MURS, or the Multi Use Radio Service, is an exceptional radio service that is often snubbed. It uses up to two watts of power and operate without a license on all five MURS frequencies located on the VHF band.
If you own and operate an FCC-accepted MURS band radios, you already have the license to operate a MURS system.
Two watts doesn’t seem like much, but it’s quite a bit of power on the VHF band. And, as any veteran radio operator knows, wattage isn’t what matters most when it comes to boosting signal MURS radios range. Antenna and line-of-sight position are the most critical factors. Detachable and externally mounted antennas are possible with MURS, so keep that in mind.
Why aren’t there more MURS mobile radios in use? That’s a good point. Different contribute to MURS’s under-appreciation, most of which are based on the market. However, this does not rule out the possibility that they do exist.
Contrary to popular belief, there are a variety of MURS radios for sale. You can get a MURS PA System and handheld MURS models, MURS radio base stations, MURS intercom, and call boxes.
With such a diverse range of options, the real question is: which radio station is the best?
Before answering this question, we’ve got to dig into the specific attributes, pros, and other pertinent details about this short-range communication radio.
MURS Radio Review
To make the buying process less confusing, I’ve divided this guide into several sections, each covering important aspects of purchasing and using MURS 2 way radios radios.
First, let’s go over what is MURS, how they work, and who might find them most useful.
What are MURS Radios?
MURS service, also known as Multi-Use Radio Service radios, are low-power, license-free, short-range personal radios that operate on five distinct MURS band channels.
They are located between 151 and 154.6 MHz in the very high-frequency band (VHF). You can use them to make and receive local calls, and send and receive small amounts of data locally.
You can locate a MURS frequency list online.
One of the primary differences between MURS and ham radios is that while both can tune in and transmit on MURS frequencies, only MURS are authorized. While ham radios can monitor MURS frequencies, there are not authorized to monitor them; users need to get a special FCC license first.
MURS radios communicate using 151.820 MHz, 151.880 MHz, 151.940 MHz, 154.570 MHz, and 154.600 frequencies.
The bandwidth determines the channel spacing in brackets next to each channel. It also determines the radio signal’s frequency range of operation.
You can adjust the US MURS channels bandwidth on a MURS two-way radio with a switch or knob.
They Come in a Variety of Designs
The MURS frequencies are accessible by a large number of radio stations. Still, it’s essential to know which of these stations are unrestricted by a license and thus can access the MURS band.
Radios fall into one of two categories:
MURS Handheld radios – Essentially, these are walkie-talkies that operate on MURS frequencies. Because most of them are outdated—manufactured in the previous decade—they don’t support modern communication.
Base stations – These radios are configured in a desktop design and orientation; thus inflexible.
If you plan on using an external antenna, they’ll make excellent stations for receiving and transmitting various types of communications. Note that while a good antenna won’t increase the range of the MURS signal, it will improve the quality.
Base stations comprise a handset with a speaker and microphone and a base that houses all the components.
Who Should Buy MURS?
MURS radios transmit at extremely high frequencies (VHF). Thus, they’re perfect for ground communications over short distances. They’re suitable for a wide range of jobs, including security, warehouse, and festivals.
MURS vs GMRS:
People often wonder about a gmrs murs radio difference. For instance, MURS has advantages, such as not having to tune in to the crowded FRS or GMRS frequency bands, are particularly useful in festivals. You can communicate with your colleagues or friends on five different license-free channels without being distracted or disturbed by noise. The murs gmrs radio debate is often wondered about. As you can see, there are some distinct advantages to MURS.
Also, MURS radios’ line-of-sight restrictions become moot once you upgrade to a larger antenna or a more powerful transmitter. And so, these radios have a greater murs range than standard FRS radios—200,000+ square foot warehouses or 10-story buildings are no problem for most suitable models.
Although each one of us can benefit from using these types of radios, below are individuals and businesses that would gain the most from using them.
Best Prepper Walkie Talkies
When it comes to disaster preparedness, the end goal is to be ready at all times. To ensure their survival, first responders stockpile supplies of food, clothing, water, heat sources, and tools for communication.
Nobody knows if the situation you’re preparing for will bring down cellular sites and other infrastructure that facilitates communication via mobile phones or wireless networks. Here’s when MURRS radios become necessities. Some people also seek features like MURS encryption.
