What frequencies do walkie-talkie use? Well, it depends on who the user is. Everyone has seen that movie scene where the hero saves the day after making quick calls to their colleagues on walkie-talkies, or comic scenes where funny characters use certain walkie-talkie frequencies to make a joke out of certain situations.
Just like in movies, in reality, there are numerous frequencies for walkie-talkies which are available for use and others which are restricted. In this article, I will be answering those questions you have trying to figure out which frequencies you can use on your walkie-talkies and those you can’t use.
Here we go….
How walkie-talkies Frequencies work
Short answer – Walkie-talkies are rugged short range (about 18miles) battery-powered transceivers that don’t require you to dial a number any time you want to transmit a message. In other words, they can send and receive radio messages without the need for a cell tower.
Walkie-talkies are designed to work on specific channels (or radio frequencies); you must be on the same walkie-talkie frequencies with others to communicate with them.
Frequency units are most often expressed as kilohertz (KHz), megahertz (MHz) and or Gigahertz (GHz).
Since frequencies for walkie-talkies are in limited supply, to avoid interference as a result of the airways being jammed with too many signals at once; certain restrictions are put in place by government authorities.
What Frequencies do walkie-talkies use?
All Walkie-talkies use radio waves to transmit signals to one another.
These radio waves are measured in Kilohertz (KHz), Megahertz (MHz), or Gigahertz (GHz) which exists as part of the electromagnetic spectrum ranging from as low as 30 Hz all the way to 0.0003 GHz or 300,000 MHz.
You might be thinking “that’s a whole lot of frequencies”, however research by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proved that two-way radios are only able to use a very small range of frequencies that range from 136 MHz all the way up to 900 MHz.
The walkie-talkie frequencies available for your use depending on certain factors such as; your type of device, the country you are in, and whether you have a license issued to you for its use.
To prevent ‘wannabe superheroes from messing around on emergency channels, most governments have certain frequencies reserved for different types of transmissions
Walkie-talkies are designed to work on specific channels. In most countries, frequencies in the 460 MHz range are primary frequencies designated for general public use called General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and Family Radio Service (FRS). Frequencies in the 450 MHz to 470 MHz range are named ‘Business Band’ and are set aside by the authorities for corporate use.
The Family Radio Service(FRS) license-free frequency range, which uses 22 channels in the 462 MHz and 467 MHz range of the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) band is the frequency range which is mostly used by modern walkie-talkies
Listen Up! Anyone is free to use FRS frequencies in the 462 MHZ to 467 MHz range of the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) band, but you must be a licensed radio operator to use GMRS frequencies.
Types of Frequencies and their range
Since you’ve read the ‘sciency’ stuff about frequency range, let’s just delve right into the details about the types of frequency ranges available and what each is used for:
Family Radios Service (FRS)
This is the most common walkie-talkie frequency range; its frequencies range from 462.5625 MHz to 467.7250 MHz, these frequencies are split into 22 different channels in the UHF band.
The maximum power output in this frequency range is either: 2 watts (channels 1 to 7 and 15 to 22) or 0.5 watts (channels 8 to 14).
Unlike GMRS frequencies, anyone is free to use FRS frequencies without the need for any licenses.
To make things easier, here’s a table with a detailed list of available FRS channels and their corresponding frequencies:
|1.||462.5625 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
|2.||462.5875 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
|3.||462.6125 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
|4.||462.6375 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
|5.||462.6625 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
|6.||462.6875 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
|7.||462.7125 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
|8.||467.5625 MHz||Up to 0.5 Watt|
|9.||467.5875 MHz||Up to 0.5 Watt|
|10.||467.6125 MHz||Up to 0.5 Watt|
|11.||467.6375 MHz||Up to 0.5 Watt|
|12.||467.6625 MHz||Up to 0.5 Watt|
|13.||467.6875 MHz||Up to 0.5 Watt|
|14.||467.7125 MHz||Up to 0.5 Watt|
|15.||462.5500 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
|16.||462.5750 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
|17.||462.6000 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
|18.||462.6250 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
|19.||462.6500 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
|20.||462.6750 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
|21.||462.7000 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
|22.||462.7250 MHz||Up to 2 Watt|
Go ahead and play ‘super-hero’ as much as you want on any of these FRS frequencies.
Note: EIRP (Equivalent Isotropic Radiated power) Restriction is the total radiated power from a transmitter antenna multiplied by the numerical directivity of the antenna in the direction of the receiver.
General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)
The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) frequency range is also popular among walkie-talkies.
