When it comes to communications devices, MURS radios are among the top choices of preppers.
Despite their short range compared to other communications devices, MURS radios functionality, convenience and durability are top-notch.
These features are only some of the reasons why many businesses and individuals alike use them for their daily communications needs.
MURS radios are easy to use and don’t require end users a license to operate them. All you need to do is purchase one, and you’re good to go!
As preppers, we are fortunate to have powerful technology to leverage for our benefit. The most important tools needed for survival are one click away for purchase either online, or in local big box stores.
As time passes, the technology in these survival tools continues to improve in leaps and bounds! From the way we pack and store our food to the materials used in our clothes, we can’t deny the advances we see today.
We also see this phenomenon in the gear and tools we use for communications. There was a time when emails were something out of this world, yet today, we have supercomputers that fit in our pockets.
What Is a MURS Radio?
If you’re looking for a practical and easy-to-use communications device, radios should be at the top of your choices.
Depending on the activity and the terrain where you’re going to use the radio, you can choose between consumer or business-grade models. However, if you want something with the functionality and qualities of both grades, you should go for MURS radios.
MURS stands for multi-use radio services. MURS radios have five frequencies, which can be for personal or business use. Listed below are the five frequencies which MURS radios use to communicate:
● 151.820 MHz (11.25 kHz bandwidth)
● 151.880 MHz (11.25 kHz bandwidth)
● 151.940 MHz (11.25 kHz bandwidth)
● 154.570 MHz (20.00 kHz bandwidth)
● 154.600 MHz (20.00 kHz bandwidth)
These frequencies are for short-distance calls and local data communications.
These devices use two watts of power, and as mentioned, do not need licenses to operate. The reason for this liberty of use is because MURS radios are license-by-rule devices, which means if you purchase an FCC-type MURS radio, you have the rights and the license to utilize them.
Different Types of MURS Radios
MURS radio technology is relatively new, and there are only a few devices on the market specifically made for it. However, depending on your purpose, there’s sure to be one for you.
The handheld unit is one of the most common forms of MURS radio. Almost all of the controls are the same as any other 2-way radio you can find in the market. Its exterior design looks like 2-way radios, too. However, handheld units can only use and access MURS-specific frequencies.
Base Station Intercoms
Base station intercoms are, somewhat, an upgraded version of handheld MURS radios. These devices are in a desktop configuration of the handheld unit MURS radios.
Attachments such as external antennas can increase the range of base station intercoms. External attachments can increase the base station intercoms’ range and reach up to 2 miles and improve its sound quality. These devices have two parts, which are the base and handset.
The base contains all the essential hardware for the device to work. The handset, on the other hand, houses the devices’ microphone and speaker. While the technology used and the frequencies available in each MURS radio are the same, each device will have a slightly different purpose.
What Other Ways Can You Use MURS Radios?
Wireless call boxes are mainly for emergencies.
They are usually placed inside waterproof cases to help them keep safe from the elements. These devices’ locations are commonly on the outside of an establishment, in which individuals with emergencies can call for help.
An example situation is when a hiker has sustained an injury on the trail. These individuals can communicate with someone using wireless call boxes for help.
Wireless Public Address System
As the name suggests, you can use MURS radios to communicate to the public using the base station intercom as a speaker. This set-up is more comfortable and cleaner than if you use wires – especially if you are installing the system outdoors.
Another feature of the wireless public address system is its utilization, even if it is long-distance using a two-way MURS radio.
Wireless Switch Control
This device is for any application where one can control a contact closure to manipulate switches from a distance wirelessly. This setup can control lights, activate an emergency siren, turn a pump on/off, and any other application wherein a switch is necessary.
Voice Notification Wireless Monitor
This MURS radio setup is more beneficial when you have a wireless switch control device. This setup will transmit recorded messages to base station intercoms whenever a switch changes positions.
This device is essential, especially when the switch applications you have are critical and dangerous when left unmonitored. The transmitted message can also include when the switch changed positions, the transmittal of which is necessary for troubleshooting.
