GMRS vs Ham

I am a licensed GMRS operator and studying for my HAM Technician license. Would like everyones input on the GMRS and ham 


  • Comments (7)

    • 7

      I’d love to try and answer any questions you have. I am a recent ham technician so hopefully I can steer you the right way. I do know there are many others on here that have a lot of experience, so hopefully they see this post and can provide better feedback.

      When you say “Would like everyone’s input on the GMRS and ham” what do you mean? Like what are our thoughts of using one versus the other?

      Here are some of the reasons I went with my ham license:

      • Range – GMRS uses UHF (ultra high frequency) which is pretty much just line of sight communications. With the correct ham license you can use UHF, VHF, and HF. VHF will give you better range and can penetrate objects better than UHF. HF will allow you to talk across the state, country, or even world if you set things up properly.
      • Community – From the little research I did before I got my license, I saw ham as the go-to form of communication for preppers, emergency response during disasters, and had a larger community
      • Regulations – normally I’m not a fan of regulations, but with strict FCC laws, and the ham community wanting to keep the community pure and only allowing those who study and pass the test to use their system, it comes with the benefit of a helpful and nice community. I heard that CB radio is pretty bad, anyone goes on there, and is pretty much for trucker talk. GMRS probably is cleaner than CB because you do need to pay a fee to get a license unless a member of your family has a license.

      A benefit of GMRS though is that only one person in the family needs a license. My wife isn’t too interested in ham, so she won’t have the skills or experience to use the radio if she ever needed to. Where as if we both had GMRS radios, then we can start messing around immediately and become familiar with them.

      Let me know if you have any specific questions and I’ll see if I can answer them!

    • 7

      Congrats on studying for your ham license! I hope it goes well and opens up some new friends and another source of communication for you and your preps. 

      The Prepared has a very good article about ham radio and compares it to other types. This helped me alot when I was thinking about getting my license.

    • 5

      A lot of ham guys are purists, but I think from a preparedness standpoint, you cannot have enough comms options. Ham is great, but inaccessible for many. Anyone can use an FRS radio. GMRS is much more accessible than ham. And don’t forget CB radio, which can reach long distances and doesn’t require a license. CB radios are cheap too.

    • 4

      I have a Kenwood TK8360h for a home base unit and I am capaple of reaching a repeater over 100 miles away and an area I mostly hunt I can reach another repeater. I also have a few handhelds for my packs and and couple ht’s which is the reason I am reading for my tech. I do enjoy my radios and with my solar pack chagers I can enjoy my radios in the mountains. 

    • 3

      I got my GMRS license in July because I’m not going to take the in-person HAM tech test during the pandemic. I wish I’d done it before, but hindsight is always 20/20. 

      We’ve been able to hit repeaters from out of state using the Midland MicroMobile, using only the antenna it’s bundled with. 

      • 1

        There are plenty of online ham exams you can take over Zoom. That’s how I did it. Check hamstudy.org.

      • 5

        Thanks! Everything I’ve read till now stated the ham test must be done in person. I’ll check this out!