It uses channels that range from 462 MHz to 467 MHz (Same as the FRS). However, the GMRS operates at a higher power output of up to 50 watts through 30 channels, and you need to get a license from the FCC or any government authority in your country to run your walkie-talkie on any of these frequencies.
A license lasts for about 10 years in most countries and is easily obtained as long as you’re above 18 years old and pass a background check.
Note that licensing is simply a way to reduce congestion on GMRS channels. Albeit a lot of people use GMRS radios without regard to getting a license simply because the authorities don’t usually enforce these regulations to the letter.
In other words, you’re free to play around on FRS frequencies in the 462 MHz range but it’s illegal to transmit on GMRS frequencies without a license because when caught you are liable to pay fines or in extreme cases jail time.
Here’s a table with a detailed list of available GMRS channels and their corresponding frequencies:
|1.||462.5625 MHz||Up to 5 Watts||20 kHz|
|2.||462.5875 MHz||Up to 5 Watts||20 kHz|
|3.||462.6125 MHz||Up to 5 Watts||20 kHz|
|4.||462.6375 MHz||Up to 5 Watts||20 kHz|
|5.||462.6625 MHz||Up to 5 Watts||20 kHz|
|6.||462.6875 MHz||Up to 5 Watts||20 kHz|
|7.||462.7125 MHz||Up to 5 Watts||20 kHz|
|8.||467.5625 MHz||Up to 0.5 Watt||12.5 kHz|
|9.||467.5875 MHz||Up to 0.5 Watt||12.5 kHz|
|10.||467.6125 MHz||Up to 0.5 Watt||12.5 kHz|
|11.||467.6375 MHz||Up to 0.5 Watt||12.5 kHz|
|12.||467.6625 MHz||Up to 0.5 Watt||12.5 kHz|
|13.||467.6875 MHz||Up to 0.5 Watt||12.5 kHz|
|14.||467.7125 MHz||Up to 0.5 Watt||12.5 kHz|
|15.||462.5500 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|16.||462.5750 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|17.||462.6000 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|18.||462.6250 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|19.||462.6500 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|20.||462.6750 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|21.||462.7000 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|22.||462.7250 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|23.||467.5500 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|24.||467.5750 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|25.||467.6000 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|26.||467.6250 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|27.||467.6500 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|28.||467.6750 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|29.||467.7000 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
|30.||467.7250 MHz||Up to 50 Watts||20 kHz|
This abbreviation denotes an application for public address radios used in the EU and UK but not in North America and Australia.
Basically, the PMR446 is now a kind of ‘semi-formal’ standard for privately used walkie-talkies assigned to military radar systems and amateur radio operators.
PMR446 is an analog system for speech transmission. DMR446 is the digital counterpart to PMR446.
The maximum transmission power of PMR446 radios are 0.5 watts, with the transmission cycle lasting for less than 180 seconds with a total of 16 0.5-watt channels ranging from 446.00625 to 446.19375 MHz.
UHF and VHF
Frequency is expressed as kilohertz (kHz) and megahertz (MHz or Gigahertz (GHz), which are units of measuring the speed of electronic devices. Most manufacturers categorize these speeds into VHF and UHF.
VHF simply means Very High Frequency; typically VHF radios have a band range between 136-400 MHz and are most frequently used on the sea for communication between ships.
UHF simply means Ultra High Frequency; commercial two-way UHF radios have a high band of 400-3,000 MHz
UHF radios have a better range compared to VHF radios.
This information is usually indicated on a radio device’s product packaging, so it’s advisable to look there when shopping to determine if the walkie-talkie is of a UHF or VHF variant before purchase.
Any other Walkie-Talkie frequencies?
Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) and the Citizens Band Radio Service (CBRS) also exist, although I won’t talk about them since they are rarely used, mostly because walkie-talkies and repeaters above 2 watts are not permitted for public use by regulations.
This wraps up the question “what frequencies do walkie-talkies use?”
The walkie-talkie frequencies available for users are mostly determined by whatever government regulations are already in place.
It also depends on what type of radio (UHF or VHF) you’re using and any additional communication equipment you might have. These frequencies range from 136 to 900 MHz, with the most common waves ranging from 462.5625 to 462.7250 MHz on the FRS and the GMRS channels.
If you want a private frequency you have to get a license for it.
These regulations differ by country so it’s important you read a little about the country’s regulations before you start transmitting on any frequencies, as what’s considered to be a legal broadcast frequency in one country might be an illegal or restricted frequency in another.
No matter what you do, don’t mess around on these channels.