Wireless Customer Service Intercom
Communication through MURS radios are not only highly applicable outdoors but also inside establishments. We can see this application inside retail stores and malls. Whenever a sales representative is needed to assist a customer, MURS radios are an effective means to communicate.
Building maintenance staff can also use MURS radios to wirelessly communicate status reports of any actions they are currently doing. This setup is specifically useful for communicating emergencies.
Where Do You Use Murs Radios
Generally speaking, MURS radios are handy in locations where cellular and wi-fi signals are weak. Since MURS radios are mainly for communication, it is vital to have them with you when you need a highly reliable mode to transmit messages.
MURS radios are relatively durable and can withstand light drops. This feature is why they are useful devices during SHTF situations and should be a staple in every prepper’s tools box.
Here are a few locations where it is advantageous if you have MURS radios with you:
It is fun to be out and about in nature enjoying the scenery and fresh air, especially when you’re with loved ones and close friends. However, there might be situations where one of you could get lost or be injured.
During emergencies in mountainous areas, your smartphones might not have service, making calls and texts impossible. Having with you a MURS radio can help improve your safety and help you avoid life and death situations.
Warehouses are an establishment where the security and safety of items are the top priority. Therefore, in buildings like these, reliable communications devices are essential.
Since warehouse employees are often walking around the building’s vicinity, it is sometimes hard to give out instructions – it can be tiring and time-consuming. Two-way radios, however, can solve these problems. MURS radios provide efficiency in communication and can increase productivity between workers.
Workers, more often than not, carry packages and operate heavy machinery within the warehouse. Due to the nature of their work, radio durability is vital. There are MURS radios that can withstand a heavy beating and won’t break easily.
Hotels and Other Hospitality-related Businesses
As part of hotel employees’ promise to deliver top-notch customer service, communications between workers should be smooth. Employees can easily coordinate activities, report customer complaints, and resolve other issues if they have MURS radios in their person.
The safety of guests and employees alike will also be better if MURS radios are present in every workers’ hand. During special events, e.g., birthdays, weddings, and other outdoor activities, communication between parties involved in the planning should also be excellent.
More and more institutions nowadays have adopted the use of MURS radios in their day-to-day operations. This rising demand for two-way radios is due to a reliable way for faculty and other staff to communicate.
School guards use them to manage traffic, and teachers utilize them during significant school activities to keep their students safe.
Who can Purchase and Use MURS Radios?
As mentioned earlier, there are no licenses needed to operate MURS radios within the US. However, there are specific rules as to who is eligible to utilize them. Listed below are the requirements for individuals who would like to use MURS radios:
- Not a foreign government or a representative of any foreign government
- Uses only type-accepted and legal MURS radio
- Uses MURS transmitters following the 47 Code of Federal Regulations 95 1309
- Utilizes MURS radios by following the rules in Sections 95. 1301-95. 1309
Who Should Purchase Murs Radios
As you know, anyone can use MURS radios within the US as long as they operate them within the confines of the constitution’s rules. Individuals and businesses alike would benefit significantly from the MURS radio’s portability and reliability when communicating.
Listed below are the types of entities and individuals who would benefit more if they take advantage of MURS radios in their daily activities.
Preppers’ ultimate goal is to be always ready for when disaster strikes. They stock food, clothing, water, heat sources, and other necessities, so they survive trying times. As part of the essential items that preppers need to have is communication with other individuals.
You’ll never know if the situation you’re getting ready for would take down cellular sites and other infrastructure that supports communication through smartphones and wi-fi. This situation is when MURS radios come in handy.
If you want to be truly ready for any situation, you need to have a reliable communication mode with your peers or other individuals you might come across. Transmitting messages regarding your location and receiving the same from others is a massive advantage during SHTF situations.
You can also easily coordinate your moves with other people, especially if you’re moving as a group. It would also be highly beneficial if your communication device can withstand damage and the elements.
Businesses, especially ones that operate within a wide area, can benefit from having MURS radios. Employees become more efficient and productive if they can communicate with their peers effectively.
For example, Walmart employees utilize two-way radios to fast-track their coordination and improve on their customer service.
