UHF vs VHF radio communication: what’s the difference?

UHF vs VHF radio communication: what’s the difference?

Two-way radios are a hugely important aspect of safe and secure air flight, with pilots and cabin crew using radio communication throughout the course of a flight to communicate with other pilots and air controllers. The two types of radio communication primarily used in aeronautics are UHF and VHF radio.


UHF and VHF stand for ultra-high frequency and very high frequency; as you might now guess, the difference between these two types of radio communication is all about what frequency they transmit a signal at. Neither UHF or VHF is necessarily ‘better’ than the other; both are used today because they provide different advantages.

UHF radios work between 300 MHz and 3 GHz; they have shorter wavelengths that are better able to penetrate through steel and concrete, which makes them well-suited for indoor use. UHF radios are currently used by air traffic control teams and Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), as well as many other parts of daily life, including satellite communications, Wi-Fi, cordless phones, and television broadcasting.

VHF radios broadcast between 30 MHz and 300 MHz, and are generally speaking more appropriate for outdoor use and areas of open terrain. VHF radio communication has been used in aircraft for over six decades, and while UHF and, more recently, other digital communication technologies are being used more in the field, VHF radio is still an important aspect of air communication particularly in terms of ground-to-air communications.

UHF vs VHF for flight

Both UHF and VHF radios are used in flight communication, for different aspects of flight. VHF radio is still the go-to frequency for many aspects of aircraft, with a group of VHF frequencies set aside as aircraft band frequencies, which means they are solely for use by civil aviation professionals.

UHF is still used in other aspects of flight, for example, UHF is used for instrument landing system (ILS) glide path operations, as well as distance measuring equipment (DME).

It should be clear that neither UHF nor VHF is particularly better than the other; it’s simply the case that both frequencies have different uses and should be used appropriately, both in aviation and other industries, to ensure maximum performance and reliability in different scenarios.

Choosing your aviation radio solutions

When you’re looking for the right radio communication equipment, it’s important to consider the needs of your operation. Are you looking for air-to-ground or ground-to-ground radios, and are you in need of transmitters, receivers, or transceivers? At Bayanat Engineering, we offer a huge range of radio solutions that can be tailored to your business, ensuring that your radio communication system is tailored to your operation’s unique requirements.

Get in touch with us

At Bayanat Engineering, we are experts in all things air technology. For more advice and information about UHF and VHF radio communication solutions, get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to talk you through our products and services to help you find the perfect radio system for your needs.