Our CERT radio training course is now co-hosted at the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Clearing House. See the URL:
Reference Materials - CERT
The training here is FRS oriented here for the simple fact that most CERT team members are not going to be licensed amateurs but still need to know how to effectively use FRS radios for communications within their CERT team.
Our training does discusses the use of, and differences between Amateur Radio Service (ARS) and the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) in Part II. This is used as a way of tying CERT teams back to their Incident Command Post, EOC or Public Safety Answering Point using existing REACT and Red Cross GMRS repeaters, or amateur radio repeater networks.
Using REACT groups and amateur radio clubs to offer this training to your CERT teams is a great way to encourage some who show an interest in communications to become licensed in either Amateur Radio or the GMRS.
The General Mobile Radio Service is an FCC Licensed Service for personal and business use by immediate family members. The license, is good for 5 years costs $85, and no test is required. The benefits of licensing are:
• You may use up to fifty-watts transmitter output power (FCC R&R 95.135) on base stations and mobile units with home rooftop or vehicle rooftop antennas.
• You may use up to five watts effective radiated power on FRS channels 1-7
• You may have a Small Base Station (FCC R&R 95.139) on FRS 1-7. (Five watts ERP or less and antenna height not to exceed twenty feet.)
• You may use radios with removable antennas. Such antennas are forbidden by FCC Rules on twenty-two channel FRS/GMRS "hybrid" radios because these include FRS frequencies eight through fourteen.
• You may use radio repeater stations to increase your range.
GMRS uses commercial grade Part 95 radios which are certified for Landmobile use. FRS channels 1 through 7 are shared with GMRS. FRS and GMRS may legally talk to each other on the shared simplex channels.
In our county CERT members who complete the radio course and obtain either a GMRS or Amateur Radio Service license are issued portable radios for the service in which they are licensed by the county. Then they can function as the designated "Radio Operator" for their team using either amateur radio and GMRS repeater networks or simplex frequencies, depending upon their class of license.