Imagine retail employees having to walk to the stock room and back to the customer to check if the item they are looking for is available. Not only does the inefficiency waste the employee’s time, but it also reflects negatively on their customer service performance.
Building-wide announcements can also become more manageable because supervisors can set up MURS radios as a wireless public address system. During emergencies, e.g., earthquake, fire, and security-related threats, it is essential to announce instructions and directions for the personnel to follow.
Security personnel needing MURS radios is a no-brainer. They are the ones who need to keep in constant communication with each other. Being agile in their actions is necessary for them to be effective in their assignment.
Giving and getting updates from their station is also of high importance for security personnel. Aside from the smooth flow of information between personnel, mobilizing resources during emergencies is essential.
No matter the emergency, whether – assault, accident, theft, and other disturbances, MURS radios can give security personnel a way to send instructions seamlessly. With the efficiency provided by two-way radios, supervisors, managers, and VIPs will receive alerts in real-time.
Volunteer watch groups are common, especially in gated communities if you are in one, congratulations for sparing a part of your time to keep the safety of your neighborhood.
Much like security personnel, watch groups require a reliable way to communicate with each member. Reporting and transmission of suspicious activities are quick, especially with the use of two-way MURS radios.
What to Look For When Buying MURS Radios
One of the crucial aspects you need to check before purchasing a MURS radio is its battery life.
You need one that would last you during the duration of your activity, or at the very least stay long before you have access to a charger. Don’t let your MURS radio’s battery life disrupt your trip.
A typical radio has a battery size of 1,000 mAh to 2,500 mAh. To give you an idea, a radio with a battery size of 1,800 mAh will last you a day, between 8-10 hours without charging up. The previously mentioned battery life happens during a typical day use of MURS radios.
You should also consider purchasing ones that have interchangeable batteries. This feature can be helpful, especially if you’re having a longer-than-usual trip and don’t have a place where you can charge your radio.
As preppers, durability in the products we purchase is one of the features we must value. The activities and the situation we are preparing for calls for tools and devices that would last us a long time despite not being cared for properly.
One feature you should also consider having in your MURS radio is waterproofing. Waterproof MURS radios are useful, especially when you are using the radio around bodies of water. Look out for brands claiming that their devices are waterproof but aren’t.
There are also MURS radios that float when dropped in water. This floating feature can help the user retrieve the radio easier when accidents happen.
MURS radios’ range highly depends on the terrain where you are utilizing them. Generally speaking, these are the distances MURS radios can cover:
- Hilly areas with trees: ½ mile
- Normal conditions: 1 ½ mile
- A clear line of sight: 3 miles
The FCC’s maximum range for MURS radios is only up to 3 miles and can only have 2 watts of full power. No MURS radio in the market can reach capacities of more than three miles due to this restriction.
There are also restrictions as to the height of antennas you can install for your MURS set-up. MURS external antennas should not exceed 60 feet above the ground. The installation of these antennas also has a limit of 20 feet from the roof where it is situated.
Ease of Use
As a buyer, you need to check when purchasing MURS radios is its ease of use. Depending on the model, some devices are complicated to operate. Button positioning, screen size, and the way it feels on your hand – these are all essential elements in choosing the right MURS radio.
There are two-way radios that have backlighting in their screens to help you see better in bright locations. Your screen will show essential data such as weather information, current location, and maps. The backlight feature is beneficial if you are using your MURS radio in an open field.
You can also check out MURS radios that have dual or tri-watch.
What this feature does is it gives you extra channels you radio can monitor while operating it. If you get a radio with a dual-watch, you can watch channel 16 – an emergency channel. Tri-watch will get you both channel 16 and channel 09. On top of the emergency channel, you also get another medium, usually used for hailing if you get a tri-watch MURS radio.
Sound and Mic Quality
Having good quality microphone and sound can change the way you experience your MURS radio. It would be better to have two-way radios that can transmit your message while drowning out background noise. This feature will come in handy if you utilize the radio in loud scenarios. An example of these scenarios would be construction sites.
