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The Private Mobile Radio (or Private Business Radio as it is sometimesreferred to) has been with us since 1948 and forms the bulk of the two way radio systems in use in most parts of the world. Most businesses, local councils, security companies, taxi firms use this system. It is more powerful than PMR446, handportables are generally 5W and mobiles 25W but the range obtainable is terrain dependent. Greater ranges can be obtained by the use of a base station and a rooftop antenna or for the greatest range the base station may be located on a hilltop or high rise building. Because of these variations in siting, the service is licensed by the Ministry of Communications/Radio Agency on an individual basis. Typical ranges obtained in fairly level terrain are – between 2 handportables 5km, between 2 mobiles 10km, between a base station(with rooftop aerial) and a mobile 20km and if a hilltop site is in use then 50km is possible.

 Advantages – Higher Power, Longer Range, Less Interference, Sole Ownership & Control

Disadvantages– License fee chargeable, More Expensive Equipment, maintenance costs necessary



PMR446 came into use in April of 1999. These handportable units have 8 channels in the 446Mhz band plus CTCSS & DCS thus making congestion less likely. The channels and tones are user programmable although different manufacturers implement this in different ways and full functionality may require a trained technician. The service is license exempt and it’s available for personal as well as business use. It is essentially a low powered system (500mW).

Uses and Users

Essentially PMR446 is a short range service giving a range of a few hundred meters in built-up areas but much further in open country areas. It is ideal for communicating within offices, factories, schools or for outdoor hiking and other leisure uses.

Advantages – Off the shelf purchase, cheap, license free, no recurring cost and it’s available to all.

Disadvantages – Low/Short range, busy channels, not suitable for safety uses, available to all.



A Commercial Public Access Network is essentially a shared system. It is usually owned by an independent operator who rents out airtime to different user groups (businesses) who all have access to any free channels, for their exclusive use. Talk time is unlimited for the monthly or quarterly airtime charged and you are able to talk mobile to office or mobile to mobile or even handheld to handheld anywhere within the coverage area. Such commercial system cover a much wider area than PMR or PMR446

Uses and Users

A long range system of (<80Km) suitable for users that have an intermittent requirement for radio communications throughout the day or night over a very wide area and not be bothered about maintenance.

Advantages – Wide area coverage and expanding at no cost to the user, No call Charges, Fixed/Known cost of radio used all year round.

Disadvantages –Monthly Recurring Access Fee





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