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What is MURS Radio?

B-tech or Beofeng MURS RadioMURS is short for Multi-Use Radio Service. Some people also mistakenly call it multi-user radio service. MURS is a group of five LICENSE-FREE, VHF, business-band, 2-way radio frequencies assigned by the The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States. The FCC defines MURS as a private, two-way, short-distance voice or data communications service for personal or business activities of the general public.

They define short distance this way: "The usual range of communications between MURS devices is less than a few miles; connecting the unit to an external antenna can extend the range to ten miles or more." The range you actually achieve could be far less depending on your surroundings and height of receiving and transmitting antennas.

MURS Radio Devices Available

MURS devices are not limited to just handheld two-way radios. There are a variety of devices available as detailed below:

MURS Handheld Radios: There are a few handheld two-way radios that have MURS capability. These operate like any two-way radio, but specifically use the MURS frequencies.

MURS base stationMURS Base Station Intercoms: a base station intercom is essentially a handheld two way radio in a desktop form. Instead of holding it in your hand it sits on a horizontal surface, or in some cases it can be wall-mounted.

MURS Wireless Call Boxes: A wireless call box uses two-way radio technology in a water resistant housing that can be used outdoors. Vandal proof versions are available as well.

Wireless Public Address: A wireless public address system uses receive only two-way radio technology. You can use a base station intercom or two-way radio to make announcements from long distances.

Wireless Switch Control: A wireless switch control device is used for any ideal for any application where a contact closure is needed to remotely control a light, turn on/off a pump, activate a siren, or other application.

Voice Notification Wireless Monitor: A voice notification wireless monitor is a wireless radio transmitter that reports changes in the status of switches by transmitting user-recorded voice messages to handheld two-way radios or base station intercoms. It transmits a recorded voice message when the switch change occurs, and at intervals you select.

MURS Outdoor RadioWireless Customer Service Intercoms: A customer service intercom provides a fast, and easy wireless method for customers to summon a sales associate to a specific department or store location. When a customer presses the button on the intercom, it transmits user-recordable voice messages to two-way radios, wireless intercoms, or a wireless PA system.

Motion Sensor Devices: A motion sensor device can detect people, vehicles, or large animals, and then send an alert message to the MURS base station or handheld

MURS Frequencies or Channels

MURS Frequency TableThe Multi-Use Radio Service is "licensed by rule". This means an individual license is not required to operate a MURS device. You can operate a MURS device regardless of your age and for personal or business use so long as you are not a foreign government, representative of a foreign government, and you operate it according to the rules.

MURS Public Address RadioThe channels authorized to MURS systems are available on a shared basis only and will not be assigned for the exclusive use of any entity. Those using MURS transmitters must cooperate in the selection and use of channels in order to reduce interference and make the most effective use of authorized facilities. Channels must be selected in an effort to avoid interference to other MURS transmissions. All communications on MURS must yield to any emergency communication on the same channel.

The frequencies available in the Multi-Use Radio Service are shown in the table.

Authorized Locations

MURS operation is authorized:

  • Within or over any area of the world where radio services are regulated by the FCC. Those areas are within the territorial limits of:
    1. The fifty United States
    2. The District of Columbia
      Caribbean Insular areas:
    3. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (see rules below if near the Arecibo Observatory)
    4. Navassa Island
    5. United States Virgin Islands (50 islets and cays)
      Pacific Insular areas:
    6. American Samoa (seven islands)
    7. Baker Island
    8. Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands
    9. Guam Island
    10. Howland Island
    11. Jarvis Island
    12. Johnston Island (Islets East, Johnston, North and Sand)
    13. Kingman Reef
    14. Midway Island (Islets Eastern and Sand)
    15. Palmyra Island (more than 50 islets)
    16. Wake Island
  • Any other area of the world, except within the territorial limits of areas where radio services are regulated by:
    1. An agency of the United States other than the FCC (You are subject to its rules.)
    2. Any foreign government (You are subject to its rules.)
  • Aboard any vessel of the United States, with the permission of the captain, while the vessel is traveling either domestically or in international waters.
  • MURS operation is NOT authorized aboard aircraft in flight.

Operating MURS Near Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico

Anyone intending to operate a MURS unit on the islands of Puerto Rico, Desecheo, Mona, Vieques, and Culebra in a manner that could pose an interference threat to the Arecibo Observatory shall notify the Interference Office, Arecibo Observatory, HC3 Box 53995, Arecibo, Puerto Rico 00612, in writing or electronically, of the location of the unit. Operators may wish to consult interference guidelines, which will be provided by Cornell University. Operators who choose to transmit information electronically should e-mail to: [email protected].

The notification to the Interference Office, Arecibo Observatory shall be made 45 days prior to commencing operation of the unit. The notification shall state the geographical coordinates of the unit.

After receipt of such notifications, the Commission will allow the Arecibo Observatory a period of 20 days for comments or objections. The operator will be required to make reasonable efforts in order to resolve or mitigate any potential interference problem with the Arecibo Observatory. If the Commission determines that an operator has satisfied its responsibility to make reasonable efforts to protect the Observatory from interference, the unit may be allowed to operate.

MURS in Canada

MURS is not approved in Canada. In Canada, many commercial/industrial mobile and public safety licensees are authorized on the five MURS frequencies. A large number of these frequencies are licensed on a private/commercial basis. The remaining users are made up of government (i.e. municipal, provincial or federal government) and public safety (i.e. police, fire and ambulance). It is expected that the operation of MURS devices will cause, in certain situations, harmful interference to land mobile use. Also, operation of MURS devices could, in certain situations cause interference to users on adjacent land mobile frequencies, as set out in the suballocation channelling plan in Standard Radio System Plan 500, Technical Requirements for Land Mobile and Fixed Radio Services Operating in the Bands 138144 MHz and 148174 MHz (SRSP-500).

MURS Rules

Military use of MURS Radios

In some military applications, two-way radios normally require a frequency clearance via a DD 1494, APPLICATION FOR EQUIPMENT FREQUENCY ALLOCATION before they can be used. However, if a DD 1494 is submitted using radios on MURS frequencies, it will be rejected because the MURS frequencies are not allocated for federal usage.

Even though the MURS frequencies are not allocated for federal usage, they can still be and are used by government and military agencies.

The five MURS frequencies are licensed-by-rule, which means they do not require the user to obtain a license. Therefore, even government agencies do not need a frequency clearance for MURS devices.

For military applications, there may still be a need to evaluate MURS radios for Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation to Ordnance (HERO) Impacts for each facility due to the types of ordinances stored there.

Do You Need a License for MURS Radios?

MURS is totally license free in the United States. The five channels of MURS do not require a license from the Federal Communications Commission.

2-Way Radio Call Boxes

Base Station Intercom