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Facts About Licence-Free Radios

Facts About Licence-Free Radios

date 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

Unlicensed radio Motorola TLKR T60Disadvantages 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:

What are the PMR 446 frequency bands?

Until January 2018 there were just eight frequencies for licence-free radios in the UK, ranging from 446.00625MHz to 446.09375MHz. After that, the frequency spectrum was expanded in line with Harmonised European Standards to create greater capacity across Europe.  The extended frequencies now range from 446.0 to 446.2MHz, with a channel plan based on 6.25 kHz (for digital equipment) and 12.5 kHz (for analogue equipment) spacing. 

Here's a table showing the whole spectrum of PMR446 frequencies, with the channel plan.

  Analogue (12.5 kHz Channel Spacing)   Digital dPMR446 (6.25kHz Channel Spacing)
CH1 446.00625MHz CH1 446.003125MHz
CH2 446.01875MHz CH2 446.009375MHz
CH3 446.03125MHz CH3 446.015625MHz
CH4 446.04375MHz CH4 446.021875MHz
CH5 446.05625MHz CH5 446.028125MHz
CH6 446.06875MHz CH6 446.034375MHz
CH7 446.08125MHz CH7 446.040625MHz
CH8 446.09375MHz CH8 446.046875MHz
CH9 446.10625MHz CH9 446.053125MHz
CH10 446.11875MHz CH10 446.059375MHz
CH11 446.13125MHz CH11 446.065625MHz
CH12 446.14375MHz CH12 446.071875MHz
CH13 446.15625MHz CH13 446.078125MHz
CH14 446.16875MHz CH14 446.084375MHz
CH15 446.18125MHz CH15 446.090625MHz
CH16 446.19375MHz CH16 446.096875Mhz
    CH17 446.103125MHz
    CH18 446.109375MHz
    CH19 446.115625MHz
    CH20 446.121875MHz
    CH21 446.128125MHz
    CH22 446.134375MHz
    CH23 446.140625MHz
    CH24 446.146875MHz
    CH25 446.153125MHz
    CH26 446.159375MHz
    CH27 446.165625MHz
    CH28 446.171875MHz
    CH29 446.178125MHz
    CH30 446.184373MHz
    CH31 446.190625MHz
    CH32 446.196875MHz


Shop for Licence-fre446.00625MHze radios

RadioTrader stocks licence-free two-way radios from leading brands such as HYT, Icom, Kenwood and Motorola, all at great prices and with FREE delivery on UK Mainland orders over £50.00.

Get in touch for friendly advice if you’re having trouble deciding which radio is suitable for you. Call 0151 676 2888.

Grouped licence free radios

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Tags: Licence Free Radios, PMR Radios, Private Mobile Radio, Two Way Radios

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