The Family Radio Service (FRS) is an improved walkie talkie radio system that was first authorized for use in the United States in 1996. This system uses channelized frequencies around 462 and 467 MHz in the ultra high frequency (UHF) band. FRS radios are limited to 500 milliwatts by FCC regulations.
FRS radios frequently have provisions for using sub-audible tone squelch codes, these filters out unwanted chatter from other users on the same frequency. Although these codes are sometimes called “privacy codes” or “private line codes” (PL codes), they offer no protection from eavesdropping and are only intended to help share busy channels. I have known people who thought that this gave them a secure channel.
The manufacturers generally claim exaggerated range. Large buildings, trees, etc., will reduce the range. Under normal conditions, with line of sight blocked by a hills, buildings or trees, FRS has an actual range of about ½ mile. Under exceptional conditions, (line of sight from hilltop to hilltop) the range can extend to several miles, but that is rare.
Now with this limited range, why would you want them? Personally, I consider the limited range an advantage. This is the main reason I use them. The short range limits eavesdropping. These make a good tactical radio for use around your home or BOL.
But before you use them walk around your area and get a feel for their range. I live in an area with many hills and ravines, the radios work well here and the range is quite limited. Know the dead spots and hot spots in your area. Don’t go to the very top of a hill and broadcast unless you want people further away to hear you.
The main point is to know your radios, how far will they reach under what conditions. They can be very useful for short-range communication as long as you know their pros and cons. But just remember they are not a secure channel. If you shop around you should be able to find them for under $50 a pair and sometimes quite a bit less.