two way radioA two-way radio is a communication device that allows users to both transmit and receive radio waves. Here at Wall 2 Wall Communications, we provide these advanced pieces of technology, which act as an audio transceiver, a receiver and a transmitter all in one, compact and portable unit. Generally, license-free two-way radios are used for bidirectional communication between person-to-person and requires the other individual to also have a similar radio device.

Two-way radios were originally developed in Australia in 1923 and developed further during World War 2, these hand-held devices or ‘walkie-talkies’ were used by the ground and air force troops to remain in contact with one another. Harkening back to those times, we now use them in many lines of contemporary work, such as construction, military, taxis, cruise ships and security. All of these workforces use either a licensed or license-free radio system.

Continuing the development of these spectacular inventions, our team at Wall 2 Wall have over 40 years of experience in the communications field and have been pioneers of the ever-growing popularity surrounding these two-way devices. Specialising in the training, hiring and buying of all communications equipment including license-free radios. 

 In this article, we will be looking in depth at the legality surrounding license-free radios, if they can be used across Europe and how we can help you with all your communication needs.

What is a licence-free radio?

A license-free radio is a type of device which works out of the box and you don’t need a license in order to operate one. In addition, any programming that a two-way license-free radio may need, will be straightforward and requires little effort to set up and use, making it accessible to all workers. 

Typically, these pieces of equipment are used for short-range communication with a maximum range being around 2 miles or 3 kilometres. All of our PMR446 radios are legally limited to 500mW transmission power. However, the distance of one of our radios is all dependent on the thickness and density of the materials making up the obstruction between the transmitting and receiving of the radio signals. 

These two-way radios are a very important piece of equipment for a number of users and we have recently been asked whether they can be used aboard. In this article, we will look at the licensing and how possible it is to take your two-way radio across Europe.  

Do You Need A Licence For Walkie Talkies?

For a number of industries, having a two-way radio on hand is imperative. For example, retailers and shopping centres will use this technology to have instant communication with their staff or any warehouses. This allows for better results when it comes to pleasing their customers and boosting their productivity in store. Another popular reason to have a radio present is safety.  In the bar, pub and restaurant industry, two-way radios will be used amongst security personnel and even with other networking establishments to ensure the well-being of their staff and customers. 

However, when using these radios, no matter the reason, it is always best to consider the licensing issues and how OFCOM might factor into your purchase. 

Firstly, as established before, the ‘license-free’ two-way radios, are one of the few exceptions.  You can buy these pieces of technology off the shelf and use them instantly, they have a small range and have a low output of 0.5 watts. These radios do not interfere with the UK’s main radio waves and therefore, do not encounter OFCOM radio. 

Next, there are the licensed radios. These do encounter OFCOM and have higher purchasing costs in comparison. With a high power output, the signal coverage is a lot better and also allows for increased range. The radios are required if your business is looking for a dedicated frequency and you are communicating across a further distance.

OFCOM governs all radio and television licenses in the UK and when it comes to registering your ‘walkie-talkie’, it’s important that you think about the additional costs that may come with your purchase also, which license you will be needing. 

If you need any help finding out which license you need or any of the costs associated with buying or hiring your own two-way radios, we are happy to help. Contact us now through the form on our website.

Can I Use My License-Free Radio In Europe?

Whilst your radio set could possibly work anywhere in the world, it doesn’t mean they should be legally used. It’s important to check the legality of your two-way radio before taking it to different parts of the globe.

The ‘PMR446’, standing for Private Mobile Radio, 446 MHz, is a European Union standard when it comes to approved radios in use in the UK and the European Union. With a maximum range of around 2 miles in open country, these are legal and are compliant with the laws.

If your business operates across multiple European countries, it’s worth contacting our team to find out more about how we can help and ensure you get the most out of your technology. 

Are Walkie Talkies Legal In Europe? 

Most countries have a regulating body, similar to OFCOM, which looks at the use of radios in their location. For example, for the USA, The Federal Communications Commission is in charge of all interstate and international communications made via the radio, wire, satellite, television or cable. They are responsible for this across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and any other U.S territories. 

Unfortunately, there is currently no radio on the market that can be licenced for every location in the world. This is due to the fact that every standard is completely different and allows (or disallows) many varying factors when it comes to two-way radios. 

In addition to this, a main barrier that users face when it comes to communicating with their two-way radios is the fact that these cannot be modified to transmit on different frequencies in other countries.  

Your PMR446 two-way radio can be used freely in the European Union and can even be taken to countries like India and Vietnam. However, in places like Australia, the USA and Canada, the frequency band is reserved for the military radar systems, which means that they allow no chance of interception or disruption. In addition, New Zealand, Valuato and Malaysia also do not accept the PMR446.

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