Preparedness means having a reliable mode of communication with your coworkers or any other individuals you may run into. You should be able to send and receive location-based messages during emergencies.
Or perhaps you are just looking for the best tactical radio for civilians (tactical 2 way radios). Most often people are looking for the strongest two way radio they can find. In short, people want to find the best tactical comms they can get their hands on.
A MURS unit can come in handy when you’re coordinating your moves. Besides, most of them can endure damage and damaging elements such as dust and water. And so, they’re ideal for responders. They can often be a great preppers walkie talkie.
MURS units can be beneficial for businesses, especially those operating over a large geographical area. When employees can communicate effectively with one another, they become more productive and efficient.
For instance, try imagining the hustle of retail employees who must walk to the supply closet and back before they can tell a customer whether or not an item they want is in stock. This employee not only wastes their time and loses their drive to perform well.
Supervisors can use MURS radio to set up a wireless public address system for making public announcements. Announcing instructions and guidelines for personnel to follow is critical during emergencies like earthquakes, fires, and other security-related threats.
MURS is an absolute necessity for security personnel. Since their job needs constant communication, they need a reliable means of communication.
Giving and receiving updates from their post is critical for security personnel as well. Mobilizing resources during emergencies is just as crucial as ensuring smooth information flow amongst employees.
MURS can provide security personnel with a seamless way to send instructions during an emergency, regardless of the type (assault, accident, theft, etc.). They also allow supervisors, managers, and VIPs can get real-time alerts.
Neighborhood Watch Groups
There are many volunteer watch groups, especially in gated communities.
Like security guards, surveillance groups need a reliable way of communicating with each other between shifts. Suspicious activity can be reported and transmitted thanks to two-way radios.
In which places are MURS radios ideal?
They come in handy when cellular and Wi-Fi coverage is spotty. When you need a highly reliable mode of transmitting messages, you’ll want to have your radios handy.
MURS units can withstand minor drops without damage. For this reason, they’re a great addition to any first responders’ toolkit when the world ends.
There are a few places where having a MURS on hand is advantageous:
It’s enjoyable to be out in nature, taking in the scenery and breathing in the fresh air, even more so when accompanied by family and close friends. On the other hand, you never know when one of you might get lost or injured.
Mobile phone service can be spotty in mountainous areas, making phone calls and text messages nearly impossible. So people are often looking for the best radio for mountains. Keeping a radio on hand can help keep you from getting into life-or-death situations.
In warehouses, the safety and security of the goods are of the utmost importance. This is why it’s essential to have good communication equipment in high-rise buildings.
Instructions can be difficult, exhausting, and time-consuming to give when warehouse workers are frequently walking around the building’s vicinity. With two-way radios, you can resolve matters quickly. MURS radios help workers communicate more effectively, which can lead to higher levels of productivity.
Usually, warehouse workers package, handle and sometimes operate heavy equipment—these types of work call for radio durability. As previously mentioned, MURS can endure a lot of abuse and won’t easily break.
Hotels and other establishments in the hospitality industry
Communication between hotel employees should be seamless as part of the hotel staff’s promise to provide excellent customer service. If employees have radios on them, they can work collaboratively, report client complaints, and fix other problems.
Having radios for every employee will also improve guest and employee safety. These radios are also helpful for special events, such as weddings, birthdays, and other outdoor activities.
MURS band radios are now being used by an increasing number of organizations in their daily operations. The growing need for two-way radios can be attributed to a reliable means of communication for faculty and other employees.
School security guards use them to control traffic, and teachers keep students safe during significant school events.
How safe are MURS communications?
As a final note, keep in mind that MURS operates on an open channel. They’re open to the general public.
Sending confidential data over MURS frequencies is risky. This means that anyone with radio access will hear anything you say.
Making your code system is a quick and easy solution to this problem. So be sure to give everyone and everything you mention on the radio a code name. This will make it more difficult for others to comprehend what you’re saying.
Looking for MURS? Here’s What to Look for.
Although several factors determine buyers’ choice of radio, according to our analysis, only a few count, we’ve listed them below.
