UHF versus VHF
2018/05/21 | by:

 

The most common two-way radio systems operate in the VHF and UHF parts of the radio spectrum. Because this part of the spectrum is heavily used for broadcasting and multiple competing uses, spectrum management has become an important activity of governments to regulate radio users in the interests of both efficient and non-interfering use of radio. Both bands are widely applied for different users.

UHF has a shorter wavelength which makes it easier for the signal to find its way through smaller wall openings to the inside of a building. The longer wavelength of VHF means it can transmit further under normal conditions. For most applications, lower radio frequencies are better for longer range and through vegetation. A broadcasting TV station illustrates this. A typical VHF TV station operates at about 100,000 watts and has a coverage radius range of about 60 miles. A UHF TV station with a 60-mile coverage radius requires transmitting at 3,000,000 watts. Another factor with higher frequencies (UHF) is that smaller sized objects will absorb or reflect the energy more which causes range loss and/or multipath reflections which can weaken a signal by causing an "Out of Time/Out of Phase" signal to reach the antenna of the receiver (this is what caused the "Ghost" image on old over the air television).

If an application requires working mostly outdoors, a VHF radio is probably the best choice, especially if a base station radio indoors is used and an external antenna is added. The higher the antenna is placed, the further the radio can transmit and receive.

If the radios are used mainly inside buildings, then UHF is likely the best solution since its shorter wavelength travels through small openings in the building better. There are also repeaters that can be installed that can relay any frequencies signal (VHF or UHF) to increase the communication distance.

There are more available channels with UHF. Since the range of UHF is also not as far as VHF under most conditions, there is less chance of distant radios interfering with the signal. UHF is less affected than VHF by manmade electrical noise.