When it comes to choosing a two-way radio set, one of the criteria that is often considered is whether to opt for licensed or license-free walkie-talkies.
This article discusses license-free radios and considers why for most commercial and domestic circumstances, these are the best choice of walkie-talkies.
What are license-free walkie-talkies
The use of two-way radios has to comply with regulations laid down by a governing authority. In Ireland, the responsibility of setting the regulations and ensuring compliance is performed by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg).
With two-way radios, the regulations are split into two distinct categories – License-free and Licensed.
Licensed radios – These need to have a license issued by ComReg before they can be used, and this usually needs renewing on an annual basis. There are certain advantages to licensed radios, but these are usually only relevant for specialised use or where longer-range communication is essential.
License-free radios – License-free radios meet the ComReg regulations out of the box. For the end user, this means license-free radios are a simple solution that can be up and running instantly.
Facts about license-free walkie-talkies
- PMR446 – PMR446 is terminology that is often seen alongside license-free walkie-talkies. The PMR portion stands for Personal Mobile Radio, and the 446 refers to the 446MHz frequency range they operate on.
- Range – This depends on the power output of the walkie-talkie set and the terrain they are being used in. However, in ideal circumstances, a basic set of license-free radios will still offer a range of a few kilometres.
- Protected Frequencies – The PMR446 frequencies are reserved for the exclusive use of lower-powered license-free radios. It is illegal for licensed radios to operate on these frequencies.
- Wide range of models – From basic models that are perfect for domestic use, like the Motorola Talkabout T42, to more advanced models, like the highly-specked and waterproof Kenwood TK-3701DE, choosing a license-free radio doesn’t mean compromising.
- Difference between walkie-talkies and two-way radios – Although this is a term that is frequently used interchangeably, license-free radios are more frequently referred to as walkie-talkies. Licensed sets are normally called two-way radios.
Advantages of license-free walkie-talkies
From price to simplicity of use, there are many advantages to license-free walkie-talkies.
Here are just a few of them:
- Cost – License-free walkie-talkies are less expensive than their licensed counterparts. They also have no further running costs after the handsets are purchased i.e. no call charges, contracts, or ongoing licensing fees.
- Pre-programmed Frequencies – These operate out of the box without any need to set up operating frequencies.
- Simple to use – Communication solutions don’t come any simpler than license-free walkie-talkies. Even more advanced models are straightforward enough that anyone can use them with little or no training.
- Digital Models – Opting for license-free radios doesn’t mean compromising audio quality. Digital models offer superb clarity and performance.
- Battery life – Excellent battery life, especially in rechargeable models, means license-free radios can operate for hours on a single charge.
- Legal in many countries – Unlike licensed radios that would require separate licensing if they were used abroad, license-free radios can be used in EU countries and the UK without the need for any licenses or permits.
Who are license-free radios suitable for
Whether for domestic or commercial use, there is a huge range of scenarios where license-free radios are the perfect option. These include:
- Construction sites
- Agriculture and outdoor workers (forestry, estate workers, etc.)
- Factories and manufacturing plants
- Domestic use and leisure activities
- Hospitality and retail
- Hiking and other outdoor activity clubs
- Event security and coordination
- Sporting events and sports teams
While license-free walkie-talkies are the perfect solution in many circumstances, in situations where secure communications are required, then it is best to opt for licensed two-way radios.
If you are looking for a simple and hassle-free communication solution, then license-free radios are the perfect option. License-free walkie-talkies present a cost-effective and simple way to keep teams connected and coordinated.
At Walkie Talkie Solutions, we stock a wide range of license-free walkie-talkie models to suit any circumstances. Contact us today if you want to know more about our range or need some help choosing the perfect set of walkie-talkies.