When picking a MURS radio, you’ll always be faced with choosing between desktop and portable types. You can also get a MURS vehicle radio. Most people prefer mobile versions because of their portability. They can be used in a variety of settings, including in warehouses.
On the other hand, security firms use desktop models that coordinate base stations with ground personnel working from fixed positions.
While some radios can tune into the five previously mentioned frequencies, others don’t. So it’s best to confirm before purchasing.
Certain users who wish to communicate must share similar PL/DPL codes. If you fall into this category, be sure to select a radio that has more code options—the more code options, the more compatible your radio will be with your friend’s or coworkers’ radios.
To help you get a better signal, some radios have up to 200 built-in DPL codes and 5-10 customizable code options.
Most radios have good battery life, lasting several days on a single charge. Nevertheless, it’s best to have one that uses AA batteries because their capacity is slightly higher than ordinary rechargeable lithium batteries.
NiMH (Nickel-metal hydride) AA batteries are the most cost-effective and can last ten days between charges. And so, look for models that use 2 or 4 AA batteries. If you insist on a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, look for ones with a capacity greater than 1000 mAh instead.
If you plan on using your radio outside, look for a model receiving weather alerts from the National Weather Service (NOAA). These types usually require a particular unlicensed frequency.
Most public service weather radio stations are usually found on the VHF band. Some of them include 162.400 MHz, 162.425 MHz, and 162.450 MHz.
Durability and resistance
A radio’s long-term durability and weather resistance are primarily determined by the materials used in its construction. While composite plastic is the material of choice for most MURS, some manufacturers go the extra mile by adding water and dust resistance features.
Models with official IP ratings are best for outdoor use in all kinds of weather. The most common rating is IP68, which means that the device is dustproof (6) against fine particles and water-resistant (8) for up to 30 minutes in 6ft deep water.
Dimensions and weight
The overall usability of your radio will be determined by its dimensions. Search for light and compact models if you want to be able to take them anywhere.
When patrolling or having your hands full, you can clip it to your shirt or clothing instead of carrying it around in your pocket. Most two-way radios weigh between 8 and 10 ounces, which is about the same as a walkie-talkie.
More and more MURS radio models are nowadays getting their screens every year. An LCD screen is a welcome addition to any radio because it significantly enhances the functionality and ease of use of the radio.
Dot-matrix LCDs are the most common type of display because they look good even in bright sunlight and use less power, so your battery lasts longer. Many more expensive models have backlit displays, which are helpful even in complete darkness because they provide better contrast.
The bigger the display, the more information you’ll get about the radio frequency, bandwidth, battery status, and other model characteristics you’ll have access to.
What terrain you’re in determines how far your radio can transmit. The maximum distance you can send a signal is about three miles when you have a clear line of sight to the person receiving it. While adding an antenna won’t do much to increase the distance, it will have a noticeable impact on sound quality.
These radios have a maximum range of 1.5 miles under normal conditions and on mixed terrain. In rugged terrain or dense forests, you won’t be able to communicate over 0.5 miles.
It’s worth mentioning that the FCC’s restrictions on radio MURS are primarily to blame for these figures. For example, your radio’s power output is restricted to no more than 2W. The antenna should not be placed higher than 60 feet off the ground or 20 feet above the roof.
We always buy products that are easy to use. Some models, especially tech products, can be challenging to use or too big or small for your hand- these are things to think about when buying a MURS unit.
Are you at ease with it? Consider the button placement, screen size, and handling. If you like all the radio features, then that is the one for you. Some radios have screens that show battery life, channel, and other data.
Consider also how many channels your radio can watch. Some have dual watches so that you can get messages in two tracks.
Other features to consider
Look for models with belt clips or hand straps for convenience. Those will keep your two-way radio secure even if you move around a lot. Other useful accessories include USB cables for fast-charging rechargeable batteries. More batteries (1 or 2 extra AA batteries) are also desirable.
For those looking for the most features and capabilities, a few radio attributes are a must-have.
First, the voice-activated switch (VOX), which starts communication when a certain level is reached. This enables your two-way radio to operate without the need for a button as soon as you begin speaking into it.
While other noises may trigger it, you can easily configure it only to respond to direct speech. The signal is cut off when you stop talking into the radio, and the other side knows you’ve stopped.
