UHF vs VHF – All You Need to Know about Two Way Radios

Two-way radios are a type of radio communication device that enables two or more people to communicate with each other. They can be used for various purposes such as business, emergency services, military, police, fire departments, etc. There are two main types of two-way radios: UHF and VHF. UHF (Ultra High Frequency) radios are generally used by the military, law enforcement, fire departments, and other agencies while VHF (Very High Frequency) radios are generally used by business, emergency services, and amateur radio operators. UHF radios are generally smaller and have a higher power output than VHF radios. UHF radios are also typically more expensive than VHF radios. If you want to know more about UHF vs VHF, let’s know.


Two-way radios have become a part of our everyday lives, whether we’re using them to talk to friends or family, or even to talk to the police. There are two main types of two-way radios: UHF and VHF. The difference between the two is huge, but you don’t need to know all of the details to use a two-way radio. In this article on uhf vs vhf, we’ll show you the differences between these two types, so that you can make an informed decision about which one you should buy.

What is UHF?

UHF simply stands for “Ultra High Frequency”. It ranges from low band (378-512 MHz) to high band (764-870 MHz). You can use UHF radio for different purposes and they are really very effective and useful to the users. UHF radios are used in homes, offices, and many other places. UHF is used for everyday purposes like cell phone service, television broadcasts, and amateur radio operators.

The Pros and Cons of the UHF

☞ Good for Farming and agriculture
☞ Useful for Road and bridge construction
☞ Long-lasting Li-ion also comes with an additional charging port
☞ UHF radio waves are shorter than VHF – 12 to 24 inches
☞ Doesn’t take more space
☞ Operating costs may be higher due to extra equipment
☞ Volunteer public safety
☞ Doesn’t need big antennas
☞ Paging systems
☞ Longer wavelengths
☞ Long-haul trucking
☞ Recreation
☞ Best suitable for indoors
☞ Interference and dropouts are more likely than with VHF
☞ UHF works mainly within your line of sight so any obstacles may disrupt your transmission
☞ Consumes battery power more quickly

What is VHF?

VHF stands for “Very High Frequency.” VHF can range from low band (49-108 MHz) to high band (169-216 MHz). This type of radio offers a broader broadcast range. Anyone can use this radio frequency for their professional use. Casinos, security officials, warehouses, construction, manufacturing, and health care use VHF. They use UFH too.

The Pros and Cons of the VHF

☞ VHF radio waves are broader compared to UHF
☞ Generally used in critical communication systems
☞ Can be used in Manufacturing, factories, warehouses, Hotels, hospitality, and retail stores
☞ A reliable network
☞ High-quality audio
☞ Perfect for Building Construction
☞ Ideal for Schools, dorms, education facilities, Healthcare, hospitals, and care homes
☞ Great survival gear
☞ Less expensive
☞ Best suitable for outdoors
☞ The frequency range is limited
☞ VHF cannot exceed the 100-mile radius

Who Uses UHF and VHF?

UHF is primarily used by public safety officials like firefighters, police, and emergency medical responders. These officials rely on UHF signals for TV stations, as those frequencies are less crowded than VHF channels. The UHF range of frequencies, which are between 845 MHz and 865 MHz, is used for many purposes, including phone conversations, television, and ham radio operators. Casinos, security, warehouses, construction, manufacturing, and health care also use the UHF range of frequencies to communicate across a building and through departments.

On the other hand, VHF is commonly used for communication in boats and marine personnel. A must-have piece of safety equipment to have aboard because it lets you contact nearby boaters in an emergency. When you need to make an emergency call, you should use channel 16. Certain protocols should be followed when making this call. Agencies like the Transportation Safety Administration and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection use two-way radios that operate at the same frequency as commercial television stations.

UHF vs VHF Frequency Range Band Chart

UHF vs VHF – frequency range

To use UHF or VHF, you need to know its frequency range. Knowing ins and outs of it is important when you are using it so that you can be aware of its use, range, and frequency.

So, let’s know the UHF vs VHF frequency range band chart below. We can learn something from here.

Observe carefully the image and try to understand the frequency range band. Once you understand it perfectly, you will know better.

0.003 MHz- 0.03 MHzVery Low Frequency (VLF)
.03 MHz – 0.3 MHzLow Frequency (LF)
0.3 MHz – 3 MHzMedium Frequency (MF)
3 MHz – 30 MHzHigh Frequency (HF)
30 MHz – 300 MHzVery High Frequency (VHF)
300 MHz – 3,000 MHzUltra-High Frequency (UHF)
3,000 MHz – 30,000 MHzSuper High Frequency (SHF)
30,000 MHz – 300,000 MHzExtra High Frequency (EHF)

You need to learn this chart in order to use perfectly any of the uhf or vhf two-way radio frequencies. They are very important to know.

UHF vs VHF – what’s the difference?

There are some differences between VHF and UHF. If you have limited time in hand, you can just take a look at the comparison table and hopefully, you can find the gist you are looking for. If you are available to read the whole section, you will certainly know better.

