Licensed radios vs Licence free radios

Here we explain the main 'real life' differences between licence free and licensed two-way radios. Both have their place but sometimes users pick the wrong type for the situation. Getting to know your exact requirements means we can filter down all the products available to find the right radio for both requirement and budget.


Licence Free Radios

Licence free radios (as the name states) do not require an Ofcom licence to operate. Licence free radios (commonly known as 446 radios) are limited to 0.5w output power and the frequencies (channels) the devices use are shared. In essence you are sharing the channel you're using with other radio users in the area. Due to the low power output of licence free radios this isn't necessarily a problem as the signal doesn't travel very far.


Small sites, primary schools, caravan sites and boating lakes normally get full site coverage with a licence free radio without interference from adjacent radio users in the area. This is not always the case, if you turn on a licence free radio in the centre of London or any other major city you will struggle to find a free channel. You'll be hearing taxis, motorcycle schools, building sites and sometimes the language is not what you want to be coming out of your radio!


“If you are a remote, small site, licence free radios will be the best option”


The most popular licence free radio we sell is the Motorola XT420. It's small, light, compact and cost effective.



Licensed Radios


If your site is spread out across multiple buildings, you have large open fields or in a newer type building with integrated steel supports in the walls you might want to look at analogue licensed radios as a starting point. Licensed radios are ten times more powerful than licence free radios (5w) giving them a lot more umph! As well as a much greater operating range licensed radios come with larger batteries and bigger speakers as standard. You will need an Ofcom licence to operate the radios on site, this costs just £75, covers you for as many radios as you like for use anywhere in the UK. It is renewable every 5 years direct with Ofcom. Don't worry though, we will do all the paperwork for you and assist with paying the first fee. We can activate licenses instantly so not to delay the delivery of your new radio system. Licensed radios are also more secure than licence free radios as the frequencies they use are not available to the public. Only business and educational organisations have access to the channels provided. We also program the radios in such a way to minimise any interference you will receive.


If you're unsure wether you require a licence free or licensed radio please get in touch. We can advise on which will work best for your requirement. 01748 327527 sales@radiowarehouse.co.uk

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