What is PMR446?

PMR446 (Private Mobile Radio, 446 MHz) is a licence exempt service in the UHF radio frequency band and is available for business and personal use in most countries throughout the European Union.

PMR446 is typically used for small-site, same-building and line of sight outdoor activities. Equipment used ranges from consumer-grade to professional quality walkie-talkies (similar to those used for FRS/GMRS in the United States and Canada). Depending on surrounding terrain range can vary from a few hundred metres (in a city) to a few kilometres (flat countryside) to many kilometres from high ground.

Historically, analogue FM is used but a digital voice mode has been available in radios conforming to digital private mobile radio (dPMR446) and digital mobile radio (DMR Tier 1) standards designed by ETSI.

Originally 8 channels were available in analogue mode but this has now been increased to 16 channels. Typically PMR446 is used for both recreational and business use, additionally it has been utilized by amateur-radio operators and radio enthusiasts as a license-free experimental band.

PMR446 radios use frequencies that in Australia, the U.S., and Canada are allocated to amateur radio operators, and military radar systems.

Instead, the U.S. and Canada uses the FRS system, which provides a similar service on different frequencies, around 462 and 467 MHz. These frequencies are allocated to the emergency services in Europe, notably the fire brigade in the UK, police in Russia and commercial users in Australia. Interference with licensed radio services may result in prosecution.

Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu and Malaysia use the UHF Citizen’s Band system in the 476–477 MHz range and a maximum power output of 5 W giving a vastly improved range over the lower power PMR system.

PMR446-compliant equipment may be used anywhere throughout Europe.

Type approved PMR446 radios with power up to 500 mW can be used without any licence in India and Vietnam. The devices may not be base stations or repeaters, and must use integrated antennas only.

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