VHF vs. UHF Two-Way Radios – Which is better for your Business?

VHF or UHF: What is the right frequency?   

One of the first steps to take before purchasing new two-way 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 Outdoors?

  • 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.




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

worker using radio in field

    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.

    Man using radio inside warehouse

    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.

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    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.

    Two-Way Radio, Rugged Devices, and Mobility