Site Owner & Radio Enthusiast
To be within an ultra high frequency or UHF range, you can tune in anywhere from 300 to 3,000 MHz within 50 miles.
That gives you a variety of frequencies to choose from, but which is the best?
The best UHF frequency depends on how you’re using it. Here are some recommendations:
- 900 MHz to 2.4 GHz for wireless communication devices
- 470 to 900 MHz for wireless audio systems and mics
- 470 to 698 MHz for television broadcasts
- 380 to 520 MHz for public safety communications
This guide will examine the various UHF frequencies to select from and when in more detail. We’ll also offer suggestions for choosing the right UHF frequency for you, so keep reading.
The Best UHF Frequency to Use for Various Applications
The UHF frequency you utilize will vary based on the application.
Per the intro, let’s delve deeper into the various frequencies and what they’re preferred for.
Wireless Communication Devices
Wireless communication devices are everyday technology like Wi-Fi networks, wireless headsets, cordless phones, and cell phones.
These devices use a UHF frequency of 900 MHz to 2.4 GHz for long-distance communications.
That’s how you can pick up the phone and talk to someone outside the state and even your country.
These devices have high-gain antennas that provide coverage for considerable distances.
A 2.4-GHz UHF frequency requires more gain than a 900-MHz frequency, but a semi-parabolic diecast grid antenna is suitable for both.
The 2.4-GHz UHF frequency is more subject to atmospheric attenuation caused by rain, fog, and other water vapor and oxygen sources. Additionally, obstructions affect this link more, increasing the attenuation rate even further.
Raising the antennas can reduce the frequency’s risk of obstructions so you can use wireless service uninterrupted.
Check out this post here for our top recommendations for FM radio antennas!
Wireless Audio Systems and Broadcasts
What about using UHF frequencies for broadcast purposes, such as over a wireless audio system that uses Wi-Fi or Bluetooth?
In that case, you need a 470 to 900 MHz UHF frequency.
This frequency is commonly selected during live performances, conferences, and events.
A UHF antenna at that range usually features a log periodic dipole array.
This configures the frequency into a cardioid pattern to further spread across an intended coverage area and reject outside radio frequency signals.
Due to the use of UHF radio at this frequency, minimizing interruptions is especially critical.
If people pay for live performances and events, they expect the utmost sound clarity or won’t feel they’ve gotten their money’s worth.
Although we talk about radio here on the blog, that’s not all that UHF frequencies can broadcast.
They can also broadcast television using frequencies of 470 to 698 MHz.
You’ll recall this is a shorter frequency range than the one used for broadcasting audio.
UHF signal amplifiers with wireless microphone systems and other television equipment will work within this range. They can increase radio wave signals to reduce cable interactions.
In the frequency range of 470 to 512 MHz, these 12 areas in the United States share the frequency band with permission from the FCC to do so:
- Virginia/Maryland/Washington, DC
- Oakland/San Francisco, California
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania/Northeast New Jersey/New York, New York
- Miami, Florida
- Los Angeles, California
- Houston, Texas
- Detroit, Michigan
- Fort Worth/Dallas, Texas
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Chicago, Illinois
- Boston, Massachusetts
Keep in mind that television frequencies are not universal.
Broadcasting standards, regions, and countries will have different frequency requirements that may put them outside the above range, either below or even above it.
Public Safety Communications
The last UHF frequency recommendation we’ll look at is for public safety communications.
When emergency services like firefighters, police officers, search and rescue, and other emergency personnel must broadcast news and updates, they’ll use UHF frequencies from 380 to 520 MHz.
This is among the lower frequencies on the UHF spectrum, so this frequency is considered a downlink.
UHF frequencies between 380 and 400 MHz are only allowed by the federal government in some parts of the world.
This ensures that when an emergency occurs, people can reliably tune in and get up-to-the-minute information even if they have no power or internet.
At 400 to 420 MHz, non-federal entities like businesses and industrial radio services can access UHF frequencies.
At 450 to 470 MHz, the land-mobile radio band is frequently favored by businesses, government agencies, firefighters, and police.
They can use this radio band to communicate via two-way radio.
Factors Limiting UHF Frequency Availability
Consider these factors to select the best UHF frequency for your intended activity.
Some UHF frequencies can only cross short distances, while others can reach much more broadly.
Take citizen band or CB radio, for example.
A favorite of truckers, CB radio is a two-way radio style in the 476.43 to 477.41 MHz frequency range.
Although CB radio has 80 accessible channels, it has a minimal frequency range unsuitable for longer-distance communications.
The UHF frequency range for broadcasts and wireless audio systems is much further-reaching.
Some channels are only allowed for emergency use, as we discussed before. These frequencies will remain unobstructed for updates and news.
Operating an amateur ham radio station requires you to obtain a license.
This will allocate more frequencies for you to use to broaden your communications, make new friends, and enjoy novel experiences.
This guide explores how to obtain a ham radio license in the US.
If you’re based in the UK, don’t miss this post on the subject.
The last consideration for using UHF radio frequencies is the operation’s legality.
Besides whether you hold a license, how legal your usage is depends on the frequency in question.
There is no best UHF frequency, as the right one to choose should be driven by your intended use.
You’ll access different communication frequencies through ham radio, broadcast radio or television, or wireless communication devices.