Unlicensed (PMR446) or Licensed Handportable Radios.

What is PMR 446?
PMR 446 is a low power (0.5 Watt ERP), licence exempt, short-range, voice-only communication service utilising handportable radios only. It provides a basic but effective radio service for both business and non-business users, and is ideal for providing communication over short distances.
There are eight 12.5 kHz simplex frequencies allocated, which you may use anywhere in the UK. These frequencies have been harmonised (but not necessarily authorised) for use across Europe.

Because of the potential of interference, PMR 446 is not realy suitable for safety-of-life use, or for critical use where users must have access to frequencies at particular locations and times.
As a licence-exempt service, PMR 446 is unprotected. Ofcom (the Office of Communications) will not get involved in interference or channel-sharing disputes between users.

Because the eight allocated frequencies are shared, to alleviate the potential problem of interference with other local users, we strongly recommend that Continuous Tone Controlled Signalling System (CTCSS) or Digitally Coded Squelch (DCS) is used. This is incorporated in most radios as a means to prevent interference - the radio ignores all incoming signals except those that are also transmitting this sub-audible tone.
Even better, if the radio is pc programmable (Most commercial radios are), to help avoid interference from other users, obscure tones not normally pre-programmed can be used and often help.This we refer to as a custom set up, please ask us for more information.

Licensed  Radios

Licensed handportable radios are much more powerful (4-5 Watt ERP) than licence free radios(0.5 Watt ERP) and as such can often better penertrate buildings and other obstructions than unlicenced radios. In addition they can be used with a base station or repeaters ect to increase range.Licensed radios are available as Handportables, Office Stations, Base Stations and Vehicle Mounted Radios.

Types of Licences  
Whilst there a numerous types of licences we will concentrate on the types typically used. Changes took place for new applications from 4 November 2008 and as such it would be advisable to check out OFCOMS site following the links to  Business Radio.  Also useful is thier fees guide  (Click Here ) , and the "Help & Frequently Asked Questions Page"  (Click Here ) which covers just about everything regarding business radio licences.   

BR Simple UK Licence, this allows you to operate as many handportable, two way radios as you wish, anywhere in the UK with a choice of non- exclusive frequencies allocated by Ofcom for this particular service. A BR Simple UK Licence currently costs £75.00 for five years. This type of licence is unprotected so if you encounter interference then OFCOM will not be able to assist. Certain restrictions apply so consult with your supplier.

BR Simple Site Licence, this is similar to the BR Simple UK Licence in that it allows you to operate as many handportable, two way radios as you wish,but this is for use on one particular site per licence. A number of non-exclusive frequencies are allocated by Ofcom for this particular service. A BR Simple Site Licence currently costs £75.00 for five years. This type of licence is unprotected so if you encounter interference then OFCOM will not be able to assist. Certain restrictions apply so please with us prior to purchase. 

BR Technically Assigned Licence. This type of licence is for systems that require Ofcom to allocate one or more frequencies for use in a specific area or on a specific site to provide a higher level of exclusivity than the BR type licences.  Fees vary dependent on location and frequency demand . For example the fee in the North East of England per frequency is typically £75.00 per annum, whilst further south around the London area the fee can run into several hundred pounds.

 

How do I get a licence?
You can complete an application form on line, or download a copy from the OFCOM site. 
We will of course assist with all the technical aspects of the form if required - all you have to do is provide names and addresses, contact numbers etc.  

Who are Ofcom Ofcom is the communications regulator, they have powers under the Communications Act 2003 to license and regulate all elecommunications and wireless services and all TV and radio in the UK. They also have powers under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 to authorise the installation and use of radio communications equipment. OFCOM among other roles, regulate the use of two-way radio in the UK and allocate licences in such a manner that wherever possible, business/commercial users can operate thier radio systems in harmony with the minimum of interference with each other. OFCOM can be found at www.ofcom.org.uk 

We hope this guide has been useful,if you have any questions please contact us.