Check out the CTCSS and squelch-level controls for squelching. CTCSS eliminates the need to listen to others on the same MURS channel of communication as you.
Other features like BCL and TOT are optional but helpful in certain situations. Battery-saving modes are proper on designs with power-hungry screens or speakers to extend battery life. Hands-free operation is possible with optional voice commands.
9 Best MURS Radios
- BTECH MURS-V1
The BTECH MURS-V1 is the most advanced radio available today. Why? It is equipped with more attributes than all MURS commercially available.
What’s the best part? It’s reasonably priced – retails for less than a quarter of the price of the Motorola radio below).
Here are some of the things that make it unique:
• Integrated flashlight
• 65.0MHz – 108.0MHz FM radio
• Large, three-color LCD
Note that none of the MURS units available on the market include these three features- BTECH-V1 outperforms the competition.
This radio operates on the standard 5 MURS channel frequencies. It is certified to Part-95 standards and is therefore legal to get without a license.
It is equipped with a comprehensive set of privacy tones, including 346 DCS and 50 CTCSS. These codes filter other users from accessing MURS channels. Nevertheless, they don’t obstruct others from hearing you.
Three modes are available: Standby, On, and Off. Standby mode is critical for battery life extension. Additionally, there are two power modes: 2W and 500mW. When you don’t require the range, set the radio to 500mW to conserve battery life.
Furthermore, you can lock the keypad by pressing the # key to avoiding accidentally switching to a different channel.
The radio kit comes with MURS-V1 Radio, MURS VHF Single Band Antenna, 1800mAh Battery, CH-8 Charger, Wrist Strap, CH-8 110V Adapter, Belt Clip, Earpiece Kit, and the User manual.
On the LCD screen, there are indicators for the battery level and signal strength.
According to customer reports, the 1800ma battery lasts approximately ten hours (90 percent standby, 10 percent usage). Charging the battery from zero to full takes approximately 3.5 hours.
Baofeng—a Chinese-based company, manufactures this radio. Due to lower production costs in China, the company manages to keep the prices so reasonable.
Don’t be fooled by the prices; Baofeng radio enjoys a very favorable reputation. They are well-known in the radio community and produce high-quality gear. That also applies to this radio. The construction quality is excellent. Strong plastic – gives the impression of a workhorse radio.
The signal range is approximately 1/4 mile in wooded areas and 3-5 miles on flat terrain. You will not find a better radio range anywhere else.
One neat feature is that you can listen to two channels simultaneously and then select one based on the direction of the signal.
To sum it all up
The BTECH-V1 includes everything you’d expect from a MURS and then some. This is without a doubt the best MURS available.
• Brimming with cool features
• Supplied with a tough-as-nails build quality
• Reasonably priced
If that’s not enough, what is?
For a long time, the Motorola rmm2050 murs two way radio was “the” MURS product.
It’s a solid entry-level radio with a good reputation; it’s prohibitively expensive. For the cost of one Motorola, you can purchase four BTECH-V1s! This price alone indicates that this radio was designed for businesses with sizable expense accounts.
Motorola charges around $200 for a basic radio, and they somehow get away with it!
And what do you get for all that cash?
• Five channels
• Typical ten-hour battery
• Channel announcements via voice
• Belt Holster
• 219 DPL codes
• 16 memory slots for channels
• Military grade handheld radios
• Belt holster
• Standard distance (3 miles on level ground)
To put it another way, not much. Simply your standard MURS functionality with a few added features.
Of course, having a Mil-Spec radio is a plus. This indicates that it is rugged – you can toss it around a little. However, for that price, it should at least be waterproof.
The callout of voice channels is an intriguing feature. You can wear the radio on your belt and check the channel number without using your hands. Isn’t that nice? Yes. Do you require that feature? Probably not.
In a nutshell, the Motorola radio is ridiculously priced. It was adequate in its day, but we see no reason to purchase this model over the BTECH-V1.
It does not provide anything unique aside from the Motorola brand name. Additionally, if you’re willing to spend over $300 for two MURS radios and require the Motorola brand on your radio, go for it.
In general, based on its features and price, we strongly advise you to purchase the BTECH V1 against this radio. But if you’re skeptical about Chinese products, then this is one for you.
