February 16, 2021

Understanding the Differences Between UHF and VHF Bands – Examining UHF and VHF in In-Building Critical Communications

For emergencies, it’s crucial that all buildings support wireless communications for first responders. As such, cities, counties, and municipalities all mandate robust public safety radio coverage in commercial and multi-residential buildings to ensure a strong level of life-safety protection for building occupants as well as emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, firefighters, and police officers. Specifically, authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) mandate VHF (Very High Frequency) and UHF (Ultra High Frequency) bands depending on how these professionals communicate via land mobile radios in their jurisdictions. Here are some differences between each band:

 Differences between UHF and VHF bands

To the general public, the UHF and VHF public safety (PS) bands may seem unimportant, but they are vital during an emergency incident and could be the difference between life and death. The VHF public safety band extends from 136 to 174 MHz and its wavelength range between 10 meters to 1 meter, allowing a signal to travel further but is more susceptible to obstacle disruption. On the other hand, the UHF public safety band is 380 to 512 MHz and its wavelength is shorter than the VHF frequency leaving it less affected by environmental factors or man-made obstacles, such as walls, hills, dense forests, and more.

These bands have been around for a long time, are compatible with EMS dispatch solutions, and propagate better with fewer antennas than the more common 700/800 MHz public safety bands. However, frequency spacing for both bands can vary depending on the city, so building owners must be equipped with the right solutions and integrator to help customize digital filtering based on the requirements of the local jurisdiction.

Although the decision between UHF or VHF bands is based on which frequencies the different first responders are using, and therefore left to the AHJs to mandate, building owners and integrators can still choose which UHF or VHF connectivity solution is best for their building. With ADRF’s solutions, building owners will be well-equipped to support UHF or VHF frequencies for critical communications, especially in West and East coast regions where its use is more prevalent. 

ADRF’s UHF and VHF solutions

ADRF has multiple public safety offerings for building owners interested in UHF and VHF. Our PSR-VU-9537 and PSR-VU-9537-X are optimal for UHF or VHF bands. All of our public safety repeaters and DAS meet NFPA and IFC codes and have dry alarm contacts, 24-hour battery backups, and Type 4/ IP66 enclosures. 

ADRF’s products have been used for over two decades, improving critical communications in systems for first responders, as well as government, transit, commercial, education, and security personnel. Learn more about our UHF/VHF solutions on our website http://adrftech.com/industry/public-safety/.