motorola nova communications vhf uhf

VHF or UHF: what is the right frequency?   

One of the first steps to take before purchasing new radios is to determine the best frequency band for your needs.

Why is this important, you ask? The simple answer is that it ensures the best possible results for your environment.

UHF (Ultra High Frequency) and VHF (Very High Frequency) are the two most commonly used radio frequencies (read more about their differences in our blog post here). While they do have some similarities, there are a few factors that set them apart from each other.

1.   Is Your Existing Radio System VHF Or UHF?

  • Ensure the new two-way radios you buy are compatible with your existing system
  • If your current radios are VHF, the new ones should also be VHF
  • If your current radios are UHF, the new ones should also be UHF
  • This ensures that your old and new radios can communicate with each other

2.  Is Your Current Radio System Digital or Analog?

  • Most newer systems in the last five years should be digital, yet it’s still important to confirm this factor
  • Keep in mind that even if you are adding a piece of digital equipment to an existing digital system, they may still not be compatible.
  • Not all digital systems work with each other. Motorola digital two-way radios are not compatible with an ICOM radio system.

When adding new equipment, they must be well-suited for an already existing system. You can talk to one of our experts here at Nova Communications. We provide both UHF radios and VHF radios in Canada and would be happy to help you find the best solution.

3. Will You Be Using the Radios Indoors or Out?

  • Both UHF and VHF are considered line-of-sight systems. This means that the radios can be used outside a proximity range with the help of antennae for communication.
  • You can increase the height of the antenna to increase the distance and quality of communication.
  • The spectrum of each frequency band has a significant impact on the quality of communication. The VHF spectrum is 136 to 174 MHz, while the UHF spectrum is 403 to 470 MHz in Canada. The higher the frequency, the better the in-building penetration.

 

VHF vs UHF

VHF

UHF

Ideal for Outdoor Environments Ideal for Indoor Environments
When operating at 136-174 MHZ, has excellent distance on flat ground, but works very poorly in buildings When operating at 403-470 MHZ, offers the best of both worlds. A good distance and works well inside buildings
Lower frequencies travel further in non-obstructed environments 900 MHZ is excellent for built-up indoor environments but does not offer great distance
Better suited for outdoor professions like forestry and oil Often used by schools, warehouses, and retail stores

uhf vs vhf two-way radios nova communications

     

    As a standard rule in Canada, about 85% of radios sold are either in the UHF, or higher frequencies like 700 MHz (for public safety) or 900 MHz. Please feel free to contact us and we’d be pleased to help you select the right frequency range for your business.

    uhf radio uhf vs vhf two-way radios nova communications

    Wrapping It Up

    Choosing the right frequency band is important because it ensures that your radio is suited toward your unique environment.

    However, no matter what band you choose, the most important thing is that you get a quality system. When it comes to radio communications, quality definitely matters.

    Recommended Further Reading:


    We’ll be happy to help you determine what kind of radio would best suit your needs, and point you toward resources and reviews so you can narrow the field and make an educated choice. Contact us for help in getting started.

    Please also try our FREE quick and easy radio selector below. By answering a few simple questions about your operation we can start to narrow down the right radio for you.

    What Radio is right for your business? Our easy to use online radio selector will be able to narrow down your search based on your requirements.  Try it Now!


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    Comments

    1. Ed Chernis

      I am looking for a walkeytalkey that can cover 6 to 8 miles . Is uhf better then vhf
      We are in a wooded area and in the mountains dose the no of watt important
      What would you recommend.
      Ed Chernis

      • nadinemansour

        Hi Ed,

        Thank you for these great questions. For outdoor and rural environments VHF is usually better. For example, most of the fire departments we sell to in rural areas use VHF radios, while hotel clients use UHF radios.

        As far as power, most commercial grade radios are 4 or 5 watts, which would be the maximum power in Canada for handheld radios. Another important factor in radios today is analog vs digital. Most new equipment is moving to a digital platform that performs 25-35% better than analog radios and has a much longer battery life.

        Thank you, Ed, we look forward to helping.

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