3.Tera TR-505 Dual MURS/GMRS
Tera radio review:
Tera TR-505 is the only radio having both MURS and GMRS certified. It is certified to both 95E and 95J standards.
It is legal only when configured to transmit only one band at a time. You can quickly reconfigure it via software for GMRS and MURS use. You will then receive five MURS channels and sixteen GMRS channels.
The best part about the tera tr 505 is that it’s ideal for SHTF/emergencies, as it supports both GMRS and MURS frequencies. However, transmission on GMRS frequencies requires a license; transmitting without a license may result in a fine.
It is worth noting that there’s little to discuss in terms of features at the moment—particularly when compared to the BTECH-V1 above.
However, some things stand out. To start with, the tera 505 is costly. For a price one, you can get slightly less than three BTECH radios.
With regular daily use, the battery will last approximately 10 hours. Charging from zero to full takes approximately three hours. Three modes are available: on, off, and standby. There are two battery-saving modes.
Tera radios also has a battery level indicator – even though it lacks an LCD.
It comes with a one-year warranty and is supported and serviced by the manufacturer in the United States.
On the other hand, it has several noteworthy cons, including:
• It lacks a flashlight
• It lacks an LED display
• It lacks an FM radio
• The price is excessive in comparison to the value provided
If you’re looking for a radio that can be programmed for both MURS and GMRS channels, the Tera TR-505 is for you. If that is not the case, you are better off going with other options. TR-505’s feature set is insufficient to justify its high price.
4.Dakota Alert MURS Wireless M538-HT
Dakota Alert M538-HT was previously the less expensive MURS substitute to Motorola until the BTECH-V1 was introduced.
Now the Dakota alert MURS is merely an overpriced radio with little to offer for the money.
• 5 channels with a total of 38 sub-channels
• A standard range of three miles, subject to terrain
• Certified to Part 95J
• Operates on six AA rechargeable batteries (included)
• Battery life of up to 40 hours
• Includes standby mode
The battery life appears to be longer than with other radios. However, this has not yet been confirmed.
It is important to note that Dakota radio is a small family-owned and operated business near Sioux City. Made in the United States of America is always a plus.
However, consider this: expecting this radio to be competitive in quality would be unreasonable. This radio was created in conjunction with Dakota’s driveway alarm kit. While they market it as a standalone MURS, it pales compared to the more affordable BTECH-V1.
To put it another way: it lacks an LCD, an FM radio, and a flashlight. So, unless you’re looking to trade quality for quantity, you should go for it.
5.Retevis RT27 MURS Radio
The Retevis RT27 is a set of radios manufactured in China. The best thing that can be said about these is that they are inexpensive.
You can save money by purchasing these five radios for the price of one Motorola. Of course, at this price point, they are massively produced in China.
The good thing is that you receive the fundamental MURS functionality – five channels and unrestricted use.
However, as you can see, they cut corners on quality.
The battery life has been reduced to 1100mAh. We wouldn’t expect these radios to last more than 5 hours with regular use. The battery is USB rechargeable.
Although there’s little info about these radios’ reliability, we’re going to make an educated guess and say that you get what you pay for. So, be sure to expect substandard quality.
In a nutshell, we wouldn’t recommend these radios unless for short-term usage. If you’re a traveling enthusiast or someone in constant need of radio communication, you’d be better off purchasing high-quality radios.
6.Retevis RT47V MURS Radio
This radio has several outstanding features, including:
• 10dB Noise Level
• IP67 Waterproof
• It weighs less than two pounds
• Seven volts
• Extensive Antenna
Retevis’s next model is the RT47V, and therefore a significant improvement from the previously mentioned Retevis RT27V. It has an IP67 rating, which means it can withstand severe weather without fear of water getting inside and ruining it. When compared to the highly-priced Motorola, it is a great choice.
It is a two-way unlicensed radio that enables you to easily communicate with other channels due to the low amount of cross traffic.
It comes in two styles of radios, each with its charger and charging cradle, making it an ideal gift for your partner.
Compared to previous generations of walkie-talkies, RT47V is much easier to charge due to its USB connection. Also, charging this device will never be an issue because it can be charged via laptops or power banks.
It features an ergonomic design that makes it easy to handle and a convenient carrying structure.
