Facts About Licence-Free Radios
Released On 23rd May 2014
About licence-free (PMR446) radios
Radio transmitters, including two way radios, and the VHF or UHF frequencies they operate on, are governed, licensed and co-ordinated by Ofcom in the UK. Two way radios can operate on either licensed or licence-free (PMR446) frequencies. Here we explain more about licence-free radios.
- Licence-free radios are generally lower powered, handheld radios with a maximum power output of 0.5 watts, resulting in a shorter range.
- Depending on the surrounding terrain, the range can vary from a few hundred metres in a built up area to a few kilometres in open ground.
- Use licence-free radios for business or personal use on any of eight UHF frequencies, both in the UK and across the European Union.
- PMR stands for Personal Mobile Radio
- 446 refers to the UHF frequency range 446MHz on which licence-free radios are permitted to operate.
- In the USA and Canada the closest equivalent to PMR446 is FRS or GMRS
Licence-free two way radios are manufactured with the frequencies already programmed in. Power sources can vary, from basic models which use AA cells to more advanced models which use Li-ion rechargeable packs.
We stock an extensive range of licence-free radios at great prices. Browse our shop.
Benefits of a licence-free radio
- Less expensive than licenced radios
- Easy to use
- Pre-programmed radio frequencies
- No call charges
- No contracts
- Rechargeable versions give good operating time
- New digital technology has improved voice quality and performance
- No licence required!
- Operate throughout the UK and in most EU countries
Disadvantages of licence-free radios
- Lower power, so their range is shorter (approximately 3km maximum)
- Their popularity means the channels can often be congested
- Not suitable for emergency use as channel usage is on a first-come-first served basis
- If users are too far apart they may suffer interference from other two-way radios within range
Who might use them?
There is a huge range of possibilities for the use of licence-free radios, for example:
- Construction workers
- Event managers
- Hotel and tourist attraction operators
- Neighbourhood watch co-ordinators
- Factory workers
- Farm and country estate workers
- Leisure use (hiking, cycling, camping, orienteering, shoots etc.)
The actual PMR 446 frequencies
For those of you who want to get right down to the nitty gritty, here are the actual eight PMR 446 frequencies in the UK which are used for licence-free radios.
|446.00625 MHz||446.01875 MHz|
|446.03125 MHz||446.04375 MHz|
|446.05625 MHz||446.06875 MHz|
|446.08125 MHz||446.09375 MHz|
Shop for Licence-free radios
Get in touch for friendly advice if you’re having trouble deciding which radio is suitable for you. Call 0151 676 2888.