Ideal for Outdoor EnvironmentsIdeal for Indoor Environments
Operable at 136-174 MHZOperable at 403-470 MHZ
It has excellent distance on flat ground but works very poorly in buildingsA good distance and works well inside buildings
Lower frequencies travel further in non-obstructed environments900 MHZ is excellent for built-up indoor environments
Better suited for outdoor professions like forestry and oilOften used by schools, warehouses, and retail stores
What is the Difference Between UHF and VHF

Ultra-high-frequency (UHF) radios offer a larger broadcast range, using radio waves in the frequency range of 30 MHz to 300 MHz.

Unfortunately, many two-way radio operators have fewer channels than those offered by the original manufacturers. This means that if you’re using a portable 2-way radio, you may run into a channel conflict with another user in your area.

In addition, the UHF radios are generally more expensive and older than VHF radios, but they’re much more popular with users.

Two-way radios with very high frequency (VHF) technology offer more reliable reception in urban environments where signal attenuation is common.

This kind of radio frequency can be especially useful for operating in places where there aren’t a lot of people, like warehouses, so they can work without interference.

For people who are looking for a good radio for recreational and outdoor use, the best choice would be a UHF radio.

Very-high-frequency (VHF) offers short-range radio waves that don’t travel as far as long-range radio waves, so it has a reduced range. Another big advantage of UHF radios is that they penetrate barriers in urban locations, like concrete, steel, and wood better than other types of radios.

In addition, VHF radios are ideal for the outdoors and across large areas. However, they have a tendency for signal degradation in urban areas where there are lots of obstructions like tall buildings.

Due to the higher frequency that they operate on, UHF radios work at a higher frequency than other radios and can transmit information up to twice as fast. However, if your workers don’t have easy access to a charging station, this type of radio is not ideal.

The only way to avoid congestion and interference is to buy a two-way radio that has a channel that is not being used by another two-way radio. Two-way radios are a necessary tool for all trades, but they can interfere with other radios that are in range.

Generally, VHF radios are less expensive than UHF radios and have been around for much longer. VHF radio is a popular choice for outdoor use because they tend to be better suited for environments with obstacles. In fact, it’s possible to use very high-frequency two-way radios to cover entire cities. It’s better suited for industries such as agriculture and recreation.

VHF vs UHF – MHz frequencies

A two-way radio has a number of different frequencies you can choose from depending on the kind of equipment you’re looking for. Two-way commercial VHF frequency range radios typically use a high-frequency radio range between 136 to 174 MHz, while two-way commercial UHF frequency range radio systems typically use a high-frequency radio range between 450 and 512 MHz.

MHz, or Megahertz, measures the speed of electronic devices. In most cases, more MHz is better.

The shorter the frequency in Megahertz, the longer the radio waves are. The higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength and therefore the further they can travel.

The higher the frequency in megahertz, the more resistant it is to interference.

UHF vs VHF – Compatibility with existing systems

It’s important to know the existing frequency of the radio system before buying new radios, so they are compatible and can talk to each other to communicate.

There are lots of wireless communication devices, so you need to get them on the same frequency.

Furthermore, radios now come in either analog or digital format. If you are quite unsure about the compatibility of your current radios, contact Amerizon for assistance. 

How Can I Improve my Signal Strength on my VHF or UHF Two-Way Radio?

Every wireless communication such as radios, cell phones, etc. has operating frequencies. These frequencies are controlled by the Federal Communication Commission  (FCC).

The best way to improve the range on a two-way radio is by improving the antenna. Your antenna determines how far the radio waves will travel, which in turn determines the range of the radio.

The wavelengths of UHF (ultra-high frequency) are short so antennas for UHF two-way radios are typically short and stubby in size (personal radio services).

VHF requires a larger antenna to improve its range and it determines how far it can travel. However, the VHF antennas can receive channels 2 through 13, while the UHF antennas can receive channels 14 through 83.

If UHF frequently gets interfered with other nearby frequencies, you just need to find the location where the interference is coming from.

You can also help with interruptions by developing bonds. So, another way to help with interruptions is called bonding. Bonding helps to disappear notice to the ground instead of radiated.

Frequency Overlapping

frequency overlapping

A frequency overlap issue can occur when there is an overlap between two different frequencies.

The overlapping of radio waves means that if two radios are using the same frequency then the radio waves interfere, and the transmissions overlap.

Your chances of getting the two of them in your range or having their locations in your coverage area are pretty good.

There is no problem with using one transmitter, but if you need to cover a large area with multiple transmitters, you might run into interference issues.

Final Words

In conclusion, when choosing a two-way radio in UHF vs VHF, it’s important to consider the type of radio, the frequency range, the type of antenna, the type of battery, the price, and the number of channels. They are all important factors that you need to consider before you buy. You need to consider the number of channels that you want on your radio. There are many different types of radios available in the market. Choosing a good two-way radio, especially UHF vs VHF, is a very important decision. When you’re making your purchase, it’s important to look for quality, reliability, and performance.

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