This page has general procedures for the Knox County Neighborhood HamWatch program. Please refer to the Town Information page for more detailed information.

General Considerations

There are a limited number of FRS and GMRS channels so it is important to make wise use of them.

For use in emergencies, it is essential to have specific channels assigned for that purpose and to use other channels for more general, lower priority communications.

To ensure that you are receiving all calls in a given area, each radio in your network must have the privacy (PL) tones disabled.

Speak slowly and clearly. Spell out difficult words or names, preferably using standard phonetics.

All communications should be brief so that others can use the channel. Pause frequently by releasing your PTT so that someone with a higher priority call can break in.

Always yield to a station that is making an emergency call.

Channel (Frequency) Usage Guidelines

Channel/Frequency Use
1 (462.5625 MHz) High priority/emergency calling between FRS radios or with GMRS radios in the same neighborhood. Use highest FRS power available. This is consistent with National SOS Radio Network practice.
2-7 General use between FRS and/or GMRS radios within a neighborhood.
8-14 General communications between closely positioned radios. Limited to 1/2 watt maximum.
19 (462.6500 MHz) For communications with a full power GMRS hub station.
20 (462.6750 MHz) Reserved for the Spruce Head 675 Repeater

A Note on Privacy (PL) Codes

When a PL is enabled on a given channel on two or more radios, each of those radios will only hear the calls made by the radios with the specific PL. Any radio without a PL enabled will be able to hear the transmissions.

If a call is made from a radio with no PL, radios with PLs enabled will not hear that call. Therefore it is important that radios that are set up for emergency communications not have PLs enabled for the emergency channels.

Channel Numbering

Channel numbers are not necessarily consistent from radio to radio. GMRS only radios cannot operate on the FRS only channels so those channels (e.g. 8-14) may actually be the next set of shared channels (e.g. 15-22). Also, the BTECH GMRS radio's channel assignments begin with channel 0, not 1.

If your radio does not have a frequency display, refer to the manual for the actual frequencies to avoid confusion.

Some radios also have channel numbers above 22. These aren't added channels as such but they permit special configurations (like a PL) for any of the standard channels.