On May 20th of 2015 the FCC removed the fee for getting a GMRS license. GMRS is really popular with “Prepper” groups for communications if ever the electrical grid would fail or there was some other unrest where cell phones would not be reliable.
But GMRS can also be used by organizations like summer camps, festivals, etc. Sometimes there is not good coverage for the entire area needing to covered. That is where the Open Repeater Project comes in. GMRS has reserved in the FCC regulations the ability to have inbound frequencies on GMRS channels 1-8. So you can create a full duplex repeater using GMRS.
Also, unlike the amateur radio bands, GMRS allows for business communication so you are not violating any FCC rules by talking about business on the GMRS frequencies.
By purchasing 2 inexpensive handheld radios and putting our Open Repeater Project system in between you can place the repeater at a high point in the coverage area and be able to talk over a much larger distance.
Some notes about GMRS vs the FRS service. GMRS does require a license. A GMRS license covers immediate family but in a business would require each person to get a license, there is no cost anymore to the license and is a simple form to fill out. FRS does not require a license.
GMRS can have up to 50 Watts of power output vs the 250mw of FRS. The distance can be much greater with GMRS. But if the handheld device are only 5 watts or 8 watts, then the repeater should not be much more than 5 or 8 watts, you never want to transmit with more power than is needed and since the handhelds only have a limited power, there is no reason to transmit from the repeater with much more power than the handhelds. If the handhelds cannot get into the repeater there is no communication.
We will be working up some examples for this in the near future.