for your situation.