Radios and transmitters, including digital or analogue two-way radios, as well as the UHF or VHF frequencies they broadcast on, are administered, licensed and co-ordinated by the watchdog Ofcom. Two-way radios may operate on either licenced or licence-free (PMR446) frequencies. Here is an explanation about licence-free radios.
What does it mean?
PMR stands for Personal Mobile Radio
446 denotes the UHF frequency range 446MHz on which licence-free radios are allowed to operate.
Licence-free radios sets are often lower powered, hand-held sets with a maximum power output of 0.5 watts, this results in a much shorter operating range.
Contingent on the terrain, range can fluctuate between a few hundred metres in a highly built-up area to a few miles in open ground.
In the UK and the European Union. You can use licence-free radios for business or personal use on any of eight set UHF frequencies
Licence-free two-way radios are factory-made with already programmed in frequencies. Power sources vary, with very basic models using AA batteries, to some more advanced models which utilise rechargeable Li-ion battery packs.
NRC stock an incredibly extensive range of licence-free radios at amazing prices. Browse our shop.
There are many benefits of licence-free radios:
- Inexpensive compared with licenced radios
- Ease of use
- Radio frequencies already pre-programmed
- No call fees
- No contract
- Good operating times
- Digital technology with improved voice quality and performance
- Usable throughout the UK and most EU states
Disadvantages of licence-free radios:
- Lower power equals shorter range (around 1.8 miles maximum)
- Popularity and cost mean channels are often congested
- Unsuitable for emergency use as licence-free radio channels operate on a first-come-first-served basis
- Interference from other users if they are too far apart when additional users are within range
Who could use them?
The possibilities for the use of licence-free radios is huge, for example:
- Site workers
- Tourist attractions
- Hotel operators
- Neighbourhood watch schemes
- Warehouse workers
- Leisure use: (hiking, orienteering, camping, etc.
The actual PMR 446 frequencies for licence-free radios are as follows:
446.00625 MHz 446.01875 MHz
446.03125 MHz 446.04375 MHz
446.05625 MHz 446.06875 MHz
446.08125 MHz 446.09375 MHz
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