How to Take Care of Your Murs Radio
Despite being durable devices, MURS radios still need to be adequately maintained for it to last long. Listed below are some steps you can take to lengthen the life of your device.
Cleaning Your MURS Radio
Regularly cleaning your MURS radio can help extend the life of your device. Since two-way radios usually operate in heavy-duty situations, it is typical to gather dust, grime, and dirt quickly. Luckily, it is not hard to keep your MURS radio clean.
All you need is a microfiber towel, water, and alcohol for dirt that is harder to remove. You can also use a paper towel if that is what’s accessible to you.
Lightly dampen a microfiber towel or paper towel with water and carefully wipe the exterior of the radio. Don’t scrub the radio heavily to avoid scratching the surface.
For the buttons, you can purchase a cleaning slime to help remove dust and dirt, stocking on the radio’s hard-to-reach surfaces.
Storing Your MURS Radio
As part of properly caring for your MURS radio, you need to build the habit of storing them safely.
As a rule of thumb, you should always hold radios in a cool, dry place. Keep them away from direct sunlight as extreme heat might damage the internal parts, affecting its performance. You should also make sure that the storage is also safe from moisture.
Battery life can also be heavily affected if you expose your MURS radio to extreme temperatures. Moisture caused by the extreme cold can cause the batteries to corrode, rendering them useless. Excessive heat, on the other hand, can cause batteries to vent or expand abnormally.
Keep the storage area at room temperature between 20-30 degrees Celsius or 68-86 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure you also turn off your MURS radio before storing them, and remove the batteries if they are removable.
Top 8 MURS Radios
This MURS radio is on this list because of its strong selling point – price. Btech MURS V1 is a very affordable China-made substitute for US-made radios but still packs many features you can find on more expensive counterparts.
This radio has a sizeable three-color LCD screen, which makes looking at information more comfortable, especially when moving. The Btech MURS V1 also has a built-in flashlight, which you can use to operate the radio at night or in dark locations. You can also have access to FM radio through the frequencies 65.0MHz – 108.0MHz.
Users can select from three modes when using this device – on, off, and standby.
This feature can help you control your battery life. When using standby mode, your radio eats much less battery. You can also switch between 5mW and 2W power modes as a choice between range and battery life.
The Btech MURS V1 has a 1800mAh battery, which could last you 7-10 hours of typical radio use, provided that you turn it to standby mode if you’re not using it. It also takes around 3.5 hours to charge its battery from zero entirely.
An excellent additional feature this device has is that users can simultaneously listen to two separate channels at the same time. This feature is perfect for when you are tracking and communicating with two different people. It also sports a tough exterior, which means it can withstand heavy-duty use.
This device is another MURS radio you shouldn’t leave out on your list if you’re in the market for a two-way radio.
The Dakota Alert M538-HT’s strength lies in its ease of use and extra bells and whistles in the communication department. This radio is one of the few ones that allow users to have a dual-way conversation. Simultaneously, this MURS radio can receive and send messages to other MURS radio units and alert transmitters.
The dual-way conversation feature is highly useful, especially if you’re a supervisor or business owner who continually communicates with employees. Users can send out messages and alerts with ease to other MURS unit holders within a building.
The Dakota Alert also offers a secure and safe way to transmit your messages.
This feature is available due to the thirty privacy sub-channels on top of the five channels it features. You can also safely listen to sent messages through earphones, which allows you to divert sound from speakers, which could easily be heard by bystanders.
This MURS radio is relatively new to the market and is available for purchase from 2019 but packs many features for its price. It has 155 CTCSS tones and DCS privacy codes, ensuring users can transmit messages safely and securely.
It also has an FM radio built into the device and can be programmed using computer software to receive NOAA weather channel updates.
The IP55 rating for dust and water means this MJRS radio is sturdy and can withstand the elements, especially if you are frequently doing outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, and mountain biking.
The Wouxun KG-805G also has a backlit LCD with three color options for the display. Its keypad is also backlit to help users see and operate the device even in dark locations.
The Tera-505 is one of the few radios in the market certified for both GMRS and MURS.
