FRS…. basically a toy service with expensive radios. Useful for communicating between cars to keep a convoy together, parents telling their kids to come home for dinner, or aiming a satellite dish – but apart from that, there isn’t much practical use for FRS.
However – despite fact a cheap, half-watt radio has no purpose outside of frivilous uses (hence the name “FAMILY Radio Service”), there are those who will try and make it into something it’s not – a replacement or even agument to real radio srvices, such as CB or ham radio.
The first example is the East Elizabethton FRS Net started by the East Side FRS Club of Elizabethton, Tennessee. An FRS NET?? We’re talking about a UHF radio service with a maximum power output of half a watt. If you’ve got more than 4 people checking into the net, the biggest problem you’re gonna get is other people’s radios feeding back into yours – considering they’re going to all have to be in close proximity in order for everyone’s radios to hear each other. I envision five people sitting in their cars in the parking lot, slowly moving their cars closer to net control until they get a good signal report. it’s about as pointless as calling a friendly face-to-face conversation a ‘net’.
A related proposal is the Citizen’s Radio Network set up by the CB World Informer website. The proposal ounds strangely like the justification for ARES or even REACT to exist – at least ARES uses real radios able to transmit more than a few feet through a wall. This proposal calls for the pointless formation of a ‘nation-wide FRS emergency calling channel (FRS1)’ – a pointless call, considering the very limited range of FRS. If you need to call for help, you’re better off getting up yourself and walking to a phone, because a brisk 4 minute walk would take you beyond the range of your FRS toy. Tis page is a good laugh, though – check out the ‘off-of-the-top-of-the-author’s-head’ Captain-obvious disaster uses for CB radio. Pretty mickey mouse for anyone who’s had any experience in real emergency management. This is my personal favourite:
Situation: Crime or Terrorist Alerts
Problem: Police cannot be everywhere at once. High level of alert has been announced. CRN members can create neighborhood watch groups. Suspicious individuals can be spotted and reported to police. Members can watch over local businesses and report problems to authorities. CRN members should only observe and report and never engage a person under suspicion. Increasing the number of observant people in the neighborhood will help to deter criminal activity as well as help identify those who commit crimes.
Oh, sure. Deputize the public with a radio against some brown-skinned guy who’s just trying to walk to the corner to buy a paper. This is why there’s a separation between trained law enforcement and the general public.