What Sets VHF Radios Apart from UHF Radios?

Although VHF and UHF radios look similar, they use different frequencies. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. VHF radios (very high-frequency) are perfect for densely-packed urban areas, while UHF radios (ultra-high-frequency) are best for large, open spaces, such as fields or at sea. Continue reading to find out more about the different radio frequencies.

UHF vs. VHF Radio

 UHF Radios Offer a Wide Range of Features

UHF radios operate on a higher frequency spectrum than VHF. The signal can travel through metal and concrete structures as well as trees. This is why UHF can be found in urban areas and heavily forested terrain. It is also common to use UHF inside buildings, as it can transmit through thick walls.

UHF radios are usually smaller and more compact than VHF. An extender can be added to the antenna in order to increase radio range. This will increase the size of the antenna. However, it may be too long for some uniforms.

Common uses for UHF radios are:

  • In educational institutions
  • Industrial warehouses
  • Retail stores
  • Security personnel
  • Indoors
  • Cities and urban areas with densely built-up areas

What does VHF offer?

VHF radio waves are at the lower end of the spectrum when compared with UHF. VHF signals travel further than UHF because of their longer wavelength. VHF is the best option if you plan to use radios outside and need a longer signal range.

VHF radios are used exclusively for aviation and maritime communication. These radios are used by security personnel and maintenance workers in the open, as well as on golf courses, concerts, and large outdoor festivals.

VHF signals cannot travel as easily through metal or concrete as UHF. VHF may not be the best choice in urban areas with dense populations or large buildings. This signal is best used in a wide-open area.

Marine VHF Radios (VHF Maritime Mobile Band)

The frequency range of marine VHF radios is between 156 MHz and 174MHz. All large ships and watercraft are equipped with this radio system. The system is used in rivers and lakes, but there are regulations that vary depending on the type of water.

VHF radios can be used for many different purposes, including communication between vessels, harbors and marinas. This type of radio can also receive weather radio broadcasts when they become available.

VHF radios are regulated. They must, for example, be able to send out a distress message with the press of a single button. It is called “Digital Selective Calling” and there are simplex and dual transmission channels for VHF radios. Simplex transmissions allow data transfer only in one direction, since the radio is both a transmitter as well as a receiver. Communication can be done in both directions using duplex channels.

This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Becker Mining Communications! For over 15 years, Becker Communications has been the industry’s leader in increasingly more sophisticated electrical mining communication systems. As they expanded into surface mining, railroads, and tunneling they added wireless communication systems, handheld radios, tagging, and tracking systems, as well as gas monitoring. Click here to learn more!