Users can reprogram the device to use either MURS or GMRS through dedicated software. However, you need to have a license to transmit GMRS frequencies and could result in a fine if you do it without one.
This device is excellent during emergencies because it can access both MURS and GMRS frequencies since it has both 95E and 95J certifications. Users will be getting 5 MURS channels and 16 GMRS channels. But since GMRS is more common, there might be more people using the frequencies and a higher chance of hearing information through the channel.
Much like other radios, the Tera TR-505 could last you 7-10 hours on regular use and takes up to 3 hours to fully charge from zero. It also has three modes – on, off, and standby, which can be activated to help you save battery when you’re not using the device.
The top feature that this MURS radio has is its military-spec design and toughness. Rest assured that the Motorola RMM2050 can withstand a heavy beating and survive drops without sustaining any damage.
Given that Motorola manufactures this MURS radio, you can expect to deliver what it promises to do so. Customer service presumably would also be better than most brands. This radio’s battery life is of standard size that would last users at around 7-10 hours of everyday use.
Just like other MURS radios, the Motorola RMM2050 also has five channels. On top of the usual MURS channels, this device also has 16 channel memory slots, 219 DPL codes, and a convenient belt holster.
One feature that makes this radio stand out from the rest is its voice channel callout feature, which allows you to check your current channel without using your hands. This feature isn’t a need per se, but it’s nice to have convenience-wise.
This device can provide communication for up to 220,000 square feet or approximately 13 floors. The RDM2080d has eight channels, and a three-color LED screen through which users can adjust the radio’s settings and check its status.
Another feature you get with this radio is the customizability of your channels. You can assign names to the channels you have since this device has an aliasing feature. Other features include hands-free, voice-activated mode (VOX mode), voice scrambling, and other essentials.
It also has a Military Spec 810 C, D, E, and F, making the device usable in heavy conditions and resistant to rain, humidity, sand, and dust.
If you are in the market for a basic, easy-to-use two-radio, you need to consider this device. This radio is perfect for families, friends, and outdoor office activities. It allows users to transmit messages clearly through its excellent sound quality.
User-friendliness is also one of the strengths of the Baofeng UV5RA. The device has an easy and simple structure, making it easier to operate, especially for individuals who do not have experience using radios daily.
The device’s power levels can also be adjusted to help users choose from a wide variety of signals to broadcast and detect. The battery life is also impressive, lasting you 10 hours of talk-time and can reach up to 25 hours if you put the device on idle.
Note that this radio will need to be programmed to work on MURS frequencies, unlike the pre-programmed radio listed here. Have no fear, though, there are plenty of online tutorials showing how to program this radio.
If you are fond of using well-built devices and can withstand heavy use, the Retevis RT27V is the one for you.
The device’s exterior is very sturdy and compact to hold. This two-way radio also features a frequency band that can transmit sounds that are clear and interference-free. It can resolve problems that are usually caused by signal interference.
During SHTF situations, this feature can be beneficial since smooth communication is critical more than anything. Its audio transmission is top-notch due to the use of encryption codes in all the channels it can access, which blocks all possible interferences.
The feature mentioned above allows this MURS radio to be used even in dense and populated areas where sound can easily interfere. Construction workers, events coordinators, and mining workers are some of the few people who can significantly benefit from the noise-blocking encryption codes.
The charger connects through a USB cable and jack, which makes it extremely convenient to charge. Unlike other MURS radios, which have special charging cables, the Retevis RT27V’s charging capabilities are limitless.
There are tons of options out there when it comes to devices that offer reliable and smooth communication. However, if you are specifically looking for an easy-to-use two-way radio, MURS radios are the way to go.
Only a few people are using them for now, which means the frequencies it can access
Just make sure you still follow FCC rules in using these devices so you can stay away from legal issues.
I hope this article helps you decide which MURS radio brand and model to purchase.
Keep in mind that the best one for you and your companions is the device that best fits your needs. Durability, battery life, extra features, and ease of use are some of the attributes you need to check.
Also, take note of your budget and how often you will use the MURS radio. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on something you’ll only be using once or twice a year.