With its sturdy clip and VOX function, you can use this radio hands-free, allowing you to answer calls even when both of your hands are occupied.
The package includes accessories such as a belt clip, handheld microphone, and an 1100 mAh Li-ion battery with a run time of over 8 hours.
• Ruggedly constructed radio that is ideal for outdoor use
• Battery with a long life
• There are few buttons to fiddle with
• Relatively cheap radio
• The hand mic is quite large.
Still, we must caution you about the quality. While this radio is cheap and as such sounds like a better deal, it has substandard components. It may not be durable.
7.Retevis RB38V MURS Walkie Talkies
Like all Retevis radios, this also comes in a 5-pack per purchase set-up. Some of its outstanding features include:
• 15-Hour Battery Life
• Integrated LED Display
• VOX Feature
• 1500 mAh Li-Ion Battery
The main advantage of the Retevis RB38V is that it’s compact, measuring only 3.89 inches x 1.26 inches, making it extremely comfortable to hold or use while on duty.
The radio’s antenna can be extended to achieve a more fantastic communication range, apart from its ergonomic design.
This MURS radio is also license-free, which saves you money, and it also provides less channel traffic for improved communication via its five channels.
Furthermore, it’s simple to use, as it only requires a few keys to operate, and it features an LED display that shows the channel being used and the signal strength.
It features a bright green light, visible both day and night, making it ideal for reading.
When it comes to sound, it features a 0-9 level squelch, ensuring that even in a noisy background, you can still receive and transmit clearly.
Moreover, it has an NOAA weather feature intended to alert you to any severe weather that may occur in your specified area. It will sound an alarm, and you can request assistance from your team, making it ideal for emergency use. It features a USB charging system, which makes charging the device easier in any location.
• Exceptional for emergency communication
• Lightweight and transportable
• Increased battery life
• Tiny display
• Less durable
8.Dakota Alert M538-BS MURS Base Station
The Dakota Alert M538-BS Radio (Base Station) is nearly identical to the M538-HT radio. All Dakota Alert radios in the M-series are interoperable and capable of two-way communication over the five MURS channels.
The BS model is appealing because it can serve as a transceiver and connect multiple workers at the same worksite. Although workstations have their advantages, they are less portable than MURS radios in the walkie-talkie style.
Nonetheless, work station models have a louder speaker and a better antenna for increased range and signal quality. While the speaker is significantly louder than the one on the handheld models, it lacks clarity and distorts the sound significantly at higher volume settings.
The build quality of base stations is also lacking because they’re not intended to be moved frequently. Those factors are factored into the price, making this one of the most affordable yet functional MURS base stations available.
• Excellent signal range
• Is not subject to FCC licensing requirements
• Long battery life
• Compatibility with Dakota Alert’s other accessories
• Continuous monitoring
• Not portable
• Despite the speaker’s loudness, the speaker’s quality is subpar.
9.Wouxun KG-805G GMRS MURS Two Way Radio
Our last item is the Wouxun KG-8-5G radio, which is specifically designed for businesses.
According to consumer reviews, it’s easy to use. It has 22 standard channels available and a menu and display that allows easy configuration of standard options like DCS/CTCSS codes.
This radio also transmits 5 watts of power. Moreover, it supports PC programing; some of its features can be configured using programming software, including removing or adding channels or configuring the channel bandwidth, name, CTCSS/DCS codes, or transmit power.
The radio also has LCD having three backlight options, which you can customize based on standby, transmit or receive.
Other cool features include:
• Transmit overtime alarm
• Low voltage prompt
• IP55 water-resistant
• Power saver mode
Although choosing the best MURS radio equipment should entail a bargain between functionality and price, from our review, it’s clear that high price doesn’t always translate to quality.
While some Motorola models are highly-priced, we noted that they have the same features that you can find in cheap, China-made radios.
This, however, doesn’t mean that you should opt for the cheapest options. Because we’ve discussed the essential elements of these radios, be sure to analyze what each model offers to determine what suits you.
For example, while most previous Retevis models have substandard features, if you’re looking to use them occasionally, they’re probably the best options because of their affordability—it doesn’t make sense to buy a durable model for infrequent use.
Even so, based on our analysis, the best MURS so far in the market is BTECH-V1 because of its cool features and price