It's very tempting to use two-way radios designed for use in the U.S. in the U.K, and vice versa. They may appear to be the same, with some of the U.S. models having a higher range. However, you should be aware that they operate on different frequencies. It is illegal to use U.S. ones in the U.K. and U.K. one in the U.S. Why should you bother? They are only relatively short range, and you think you will not cause interference to anyone else.
Let's look at this in more detail.
U.S. FRS (Family Radio Service) walkie talkies operate on up to 14 channels between 462.5625 MHz and 467.7125 MHz.
In Europe, a similar service is PMR446, which has 8 channels and the frequencies used are 446.00625 MHz to 446.09375 MHz.
You will notice the ranges between the two frequencies is different. They are close enough for most of the manufacturers who produce similar-looking radios for both markets.
So, what is legally on the set of frequencies allocated to the U.S. FRS, in the U.K, and what could you cause interference to?
I cannot give precise details for legal reasons (!), but legal users of these frequencies include:
- The Army
- The Royal Air Force
- Ship to Ship communication
- The Fire Service
- Local Health Authorities
More details can be found by searching for AJP's database, in case you don't believe what you are reading here!
Take this as a friendly warning. You may not cause any interference to these services, but imagine how you would feel if you did, and put someone's life at risk.