VHF or UHF Two Way Radio? What Are The Differences?

VHF and UHF stand for Very High Frequency and Ultra High Frequency respectively, and both refer to radio frequencies. Both have their specific uses but several people often use these two terms interchangeably. It is important one understands the difference between UHF radio frequencies and VHF radio frequencies, so that the correct application is selected.

Difference between UHF and VHF

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is an agency set up by the United Nations, and it coordinates the services, rates, infrastructure and operations of all telecom service providers across the world. ITU also decides the standard calibrations and nomenclature to be used by telecom service providers and users across the world. ITU mandates that and radio frequencies between 30 MHz and 300 MHz would be referred to as Very High Frequency (VHF), while radio frequencies from 300 MHz to 3 GHz would be labelled Ultra High Frequency (UHF). Let us look at each in a little more detail.

A Few Specific Comparisons

–> Number of channels : UHF has more available channels/frequencies.
–> Physical obstructions : If the radio waves encounter actual physical obstacles like mountains or tall buildings, UHF goes through them better.
–> Distance travelled : VHF is able to travel further distances than UHF.
–> Indoor horizontal coverage : Recorded experiments and user feedback have both confirmed that UHF provides much better indoor coverage.
–> Indoor Vertical coverage : UHF scores better here too.
–> Licensing : UHF requires a license to operate at those frequencies.
–> Cost : UHF equipment is quite costly compared to VHS.
–> Battery Life : The battery life of VHS radio sets is much better.

Common Applications

When the choice is to be made whether to use UHF VHF radio frequencies, only their relative characteristics or strengths and weaknesses would not provide the true picture. There are certain specific uses where only one or the other type would work. Let us therefore see where each type should be used :

UHF – As we saw above, UHF is a powerhouse when it comes to indoor coverage, and it also has better penetration through obstacles. Therefore it is the best bet when the area of use is outdoor with a good density of buildings and other obstacles. Personal radio services (cordless phones, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Walkie Talkies) prefer UHF due to this reason. UHF is also used by TV broadcasters and mobile phone operators. The ubiquitous GPS also uses UHF for satellite based communication.

VHF – Obstacles other than concrete buildings are better tackled by VHF, so outdoors with less buildings and more of greenery are better suited for VHF. That is why marine and aerial communication systems use VHF, as do amateur radio systems and certain radio frequencies.


As you can see from the above comparison, a majority of the applications have certain requirements that don’t leave the user with too much choice between UHF and VHF radio frequencies. Good Reseller like www.pelorus.co.in would be able to understand the user’s exact requirements and make the correct recommendation that would be cost effective as well as technically efficient.

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