Walkie Talkies in Different Countries -
PMR446, FRS, GMRS - Legality and Licensing
You may be confused about different types of walkie-talkie on sale in different
countries, or not be sure what type of radios you need, and what you are legally allowed to use in your part of the
world, or in some other country that you intend to visit.
Firstly, please note that any type of radio WILL WORK ANYWHERE in the world.
However, there are laws about where certain kinds of
radio SHOULD BE USED LEGALLY.
Regulation Of Use Of Radios Aound The World
In different parts of the world, governments have specified different types of
walkie-talkie radio that can be bought and used by the general public. These rules are usually to make sure that
important or "official" users of walkie-talkies (like police and other emergency services etc) do not suffer
from interference from members of the public using walkie-talkie radios.
PMR446 UK / European Walkie-Talkies
"PMR446" is a European Union standard for radios approved for use
in the UK and the European Union. They have 8 channels at frequency 446MHz, and a maximum range of
around 2 miles in open country.
No PMR446 radio can have more than 500mW of transmission power, so
all makes and models effectively have the same maximum range.
The Cobra radios that we supply (Cobra MT800 and MT975) are
PMR446-compliant European radios.
PMR446 radios (like the ones that we sell) are NOT
APPROVED for use in the U.S.A or Canada.
In Europe the electrical mains voltage is 230 - 240v, so American
radio chargers will not work, and will probably be damaged if you plug them in, because they are
designed for 120v.
FRS / GMRS American Walkie Talkies
FRS and GMRS are American official standards for consumer radios
widely sold in shops in those countries.
They have 14 - 22 channels, on frequencies at 462 and 467MHz. They
will not communicate with European PMR446 radios and are NOT LEGAL to use in the
UK or Europe.
In the USA and Canada the
electrical mains voltage is 120v rather than the 240 volt used in Europe and the United
There is NO SUCH THING as a
"combined" European / American walkie-talkie that is legal to use in both places, since such a radio would, by
definition, be capable of transmitting on non-legal frequencies as well, and would therefore not be legal in either
You cannot modify a PMR446 radio to work on the American FRS/GMRS channels, or
What About the "Rest of the World"?
Individual countries may have their own rules and restrictions about what kind of
radios can be legally used. We cannot provide a complete list of these rules.
It is up to the prospective buyer to check what the situation is in their intended
country of use.
Supply of Radios - User Responsibility
We are happy to sell radios to people anywhere in the world. However, please make
sure before ordering that you have read and understood the contents of this web page.
It is the responsibility of the user to make sure that they do not interfere with
other users, especially "official" radio users on the same channels.
Ebay Warning - Illegal Radios Offered For Sale in UK
Be aware that there are vendors on Ebay offering "long range" (5
miles +) walkie-talkies for sale in the UK at low prices.
Invariably, these are actually American radios as described above,
and are ILLEGAL TO USE within the UK
If you see radios for sale that have 14 or 22 channels, and claim
to offer very long ranges, they will probably be American-spec. radios.
Also, American products will need 120 volt mains power for their
chargers, as well as an American-type socket, whereas in Europe the mains voltage is 230
You could easily blow up the 120v American chargers if you plug
them into the higher-voltage 230v UK wall socket.