What is PMR446?

A range of PMR446 Walkie Talkies

Last updated on April 11th, 2023 at 02:24 pm

PMR 446 Two Way Radios

PMR446 is a licence free radio frequency for use by two-way radio users in the UK and most of Europe.

The letters PMR stand for Private Mobile Radio, and the number 446 relates to the frequency band 446Mhz (UHF) which these radios and devices use to communicate. Radios of this type can be used for business or leisure use without licence.

All PMR446 Radios available on the PMC website conform to PMR446 standards.

Which countries can I use a PMR446 Radio?

  • All countries within the European Union
  • United Kingdom & Northern Ireland.
  • India

How many channels are there?

Most PMR446 Radios come with 8 Channels and 38 sub channels on each of those initial channels, giving a possible combination of over 300 channels, so you’ll always have a clear channel you and your colleagues can use.

What sort of range will I get from a PMR446 radio?

In the open countryside with good line-of sight a few kilometers can easily be achieved however, in urban areas or areas where there is a lot of metal, a range of a few hundred meters or more is about average. The range of a PMR446 should easily cover facilities such as office blocks, building sites, pubs/bars, restaraunts, schools, caravan/camping sites, small farms, small ports or harbour areas, museums, outdoor events, festivals, park run etc

The power output of PMR446 devices is fixed to a maximum power output of 500 mW as per the specifications of the standard, so it’s not possible to pay more or buy radios with better range than others (although better radios can sometimes offer better clarity and signal reception with better aerials).

As with all radio communication devices, the environment they are used in will always determine the range you can achieve.

What if I need more range?

For extra range – needed for Taxi ranks, forrestry work, very large sites etc, PMR446 may not be the correct radio standard for you, in these cases you would need to look at dedicated UHF or VHF two-way-radios.

In the UK these radios require you to purchase a licence from Ofcom to use the frequency in a given area and can be boosted by larger antenae, repeaters etc to cover a larger area. Information for these types of radios are outside the scope of this article, but worth mentioning if you’re new to this:

  • UHF = Ultra high frequency (For great signal where walls/doors/floors can cause issues with other types of radio)
  • VHF = Very High Frequency (For great signal across long distances, also great for underwater communication)

What can I use a PMR446 radio for?

PMR446 radios are versatile and there’s models out there for a wide range of uses; there are some very cost-effective radios for children to use and keep in touch with whilst camping or playing.

Moving up the scale there are some more robust & featured radios perfect for camping, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking etc.

At the higher end of the scale, there’s more robust PMR446 radios available for profesional use such as security or event staff, schools, or outdoor events and even full-featured, robust, fully submersible, waterproof radios for profesional marine use such as port management, sailing etc.

How much should I pay for a PMR 446 Radio?

The scale is quite broad in terms of cost, there are radios for pretty much all use cases available – you can pay anything from £30 upwards for a pair of radios for children and or personal use.

For the high end radios for profesional usage with extra features such as digital displays, pre-sets, digital radios with encryption, high-end materials to make them robust and water sealed to IP68 standards, you can pay up to and beyond £500 for a single radio.

The main thing is to budget for your own use case, it stands to reason you should buy the best you can afford if you want your radio to function as necessary and be durable enough for the task at hand.

Note: Commercial grade radios tend to be sold as individual radios whereas Sports & Leisure radios come in pairs

What are the best PMR446 Radios?

We’ve written a detailed blog with our recomendations for the best PMR446 Radios for Sports & Leisure use, you can follow the link below to see what we thought.

Five different PMR446 Hand Held radios lie on a wooden table.
More basic models to the left and more profesional models to the right.
A selection of PMR446 Two-Way Radios

Where can I find the best and cheapest PMR 446 Two Way Radios?

At PMC Telecom we stock a wide range of Two Way Radios from sports and leisure up to the top-of-the-range commercial grade radios radios on the market, as well as headsets and a whole range of other two-way-radio accessories.   Check out our website to see what we have on offer.